Tis the Season!

As holiday season approaches, I wanted to take a moment to preemptively discuss the inevitable annual debate: Do you wish someone ‘happy holidays’ or something else? Forewarning: I am straightforward here, and if you disagree, feel free to leave a comment and say why.


1. Say, for example, you celebrate Christmas but you know your friend celebrates Hanukkah. 

Wish them a Happy Hanukkah. If they’re cool, they’ll wish you a Merry Christmas. If they say ‘Happy Hanakkuh’ then just say thank you!! It’s really not a big deal.

I personally exchange gifts with some of my other faith-based friends and we aren’t coy about what we say or how we say it.


2. Say you are atheist and your friend is religious. 

Just wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’ or a ‘Happy Hanakkuh’ (etc.).

Don’t be like this:

or this


3. Say you are religious and your friend is atheist.

Wish them a Merry Happy whatever you are. It doesn’t matter!! Then just move on.


4. Say you and your friend are both atheist and don’t celebrate anything.

Then, so what? Don’t say anything!!


5. Say you are not sure what someone else is.

If you celebrate Christmas, say ‘Merry Christmas and happy holidays!” If they don’t like it, they’ll probably correct you. You did nothing wrong. And, for example, if they respond back with “Happy Kwanzaa” then just say ‘Thank you!’ … because, after all, they cared enough to wish you well.

xx Nicki

5 times the workplace can be an absolute nightmare for women

These are some of my examples, all of which have happened to me in my years during/since college. It is absolutely disgusting how women are treated by this systemic sexism.



1. It was (basically) unspoken, but expected that I would take out the trash.

At one of my much older jobs, the trash was the job of everyone in the office. Or at least, so I was told. I was the only female and when I would start to take out my own trash, the others would say, “Oh, can you grab mine too?” Otherwise, it would just sit there piling up endlessly.

Eventually, I started taking my trash out when no one else was there so I wouldn’t be tricked into taking everyone’s out. While this might have not had to do with gender, the males should have been aware of what was happening. They were slobs, too.



2. I was paid 50% of what my male counterparts were making. 

I was paid a sickeningly low amount at one of my old jobs. I started the job needing it to graduate from college because it was part of the program. I was a full time, day employee with the same skills as the males. I was performing the same work. I had always assumed we all made low amounts, but one day I was informed what one of the males was making. It was double what I was making, and I was told we didn’t have enough money to pay anyone that much.



3. I was forced into being the receptionist.

Two different jobs. I was forced into being a receptionist in two different jobs. NO males were ever asked nor forced into it. I had even asked this question in both jobs, several times, and the answers were either evasive or that ‘the owner likes a woman to sit up front’ and that he is a ‘traditional man’. I was hired to do other work in both jobs, and both times it was also my duty to sit at the receptionist desk. I was performing very well at what I was hired to do, and don’t get me wrong – I still had those duties too, but I was also assigned the job as a receptionist (against my will). I fought it, requested formally by letters and e-mail, and was still made to do this job.



4. Males hush other males who swear and say ‘there’s a lady in the room’

This is something that doesn’t offend me. I have no problem when men swear because I swear too. I feel immediately uncomfortable when people feel the need to call attention to my gender and then stop talking. YET – moving onto #5, this type of conversation is never okay:



5. Males start having open conversations saying things like “Women should have to take a test to have a baby” and use the excuse that I was a ‘cool’ female who was able to hang with the guys as to why they would say such things in front of me.

I overhead many conversations like this at an old job. Most of the comments were by people in positions higher/much higher than mine. I ended up leaving this company, combined with reason #2, and demanding to be paid what I was actually worth. We settled in mediation and I was financially reimbursed.

xx Nicki

Apple and Google are offering to pay for their female employees to freeze and store their eggs

As with any effort to help females in the ever present struggle for gender equality, both praise and criticism will arise. No solution can ever be completely satisfactory.

Apple and Google are offering to pay for EVERY SINGLE FEMALE EMPLOYEE
to freeze their eggs and store them if they so choose – a procedure that can cost up to $10,000 with a $500 fee for storage, according to tech crunches article.

