Interpretation by Nina Verin
When I graduated from college and got hired for my first graphic design job I remember being looked at by some of the clients as if I were a cute puppy. Young. Darling. Not to be taken too seriously. I remember smiling to appease them. I remember thinking about how I’d like to punch the faces of those dismissive, “aren’t you just adorable” superior, inferior, business-types who judged me not on my professional merit but on my youth and on my physical appearance.
I remember smiling again and again to appease them because I didn’t know how to handle their snide smiles and visual diminishments. And because I needed to keep my job.
I hated them. Probably wished them ill. Probably had lots of arguments with them in my head. The kind where I always pummeled them with words and sent them sullenly slinking away.
They never knew it. Because I smiled. Because I was darling. Because that’s how I was taught to act as a “girl” in the world. They liked me that way. They liked it that (according to them) I was young and dumb.
But oh, if they could have read my mind. If they could have seen the disgraceful thought bubbles popping out of my head. If they could have seen the graphic novel of my dreams where they were the bloody victims of my verbal mayhem.
If they could have, would they would have taken me, and my work, more seriously? Probably not. I would have been just another “nasty woman.”
Back in my “darling” days that label would’ve bothered me. Now, I wear it as a badge of honor. Because, the way I see it, “nasty women” are really just human beings who refuse to be labeled or judged or mistreated. And for those who label, judge, and mistreat—that’s nasty stuff. So?
So be it.