THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

Ac­tion fig­ures and work­force changes

GA Voice - - LGBT Atlanta - By MELISSA CARTER

I just re­ceived my Hil­lary Clin­ton ac­tion fig­ure in the mail, thanks to Kick­starter. The crowd-fund­ing ef­fort ex­plained that “dolls like Barbie have a long history of send­ing out the wrong mes­sage” to young girls, so they cre­ated this doll as the an­ti­dote.

As fun as it is to have my lit­tle plas­tic politi­cian, let’s not lose sight of how im­por­tant it is to all women that the for­mer First Lady, Sen­a­tor, and Sec­re­tary of State is run­ning for pres­i­dent again. This is not about pol­i­tics, or an at­tempt to re­cruit votes for the Clin­ton cam­paign. To re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate what Hil­lary is try­ing to ac­com­plish now, we must first look at where she came from.

Dur­ing a re­cent trip to the sa­lon, I sat in the wait­ing room with a woman named Deb­o­rah. Brag­ging about my new toy as we waited for our chairs, I soon dis­cov­ered Deb­o­rah was the same age as Clin­ton. So I had her de­scribe for me what it was like to en­ter the pro­fes­sional world as a woman when they did. And the an­swers were sober­ing.

“They al­ways asked about what birth con­trol I was us­ing at job in­ter­views,” she de­scribed, “and how could I prove I wouldn’t get preg­nant while on the job. I fi­nally came up with a story about a hys­terec­tomy, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble, that I used at job in­ter­views.”

You should be able to trust your doc­tor, but even Deb­o­rah was judged when she sim­ply wanted to get birth con­trol.

“When I went to get some, my male OBGYN wouldn’t give me any, be­cause I wasn’t mar­ried,” said Deb­o­rah. “He wouldn’t con­done let­ting me get ‘spoiled’ be­fore mar­riage.”

Of course you ex­pect men to dis­crim­i­nate against women 40 years ago, but even women jumped on the sex­ist band­wagon.

“I re­mem­ber try­ing to get a job as an ac­count man­ager and be­ing in­ter­viewed by a woman who told me I couldn’t be con­sid­ered for any­thing but typ­ing,” she said. “That’s be­cause women’s fin­gers were de- signed to han­dle tiny type­writer keys and men’s fin­gers were just too big to han­dle them. It was the way God in­tended so I could do typ­ing or noth­ing.”

In re­gards to to­day, Deb­o­rah said she is re­lieved that no one is talk­ing much about Hil­lary’s hair or her fig­ure, that they are talk­ing about her im­pact in the world.

I cer­tainly never had to en­dure the same ex­pe­ri­ences Deb­o­rah did while look­ing for a job. De­spite con­tin­ued sex­ism I have ex­pe­ri­enced when it comes to salary, progress is be­ing made for women in the work­place and should al­ways be ap­pre­ci­ated.

I’m glad I helped fund that Kick­starter cam­paign, and agree that a doll who is im­por­tant for be­ing skinny and dat­ing a guy with a tan line is in­cred­i­bly out­dated for young women. The next step? Go from hav­ing a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date as an ac­tion fig­ure to a fe­male pres­i­dent on United States cur­rency.

“This is not about pol­i­tics, or an at­tempt to re­cruit votes for the Clin­ton cam­paign. To re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate what Hil­lary is try­ing to ac­com­plish now, we must first look at where she came from.”

Melissa Carter is one of the Morn­ing Show hosts on B98.5. In ad­di­tion, she is a writer for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. She is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and one of the few in the coun­try. Fol­low her on Twit­ter@Melis­saCarter

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