In this day and age! A thread for unbelievably obvious examples of sexism.

(433 Posts)

A thread for "I can't believe that just happened to me! In this day and age!"

Yesterday we spent about 40 minutes in a Toyota dealership, looking to spend about $10k on a used car. The salesman only asked DH's name, only wrote down DH's number, and only talked to DH about the cars available. DH kept referring to me, asking my opinion, and generally looking uncomfortable. Eventually DH snatched back his license from the salesman and said "No, I don't think so. Let's go." And as I turned I added "Joe? Thank you for your help today. I work in sales and I wanted you to know that since I walked in here you haven't asked me a single question, or addressed me directly even once. At one point you walked away from me, talking to my husband about the next car you were showing us, so that I couldn't hear what you said. I just want you to know that I earn more than my husband (actually not yet true, but soon will be!), I know more about cars than my husband (v.true), and you acted like I didn't exist. Which is why we're leaving."

When I got into our car, DH was cheering. We drove 5 miles away and bought a nissan.

As we were doing the dishes last night, talking about this, DH said "I do hope you tell Mumsnet about it." grin he knows me so well.

xkcdfangirl Tue 18-Sep-12 12:48:48

I was house hunting, and thought I'd found the right house for us. I agreed to see the financial adviser attached to the estate agent. They had only dealt with me at all points, but when the woman started filling in the forms she insisted on putting my DH into the system as applicant 1 despite the fact he earns about a quarter of what I do. I also walked out saying I would not be doing business with them because I didn't expect to be treated like a second class citizen like that - I realised that this was a bit of an over reaction but I think that the culture will only change to being actually egalitarian if we challenge casual unthinking sexism as well as overt and blatant sexism.

Ooh, nicely done, XKCDfan (love the name, too!).
DH said to me as we drove off "I'm so glad you SAID something!" and I said "Well I had plenty of time to plan it, since he talked over me for over half an hour!" But I did surprise myself a bit. This was a very young man, so here's hoping that perhaps some of what I said sinks in, otherwise I can't help thinking he's not going to make much money selling cars!

LittleBoxes Tue 18-Sep-12 12:57:54

I called a holiday company about a last-minute deal I'd seen on Teletext Holidays, and on the other end of the phone was a man giving me the horrible hard-sell, including adding on a raft of extras which almost doubled the price of the holiday that had been advertised. OK, no, that's too expensive, I said, preparing to put the phone down. He then started trying to bargain with me, and his main argument was that I should 'call my husband to ask for more money' shock

CMOTDibbler Tue 18-Sep-12 12:58:09

Car buying drives me nuts. I drive a lot for work, have a company car allowance, yet the dealerships only ever want to talk to dh. Who has none of it, and we've walked away on a number of occasions due to the sales attitude.

Working as I do in a v male dominated industry, I get lots of sexism. Ranging from people questioning what happens to ds when I travel (umm, dh looks after him..), telling me they wouldn't like it if their wife travelled etc.

But my favourite ever was at a conference - we have a big exhibition booth, do demos of software, available to talk about issues etc. Guy comes over 'I need to talk to someone about x' 'yes, I can help you' 'no, I need an expert' 'yes, that would be me' and so on. So he decided to try and test me on this, which was fine. He just could not believe that a woman would know this. Best thing was a customer friend who had done a lot of work with me on implementing this thing was waiting to chat, and I could see him pissing himself laughing at all this. He suggested after that I keep a false beard to help people feel comfortable grin

These posts have me pulling faces at my screen that alternate between shock and grin

Maybe I should have had a fake beard handy yesterday? smile

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 18-Sep-12 13:03:29

Good thread!

WiseKneeHair Tue 18-Sep-12 13:06:30

Where to start!
Although, it has got better as I have got older. I think being young and female seems to be percieved as incapable. Middle aged and female, sometimes I am given the benefit of the doubt!

Recently went into a posh jewellers as I am thinking of getting myself a nice watch for Christmas (circa £1250). When the sales woman asked what the occasion was, I said it was for Christmas. Cue her saying I would have to do more ironing and cleaning to put DH in a good mood shock.
I said that probably wouldn't work as I don't do much housework and DH does all the ironing. grin

grin the idea that we need things bought for us by indulgent owners partners is always egregious and shocking, isn't it?

DH does the ironing in this family, too. Partly cos I'm not very good at it, but mainly cos they're his shirts and he's an adult. It's not rocket science, is it? smile But my mum nearly fainted when she found out... hmm

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 18-Sep-12 13:14:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

millionlovesongslater Tue 18-Sep-12 13:14:36

Hmmmm, every advert on TV for washing up liquid, washing powder, householder cleaners, cooking ingredients, children's products.

I think the ones that piss me off the most are those (for example, Kinder eggs) where they talk about things being 'approved by mums'. WHAT ABOUT DADS? Feeding my child is not solely my responsibility. My OH helped make him too.

C'mon ladies, what are you doing chatting online? Don't you know there are houses to be cleand and children to be reared.

Oh yes, million - or the adverts where the man is incompetant but it's okay! Because MUM has a cleaning cloth which can do the job in no time! Or whatever. Urgh. Mums are so clever and special and 'better!' - at specific, boring jobs that no one wants to do. uruuuurugh.

Also, every time I see a woman's body (that is less dressed that the jeans-and-a-shirt outfit I am currently wearing) advertising any product. I think: Wow! Buy this razor and get extra woman's bumcleft free!


Holy crap, SGM that's horrific.

Buy our "I am a kidnapper!" stickers here!


StewieGriffinsMom Tue 18-Sep-12 13:35:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

vezzie Tue 18-Sep-12 13:35:27

dd1 took part in an activity which involved decorating t-shirts. Most of the children had their whole families there. At the end the leader of the activity addressed us all, saying "Mums: you will need to seal this with a hot iron and greaseproof paper..." my heart sank, not at first because I noticed the sexism, but at having another thing to fit in over the weekend. Then I thought, "or maybe the dads could do it?"
This kind of relates to the "influenced by social pressure" thread because my heart is always sinking, in a small way, but repeatedly, by a continual involuntary monitoring of my domestic inadequacies (I WOH full time) in a way that passes DP blithely by (SAHD and part time freelance earner)

Wigeon Tue 18-Sep-12 13:40:24

A female friend answered the door to a delivery driver with a parcel recently:

Delivery man: I've got a parcel for Dr Smith
Friend: I'll take it
Delivery man: But it's for Dr Smith. When would be good to arrange a re-delivery?
Friend: No, it's ok, I'll take it
Delivery man: confused
Friend: Because I am Dr Smith

Friend: 1, Delivery man: 0

AliceHurled Tue 18-Sep-12 13:45:23

At one of my ante natal classes we were told that while in early labour we could pack our husband's hospital bag for him.


Wait, I was grinning at widgeon story - not yours, Alice - While I was in early labour I watched telly and got DH to make me sandwiches. I believe this is the appropriate and medically-recommended approach, I must inform the NHS...

Uppercut Tue 18-Sep-12 14:04:37

"A female friend answered the door to a delivery driver with a parcel recently:

Delivery man: I've got a parcel for Dr Smith
Friend: I'll take it
Delivery man: But it's for Dr Smith. When would be good to arrange a re-delivery?
Friend: No, it's ok, I'll take it
Delivery man:
Friend: Because I am Dr Smith

Friend: 1, Delivery man: 0 "

Delivery man: I've got a parcel for Dr Smith
Friend: I'll take it Yes, that's me.

Err, if you don't identify yourself in the first instance what do you expect to happen?

