In case you don’t know, I have a Master in Architecture (M.Arch) degree that I spent six long, sleepless years chasing. I am also the youngest of three daughters and both of my older sisters have Masters degrees as well. So, the bar was raised high before I could even start my undergrad in 2010, the same year my second sister graduated with her Masters.
Of course, during my six years worth of sleepless nights studying, there were also sleepless nights of partying. I didn’t feel like I was just going to school for the degree only, I wanted all of the college experiences. Some times I went up to 40 hours without sleep, or slept for 22 hours straight, passed up on offers of being the body for body shots (sorry, I don’t want strange men’s mouths on me), pushed myself to finish projects and present on time, aced calc, danced on tables in bars, always booked my flights home too close to finals, and occasionally operated like all my body needed was caffeine and some sort of carbs – let’s not get into how terrible my eating habits got at some points. I graduated with a 3.8-something GPA.
Then one day, someone had the gall to tell me that I needed to party in more clothes because I was setting a bad example for their children. A mother, told me that my body in a crop top and shorts was inappropriate. INAPPROPRIATE. No, you couldn’t see any part of my body that you shouldn’t see. You saw legs, stomach, back, shoulders, and arms and it was NOT OKAY. MAYDAY! Send more swathes of fabric. I was setting a bad example because my body was on display. I was not setting a good example going after a masters degree, even more so, in a field dominated by men. I was not a good example because I got into graduate school under 21. I was a bad example because of how much skin I chose to show! Bruh… This has irritated me from the day she had the nerve to talk trash. I am waiting to see if any of those lady’s kids will graduate with a masters degree at 24 or how little clothes they will wear.
Now, that I have actually finished the degree, I do not always wear more clothes than I did then while I was pursuing it but I’ve found myself being irritated by a different faction of society. The section that thinks once you’ve graduated it’s time for wedding bells and a baby carriage. It’s the women that do not take into consideration how rude or hurtful it is when they ask when you’ll be having kids because maybe you can’t for medical reasons, or you partner doesn’t want to, or you’ve tried countless times and just couldn’t. It’s the men that seem to think the culmination of going to school for 6 years should be growing a fetus and that god’s gift to a woman is her ability to reproduce, who gives a damn if you want to have a career before making kids. No, she does not have a say in whether or not she should want kids she is expected to just do so… The number of times I’ve heard “you’ll make a wonderful mom one day” or “you just haven’t found the right person” or “you’re young, now is the time,” or whatever other equally stupid response is unbelievable. No, maybe I, like so many other women out there, just do not want to reproduce. After all, it isn’t my main role on this earth.
For god’s sake, we are in the 21st century, women are allowed to dress as they please and if you want to judge them then do so based on what they’ve achieved, or what’s in their head or heart, not what they’re wearing or their child bearing decisions.