As expected, the gesture is receiving quite a bit of flack. Some females claim this is just another excuse for employers to implicitly pressure employees into choosing work over personal life. Apple and Google have worked hard to preemptively refute that claim by offering extended maternity leave, infertility treatments, and adoption assistance. But of course criticism of the employer being too privy about their employee’s personal life has come to light.

The option is out there. It’s not forced upon employees. I am, however, slightly torn because while this is empowering to women, it also makes them think twice about child birth. They know that the option is there to wait and the microscopic level of employee to boss interaction could be slightly more biased than the corporate headquarters plans for them to be.

It’s a step in the right direction. It’s not the final solution, but any female acknowledgment is better than none.

xx Nicki

“What Football and Scandal Have in Common”

Like any other aspiring hipster, I read obscure blogs on the internet. Recently, I fell in love with Notes from the Broken Hearted.

The anonymous writer pours heart out for her followers to read. Most recently, she posted an article that I knew I had to share on Head Bitches in Charge. So I contacted the writer. For this blog’s sake we will call her “Jane.”

“What Football and Scandal Have in Common” is a personal perspective by Jane on feminine activities versus masculine activities and how we can compromise those in relationships. We don’t have to give up what we enjoy or be defensive towards things that are not “appropriate” for our gender.

Give it a read, I seriously recommend it. While you’re at it, check out the rest of Jane’s posts. Grab a glass of red wine and prepare for an emotional roller coaster.

Inherent Sexism

Gender roles aren’t something that can be completely eradicated because when to comes down to it, women get periods and women have babies. There are weeks women are biologically programmed to be hormonal and months that they are host to a living being growing inside of their body.

While women take maternity leave, men continue to work and get raises and promotions. And no employer will admit they expect every young woman they hire to leave (possibly for good) within a couple years to give birth to a child. If you get married and are within the child bearing age, you are basically setting yourself up to never get a raise again. (There are always exceptions to this, but many women find this to be the case.)

It doesn’t matter if you paid for the same college education as a male or have achieved just as much – you are a liability to your company by just being born with two X chromosomes.

And meanwhile, the world continues to be run by males, pretending to be more female friendly. It’s 2014, of course we don’t have sexism and gender inequality anymore. I argue that being a female is one of the worst things you can be in the corporate world.

The business world is run with an arbitrary set of rules that make it appear that there is only one option for success: 9-5 hours, in office.

From my experience, the vast majority of business could easily be run off property, off hours, and remotely from home. Yet, somehow the corporate world still finds a way to largely shun this (with exceptions) and make it so choices need to be made that put a women in the position to choose between their careers and their children.

Until the structure of the corporate world is changed, women will continue to struggle. I have read many company policies that use a 4 day work week, 32 hours, that run better than 40 hour companies. The employees use their time more wisely and get more done. Remote access and video calls are easy. Men can be required to take (any or more than they currently get) maternity leave to help their wives. (After all, they too deserve the time with their newborn child.) That way, maternity leave advancement is not a threat to only one gender. These are just ideas, but they are all worth thought. And though anything can be argued for or against, starting the discussion is the first step to change.

We’re all in this together. (cue the coordinated dance scene.)

slut

If you know that Ashton Kutcher isn’t a band, I’m sure you’re aware of the movie Mean Girls. Ms. Norbury, played by Tina Fey, states the seemingly obvious.

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Why are we calling each other sluts and whores? (Along with many other things.) It turns out that Tina Fey wasn’t just trying to make a cult comedy, but had a point to emphasize from the book she adapted the plot from (Queen Bees and Wannabees.)I’m not going to bore you with the endless questions Tina Fey asks the girls of North Shore High and the questions I’m sure girls wonder daily. We females are on the same team. As Troy Bolton and the rest of the Wildcats from High School Musical sings and dances, we’re all in this together. Knocking me down only brings you (fellow female) down too. Maybe not directly, but in the long run you are hurting girls everywhere. You’re perpetuating the endless cycle you hate. Instead of thinking when the next guy hurts you “Would he treat his sister this way?” think “Would I be happy if my daughter put up with this bull shit?” NO.