EmmelineGoulden Tue 18-Sep-12 14:31:58

Uppercut if it had to be handed directly to Dr. smith I would have expected delivery guy to say "are you Dr. Smith?" like anyone who didn't have a complete blank on the idea that woman in front of them could be the person they were looking for.

Uppercut Tue 18-Sep-12 14:41:38

That he made a statement rather than asking a question does not prove, or even suggest, he was being sexist. "I have a delivery/parcel for..." is hardly an unusual opening line for a delivery person.

CailinDana Tue 18-Sep-12 15:43:35

On a positive note, my DH has ordered a good few things for the house lately and has used "Dr Dana" on the orders showoff. All the delivery/workmen have assumed I'm the doctor smile One (very stereotypical workman type) even asked me to look at his foot! I had to explain I wasn't a doctor, and my DH isn't that type of doctor so he was on a hiding to nothing grin.

Not so encouraging is the fact that when I go out with my SAHD friend and his daughter, people always assume we're a couple and either that our children are twins,despite the fact that they couldn't look more different than each other, or that we are both single parents who are now together and raising our children together. Either way it is assumed that I am responsible for both children and that the friend is just in the background, because he's a man. No one can seem to get their head around that 1) we are friends, not a couple 2) my friend is a SAHD who does all the normal things like going out to the park and soft play with other SAHPs and 3) despite being a woman I don't in fact make all the decisions for all the children in my vicinity and that if something needs to be sorted for my friend's child then I am not the person to ask, her actual factual parent, who is standing right there, and who is perfectly competent, is the person in charge. I feel sorry for my friend really. He is a fantastic SAHD yet wherever he goes he is sort of invisible.

Cailin - yes, yesterday's invisibility has really helped me see a bit of what DH has been experiencing a lot this summer (he's a teacher and has been 'at home' with DS while I work). He gets frustrated being treated with suspicion when he strikes up the same kind of chitchat-y conversation that I do at the park or whatever, despite it being quite obvious that he's the one looking after that little toddler... soooo weird, and such great evidence that really, this sexism shite is bad for us all!

slug Tue 18-Sep-12 16:00:23

DH has many stories of the suspicious looks he got as a SAHD.

You might like to post your stories here

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 16:04:49

John Lewis once refused to let me get my fridge freezer repaired because I didn't have permission from my husband. Upon investigation it was because Dr Boffin had bought it (i.e. me) and they assumed this would be a man. I made a big complaint about that. It had been a woman on the end of the phone, as well.

LemarchandsBox Tue 18-Sep-12 16:11:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LastMangoInParis Tue 18-Sep-12 16:17:02

Have also been gurning with alternating amusement and (horrified) amazement whilst reading this thread. Silly to be amazed, though, since most experiences described here are commonplace enough - and of the sort that usually leave me thinking 'WTF? Was it something I said? Something I did?'...

But Uppercut - what's really the point of your contribution to this thread? Are you trying to say that if women aren't extra vigilant all the time to second guess and compensate for other people's stupidity then they've got only themselves to blame for sexist slights, insults, etc?

Dh recently got a letter with a new card to pay his council tax on to replace the old one. Bit confusing as both of us are on the council tax bills (me first I think) and neither of us as ever had a card - we pay online. Not sure if it was sexism or just incompetence.

grimbletart Tue 18-Sep-12 16:54:09

We recently had solar heating - quite expensive. Company man to me.."savings rates are so low it's a good investment of your husband's salary".

Cue me = "Whatever" and resigned shrug.

Husband is retired. The solar heating was paid for out of the profits from my business.

Sometimes, you really really can't be arsed......

I've only had good experiences with my local Toyota dealer, just to balance things out.

However I was a bit pissed off with my solicitors recently. We decided to write our wills, I looked into finding a solicitor, made contact, made appointments, sorted out all the information, took DH along with me, dealt with all the further correspondence, getting them signed etc. Six months later a letter from the solicitors announcing a change of address or something, addressed only to DH. Grrr. I am going to email them about this.

BlingLoving Tue 18-Sep-12 17:03:11

Lighter: man comes to advise and quote on new boiler. Admittedly, appointment was arranged by dh but he was not here so I was the one he dealt with. He talks ne through it all then leaves a brochure and says, "when your husband has decided which one he wants, get him to call me."

It actually made me laugh, but it shouldn't.

Not so light: I was disturbed by all the news coverage of the family killed in France recently. Throughout, the two women were referred to only in the context of him ie his name and they were his wife and mil.

I noticed that, but the cyclist was just "the cyclist" (no actual idea if cyclist was woman or man). Makes me think there are maybe reasons...can't think what

BlingLoving Tue 18-Sep-12 17:07:10

I think the cyclist was not considered relevant to uk media because he/she was not English. However, I am pretty sure they referred to him as "he".

Willabywallaby Tue 18-Sep-12 17:07:51

I'm currently trying to sell a flat I own, the estate agent lost all my respect when I said I would think about an offer I had he said have a chat with hubby about it. It was more the 'hubby' bit that got me angry

Oh yes, and in the news the other day, an article about Sports Personality of the Year and the possibility of having a male and a female category this year. Someone was quoted as saying that having a female one wouldn't detract from the main award.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 18-Sep-12 17:08:16

I think there was the context that his work might have led to the death.

Good luck with your email WhoKnows. Our solicitor did similar but refused to change it as "it's just how the files are set up." won't be recommending them, ever.

That would make sense. I assumed he, wasn't sure if they referred to "he" or whether it was because they didn't talk about "the female cyclist" Judson

No idea who Judson is!

Claifairy Tue 18-Sep-12 17:19:29

At work a customer asked to see the manager over a complaint on the electrical department and sent in my direction.

I was speaking to a male member of staff, who unfortunately, then got a mouthful of abuse and shouting and couldn't get a word in edgeways and kept looking at me perplexed till I decided to step in and say I think you want to speak to me!

It is amazing how many men and even women start talking to a male member of staff before accepting I am the manager! It is also funny to see their behaviour change as I am only 5'2 and look about 12 though for many it makes them think they can walk all over me and bully me into getting what they want! I do have discression over what I do with faulty items and believe me I do not take kindly to being abused.

I have also had customers asked to be dealt by a male manager! Also my team have also had customers who had said to female members of staff that they didn't need help when asked and then go straight over to the closest man!

Uppercut Tue 18-Sep-12 17:20:19

"But Uppercut - what's really the point of your contribution to this thread? Are you trying to say that if women aren't extra vigilant all the time to second guess and compensate for other people's stupidity then they've got only themselves to blame for sexist slights, insults, etc?"

Saying 'Yes, I'm Dr Smith' in response to 'I've got a package for Dr. Smith' must be such a crushing burden of 'extra vigilance'. I don't know how the poor women manages to breath. I directly indentify myself to delivery people all the time like that, but it's taken years of Shaolin monk-like training to achieve this incredible feat of mental stamina.

I don't suppose its fair to suggest everyone else do it, rather than get their nipples in a vice over some misperceived insult.

TakingTheStairs Tue 18-Sep-12 17:22:54

I was a DJ for ten years. Gave it up almost two years ago as I couldn't put up with the drunken messes I'd have to be polite to on a nightly basis. And I was making myself ill from exhaustion.

