Natasha Chart hits another one out of the park, via Feminist Current.
Where the boys are, especially the white® boys, is where most of the power and money is. It’s where the inside tips and mentorships are. It’s where any woman who wants to get ahead in the world has to learn how to make it. It’s where she has to learn how to smile like she means it when a man says something to her that another man would punch him for — and not just learn, but turn that smile into such a deep reflex that she can’t even stop herself or question it in the moment.
They’ll turn to her if she brings up how women are treated — all these affable, benevolent peers — and insist that she confirm that they aren’t sexist, no. No, she’ll agree, of course not. She’ll join them in making jokes about how ridiculous it is to do anything as if it mattered that she had a vagina; she’s no p*ssy, she doesn’t need to dwell in the past. She’ll write off the way these nice, not-sexist guys make crazy b*tch jokes and try to mansplain what real sexism is to her every day. Every day until she can’t.
That can be a long time. Women have phenomenal endurance, and the payoff for knowing that you’re surrounded by sexist jerks is its own reward; by which I mean, nothing. That is to say, there is no immediate benefit from realizing that the people who run almost everything in your life have no respect for you.
But no matter how well she learns to play that game or be accepted “as one of the boys,” she’ll always still be a girl. Until overnight, always sooner than she thinks, she becomes an old woman. An old woman who is considered an unsightly, instant punchline more often than one might expect in a supposedly civilized society.
It may well be terrible messaging to tell young women that it keeps getting worse, but it isn’t wrong.