While I love my job most days, one of the problems with being a Women’s Center director is that changing the world really is part of my job description — and some weeks I am hit with the recognition that there really hasn’t been enough change. Here’s a short list of the things that have irritated me this week:
- A meeting in which a faculty member repeatedly used “he” as the default pronoun;
- Attending a program at which it was stated that “behind every man is a phenomenal woman”;
- Hearing a prominent local radio host refer to a female flight attendant as a “stewardess” (yes, seriously. I also wondered for a moment if I had been magically transported back to the 70s);
- Getting a request to give a body image program as part of a larger program that also involves a prom dress giveaway and makeup tips (to some extent there’s nothing wrong with either of those things — but I have enough 2nd wave feminist in me to get annoyed. Why can’t the giveaway be for a gift card for books? Or a technology gadget? In other words, something that would emphasize the intellect as opposed to the appearance).
Taken one at a time, these are all little things, I know (and not nearly as traumatic as what plenty of women still deal with both in the U.S. and in other countries). Still, coming together in the span of two days, it’s the kind of stuff that makes me feel as if my entire career has been a waste of time because while lots has changed for women (mostly for the better), a lot hasn’t and I feel discouraged. This usually passes, but it puts me in quite a funk when it happens and makes me not a lot of fun to be around for a few days.
For those of you with similar job descriptions, how do you keep from getting discouraged? What do you do to perk yourself up when you do?
[Image credit: Flickr user rrho. Creative Commons license].