At least once per gig one of the below would happen;
If I was in the DJ booth on my own - I'd be asked where the DJ was & when he would be back. Did they think I was wearing the headphones to keep them warm for someone else? confused
If I had a male friend with me and I spoke to the customer, they would ALWAYS presume the bloke was the DJ. Even if, as above, I was wearing the headphones and would have stepped away from the decks to speak to them while my friend was sitting on a stool at the back of the booth keeping out of the way.
Or a woman would say "oh a girl DJ- go you/girl power!" I know they meant nice but it annoyed me that they were so surprised that a woman would/could be a DJ

The car thing ticked me off so much because

(1) I love Toyotas and secretly quite wanted the ones they had (pricier than the Nissan we ended up with, but really, people rave about this model) ... Actually, I'm very happy with our new car, but I really wanted to test drive the Toyota option just to see if it was worth splashing out the 2 grand more... [nerdynerdnerd]
(2) It was just so stupid of the salesman. We were buying a frickin' minvan, for goodness' sake, not a 2 seater sporty thing. The American nickname for this kind of car is "mom-wagon" - so he would have been more justifiably stupid to assume I would be the main owner/driver. . . that would at least fit lazy sexist gender stereotypes (actually I won't be, as DH does the daycare run)... but no, it's a Big Money Purchase and so he basically never even introduced himself to me, shook my hand, or asked my name. I just ... I can't get over how stupid sexism is! I'm used to a more insidious kind, so I suppose when it hits you in the face like that, it really baffles you!

Frontpaw Tue 18-Sep-12 17:28:25

Ha! Most of our bills and credit cards are in my name. Even our bank account is joint but DHs name has dropped off in the system somewhere. He always jokes that from a financial point of view, he barely exists. I don't think our IFA or mortgage company have ever dealt with him.

Databases are incredibly stupid. They go on whose name is in field one, so if that's the way the form was filled out (when I input data, I out whoever bothered to fill out the form as Contact 1). Credit card companies can only speak to the main cardholder anyway. I don't get wound up by it, but then I hjavent been told to 'speak to my husband' about anything.

eurochick Tue 18-Sep-12 17:29:48

I have a car one too. I took my dad car shopping with me (husband has no interest and we enjoy it as a bit of father-daughter bonding time). One car salesman spent the whole time talking to my dad despite my dad making it clear several times that I was the one who was buying the car. I bought the same car I had been looking at from a dealer down the road. On the way back from collecting it I was sat at the traffic lights outside the first dealership with the roof down, feeling great, with the "big mistake, huge" scene from Pretty Woman playing in my head.

The other one is a holiday I booked with my then bf, now husband. I booked and paid for the entire thing as he had some problem with his credit card. We arrived at the destination airport to be met by the tour guide who handed him an envelope in his name with all of the hotel and transfer vouchers, also in his name. I may as well not have existed. I mean, what the actual f***?

OddGoldBoots Tue 18-Sep-12 17:32:08

Oh I love the idea of a fake beard, CMOTDibbler, maybe we should all have one ready to hand in case, they'd show up the ridiculousness of these situations very nicely. Maybe a fake penis too.

WanderingOkapi Tue 18-Sep-12 17:41:58

At the black country museum there is a 'pit. Experience' thing. You go down a reconstructed mine, bits of it pitch black so they hand out torches. Unbelievably they only handed torches to the men in the group. Presumably so that the women and children were forced into dependency on the men. It wasn't a joke and it wasnt part of the experience!!
This was 7 or 8 years ago, hope things have evolved there since!

BoffinMum Tue 18-Sep-12 17:49:02

I had to sort out our car insurance recently for the one DH usually drives (i.e. insurance in his name), and I decided to pretend to be him whilst speaking in a deep voice, as he was busy at work and had asked me to try to sort it out for him.

I tell you, I have never been so politely treated by a call centre. It was a revelation. You should all try it sometimes.

<considers penis transplant>

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Tue 18-Sep-12 18:01:26

I've found airlines, hotels, rental cars and the like to be particularly bad about this.

I almost always book and pay for that type of thing on my card, which is in my name 'Dr. Occam'. When we turn up to check in, DP is almost invariably the one they address and try to deal with, even though I'm often the one who instigates dialogue by saying we have a reservation for Dr Occam.

Greythorne Tue 18-Sep-12 18:05:43

Sadly, the description of one of the police officers brutally murdered today. Can you imagine a male PC being described as "a real chatterbox" as one of these women was?

Talk about undermining her, defining her with "female" attributes. How about lively, articulate, a good communicator? But now, she's a woman, so a chatterbox.


HazleNutt Tue 18-Sep-12 18:34:57

eurochick same happened to me. Not only did I book and pay, I'm also gold-platinum-supreme-whatever member of this particular hotel chain's loyalty program. Put DH down as additional guest.

Get to the hotel, there's the usual fruit basket with letter: "Dear Mr Hisname, thank you for choosing to stay with us again, we appreciate your business, dear valued member.."

Small things like that but still..

LastMangoInParis Tue 18-Sep-12 18:43:05

Do calm down, Uppercut, dear. I was only asking.

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Tue 18-Sep-12 19:20:59

I found it odd that they keep referring to them as female police officers. If they had been men would they have said male police officers?

Working as a store manager in a games shop. Irate customer not happy with something.

"I want to speak to the manager"

"I am the manager"

"No, I want to speak to a man!"

Don't get more blatant than that

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Tue 18-Sep-12 19:45:46

How do you respond pfft? I'd be tempted to say fine and find the guy who is least likely to have a clue for them.

Although being honest you work in a games shop, it may be nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with the fact that some of the men you meet have never been in such close proximity to non-pixelated breast before.

Greythorne, those PC's were also referred to as 'young girls' by an official from the Police Federation. They were 32 and 23 and police officers, ffs sad

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Tue 18-Sep-12 20:23:15

Young girls! angryWell in that case why let them out to deal with crime ffs. They were discussing the younger ones marriage plans and how she was worrying about making invitations on-line..

grin good point, Depth grin

He seemed pretty angry at me. I don't know if he was just angry because I wasn't going to give him a refund, or angry because I was a woman :s

You get that sort of stuff a lot, in that sort of work. Eventually, you just end up saying "I am the manager" on repeat, and letting the crap flow over your head. Because when someone is the customer, head office don't really take kindly to teaching them a lesson in the name of battling sexism :/

Still, when someone says something like that, you do tend to think "well, you're not getting a refund NOW, you shit"

captainmummy Tue 18-Sep-12 21:33:00

I've done 2 extensions now, and interveiwed about 3 builders each time. The ones who got to quote are the ones who talked to me not to my clueless and disinterested dh.

Blackcurrants - when we went to look at a volvo showroom, the salesman would not talk to me. I asked questions, and he would leave such a long time before he spoke, to make it clear that he was not replying to my question, just musing on a 'related' subject. DH's questions were answered straight away.

TwoPeasOnePod Tue 18-Sep-12 22:08:29

Sexism exists in the primary classroom too hmm My DD1 came home today, she has been learning about fire safety at school.

