A whinge

(12 Posts)
JacqueslePeacock Mon 07-Oct-13 22:39:01

I'm feeling a bit got at. Last week I was a delegate at a fascinating one-day workshop on my specialist area of research. As I was chatting to other delegates during the break, a senior male delegate (a businessman, not an academic, in case it makes any difference) marched up to me, handed me his data stick and said "put my slides on the computer ready for my talk, would you?"

I'd heard stories about this kind of thing from women on here (can't remember who was asked to take the coats at a conference where she was keynote speaker?) but this was the first time it has happened to me and I was flabbergasted. The worst part was that instead of saying "you should ask the administrator about doing that", I was so staggered that I actually just went and did it! I thus managed to annoy the chair of the next session, by fiddling with the computer he was about to use, to boot.

Then this morning I went to a Couples Counselling session with DH (we're having some trouble communicating and generally making enough time for each other). The entire discussion seemed to focus on whether I was working too long hours or should just give it all up to be a SAHM. The (female) counsellor clearly didn't think to ask DH whether he'd do better as a SAHD. When I said I didn't want to be a SAHM, I was told I should consider giving up my career to become a PT school teacher instead. The worst part was when she said "when you're 50, your DS will be 18. What will he be saying to you then about his childhood? Will it all have been worth it to have had your career?"

I didn't feel guilty (much!) about WOH before I went it, but I came out feeling like a dreadful mother and wife. It was only when I got home I started to wonder if I'd fallen down some timeslide to the 1950s.

Ugh. I'm just having a whinge to people who will get what I'm on about. Sorry folks.

BasilBabyEater Mon 07-Oct-13 23:01:58

Get a different counsellor.

Seriously.

You don't need that shit.

WhentheRed Mon 07-Oct-13 23:10:48

Definitely, you need a different counsellor. This counsellor can offer you nothing that will be of use to you. Indeed all she will do is undermine you. Why isn't she a SAHM if she thinks that is important?

JacqueslePeacock Mon 07-Oct-13 23:18:10

Thanks for the comments. We didn't choose the counsellor, we were assigned to her. She hasn't been great so far but I feel like I should stick with it for a little longer (we dropped out of counselling once before because I couldn't stand the counsellor - I don't want to make a habit of it!). I will try to make it clear my career is not up for negotiation and see if it gets better. At least DH agrees with me about it all, so that's something.

On the other hand, encountering sexist arseholes like the man at my workshop sometimes makes me wonder why I ever wanted to be in academia...

WhentheRed Mon 07-Oct-13 23:34:04

Seeing that he came from the business community, you might want to stay in academia. Imagine working with him on a regular basis. hmm

I remember an old story (possibly urban legend) about a junior woman lawyer who was handed her senior's court shirts and told to iron them. She did so, but also ironed a whole bunch of transfers onto them. She may have been fired for it. She was a well-known senior lawyer when I heard the story. I think of her whenever I hear about the kind of sexism you endured.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 07-Oct-13 23:52:15

I'm pretty sure your counsellor shouldn't be talking to you like that (suggesting specific career choices for example) regardless of the sexism of the POV.

AnyFucker Mon 07-Oct-13 23:54:19

Your counsellor is shit

The other stuff, well pretty par for the course I reckon. Also shit, though

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Tue 08-Oct-13 00:10:44

I have a friend,going through a lot, who has a really good counsellor at the moment. She (the counsellor) and my friend are feminist. The counsellor told her that there are an awful lot of very bad counsellors out there whose remit is "to keep the relationship together." She said she'd even heard of women in obviously abusive relationships being told to modify their behaviour to placate their husband hmm

Beware relationship counsellors, basically.

JacqueslePeacock Tue 08-Oct-13 07:02:52

Oh dear, that is depressing. What hope is there for actual helpful relationship counselling? Has anyone experienced anything positive? (I should probably be posting this on the relationships board! But it was the feminist issues that irked me). On the bright side, my marriage is very clearly not abusive and we just need some help with communication styles and a "safe space" to talk.

You're right, Whenthered, at least I never have to see him again. That is a major plus.

ithaka Tue 08-Oct-13 07:14:48

Your counsellor sounds dreadful. I don't have any personal experience of couples counselling, but I remember a friend telling me about her experience of counselling with her (now ex)H. One of the issues was she never wanted sex (I think the marriage was pretty much over). Counsellor told her she should have sex even if she didn't feel like it for the sake of the relationship. Unbelievable.

The man & USB stick is pathetic, but at least it makes a great anecdote. What is really shocking is that you did it for him!

Wow. First of all, you need to find your inner roar and have yourself ready to not to as you are asked by men who misunderstand your position. WTAF did you take the stick off USB man? I would have fixed him with a withering look and said "and why would I do that?" or similar. Believe in yourself and be strong.

As for your counsellor - words fail me completely, though I'm sadly not surprised. There have been various posts on the Relationships board where women being verbally and emotionally abused by their DHs are told to modify their behaviour, such as doing more housework or working less to placate their abuser. Appalling, absolutely appalling. But again, stand up for yourself. Ask your counsellor why exactly it's you who should be changing your behaviour and why she doesn't expect your DH to drop his hours too? Asking you both to reduce your hours is fair enough. And you can tell her your DS will have learned that women are independent human beings in their own right!

Horrible people. Shout them down! Well, not literally, but you know what I mean!!

BuffytheAppleBobber Tue 08-Oct-13 09:35:40

Crikey, I'd also weigh in and say what was that counsellor thinking! Are you able to complain or give feedback on this; to her directly or to a superior? Outrageous!

It was me of the keynote / please take the coats fame grin it really did happen. My memory of that event is a bit hazy now, but I think I just said something like "I am xxx, I am giving a talk, I am not a member of the support team".

I've also experienced the business people issue too, I think the ingrained sexism among a certain type of male business person is far worse than in academia. Once again as a speaker, in the Q&A session afterwards, several male delegates attempted to speak over me when I was attempting to answer questions shock. I just shrugged and wondered to myself why they'd bothered to attend a talk about my area of research if they already believed they knew more than I did about it grin.

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