Friday, April 25, 2008

Clean clothes vs feminism

I knew the minute I received the call saying “I have bought a used washing machine” that it meant trouble. I don’t have anything in particular against second-hand household appliances, but whenever they involve some sort of installation process I KNOW that I will be the one who have to take care of it.

This is in itself not a problem. Having grown up with two very practical men looking after me, I am well adept in anything from woodwork to fixing minor electrical problems. However, with my current workload, my general feelings towards anything not work-related, or spending time with my neglected dog and friends, is that I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS SHIT!!

Inevitably, after a week of Juliet and P both telling me that it is being taken care of, nothing has happened as of yet and I am running out of clean clothes.

At this point I betray all the strong women who have walked before me. Women who rolled up their sleeves to deal with that washer, just to show that women are indeed equal, have the right to vote, own property, should be paid the same salary for the same job. I imagine Simone de Beauvoir turning in her grave as I switch to my most pathetic voice and phone Daniel in the estate management office.

“Hi Daniel, I’m so glad I got hold of you. I wonder if you could help me. I can’t seem to install the washer. I have all the hoses and connection….thingies…but I don’t quite understand what to do. Do you think you have time to come by and take a look?”

Within 5 min Daniel was there, sorting the problem while I was putting on my favourite red shoes and left for work.

Do I feel ashamed of myself? Not at all! Although I feel a great deal of gratitude towards the women whose hard work and suffering have offered me the opportunities that I have today, I still believe it is a woman’s prerogative to choose when she will be strong and when it better suits her to be helpless!

In London, my co-worker and friend Caroline and I often discussed the Catch 22 in our work as Conference Producers. As such, especially as a woman, it is vital to be taken seriously and to give a competent and professional impression. At the same time, downright flirting is what gave us the edge over male colleagues. The key is to find the balance between acting like a bimbo, and shocking the hell out of people with your skills and competence.

I can just conclude that it really can’t be easy being a man, with women like myself out there, changing the rules whenever it suits us!

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