Mar 06 2020

Kudos for The Man

Category: MusicIuliana @ 14:18

So, a while ago Taylor Swift decided to finally open up and show the world she is a real person that has real opinions about the world around her and that she is willing to stand by them even if this would affect her career.

When I was a young girl I had the tendency to be a rebel and opinionated. My favourite question was “why?”. Because I started speaking before the communist regime was out, my mother tried to shut that down by telling me that “the mouth gets the ass beaten” so I should be careful about what I say. Which annoyed the hell out of me, because if it was the truth why did it have to be hidden, right? I guess it was difficult raising and educating a stubborn child under a communist regime; you want your child to be truthful, but what about truths that are inconvenient to the regime? How do you educate a child to be truthful always, but except a few cases?

Thus, although Taylor Swift is not one of my favourite celebrities, it’s a question of my taste in music really, I truly understand what she went through and the risk she took by speaking out loud and deciding to own her “inconvenient” opinions.

You might be wondering at this point, what is this blog entry about and why am I mentioning Taylor Swift so much? Because the video for a very powerful song is out.

This is the first song she has produced that I like, and the reason for that is because I finally empathize with her.

I couldn’t empathize with with the young girl born into money and with supportive parents. I couldn’t empathize with the perfect beautiful innocent in-love girl getting her heart broken. I couldn’t empathize with the powerful woman turned confident sex symbol that was finally accepting that her long streak of failed relationships were a normal occurrence and nothing to be ashamed about. But this Taylor Swift, the one that asks if her road to success wouldn’t have been easier if she were a man, this is finally a version of her that I can empathize with.

And now let’s talk about me, because it’s my blog so it’s kinda expected.

I was supposed to have a big brother. My mother was eight months pregnant when she had a work accident and she lost him. We all lost him. But that work accident was just another episode in a particularly tensed period in my parents’ lives, because apparently they were fighting a lot when my mom was pregnant with my brother. And when he died, it kinda made them re-think their relationship, it made them try to get closer and this is how I came to be. The miracle that was supposed to fix my parents’ broken relationship. And maybe I could have done it, if I would have been born the right gender. Because my dad really, really, REALLY wanted a boy. Looking back, I doubt if I were born a male I would have managed to fix something that was and still is quite toxic and broken. But, my father throughout my life mentioned quite a few times, that it would have been so much better if I were a boy. He did not want to play football with me, because girls are too fragile for such manly activity. He did not want to include me in his passion for electronics, because girls are not made for these kind of things. And I might be wrong, but I think that he still resents my mother for only gifting him two daughters.

But in trying to win his approval, I acted as I thought boys acted. I played football with the boys, and I copied the behaviour of the boys around me. When he was delegated to work far away from home, as the eldest in a household of women I took over the role of the man of the house. I’m not sure if he ever realized that while he was away, his fragile girl was splitting logs, watering the 20 acres of garden by carrying 10 kg water buckets from the well across the street and sleeping with an axe next to her, just in case any thieves from the area would think it was a good idea to try to steal the chickens of an all-women household.

Of course sometimes I asked myself if my relationship with my father would be better if I were born a male.

And during high school I asked myself if things wouldn’t have been easier if I were a boy. I was a girl studying Information Technology in a time when this was seen as a thing for boys. Even some women teaching in that high-school considered boys had more natural talent and inclination for computers than girls did. So most girls studying there felt like tolerated imposters. I was bullied from time to time because I did not behave like a girl, speaking too loud, speaking too much, being too opinionated. And if you think all this was coming from men, you are dead wrong. My own mother used to criticize me because I was not behaving “womanly enough”. I had a few episodes as a bully myself over those years. And I am truly ashamed about that.

And then I was accepted into university, and because of some events at home I ended up a student in Computer Engineering. And because that was just my luck, there I was in yet another academic environment where women were seen as tolerated imposters. I was told by quite a few colleagues that I did not belong there and in 2007 my senior professor told me that I do not have the mind for a doctorate. And looking back, he was actually right. My mind is designed for other kind of great things.

I always felt like I’m not taken seriously working in this domain. It is what made me struggle, what made me run away and cry in the bathroom from time to time, but it is what made me push harder, be better. It has been the wind in my sales. Perfectly coupled with the imposter syndrome, of course.

Of course sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier if I were a man. I wonder if the salary offers the recruiters make would be at least 25% bigger if I were a man.

But … if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas.

Sometimes I analyze my past and present struggles and I think that maybe life is just unfair and I should accept that and stop expecting anything different. Life is unfair to each of us in different ways.

Taylor Swift is proof of that. Talented, beautiful, born in a sane, supportive family, in the country where milk and honey flows, grows up to be a pop superstar and she still was not allowed to be herself and speak her own mind without risking it all.

And look at Donald Trump. He was born into money, but he was born too stupid to maintain or increase that fortune, so he is slowly wasting it away. He was married to very beautiful women, but his children are so average in looks and brains that it’s ridiculous really. And he is president of the strongest country on this planet but he still is the butt of all the jokes. And looking at his actions and listening to his words, neither of those are proof that he is happy.

I really do not know if things might have been easier for me if I were a man. And the reality is I will never know. But there one thing I know for sure. Life is not fair, but that never stopped stubborn people like me to strive to make it so. And all of us taking these baby steps, in time we might make it fairer for future generations.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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