She told me they had to identify hazards on a large drawing of a house layout. "Mummies have to always stay in the kitchen when they are cooking tea so the oven doesn't set on fire, MRS 'ddsTeacher' said so" ............. So not only do daddies apparently never cook, there wasn't even the option to put a daddy model on that part of the house drawing... hmm

TwoPeasOnePod Tue 18-Sep-12 22:14:10

But when I bought my last car, my ex P was present yet the salesman only spoke to me. I guess it is my demeanour (sp?! tired) or something, but he knew I was the more knowledgeable one (and the final decision maker). No point in taking cloak-and-dagger offence at the ignorant people who perpetuate sexism: if it affects you, politely challenge it there and then. And tell them in no uncertain terms that their ingrained behaviour towards a female equal has lost them a sale. Might not change anything there and then, but it puts the concept firmly into their twattish mind for the future smile

kim147 Tue 18-Sep-12 22:18:54

I was reading a book about the way people act. A female car salesperson described how a rich bloke came in with his girlfriend to buy a car. It ended up with the bloke trying to impress the salesperson by not negotiating and spending far too much money on what the car was actually worth smile

MySpanielHell Tue 18-Sep-12 23:02:33
TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 18-Sep-12 23:44:51

Yikes spaniel that's awful.

nailak Wed 19-Sep-12 00:03:35

on the Asda/tesco? bog rolls it says something like "90% of mums say it is as good as the leading brand" Dont dad's and non parents wipe their arse?

Also those free books in the bookstart packs, the touchy feely "thats not my..." series, they have "thats not my baby" in two versions, a pink one with girl babies in and a blue one with boy babies in! shock

nailak Wed 19-Sep-12 00:11:59

Greythorne Tue 18-Sep-12 18:05:43
Sadly, the description of one of the police officers brutally murdered today. Can you imagine a male PC being described as "a real chatterbox" as one of these women was?

Talk about undermining her, defining her with "female" attributes. How about lively, articulate, a good communicator? But now, she's a woman, so a chatterbox.

whats wrong with female attributes? why is it undermining being defined by female attributes?

I doubt that after someone had just died whoever was being interviewed was going through a list of synonyms, just describing the woman as they felt she was.

sashh Wed 19-Sep-12 02:26:14

My carer is male.

We booked into a hotel that I'd booked, in my name.

After I was in bed he went to the bar for a drink and was addressed as "Mr Sashh".

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 08:05:50

If the car is for you, then why not go and buy it on your own? If you chose to take your DP with you, then when first encountering the salesperson, why didn't YOU open the conversation with, 'I am interested in......." If the salesperson then continues addressing the conversation to your DP, then yes, I can understand your feeling insulted and walking away.

As for the parcel, as another poster said, it would have been easy to just say that you were Doctor Smith.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 08:15:43

lastmango - But Uppercut - what's really the point of your contribution to this thread? Are you trying to say that if women aren't extra vigilant all the time to second guess and compensate for other people's stupidity then they've got only themselves to blame for sexist slights, insults, etc?

We are all continually challenging stereotypes. If we do this rudely, then the people that chose to fight sexist comments are in danger of being stereotyped.

sashh Wed 19-Sep-12 08:43:33

I think the answering the door thing is not necessarily sexist, just what people are expecting.

I answered my door in a shared flat to a delivery and the driver was a bit confused because the deliver was for my chinese housemate who had a very Chinese sounding name.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 08:47:11

Sashh - exactly. Unexpected situations happen on a daily basis. How we deal with them is what is important.

msrisotto Wed 19-Sep-12 09:03:58

When I was looking to buy a mountain bike - I know that the difference between men's and women's bikes is diddly squat but related to average height differences. I am the height of an average male and they were trying to fit me on small women's bikes. And they ignored me and talked to my then bf.

Wigeon Wed 19-Sep-12 09:04:38

To Emmeline, Uppercut and LastMango about the delivery driver for my friend Dr Smith: I wasn't actually there. I was guessing the exact words both of them used. But my friend reported the story to me along the lines of "A delivery driver came to my door with a parcel for me, but he got all confused because he assumed that Dr Smith was DH, but it's actually me of course, ha ha". But I thought it would read better on this thread if I guessed how the conversation might have gone! So please don't get tied up in knots about whether or not she said "I'm Dr Smith" at any point!

Got another one, just last night: talking to woman from a market research company on the phone. She was asking me various questions like my age etc. I had mentioned that I had a DH (in the context of whether I own my home jointly or solely).

She asked "What's the occupation of the main wage earner in your household?". I answered "Civil servant". She said "And does he manage any staff?". I said "Er, that's me that's the main wage earner...".

I suppose I could have answered "civil servant, and by the way that's me, not my husband", but I didn't think that was necessary. Apparently it was.

msrisotto Wed 19-Sep-12 09:04:45

Btw for the blames - I introduced myself and said that I would be buying the bike for me. They still talked to my partner.

msrisotto Wed 19-Sep-12 09:05:06


Wigeon Wed 19-Sep-12 09:05:54

sashh - how is is not sexist to assume that Dr Smith is a man? And when a high proportion of medical students (and doctors of my friend's age) are women these days, it's also just plain silly.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 09:16:42

Wigeon - It is often difficult to say whether something is deliberately sexist or just down to someone's personal life experiences. I know that there are female fire fighters, for example, but I will automatically use, 'he' if referring to a fire fighter. I'm not being sexist but I am sure as hell making a generalisation based on my own personal experience. I would like to be corrected if the fire fighter was, in fact, female. I would be offended if this was done aggressively followed by a lecture about being sexist though.

Yes, I generalise. No, there is no intended malice behind it.

but making assumptions about someone's sex based on information that is not related to their sex is, by definition, sexism, surely?! We all do it to some degree but it doesn't mean it's not sexist.

Wigeon Wed 19-Sep-12 09:25:00

Florencejon, ok, I agree that I would probably refer to a midwife as "she" (because less than 1% of midwives are men), and a firefighter as "he" (because only 3% of firefighters are women). But by that logic, the delivery driver should not have assumed that Dr Smith was a man because women are 40% of all doctors!

kim147 Wed 19-Sep-12 09:25:46

Is it sexist to assume a childminder was female? Most are.

But as for being a Dr, well I know many females who are medical Doctors and many females who have doctorates. So that's not at all unusual.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 09:39:05

Stealth - Wow, great comment! I don't think it is black and white. There are certain professions which are male or female dominated and I am using a mixture of personal experience and statistics when I imagine the gender of the person performing that particular role. I cannot however think of a single profession which I would automatically assume is not open to a woman. Times are changing and as things change, so do my personal experiences. I cannot default something which is not true, IYKWIM. It's not that I don't think women can be, for example, firefighters. It's that I know that it is a male dominated profession, at the moment.

Interestingly, I have met Dr Sally Ride, the astronaut, and this is a profession which, were the word 'astronaut' used, I wouldn't assume said astronaut to be male.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 09:42:37

Good example with the profession of midwife. I, too, would assume a midwife is female, but wouldn't be shocked if he were male. Statistically, the midwife will be female. From a statistical point of view, I am correct. From a sexist point of view, am I wrong?

seeker Wed 19-Sep-12 09:44:31

The way the Chief Constable described the two police officers murdered yesterday. sadangry

"I cannot however think of a single profession which I would automatically assume is not open to a woman. "
gigolo? grin

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 09:58:15

Stealth - ah, yes, but women are always the boss in that line of work!

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 10:01:19

Seeker - No, I wasn't offended at how the Chief Constable described the two police officers yesterday and I doubt their families were either. It is their tragedy, not ours.

Herrena Wed 19-Sep-12 10:10:29

Professions not open to a man: diaphragm tester...

lady in waiting to the Queen

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 10:30:18

Ooo, good one Stealth. What would a King have? Men in waiting or still ladies in waiting?

Actually I believe breastfeeding counsellor is another as you need to have breastfed yourself.

samandi Wed 19-Sep-12 10:37:52

Workmen referring to me as "Mrs partnerslastname". Not just from one company, but pretty much every one we've had in. Not only have they happily married me off, but I also didn't get a choice in whether I kept my name and title or not hmm

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 10:39:00

I didn't know that you have had to have breastfed yourself to be a breastfeeding counsellor. I learn something new every day here! A male gynaecologist, a male nurse, a male midwife - would not have a problem being treated/advised by any of them. I think I feel the same way about a male breast feeding counsellor. I guess if his advice and practical help is correct, then I don't see why a male couldn't do the job. I'm aware that some woman would like to have the choice though.

