Recently, it has come to my attention, that people don’t take me seriously in any sort of intellectual context because I am, as they like to point out, “just a server.”
I’m guessing that means (to them, anyway) that I lack the cognitive capacity to get a “real job.” What the hell is a real job anyway? This is a term I have wrestled with a lot over the last year or two. But really, what is it? Is it a job where I utilize my college degree? Is it a job with a salary? Is it a job where I make more than X dollars a year? Is it where I’m the boss or have a title? Is it where I have to wear a suit and we have “casual fridays?” Do I have to live in a city for my job to count? Do I have to have my masters?
The way I understand jobs is that they are a means to an end, and that end is qualitative happiness. In American society we need things in order to be happy. In order to buy all the things, we need a job. So we get one (or two), we buy things and we are happy. As long as said job fulfills the requirement of allowing me to buy things, maybe not ALL THE THINGS, but at least a few of the things that make me happy, then it is a real job.
I know so many lovely and intelligent young women who, like myself, enjoy being able to pay rent and occasionally eat something other than ramen. They also, like myself, probably got a degree in something that is not terribly lucrative. Mine was English with a creative writing emphasis. I can’t honestly think of a less lucrative degree, except maybe acting. Just because I picked a degree I couldn’t immediately find a high-profile job in, doesn’t mean that that makes me intellectually inept.
I have been in countless debates (typically on the internet where all you can see is my name and that I work as a server — thanks Facebook), where we would be discussing an issue and someone (most notably, my own brother) spouts, “The day I listen to a server about X is the day I *do something equally absurd and offensive*.” Not only is that an ad hominem argument, but it is meant to try to silence me by making me feel like I’m not important or smart enough to talk about basic conversation pieces. And, not surprisingly, it’s typically men telling me to stop talking, that I don’t matter because I don’t have a similar job or social standing to them. Thanks a lot, patriarchy.
If anyone bothered to ask, they would know that I went into higher education, I am constantly learning and was six credits away from four different minors. I have a wide variety of interests and my insomnia allows me the time to read up on silly things like quantum physics and find every Schrödinger’s cat joke on the internet. Just because my focus was in English does not mean I’m disqualified from talking about the anti-vax movement or my political views and just because I hold a low-level job doesn’t disqualify me from talking period.
It may be a dangerous assumption to make, but I’d be willing to bet a small sum of money that these same trolls who try to make me realize that I am small and my place on this earth is to look pretty or get a real job wouldn’t dare pull that crap if I was a man. Especially a man in any sort of power. “What? You’re the CEO of a major company? Why should I listen to your thoughts on vaccinations? You are clearly unqualified to talk about your opinions, Sir.” No. That just wouldn’t happen.
We listen to people who have any sort of illusion of power. Case and point: Jenny Mccarthy. She is the farthest thing from a scientist, but she started a movement with her half-cocked ideas and disproven science. But the fact that I, as a server, try to use research and science to make a case against something like that isn’t acceptable. Because I, as a server, as a woman on the internet with no outward display of power, am not qualified to make any sort of claims that some male out there may disagree with. “Take it back to Jezebel, you feminazi!”
My current motto is “I will not be silenced.” Typically I use this when I am talking about rape, rape culture, slut-shaming, street harassment, abortion, and all the other general displeasures that come with being a woman. I never thought that I would be reciting this to myself while trying to have a basic debate on generally acceptable (if not a bit politically charged) topics of conversation.
So the next time you, dear reader, are tempted to attack someone you are talking with based on nothing but their profession, take a second to get the know the person on a deeper level first. And then if they still suck, go for it. Destroy them with your acid words.