I was recently at a business meeting. Let me preface this by stating that I have not slept properly for a few days, due to my children being sick, waking up in the middle of the night….you name it, I have been dealing with it. Knowing that I had this meeting, I may have overcompensated with the make-up, which instead of masking my fatigue, highlighted it! Tip to self – watch more youtube videos on covering dark patches under one’s eyes.
My colleague sitting beside me commented that I looked tired, to which I retorted, that he really needed a course on compliments. However, my other colleague in attendance commented that I looked like I had a “glow”, to which I suggestively touched my stomach playfully commenting, “well, you know…..”. We were just bantering in fun, when a senior colleague responded in dismay, “You are not pregnant, are you? You already have 3; aren’t you done?”
Let’s parse this out, shall we. Part one; “You are not pregnant, are you?” As if this was the worst thing that could happen. As if my senior colleague is privy to my private family planning discussions with my partner. As if my senior colleague has the right to be in disbelief. As if my senior colleague has the right to an opinion on this.
Part two; “You already have three”. As if there is a limit on how many children a professional woman can have. As if 3 is too much as it is. As if my senior colleague has the right to an opinion on this.
Part three; “Aren’t you done?” As if I am being greedy, selfish, idiotic, (insert any number of adjectives) by suggesting the possibility of a 4th child. As if my senior colleague has the right to an opinion on this.
All of this in 2017. And the senior colleague; a she, not a he. Did that surprise you?
And as I think about how to raise to her, in private, why she should never make the following comments in public, let alone at a business meeting, it just reinforces that we may pretend to be progressive and forward thinking, but at the root of it, we still carry and perpetuate stereotypes, which we still feel free to publicly vocalize.
In this day and age, where we appear to pay lip service to diversity and sexuality, isn’t it ironic that we still cannot wrap our minds around professional woman having a family, and it not being a hindrance to her career?
But that’s just one Diva’s view.