PoppadomPreach Wed 19-Sep-12 10:39:47

Conversation where I was describing my new job to an old couple (my parent's friends). he was a retired banker - real old school

Wife ; so, Poppa, I hear you have a new job?

Me: yes, I'm going to work in a bank

My dad (v recently widowed but v proud of me) ; yes, an investment bank

Husband/old fart : yes, it's quite incredible the jobs they give women these days

<stunned silence from me and Dad>

Wife; oh jack, don't be so old fashioned, women have been in these jobs for quite a while now

Old fart: oh yes I know that, dear, it's just that "THEY GIVE THEM RESPONSIBILITY" (said with utter incredulity)


samandi Wed 19-Sep-12 10:42:17

I can't quite get my head around describing a 32 year old woman as a "young girl" either. Can you in all seriousness imagine a 32 year old male police officer being described as a "young boy"?

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 19-Sep-12 10:48:52

Have only read OP, and just want to say well done, blackcurrants!

And I like my nissan. Gets you to places. grin

messyisthenewtidy Wed 19-Sep-12 10:48:58

I think there's a difference between expecting a person (depending on their profession) to be a certain gender and then being disapproving / non accepting when it turns out otherwise.

In the cases of the car salesmen talking over the women to their hubbies, now that is extremely annoying. I see quite a few posters justifying their annoyance in terms of the fact that their car knowledge is greater than their DHs but even in the case where the woman's car savvy is minimal that would annoy me, because how can you expect to learn anything if someone is ignoring you?

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 10:52:10

When I opened up my bank account here, the cashier asked me if I was male or female. Due to the grammatical nature of the language here, you need to know (and boy oh boy, wouldn't that be an interesting debate.....) He told me he used to assume but had once made a mistake. I guess someone challenged a stereotype for him and he modified his thinking.

whogivesaduck1 Wed 19-Sep-12 10:52:19

we had this at a mazda dealer. I was trying dissuade DP from buying a bloody mx5 and the sales man was like 'oh come on now, you'll love it. think how pretty you will look in it, blah blah fuck' i was telling dp how impractial it was. he bought it, sales man gave me a very smug grin.

didnt look quite as smug when we bought it back less then a year later!


florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 10:54:32

samandi I can imagine a 32 year old male police officer being described as a 'young lad', yes.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 10:59:37

whogivesaduck1 - I'm curious. Who was paying for the car? If it was a joint purchase, then I think it was not only the salesman who was being disrespectful to you.

Lovecat Wed 19-Sep-12 11:00:52

Went to visit a friend with DH to see her new flat.

She said 'oh, while you're here, DH, can you take a look at my washing machine, it's leaking and I don't know what's wrong with it.'

DH: confused Um... I know nothing about washing machines.

Friend: Oh, just have a look at it for me, please.

We went into her kitchen and looked at the washing machine that she'd inherited with the flat. The seal around the door was sagging badly with water running down it; I pointed this out to her, saying it was a v. easy job to fit a new seal and she could pick one up from a plumbers merchants/B&Q really easily.

She looks up at DH. 'And what do you think, DH?'

DH shrugs helplessly as he hasn't got a fecking clue about machinery of any kind. 'What LC said.'

Friend: Oh. <looks imploringly up at DH> If we went out now and got one, could you fit it for me?

DH: <with a hunted look of panic> Erm... not really, LC knows what she's talking about, she could do it...

Friend: Perhaps I'll just get a man in...


DH is that mechanically illiterate he literally does not know how to open the bonnet of his car to fill the screen wash bottle. I have to do it for him. My dad was a electrician who became a motor mechanic and taught ALL his children how to change oil/spark plugs/battery/bulbs/fix the alternator if it's come loose etc. DH and I have great fun at the garage with the repairmen as they ALWAYS address the questions to him. I then have to translate...

Lovecat Wed 19-Sep-12 11:04:38

Ooh, I've got another one!

I recently emailed a local martial arts club about lessons for DD - they do a free trial session. I didn't realise until I got his reply that I hadn't specified DD's sex, just said 'my seven yr old' in the email.

The reply began: 'we will be happy to welcome your son to the session...'

Okay [for benefit of the blamers], because I didn't specify I know he had to take a guess and it was a 50/50 chance of getting it wrong, but why not just put 'your child' if you don't know? How is a 7 yr old's sex relevant to taking a martial arts class?

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 11:09:35

Lovecat - Your dad sounds fantastic. Unfortunately, for now, you are still in the minority regarding your skills.

kim147 Wed 19-Sep-12 11:13:11

It's interesting that people of both genders make assumptions about what skills people have based on their gender. Not always true.

It does annoy me. I was in a shop and there was a women wanting to buy a radio. She told the male salesperson "I don't know anything about all this stuff, I'm just a dumb blonde" angry

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 11:18:28

And from the assumption of the instructor, it looks as if your daughter will be in the minority for taking a martial arts class! A seven year old challenging the view of an adult martial arts club is a triumph.

NoMoreNotNever Wed 19-Sep-12 11:19:43

I'm a gardener; one of my customers always wants his son to start the lawnmower for me because he says women aren't strong enough. He has no problem with my heaving the massive thing around as a woman though. I have stopped telling him in advance and just surprise mow now. hmm

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 11:23:43

Kim - "I don't know anything about all this stuff, I'm just a dumb blonde"

Maybe she doesn't understand anything about radios. Not everyone can be an expert at everything. There's no shame in asking for help or advice. As for the 'dumb blonde' comment; I think that reveals more about her self esteem than anything else. Really sad that she considers her perceived lack of intelligence and her hair colour to be her identity.

Portofino Wed 19-Sep-12 11:41:17

florencejon, is it your intention to argue that none of these are real cases of sexism? Cos it is getting boring already.

Mrskbpw Wed 19-Sep-12 11:42:04

Lovecat - your husband sounds like my dad. He's terrible at everything - can't even change a lightbulb.

So my mum does everything in the house. She did ALL the childcare when we were growing up, had a full-time job, does the housework, the DIY and all the gardening.

She has many, many, many examples of this casual sexism and she always points it out in a very Mumsnetty 'did you mean to be so rude' way. I have learned from this and try to do the same.

(In my dad's defence, he also will never keep quiet if he thinks someone is being sexist/racist/homophobic - I very much admire this.)

maswera Wed 19-Sep-12 11:42:29

My mum will often refer to an adult woman as a 'little girl' - eg "the little girl on the checkout in the co-op" or "that little girl who reads the local news". hmm There is no way she would ever refer to an adult male professional as a 'little boy'

maswera Wed 19-Sep-12 11:48:28

Ours and a few neighbours' houses surround a jointly-owned green that we take turns to mow. When the rota came round in the spring, it only had the men's names on. (I would be surprised if DP had ever mowed a lawn before we moved in.) The (AFAIK perfectly fit, young healthy) woman who lives alone doesn't feature on the rota.

OTheHugeManatee Wed 19-Sep-12 11:52:06

Before I met him, DH rang a local riding stables to ask about lessons as he'd always wanted to learn to ride. The conversation went like this:

DH: 'I'm calling to ask about riding lessons...'

Stables: 'And how old is the little girl?'

