When Did It Become Women Vs. Women?

On my first day of a 4th year university business class, the teacher (a woman) asked us all to tell the class a bit about ourselves. I told them I’m in the military. The teacher just looked at me with her eyebrows pressed together snootily as she said, “isn’t that… rare… for a woman?”

In this moment I realized two things.

First, I realized that I respected this woman. I knew nothing about her, other than the fact that she was clearly knowledgeable about business, had taught in other universities to masters students as well as undergrads, and she must therefore know what it’s like to compete in a man’s world.

Second, I realized she was judging me. One of my coworkers once said that there’s only three reasons a woman joins the military: to find a man, escape a man, or be a man. I didn’t know which category she thought I fell into, but she was drawing conclusions about me because of it.

And to think, for a moment there I was thinking about how I want to be like this woman when I’m older and have a decent job. I want the respect I’m sure she has earned over the years.

But I really have an issue with the way she seems to view women in male-dominated career paths. It’s amazing how unsupportive women can be towards other women. So much for the “sisterhood” that some feminists like to claim exists as a type of bond of solidarity that connects all women.


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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

4 responses to “When Did It Become Women Vs. Women?”

  1. Reinventing Lucky says :

    My wife and I went to school later in life a few years ago (she is back in school now). We unfortunately found this very common. My wife’s classes she is taking now (she is an accounting student) she had a female professor who had been doing it for a long time berate female students for not dressing womanly enough, for having any sort of tattoos and that if they are older than 29 they won’t get hired so they might as well not be accountants.

    Now, I can say for a fact that isn’t true (I was told the same at age 35) and I have worked for six years in accounting field and any age and gender is hired.

    I suspect while she may be right in some very specific field, that most professors that are judgmental like that have just been in academia too long. They stepped out of the workforce twenty or thirty years ago and don’t realize that things are changing.

    A lot needs to still be changed, but hopefully that judgmental outlook will disappear over the next few years. I was saddened to see such an outburst, when I keep reading about the sisterhood.

  2. D.E. Cantor says :

    I liked this blog, as an Army veteran, I find myself wondering how much of the prof.’s comment is based on female sexism against other women and how much of it is based on just how ignorant so much of our population are about the military. (Of course, the two things are not mutually exclusive.) I say this because I get asked all sorts of ridiculous questions about the military, including, “Is it really like (Fill in the blank movie)?” Once upon a time, everyone knew people who were in the military, but now a lot of people don’t, and it not only leads to those type of inane questions, but a lot of very misinformed opinions about what the military.

  3. Michael Dooley says :

    Let me say my piece on this:

    I have worked for women that have been in the military and my experience has been that they have been some of the hardest working, bravest and most loyal team members ever. You should be proud that you come from discipline and respect- and are also pursuing your advanced education. I wouldn’t worry about what society thinks of you or the ignorance that follows- you need to know that you WILL make a difference. Your distinction and value that you will bring to a team will far surpass what you think is considered a “good career” now.

    Thank you for all that you do for us- now go take care of you! Great perspective!

    -Michael Dooley

  4. Paul Gauchi says :

    I have been working with women for many years and I can tell you, it is very catty. I am a male teacher in a woman dominated teaching field and I know about the sexism that is present.
    Yet I find that feminism might not be the best answer. Now that women are “equal” (not in all areas unfortunatly) they have the respect from most men. But women judge harshly with what they believe and that is sometimes at odds with what society dictates.
    I wonder if it comes down to hormones and instinct. She might see you as a threat, rival. Military service requires a strong personality and fortitude.

    Don’t discount the basic instincts of people. We might think we are evolved but in the end we are all animals, and who is the Alpha?

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