Friday, January 18, 2013

Every day sexism. Every day.

I am a woman, yes
The other day I went to my friends house, she lives at the end of a dead end terraced road with a small turning space at the end of it. Cars park along the turning space if there isn't enough space by the houses. I parked at the edge of the turning circle right behind another car - a perfectly legitimate place to leave it.

I was in her house an hour or so later when we saw the bin men go past with their lorry. I thought they might be wanting me to move my car so they could turn round and sure enough, one banged on the door and asked if anyone in the house owned my car. Fine I think, in seconds I can move my car, they'd be on their way and I can get on with my day.

So far so non-sexist.

I step out the front door and look the bin man in the eye. Without a greeting, he shouts straight at me "TYPICAL WOMAN DRIVER". I am taken aback. Ha ha. The bin men think it's all very amusing. I suppose technically he was right, it is the act of a typical woman driver to park her car in a perfectly normal car parking space.

"Sorry, I didn't know you were coming." I say,

"Well it is Thursday. Typical woman driver eh??"

"I don't know the bin days because I don't live here, I'm just visiting. Where is best for me to move my car?" I am opening the door of my car at this point, feeling irritated and wanting to get this interaction over with as fast as possible.

"Just move it forward" he points 5ft in front of my car.

I get in my car and shut the door, he's still shouting indistinctly at me through the window. I turn the key and look round at him,

"What?"

"I said..... IF YOU CAN DRIVE IN A STRAIGHT LINE."

Unfortunately I was so annoyed I had no witty retort. I just scowled, moved my car and went back to the house as soon as I could, seething with a vicious rage that ruined my day and left me imagining all the brilliant things I was too surprised to say at the time.

It's the sheer unfairness, the feeling of utter impotence it leaves you with. If I wasn't a woman the bin man would have said "Alright mate, can you move your car there" and that would have been the end of it.

When this sort of blatant and aggressive sexism happens it's inevitably such a shock to me that my only response is to ignore it and get out of the situation as fast as I can.
 
What can you do when you're cycling down a hill and pass a group of guys who yell "TITS" at you? When you're walking down the road in shorts and a guy scuttles up behind you, slaps your arse and runs away laughing? When an estate agent says that 'as a women' I wouldn't want to be 'trying' to drive down any narrow country lane shortcuts?

Nothing.


</rant>

9 comments:

  1. That is absolutely disgusting. And yet we have to go through it every day. I drives me completely crazy and I totally sympathise with your situation - we are just subjected to constant belittling, harassment and condescension. UGH. Feminism isn't finished yet. Have you thought about making a formal complaint to the council? Might not do anything except make you feel better... you don't need to tell them what was said, just say that their employees were being verbally abusive and subjecting you to hate speech. Which is true. Even better if you can identify the exact truck it was, too!

    Toad & Feather

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    1. It drives me mad. I hadn't thought about the fact that technically it is hate speech! - I was thinking of complaining but they would know who I was and would also know where my friend lives... who was nothing to do with the whole situation. I don't know if it would be worth it. And I'm sure Rhondda Cynon Taf council (name and shame!) have enough to deal with. I know I should really.

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  2. Urgh. Awful.
    I really feel for you, I always seem to find myself in such situations with complete idiots too. It makes me SO angry.
    Hope you have a great weekend. With no idiots!
    xx

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    1. Thank you, I shall be sitting indoors with no idiots in sight!

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  3. Argh, rant away. Things like that make me so cross - and invariably, I can only think of a good retort a few hours later. Grr! Hope your weekend is much better!x

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  4. It is shocking how often, in a supposedly civilized society, we deal with this. There is some degree of it every day. Newspapers and media propagate it. People propagate it and worst of all some women propagate it.

    I work with a woman who often makes remarks about 'us women' and 'you men'. THey aren't even bad remarks, but they are stereotypes. Every single time, I point it out.

    We can shout back. That's what we can do. It doesn't all was work, but 'how would you feel if someone treated your daughter/wife like that works for sexual things. The stereotypes are harder to deal with.

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    1. I should have said something like that. I always challenge it with people I know but somehow I don't have the confidence to do the same in the street with strangers.. I am far too non confrontational and all too often the shock and horror just takes over and I make a run for it.

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  5. Ugh, it pisses me off frequently. I never have any good retorts, even when I do, I'm just 'proving it' by being an emotional/angsty/unreasonable woman. I would definitely complain in some form, maybe nothing will come of it, maybe they'll get a lecture.. I don't know, it might help in some way.
    Grrrrr! xx

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    1. I'll definitely consider it now.. it's so easy to let these things go.

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Thanks for commenting!