DH: 'He's 35 and weighs about 12 stone.'

Stables: '....'

kim147 Wed 19-Sep-12 11:55:28

When you're out for a meal with your DP / DH, who gets offered to taste the wine? Who is given the bill?

maswera Wed 19-Sep-12 12:06:03

Apparently there are some posh restaurants that have 2 menus - one with prices on (given to the man) and one without any for the laydee, so she doesn't have to worry her pretty little head about how much it all costs shock

(I should add though that although I have been to a fair few posh restaurants in my time I have never actually come across this myself...)

msrisotto Wed 19-Sep-12 12:10:00

maswera - i've never experienced that.

More often than not my DH gets given the bill and even if I have moved the bill over to my side of the table, put my credit card on it, they'll still be awkward about who is paying for it and often make a comment about how lucky he is to be treated by me! He is lucky though....

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 12:11:22

Portofino - no, not arguing that they are not real cases of sexism at all. I do, however, think that how we react to them is important from an equality point of view and for our own sanity.

If we succeed in challenging a stereotype in a male dominated word and plant the seeds of change in someone's opinion, then I think that, that is something to celebrate, rather than feel angry about the fact that it happened in the first place. I guess you feel differently.

If we carry on being angry and defensive every single time we surprise a male with our choices, lifestyles, careers and ideas due to his perceived ideas of what is normal, then that has a knock on effect on our lives, those around us and our health.

I am passionate about promoting equality for women, but I am also passionate about many other things in life and the judgmental comments from males, (which stem from many, many factors), do not cause me to lose sight of the fact that life can really be very enjoyable.

SarryB Wed 19-Sep-12 12:21:27

lovecat - your DH sounds like my step-dad. My mum is the one who changes the fuses, fixes the toilet when it's blocked, does all the gardening and DIY, as well as looking after the kids and working part-time. She's pretty awesome. Mind you, he does do all the cooking!

I've been in several shops where people (both men and women) have just spoken to my OH and blatantly ignored me. I just put it down to OH's stunning good looks though - everyone is just trying to chat him up!

Maswera - I came across the priceless ladies menu thing once while on business in America about 15 years ago., I had heard of it but never believed it really happened. Never seen it here though.

HazleNutt Wed 19-Sep-12 12:23:08

yes I've seen the menu without prices in a very posh restaurant. I asked them to give me a normal one.

kim, while I'm in France and it might be different in UK, I have noticed a massive change in the past few years. The waiters always ask who wants to taste the wine and don't assume it's DH and they put the bill simply on the table, not even closer to him. I suspect there has been some general "feminist sensitivity" training grin

Florence If the car is for you, then why not go and buy it on your own? If you chose to take your DP with you, then when first encountering the salesperson, why didn't YOU open the conversation with, 'I am interested in......." If the salesperson then continues addressing the conversation to your DP, then yes, I can understand your feeling insulted and walking away.

The car was for us - it's big family car. DH will drive it more on a daily basis, I imagine, as he presently does the daycare run, but I expect I'll drive it more on weekends. And as it happens, I did speak directly to the salesperson, saying "We are looking for.." as he walked up. As I mentioned in the OP, I work in sales and DH hates negotiating and 'feeling sold to' so he tends to take the backseat in such conversations whereas I enjoy getting down to a bit of a haggle, and like to know lots of nerdy details about cars. But I wouldn't dream of making such a huge purchase without his feeling right about it, we're a team. So of course we went together.

And as I said in my OP, the salesperson then continued to address DH all the time, to the extent of starting every sentence of his with DH's name. "SO, DHsname, are you looking for something under 100,000 miles?" "So, DHsname, would all-wheel-drive be acceptable?" when I was the one answering the questions (because, as DH kept saying, I know more about cars than him.) We're a team - when we purchase computers, because that's DH's line of work, he tends to do more of the talking. With cars, it's me. When we were buying a house, it was both of us.... that's just how it goes, we're actually an equal partnership. It's just that people don't seem ready for that!

I wasn't offensive - quite the opposite, I was extremely gentle with the salesperson, considering how offensive he had been to me. Saying that I'll "confirm stereotypes'' about whatever because I challenged his sexism is daft. I actually spoke to him on a "hey, I work in sales, just for feedback'' kind of level.

TiggyD Wed 19-Sep-12 12:26:36

I was sat in a hall for a training evening. It was for childcare with 100 women and me the only man. As usual. The female trainer was at the front with 2 other women who were organising the event trying to get the projector/laptop to work. After 5 minutes of struggling one of them called out "We need to find a man!"
I was a bit embarrassed and kept quiet even though I would have been the perfect person to sort it out!

nickeldaisical Wed 19-Sep-12 12:29:30

It is annoying if men are given the bill.

In my family, DH usually pays with his card from the joint account because I never remember to take anything out with me (i'm amazed i haven't locked myself out of the house before now!), but that's laziness not ladyness.

he also mows the lawns. but that because he has days off and i don't. he does most of the cooking, most of the cleaning etc, but that's because i'm usually BFing (the one task we can't both do!)

I try to head off any sexism where i find it bubbling.

kim147 Wed 19-Sep-12 12:31:30

That is something that I've thought a lot about. When someone is struggling - such as an IT problem, and you have experience in that area and could probably help, what do you do?

And does your reaction depend on the gender of who needs help and your gender?

Would you wait to be asked or would you jump in and ask if the person needed a hand? How would you react if you were the person being asked?

Bookbrain Wed 19-Sep-12 12:32:40

We visited the Tank Museum in Dorset last summer. One of the attractions is the chance to sit inside a Chieftan tank and be talked through the controls, life onboard etc by an ex-member of tank crew.

DH and I queued up for bloody ages and took our turn with our two DSes. I sat in the Navigator seat - cue hilarious jokes about women not being able to read maps, women drivers etc. I pointed out that I am actually quite capable of reading a map without getting lost - was given a withering look.

There was then a lecture on the fact that the British Army apparently don't have female tank crews, because (a) women lack the mental toughness and (b) it is all very very difficult and too complicated for women's brains, as you have to do many things at once, including reading maps and steering the tank. I took issue with this and we were hastily ushered out of the tank with much eye-rolling from the tank guides.

I've worked in male-dominated environments and I can cope with a bit of banter about women drivers, boring, cliched and inaccurate as it may be. But I was livid that they said these things in front of my young, impressionable sons, who were looking up to these men as not only knowledgeable experts but also superhero types (tank commanders!!).

Looking at the army website, it does appear that you have to be male to be a tank crewman.. I wonder what the real reason is.

nickeldaisical Wed 19-Sep-12 12:34:46

yes, why assume that a man will be more capable than a woman of sorting out a technical problem?
it usually me that knows this stuff. DH wouldn't have a clue!

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 12:36:35

Blackcurrants - Thanks for clarifying. I totally agree with your walking away if that is how you were treated. The care salesman lost a sale, a sale which he sure as hell didn't deserve after the way you were treated. Now, if he modifies his behaviour to increase his sales and starts to show respect to women, his trigger is financial rather than moral. How would you feel?

Please, if you don't have the time to answer, nor wish to, I understand. I'm simply curious.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 19-Sep-12 12:39:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

captainmummy Wed 19-Sep-12 12:41:13

Blackcurrants - you pipped me to it! I was just about to make the same observation,- that when we went to look at Volvos, all questions and answers were directed at DH even tho I'd be driving it jsut as much. It's a family car. Not mine, or his.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 12:41:58

Bookbrain - "But I was livid that they said these things in front of my young, impressionable sons, who were looking up to these men as not only knowledgeable experts but also superhero types (tank commanders!!)."

