When I was 12, I was told I couldn’t run track because I was a girl, and we had only a boys’ team.
When I was a teenager …
A classmate attempted to stick his tongue in my mouth without permission on the way home from a school dance.
I got called into the principal’s office for circulating an underground newspaper protesting our school’s sexist homecoming practices.
I had to bite my tongue while a couple of jerks stood at the walk-up window at the restaurant where I worked and loudly discussed my backside the entire time I was making their dinner.
In my 20s …
I was told by someone prepping me for future job interviews that the plain, modestly cut top I was wearing was “too sexual” and might disqualify me in the eyes of a prudish hiring manager.
I walked into a big-box hardware store and watched incredulously as three different employees ignored me while going out of their way to wait on men who’d come in after I did.
I slept with a tonfa under my pillow after a creepy trucker spent an entire day staring at my bustline and making sexual innuendoes while I was volunteering at a fundraiser.
I sat through a job interview where a manager told me if I got the job, I would be supervising a difficult employee who was “like a wild filly that can’t be broke” and “seems to have a problem with men.” I would learn later that Wild Filly’s “problem with men” hinged on her distaste for creepy middle-aged men who enjoyed sexually harassing women half their age.
When I was in my 30s…
I was accused of having an affair with my boss because I got along with him and earned stellar evaluations.
I was passed over for a management position because “you certainly have the resume, but I’m not sure you have the personality for it.” (I’d been a manager at another organization a few years earlier and was universally praised for my performance.) The person who was hired lacked both the experience and the temperament to do the job effectively and drove off several talented employees.
At 41 …
I watched my country pass over a woman who absolutely had the resume for the presidency, because our society is so profoundly misogynistic, it would rather hire someone who appears to lack both the experience and the temperament to do a job effectively than see a bright, outspoken woman in a position of power.
Deep down, in my heart of hearts, I knew this would happen. Forty-one years of living in this country have taught me to expect the worst where its treatment of women is concerned. But the Cubs won the Series this year. Miracles happen. So I dared to hope a little bit.
I expected to be disappointed last night. I just didn’t expect something this predictable to hurt this much.