I am a woman. I am very happy being a woman. In fact, I have never wanted to be anything but a woman.
So I guess you could say things have worked out for me.
Or so I thought.
This past week was my daughter’s Spring Break. Like many parents, my mission was to entertain my child. This included a trip to the Dallas Zoo.
We had a fantastic time. We fed giraffes, pawed at fish and ponies, and drank out of gigantic cups shaped like rhinoceroses. Perfect.
However, I did notice something.
In the Wild Kingdom, the female species really gets the shaft.
Take this monkey.
Okay, it’s not monkey, it is called a mandrill, but same family. Notice the colorful markings on the face and behind. Pretty cool. A male.
Now look at the female.
Pathetic. Not nearly as colorful.
Onto the lions. The males have these gorgeous manes, a la Fabio.
Now look at the female.
Still beautiful, but a lot less hair. Fun Fact: these broads do all the work. They take care of the young, they hunt the food, and they are always the last to eat. This same scenario also goes down at my house. Hmmmmm….
Let us move onto the deer. Male stag – gigantic antlers.
Female deer – gorgeous.
However, not nearly enough on her head to protect herself. It’s as if one of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders ran onto the field to catch a pass without a helmet. Not good.
Birds? A similar situation. Look at this glorious male Cardinal. Bright, red, exciting.
Let’s take a peek at the female Cardinal.
When I look at this bird, the loser’s song from the Price Is Right comes to mind: wa wa wa waaaaaaaa. Ridiculous.
We had a great day at the zoo, but it left me asking, “What gives man…er…woman?”
I am not a man-hater, not at all. Many of my close friends are males, I am married to a man, I even have a pair of boy-cut jeans. But viewing these wild life gender differences, it made me draw some parallels to the un-evenly tipped scales in our human society.
Currently there are a few “hot button” women’s issues: equal pay for women; lack of maternity leave in the United States (I went back to work at five and a half weeks after I had my daughter. My boobs leaked, my head constantly throbbed, and my uterus slapped me across the face once every hour to keep me awake.); the trafficking of young girls; female mutilation; and the underrepresentation of females in the financial, bio-tech, and movie making industries. Just to name a few.
I feel as though we have been talking about these same issues for, well, decades. It’s like the repeated conversation I have with my husband about his night to cook dinner. I have to remind him, then he gets upset I’m reminding him, then I sound like a nag, then he thinks I sound like a nag. The result is two people who are angry and hungry.
Why can’t we have this conversation one time, fix it, and move on? Preferably with tacos. Why on earth are we still talking about gender equality? I bet society is tired of hearing about it, because we sure are tired of talking about it.
In my own life, I have been called, “little girl,” and “honey,” during work meetings. I have been omitted from pertinent workplace conversations when I was the only female in that department. I have been pitied and talked down to for being a stay at home mother.
While the above actions are hurtful, wrong, and just plain ridiculous, I still feel pretty good about myself, and about being a lady. Because I know that every job I am hired to do, I am more than qualified. I know that I am able to produce at 110%, even with a lack of information. I know making the decision to stay home with my child, was just that, my decision. And I’m a damn good mother. I am not angry at the menfolk, but I am curious why these things happen.
Circling back to nature, I wonder if the doe is giving that stag an earful about deer equality. Is the female Cardinal running for CEO at the bird seed and worm distribution center? Will the lioness ever look at Leo and say, “You know what? You can get up off your dirt mound and take that zebra carcass out the curb yourself!”?
Probably not. Humans are the only species that can use words to get a point across. While we cannot magically change situations and how people think, at least we can make others aware. We are lucky enough in this country, that we can get up every day and choose who we want to be. And I guess that is something to be thankful about.
Unless you are the female mandrill. Then life seems a little sucky.