Don’t worry y’all, I have two blog posts waiting in the wings. One is about make up, the other about nail polish. Rest assured, I will not be giving up my girly posts.
However, this blog has become a place for me to describe the jumble of thoughts in my head that are pressing to get out, lest they leak through my ears. I won’t give up on make up, nail polish, and of course, FOOD, posts, but I feel the need to discuss this topic that’s been burning a hole in my pocket.
Yesterday, I went to the dentist to get a tooth fixed (I grind my teeth, and one of those suckers broke). I was running late from work, so I went to the appointment in full uniform, with my gun on. As it’s been stated before, I live in a really small town, and the dentist I’ve been going to has been the same one I’ve gone to since I was little. Thus, I know all the hygienists there as well.
As I was sitting in the chair waiting for the procedure chatting with one of the women, a woman whose known me since Sunday School came roaring into the office and immediately, with a mild undertone of disbelief, said “What in the world job do YOU do that requires you to carry a gun?!” When I smiled and said “I’m a probation officer,” she replied; “But you’ve always been so….girly.”
Let me break here to enter this shocking PSA: I am used to this question. When I started this job, I used to enjoy that people would ask me this question. I am 5’4″ and curvy/athletic (on a good day), with a penchant for dresses, make up, and heels. I love jewelry (I’ve bulked up on stud earrings since this job). Spiders scare me. I’m a big fan of lipstick. I don’t know jack shit about cars. I don’t look like a probation officer, or someone who would carry a firearm to work, or someone who would enforce the law.
However, in the year and some change I’ve had this job, my attitude toward that question has changed. What does a probation officer actually look like? A man. That’s the blatant, painfully obvious answer.
I’m not angry about it. It just bothers me. It bothers me when people ask me what I do and then are amazed by my response (I usually get teacher, which I answer with a resound “Absolutely fucking not”). It bothers me when people ask my parents what I do for a living and are floored with their response (and my parents are pretty proud of me). It bothers me when strangers or people I’ve just met laugh and say “No, seriously, what do you do?”
As a female in law enforcement, I’m supposed to fit this stereotype. I’m supposed to be tall, bulky, with super short hair, not be interested in typical “feminine” things, and probably, and sorry to be blunt, be a lesbian. There are women in law enforcement who may fit into one of those adjectives, but regardless if we do or do not, that does not mean that women are not capable of being in this profession.
When I took this job, my best friend said to me, “You were made to do this. You are the only person I know who can handle it.” And she didn’t mean a thing about my look. She meant that I’m confident, courageous, and can hold my own. She meant it as a compliment. She knew I could still keep my femininity and be a kick ass woman in a man’s world. And the women who are in law enforcement can do just that. For God’s sake, we’re WOMEN; we wear multiple hats as it is.
People of the world, remember; just because we wear khakis, a polo, and boots to work, doesn’t mean we can’t rock a LBD, heels, and some red lipstick. I can kick your ass in either.