A poorly thought out feminism rant

October 27, 2003 - 1:11 pm 4 Comments

Men do not realize that women often aren’t taken seriously because of their gender. Granted, it’s not an easy thing to observe. It’s not a hostile thing, surely; more of a brush-off. Like the scene in The Princess Bride where Buttercup kisses the ailing king on the cheek and tells him she just wanted to thank him for being so kind to her because she wouldn’t be alive in the morning, and he said, “Well, isn’t that nice. She kissed me!” That’s more of an example of senility, but it’s the same sort of attitude. There are simply those men out there who prefer not to talk to women. I ran into an example a couple of weekends ago at Gunstock. Not surprising, really – hold a gun-related event in Texas and it’ll be full of good-old-boys. There were something like 4 women who were there and visible the entire weekend. One of the guys there… To women, he is cordial but distant. To men, everyone he meets is his new best friend. It was difficult trying to explain this to hub without being perceived as a feminazi or overly sensitive. Probably, I came off as both.

When I was running 4-5 on-site tech calls a day, at least once a week I would show up and encounter a confused looking man. “But I thought there was a tech support guy coming”, he’d say. “Well, I’m the tech support guy”, I’d say. “You? Nawwwww”, was the response. Then I’d proceed to fix everything and garner some respect. If I ran into problems, I’d get comments like “Well, maybe one of the guys at the shop can fix it”.

It is a fine but dangerous line women walk. We are perceived as being complainers, nags, bossy, or feminazis. Sexual harassment is believed to be a sham. I assure you, it exists. I encountered creepy and unwanted attention as young as 12 years old. The whole attitude of “oh, you’re just over-reacting, I was only kidding!” belittles and demeans whoever is complaining. A better response would be “I’m sorry that what I did made you uncomfortable”. Why is it so hard for people to apologize? Why is it so much easier to brush off their concerns and joke about them? Are people afraid that by apologizing, they are exposing a vulnerable part of themselves and therefore might be wounded for it? That’s stupid. Better to be perceived as an honest person who cares even a little than as an asshole. I will help out honest people in the future. I will be much less likely to deal with assholes.

Double standards suck. A guy gets his girlfriend pregnant. He’s in trouble, yeah, but she’s branded a slut who will screw anything that moves. Women who want to keep their last names after marriage are feminist bitch troublemakers. Men who stay home to take care of the kids while their wives work are whipped.

Now all this makes for some amusing life experiences. There’s nothing quite like doing something that’s considered a male activity and doing it well. I get a lot of respect for the buck I shot a couple of years ago. I get private amusement at going to a gun range and shooting a nice evil black gun in front of a bunch of guys. I like being able to fix computers, even though a lot of time it seems like I have to start over three or four times because I don’t get the whole story the first time. Weirdly enough, sometimes women don’t take me seriously either – they’d prefer a male fixing their computer.

The moral? Do whatever you want to do. Don’t worry about what others think you should do based on your gender. If you want to do something, do it – and do it well enough both to please yourself and pleasantly surprise others.

4 Responses to “A poorly thought out feminism rant”

  1. m. Says:

    you’re right on the money and i’m with you. once there was an irate male customer who asked to speak with my boss, who is also female. after ten minutes during which she politely but firmly supported my position, he demanded to speak to her boss, which he assumed was a man (her boss is also female and was unavailable). she transfered him to a male subordinate who said exactly the same thing she and i had both said, and the guy hung up completely satisfied.

    another interesting thing is the way that certain members of our gender do the rest of us in. ie, the feminazis who get down on a woman who chooses to stay home, lesbians who criticize a bisexual woman for sleeping with a man. i’ve even heard that prosecuting attorneys don’t want women on the jury because they are more likely to blame the victim for being sexually assaulted!

    btw, some of us also experience this reverse sexism because we are not into hair, makeup, shopping, shoes, and chick flicks.

  2. Carrie Says:

    I used to work at a company that held meetings at a strip bar for the sales force. There were about 2 women in the company that used to have to go to them. The culture was, not surprisingly, one of harassment including this interaction with my boss:

    “Are those pants felt?”
    “Excuse me?”
    “I was wondering if those pants weren’t felt…would you like them to be?” HAR HAR

  3. Sarah Says:

    I work in transportation, a male-dominated industry if ever there was one. And I’m the resident computer expert. Nothing difficult–installing software, trouble shooting dumb stuff like ‘I forgot my password’or ‘the hard drive is full’ or ‘how do you remove the HTML tag in Word’.

    Anyway, my story is transportation related. One day, the director came in to say that the driver of the semi that had been delivering supplies was taken sick and he needed someone else to drive the truck back to the depot.

    He went around the room and asked all of my male coworkers if they had Class 1 licenses needed to drive the truck. He skipped me and he skipped Natalie, too. Actually, she and I were the only two people of our whole team who *did* have Class 1 licenses and could have driven the truck back. Neither one of us volunteered on the basis that any man stupid enough to overlook us on the basis of our gender deserved to be stuck with a truck.

  4. Pie Says:

    Very well said.