dancing_minerva (dancing_minerva) wrote in debunkingclass,

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When people don't believe your class

I recently started up a part time freelance communications/consulting business on the side of my full-time job. I have practically no overhead and wanted to use my accumulated skills for more pay because I'm barely making my bills with my f/t job and burn-out from a physical second job. Anyway, I met with another company's president recently about a partnership between our companies (they would look after services I can't provide to my clients). While talking about our similar humanistic/social enterprise visions and why I had approached this company to partner with, I had a somewhat uncomfortable moment where the president of this company was telling me how much he cared about the "pink ghetto".

I tried telling him that I understand it on a very personal level, having grown up with a single parent mother in a low income area, etc. (not wanting to divulge too much in case I was suddenly not taken seriously as a business partner). He then cut me off with, "No, but the REALLY unfortunate cases where they have to decide between things like....dentistry and ...food! That's so difficult - how could you make that decision?" And then proceeded to explain how he thought it was amazing that orthodontics and getting braces for you children are considered a luxury for "these women" and their children. I just sort of shut up because it really hit home - dentistry IS a luxury when you don't have food or heat. I know because my teeth are practically falling out of my head due to this fact. Eat or have pretty teeth? Hmmm, not a hard choice at all, even if unpleasant.

While I commend him for knowing anything at all about actual conditions of poverty and for investigating (in some way) women's issues, it was a really weird experience for me. Um, yes. I know all about wondering if I'm eating this week. I've actually been there. The whole reason I started freelancing is to see if I can outrun my most basic bills. But you don't believe me and here you are, silencing me. It sure seems like I can't be a respected, self-educated young (female) entrepreneur and also be someone from lower class. Bitter, bitter truth.

Anyway, I thought this comm would be a group that would understand this weirdness, so thanks for the outlet.
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