Hello people of the interwebs! Tonight was the first night of our book club. In true Bushel fashion we all planned ahead, everyone read the assigned chapter and everything was perfect…until I had to sign into the group skype session. I think it took me a whole 45 minutes, and half a bottle of wine to figure out my life before I was greeted by four pixelated faces. It all boils down to one simple fact. I hate technology. But that’s a whole other ironic blog in and of itself. Tonight was about The Bushel and wine…and the book…of course.
Tonight’s wine recommendation is an aged Barefoot Riesling. At only $6.24 a bottle, this Riesling is a beautiful blend of fruity notes and college desperation. It pairs well with ramen, or a Ritz cracker elegantly topped with cheese of the spraying variety. I don’t advise sharing this bottle as I am almost positive it’s not actually wine and in fact, it’s just hallucinogenic sugar water, in which case, you’re going to want to keep it all to yourself.
Tonight’s chapter was chapter 1. We thought it best to start at the beginning. Dr. Julie Holland introduces her book through the exploration of women in the medical field. Her argument is that women are unjustly represented when it comes to medical inquiry. As with most of the world, the medical world is one dominated by men. So much so that drugs specifically manufactured for women, are tested on male subjects; animal and human. Dr. Holland points out that we should be concerned with this fact.
We started with first impressions. We unanimously agreed that the first chapter was very technical and informative. We’re lucky to have a nurse in our midst and Amy was able further explain some of the more complex sections about different medications used to treat women specific depression. From there the conversation flowed.
The first topic discussed was the treatment of women depression in general. Dr. Holland explains that treating depression is a form of suppressing our moods. It numbs us to the reality of situations and our innately strong sense of empathy fades. Holland discussed the dangers of treatment and its chemical affect on women. She urges women to embrace their mood swings and explore their ability to feel deeply in each moment of life.
As young 20 somethings, new to the working world, a great deal of discussion revolved around women in the work place. We analyzed our behaviors at work, the way we construct emails, what we wear at the office, how we interact with our co-workers. In each situation we found that we all consistently apologize and second guess ourselves, especially in professional surroundings. Dr. Holland addresses this and argues that it’s one of the reasons women are so heavily medicated for their moods. Drugs like Zoloft and Prozac stabilize our chemical balances and in turn we’re calmer, less emotional. But is that right?
The more we spoke, the more questions we had. What does it mean to be assertive in the work place? Where do you draw the line between appropriately expressing feelings and being a nutcase in a professional environment? Is it ok to cry at work? How much? Is maternity leave a feminist concept? Or does it cater to women instead of make things “equal”? How do we get to total equality? Why isn’t Justin Trudeau single? Is this really the only bottle of wine I have?
The questions just poured out of us. And instead of answering each other we just asked more questions and drank more wine. One of the questions that stuck was “Is the work place more masculine than feminine?” Does the concept of doing business cater to men more than it does to women? The answer we quickly came to is, yes. Dr. Holland explains that when women are reviewed at work, specific words tend to reoccur. Words like bossy, abrasive, strident, and aggressive are used to describe leading women. In additions words like emotional and irrational are also used. While in stark contrast, men are praised for their ability to lead with an iron fist. This split in expectations and perceptions is why women feel they need to fix something. That their female genetic makeup is somehow wrong and inhibiting.
Dr. Holland argues that women must own their moods. We need to become more in tune with the natural cycles of our bodies and embrace that we’re different from men. In fact Dr. Holland points out that a woman’s brain has more storage for memory. This fact was confirmed by the married member of our group as Kelcie explained that sometimes getting her dear, loving husband to do something takes reminding him more than a few times. And while women are able to think a mile a minute about a million different things, men are so easily able to think about actually nothing.
Holland ends the chapter with this feminist proclamation that we are women, not men. She set a precedent for the rest of the book; that women are moody as hell, and different, and sometimes really weird. But that’s ok because we’re strong. We find comfort and support in other women as we are naturally social beings. We feel deeply, we protect fiercely, we love softly, and we kick ass. Who would want to numb that feeling?
After feeling super empowered and slightly dizzy we wrapped up the conversation with plans for the next time. Join us the weekend after labor day as we get menstrual up in here! Chapter Two: Bitchy Like Clockwork, is next.