Dear Little Girl, just old enough to drink:
I saw the way you looked at me last night. I saw the way you looked at a tired, middle aged woman. I saw the all of that, as you shoved your way past me, interrupting my conversation.
Little girl, I have worked hundred hour weeks, I have stood in a VPs office, holding my own because I believed in what I was saying. I have worked at 2 am, with a CEO staring over my shoulder, waiting for me to tell him what to do. I have planned a funeral. I have held friends while they sobbed. I have been married for 11 years. I have run a home. I have run volunteer organizations with million dollar budgets. I have made the call and taken the shit.
Little girl, you don’t know much yet. It’s a hard world out there. Maybe no one has turned your womanhood into a weapon – beaten you over the head with your own sexuality, and left you bleeding because estrogen runs through your veins.
Maybe that hasn’t happened to you. Maybe it never will.
But on the whole of it, I know this. I saw your outfit, I saw what you were trying to do there. I saw you look at me and consign me to old and frumpy.
I have kicked ass in three inch stilettos. Later last night, I sat in the Concierge lounge, reading How to be a Woman, and killing myself laughing. The young staff member came over to ask what I was reading. Helpless with laughter, I passed over my iPad. She read the paragraph out loud.
She said the word vagina. She said it out loud. She didn’t blush and she didn’t stumble.
I looked at both of you, and I thought, why the hell am I fighting? I fight for not just for me. I fight for 19 year old you. I fight not just because I want the world to recognize me as a person first, but because I want women to make the same amount of money as men do, and they still don’t. I fight, most of my women friends fight because we think you should be in control of your vagina. We try to convince the rest of the world that you should succeed on the strength of your brains, and not your hem height. We think you should be treated as a human. So we keep talking about feminism and trying to get women elected and trying to figure out how to have more female CEOs. We stand up and object when we see visible sexism. I despair a little bit. I throw up in my mouth, when I see you trolling with your body and ignoring your brains.
And then another young woman says vagina. A word I wouldn’t have said at her age.
Maybe there’s hope after all.
Really, about the book? Go and read it. It’s astonishing.