To have challenged this man over a throwaway sexist comment?

(120 Posts)
Primafacie Sun 13-Apr-14 22:42:07

Took DCs to a local park today. Once there, we saw that some lads had set up this enormous train track for kids to play, with lots of battery operated little trains - it was really cool. As my DCs were playing, one of the guys (let's call him Bob) running it explained that they were doing this for free so as to gather support for a new play centre they are hoping to open, but that I could make a donation.

As I was reaching for my purse, a boy (I'm guessing about 8 or 9) walked up to Bob, holding an engine (one of the female characters from Thomas the Tank Engine), and asked if Bob could change its batteries, as it was running really slowly. Bob's reply to the boy was "sorry, it's not the batteries - this one is slow. She can't go really fast, she's only a girl!" He said it in a jokey way.

I waited for the boy to go away, then I asked Bob 'did you really just tell this boy that that engine can't go fast because she's only a girl?' He looked a bit guilty/embarrassed, like he knew it was a bit off, but then he made a flippant comment about that boy being 'big enough' [to understand it as a joke] and I replied 'you're a big boy, you should know better'. That was it - all said with smiles and graces, but it put me off enough that I didn't give a donation in the end.

Was I rude to challenge Bob, given that he was entertaining all these kids, including mine, for free? There was no aggression on either side.

Legologgo Sun 13-Apr-14 22:43:40

Do you think you were wrong?

Littlefish Sun 13-Apr-14 22:43:45

Not an unreasonable challenge at all in my opinion.

Fretzel Sun 13-Apr-14 22:44:48

No, I think in this case I would have said much the same as you. And yes, I'd have felt stuff your donation.

It doesn't sound as though you were rude. Bob sounds like a nob

ViviPru Sun 13-Apr-14 22:46:06

The whole enterprise sounds dodgy but then I'm a big fat suspicious cynic...

BIWI Sun 13-Apr-14 22:46:33

Well done and well challenged. What did he say after that? Do you think he realised?

Primafacie Sun 13-Apr-14 22:53:23

Ah, thanks all. He didn't say anything after that. My general impression was that he knew he'd put his foot in it, but he was busy manning this huge train set and I was running around my DCs, so we each went our separate ways.

libertytrainers Sun 13-Apr-14 22:55:47

he won't do it again i expect.

i would have given a donation though, wouldn't want to put people off doing these sort of things and it's not easy to maintain in this day

Casmama Sun 13-Apr-14 22:56:02

I think challenging him was fine but you made your point to so withhold the donation was a little mean.

WilsonFrickett Sun 13-Apr-14 23:06:17

It all sounds a bit dodge tbh.

libertytrainers Sun 13-Apr-14 23:27:56

how is it dodgy?

WorraLiberty Sun 13-Apr-14 23:30:11

I would have challenged him too in exactly the same polite way that you did.

I wouldn't have put my purse away though because why would I want to bring innocent children into it?

You're either donating so the kids can have a new play centre or you're not.

Kopik Sun 13-Apr-14 23:30:19

Everyday sexism! So prevalent there's a website.

I'd have done the same as you OP. These 'insignificant' or 'jokey' comments just build further bridges for sexism to stand and wave from.

WilsonFrickett Sun 13-Apr-14 23:40:04

liberty I'm not aware of any charities opening play centres, eg sure start or anywhere like that are either shutting centres or govt funded, so I'm unclear why a privately funded play centre - ie a business, which will presumably make a profit - deserves donations towards its start-up costs.

I suppose that's better than the alternative, which is just that it's a massive scam.

Even if its above board though, setting something like that up, which clearly will draw children like bees round a honeypot, then asking for donations, is bad form and puts people under pressure to donate.

Of course I could be wrong and it could be a charitable endeavour, but op didn't say that in the op.

Primafacie Sun 13-Apr-14 23:42:44

I agree it was a bit mean not to make a donation. But at the same time, I wouldn't be that keen for my kids to go to a play centre if the people running it have that sort of attitude.

It was a split second decision - not sure if I got it right or wrong.

TrevaronGirl Sun 13-Apr-14 23:42:56

What a waste of effort. What are you trying to achieve?

As has been said many times before "Nothing to see here, move on"

There is a great deal to achieve from standing up to commonplace, everyday 'throwaway' comments that perpetuate the idea that female is inferior.

Primafacie Sun 13-Apr-14 23:46:33

I have no idea whether they are a charity. The guy didn't say - our total interaction lasted about 30 seconds, tops.

5madthings Sun 13-Apr-14 23:49:04

What worraliberty said.

BrianTheMole Sun 13-Apr-14 23:49:19

I think what you said was fine. I wouldn't have donated anyway though. Sounds a bit dodge.

Primafacie Sun 13-Apr-14 23:51:18

Trevaron, thanks - I was wondering whether there are bigger problems in the world.

ladymariner Sun 13-Apr-14 23:56:56

Well I think you made a fuss about nothing tbh, and not putting a donation in when your children were playing with the equipment was mean.

MsVanRein Mon 14-Apr-14 00:04:21

I don't think YWBU and probably would have responded in a similar manner.

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