Very valid point. I'm curious too as to why women cannot be tank crewmen. I wonder what their rationale behind the decision is?

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 12:45:29

Stewie - No, not obvious to me, but was after she clarified it.

No, not intending to be 'narky' at all. Just trying to contribute to the debate and offer an opinion which, due to the very nature of debates, can be slightly different to other peoples.

kim147 Wed 19-Sep-12 12:47:57

Women are still barred from front line combat roles in the British Army.

But you only have to look at Afghanistan to see there is no front line and women are in the thick of it.

messyisthenewtidy Wed 19-Sep-12 12:49:44

"That is something that I've thought a lot about. When someone is struggling - such as an IT problem, and you have experience in that area and could probably help, what do you do?

And does your reaction depend on the gender of who needs help and your gender?"

Definitely Kim147. This happened the other day when a friend was struggling with a piece of equipment. I really wanted to help but was afraid to look as if I was taking over and suggesting he was incapable. I'd never feel like that with a female friend.

Thing is I'm never sure if that's just me being a wus or if lots of women feel like that.

Oh lord, between this thread and the socialisation one I've realised I'm such a wimp, and that the patriarchy is so deeply ingrained in me I'd need bloody surgery to remove it!! sad

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 19-Sep-12 12:52:41

Wow that is horrible Bookbrain. Fine to say "at present it is only men who take these roles" but the other stuff is awful.

Did you let the museum know that their docents were talking like this? Bit of training required, methinks!

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 12:52:50

Kim - Thanks for the link Kim. I thought Caroline Wyatt made some good points.

FoodUnit Wed 19-Sep-12 13:32:03

messyisthenewtidy "I really wanted to help but was afraid to look as if I was taking over and suggesting he was incapable. I'd never feel like that with a female friend. Thing is I'm never sure if that's just me being a wus or if lots of women feel like that."

You certainly aren't the only woman to feel like that, and I've had good reason too- I can't tell you the number of times men have become irrational and borderline aggressive when I've tried to help. I have been conditioned by their behaviour into non-action now. Its very frustrating!

Bookbrain Wed 19-Sep-12 13:36:47

DoctrineofSnatch, I didn't complain. I thought about it and then wondered if it would just wind me up more to do so. In retrospect I wish I had though as they are probably dishing out the same guff to visitors now.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 19-Sep-12 13:44:38

Bookbrain I would seriously consider dropping them an email now.

nickeldaisical Wed 19-Sep-12 13:54:54

i wouldn't feel awkward helping someone who needs help regardless of their sex.

but that's just me, i think. i've always been forthright.

OrangeKipper Wed 19-Sep-12 13:56:44

"why didn't YOU open the conversation with, 'I am interested in.......""

florencejon, can you clarify why you made this assumption?

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 14:24:09

OrangeKipper - Sure.

When the OP said that the salesman only asked her DP's name, I assumed that this was on the initial introduction and that only her DP had spoken.

She clarified it for me and I think she made the right decision to walk out.

vezzie Wed 19-Sep-12 14:31:48

What I find difficult is that in a situation where women are shouldering unfair amounts of work (like at family parties I have been to where the women are washing up and tidying the hired hall while the men are still standing about drinking and chatting), as a woman there is nothing I can do. I can see that someone is dashing about and take something off her - "Oh let me dry those" - but it is still just some woman doing it and the status quo is unchanged. And as a woman it feels so, so wrong to go up to a group of men and say "Could you please help with this?" because - because - why? I just can't ask people to do things. In fact now I think about it this is a major theme in where I have been going wrong my whole life.

nickeldaisical Wed 19-Sep-12 14:37:08

yes, vezzie, totally agree.

the women seem to do it automatically and men have to be asked.
but the only time they are asked is when it's something that needs to be lifted or carried hmm

Now, if he modifies his behaviour to increase his sales and starts to show respect to women, his trigger is financial rather than moral. How would you feel?

I don't care what he feels in his heart, as long as he treats men and women with equal respect.

I equate this to the civil rights legislation in America in the 60s. They didn't pass a law saying "you may never again think white people are superior to black people" or "you must become best friends with a black person immediately". They passed a law saying "you may not bar black people from using your public services and receiving equal treatment there: eg: your cafe, your bus service, your park, your shoe shop."

It didn't make individual racists less racist, it made society less racist and it made overt racism less socially acceptable. Which, in turn, eventually (over generations), made individuals less racist.

So with this salesman: I don't know if, deep in his soul, he's a sexist. I expect probably not - and frankly, I don't care. I care that he behaved in a sexist manner, which he ought not to do when serving the public.
If the reasons why he modifies his behaviour are financial, that's fine with me as long as he modifies his behaviour. I'm not here to modify his soul, and I don't need to, to ensure equal and fair treatment for the next people he helps buy a car.

Also, sexism is learned behaviour. It has to be unlearned. Learning to change your behaviour is hard, and requires external motivators (whether it's a sticker chart, a public weigh-in, a cheering crowd watching you run, whatever.) One external motivator is simply being informed that your behaviour is unacceptable. As a teen I used to throw around the word 'retard' like the rest of my peer group. At some point I was challenged on that, informed it was unacceptable, asked to think about the impact of my behaviour and change it. I have done so, since then. It wasn't a pleasant experience but I needed to hear it.

I wasn't accused of being a bigot, but behaving in a bigoted manner. No one told me bad things about the state of my soul, they asked me to review and alter my behaviour, and I did so. Making that change has made me more aware of 'ablism', too.

This is long and I congratulate anyone who's finished reading it!
Final note, florencejon - I think you were being told your responses were narky because they got rather interrogative, along the lines of "You experienced sexism? Well, what did you do wrong to make people treat you like that? How was this your fault?" I wasn't 'asking for it' by my behaviour, you know. I was just treated in a sexist manner because I was visibly female in a heterosexual partnership, in a car dealership.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 14:58:07

Vezzie and nickeldaisical - What you have described is a very common situation. I'm at the point in my life where I have enough life experience to realise that not everyone is open to change/will change due to age, pride from a refusual to accept that maybe a past way of thinking could be incorrect, even an adamant refusal to change because they believe that their views are indeed the correct ones.

I think we can make a difference by making our own personal expectations clear, by choosing what type of man, if any, we decide to share our lives with and how we raise our children.

Change is never easy, especially when we are trying to change centuries of what was once considered acceptable behaviour.

From the situation you described, I hope that if just one man decided to help with the clearing up, then a ball would have started rolling, and the others would have decided to join in. Maybe that is the way to go forward for now in dealing with ingrained behaviour.

What do you both suggest?

OrangeKipper Wed 19-Sep-12 15:07:00

So florencejon, you assumed - very confidently, to the point of chiding blackcurrants for it - that she had not spoken, based on the salesman's behaviour to her?

But the post is about the salesman's whole behaviour being unreasonable. Eg continually speaking only to MrBlackcurrants even when MrB kept referring the questions back to blackcurrants. Not asking her name would be consistent with this.

I'm interested how you, instead, came to the conclusion the salesman must have behaved reasonably on this, and further that blackcurrants must be at fault?

OrangeKipper Wed 19-Sep-12 15:14:13

x-post w blackcurrants putting it much more pithily.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 15:15:11

Blackcurrants Your post was great reading. Thanks for taking the time to write such a long and informative post. The racism comparison was very interesting.