We can fight the problem of being put down as a sex by starting with ourselves. As the late Michael Jackson sang, “I’m starting with the [wo]man in the mirror.. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.” This all sounds cliche, but quit making the guy population of society our scape goat for our inner self loathing. It’s a cliche for a reason. You think you’re winning by putting me down as a “stupid bitch?” Well, you just scored on your own team, in the goal you’re trying to protect. Welcome to soccer for five year olds.

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I’m not saying we should all live in a world where we bake cakes from rainbows and smiles and we’d all eat it and be happy. But we sure as hell can make it a little less mean.

92946-GO-HOME-gif-Tina-Fey-Mean-Girl-7SUb

l8r sk8rs,
Justine

Six things you’re saying and doing that are holding you back

1. Sorry, but..

If you’re saying sorry for things you aren’t doing wrong or you are just saying sorry as often as a teenager says ‘like’ then you unconsciously appear subordinate and weak. Think about it: do you say sorry automatically when someone bumps you or if you need to call someone’s attention? “Sorry to bother you, but…” is a phrase we all need to eradicate from our daily usage. Not only does it make you appear timid, it often times makes people you say it to feel uncomfortable (or feel as though they are your boss even if they are not). Practice saying, “Excuse me, *blah blah blah*.”

2. Not maintaining eye contact

If you aren’t looking people in eye when speaking to them or being spoken to, you appear as though you are not paying attention, are lying, or are otherwise untrustworthy. You also give off an air of submissiveness here too. Maintaining eye contact shows the person you are listening to or speaking to that you are on their level (we are all humans, after all) and that you are worth their time.

3. Not giving a firm handshake even if you are a female

This one is tough because I have attempted to give a firm, full-palmed handshake many times and have been cut off at the pass by both males and females into giving them one of those half handshakes. You know the ones I mean – where you just shake their finger tips.

Even if you are very feminine, these half handshakes are sending the wrong message. You want to show the person you are shaking hands with that you are trustworthy, capable, and strong. If you cohabitate with males, then most likely you are doing similar work to them, and you ARE just as physically (and definitely mentally) capable. You bring a lot to the table, but this half-handshake shows underlying tones of weakness.

I personally love when a very down-to-earth, but feminine woman, gives me a full handshake. It shows me she is comfortable in her skin and confident in her capabilities.

4. Not dressing for your body type

I hate to say it, but one size does not fit all. I am a larger woman, and I dress accordingly. It’s not that I am ashamed of myself, or wish to hide myself in larger clothes; I just wear the clothes that fit my body because… *newsflash* …they look better!!

I am not saying you should wear drapey, sack-like clothing, but I am saying you should know and understand your body and it’s proportions. How you present yourself DOES matter because it shows how you feel about yourself inside. If you dress like you don’t care, then you are showing (whether you mean to or not) that you don’t find yourself important enough to take the time and care. Again, as I said in my last post, you don’t need to dress to the nines all day, every day. What you should be doing is showing you made an effort in one way or another. People do notice and it will shape how they think about you. If you truly don’t care, then okay – no problem. BUT… if you work in an industry where you want to get promotions then you need to learn to play the game, even if you don’t agree with it.

5. Speaking too fast

A lot of women speak very fast (men too), but by doing you you are sending the message that you don’t feel worthy of the person’s time to whom you are speaking. It’s as if you are trying to condense the amount of time you are ‘taking’ of theirs. Not only will they probably ask you to repeat yourself, but they will probably retain less of what you said, and spend more time thinking about how hard it is to understand you. It can be hard to retrain yourself, but it comes with practice. I wish there was a magical solution to completely overhauling your speech patterns, but really – you just need to practice speaking slower. (If you have a magical solution or some cool trick, please share!)

6. Always having contact with your phone

This one is really hard because our phones are a kind of safety blanket that redirects awkward conversation. By pulling your phone out every couple minutes, you are showing an inability to connect with others in a truly honest way. People will notice that you avoid their conversation, and it will send them the signal you don’t find them important enough for your undivided attention. Even leaving your phone on the dinner table shows that you are ready to respond to any notification or buzz immediately, and that makes it harder for people to get into deep conversations because they have it in the back of their mind that you will stop paying attention as soon as it happens. You’re better off putting your phone in your pocket or purse and silencing it for important conversations. By doing so, you will strike a chord with a lot of people and they will remember you for it.

xx Nicki