I pick up a lot of anger/aggression from posters when they have experienced assumptions based on their being a woman. Absolutely, being discriminated against is wrong, but I don't think investing anger in the situation helps in the short or long term. Maybe that is just an age thing though as I am certainly calmer as the years pass by and I don't want to do anything to exacerbate my age induced high blood pressure.

I find it interesting too that what offends one woman doesn't necessarily offend another, or at least to the same degree. Obviously, it is difficult to gauge a person's anger from an internet forum and so we rely on the tone and language used in the post which can sometimes be inaccurate.

Kendodd Wed 19-Sep-12 15:15:18

My friends FIL won't close the curtains at home. He says it's "woman's work".

Herrena Wed 19-Sep-12 15:16:52

In the town centre today, a woman commented on my unusual surname as I made a card payment. I was making conversation blithering and mentioned that it was my dad's surname as I didn't change it when I got married. She looked mildly shocked and said 'Didn't your husband mind?'

I explained that I got my doctorate in my own name and so didn't want to change it. I think the doctorate bit shocked her even more grin

OrangeKipper Wed 19-Sep-12 15:19:00

And btw I was a seven-year-old girl doing martial arts with a husband and wife team of instructors, possibly before the above-mentioned sexist instructor was born.

So no, I don't see it as a triumph that in 2012 a seven year old has to challenge a man's stereotypes. I think it's tragic she has to.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 15:23:12

Orangekipper - I assumed (can you actually confidently assume?!) a different scenario. It's not always easy to get the complete picture from a post and sometimes further clarification is needed. In my case, the further clarification was very kindly given by blackcurrants and I agreed that she made a good decision to walk out.

I wasn't sure of the complete picture, hence my questions after her post.

OrangeKipper Wed 19-Sep-12 15:26:26

Actually investing anger in tackling injustice is often extremely effective.

Perhaps that's why you don't like it.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 15:35:43

Anytime we challenge a stereotype, I feel it is a positive thing. I obviously have a different view of 2012 to you orange. You see something as tragic, but I see it as a triumph that a 7 year old girl will challenge an obviously closed minded martial arts instructor, just as you may have done all those years ago when you studied martial arts.

Equality is and will be an ongoing battle for the rest of my lifetime, I would imagine.

mumtomoley Wed 19-Sep-12 15:40:26

Discussing the Julian Assange case at work the the other day got us onto the topic of 'what is rape'. My colleagues were adamant that it couldn't be rape if you had already slept with them. hmm enough on it's own.

But when I argued the point, i.e. what about husbands that rape their wives etc, is that ok? Female colleague argued back 'Oh, that's all a bit feminist for me'


EatsBrainsAndLeaves Wed 19-Sep-12 15:43:32

Being at a large family orientated birthday party where there was a large buffet made by various women, and the women were all helping to set it up and then at the end clear it up. Meanwhile the men stood round the bar talking. Not one man seemed to see it as his role to help out too.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 15:46:57

I guess it depends how we portray that anger. I have no intention of giving a man the opportunity to say, "Calm down, dear!" to me.

A dignified, clear and concise portrayal of the point I am trying to get across works best for me personally, and I've found that it actually makes people more receptive to the point I'm trying to make.

We're fighting for the same cause. How we choose to do it, and what we choose to call ourselves, is very individual, unfortunately.

vezzie Wed 19-Sep-12 15:54:20

ha ha ha ha "unfortunately"

In other words, florencejon, you deeply regret the horrible truth that you are not allowed to pull these unladylike people up on their lack of womanly grace.

It seems to me that throughout this thread you have been implicitly critical / disbelieving of those who have been treated unfairly. I am sorry that rude and unfair and sexist behaviour is bad for your health and your blood pressure (and you think it is healthier not to notice it), but actually in the grand scheme of things, this is probably one of the minor effects of several millennia of patriarchy on women's health. Still, get well soon!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 19-Sep-12 15:56:51

Hi florencejon

How do you think a man angry about, say, homophobia should portray his anger?

Tryingtobenice Wed 19-Sep-12 15:57:12

So this is international and cultural, but made me laugh. DP in moscow recently for work, has a nasty burn on his arm, conversation as follows:
Russian woman: ouch, how did that happen?
DP: i was just cooking and banged it on the oven door
RW: but don't you have a baby?
DP: er, yes.
RW: so you are married?
DP: well, no, but my girlfriend and i live together
RW: so why were you cooking?
DP: errrr......
Other russian colleague (male): you should marry her, then you won't have to cook! (said with a note of triumph he had solved the problem)
DP: not sure my girlfriend would really go for that actually.....

If we have a way to go, there ate some countries with even further. All the more reason to love Pussy Riot.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 15:58:21

mumtomoley 'Oh, that's all a bit feminist for me'

There was a discussion a while back on these boards which could make me understand that comment, had she read that particular discussion. (All very hypothetical, I know.)

How did you reply to that comment mumtomoley?

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 16:02:01

Vezzie - My expectations of manners are the same for men and women. I believe a debate can, and often should, be passionate, but when people start showing aggression, hurling insults, then the subject of the debate becomes overshadowed.

nickeldaisical Wed 19-Sep-12 16:02:55

Trying - shit, that Russian woman had better come and talk to my DH then! I'm married, and he's just made me beans on toast (albeit only slice of toast hmm, so I sent him back to make the other slice...)

nickeldaisical Wed 19-Sep-12 16:03:05

only one slice


florence I agree with you that hurling insults is counter-productive. However, we should be careful about criticising women for 'hurling aggression' because there's a double-standard at play which silences women's resistance to bad treatment: men are often considered to be admirably assertive when they stand up for themselves, and women who do the exact same thing, using the exact same thing/words/body language, are considered 'aggressive' and 'pushy' and 'bitches'.

Neither Gandhi or Martin Luther King thought that the oppressed were morally obligated to politeness and demure behaviour. Non-violence, yes, but some people considered marching for civil rights to be aggressive, threatening behaviour - and it was, because it threatened the unjust status quo

I'm not going to politely ask someone to take their foot off my neck. I will tell them to remove it. I won't do it rudely, because I'm not rude, but nor am I going to cringe and scrape while I assert my right to fair treatment. I was scrupulously polite to the salesperson in the car dealership, but some would call the fact that I said anything to him aggressive or rude. So terms like 'aggressive' are loaded against people agitating for change.

vezzie Wed 19-Sep-12 16:10:13

florencejon, I think you are answering thedoctrineofsnatch's question, not mine.

Anger has nothing to do with manners. You can be angry without being rude. You can even express anger without being rude, or hurling insults.

In all seriousness, I respect your right to do whatever you need to do for your health, but you should respect others too, such as: a. their rights to do what they need to do for their mental health, including recognising the truth as they sincerely see it rather than suffering the psychological effects of cognitive dissonance which include depression, and b. in fact you should be grateful that people are prepared to do tough things, including making themselves unpopular, to achieve benefits for all women, including you.

mumtomoley Wed 19-Sep-12 16:10:39

florencejon no she would not have read mumsnet. I understand the concept of something being 'too feminist'. But not the idea that a husband can rape his wife is a radically feminist notion.

I think we agreed to disagree at that point.

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Wed 19-Sep-12 16:10:45

grin blackcurrants is my new hero.

NoWayNoHow Wed 19-Sep-12 16:11:39

I worked in a mobile phone shop quite a few years ago, and used to do routine repairs regularly on phones which had ongoing issues because of the model.

I was standing at the counter with a trainee (young guy, 3rd day) when a man walked up the counter. Trainee was serving someone, I wasn't. I asked if I could help, and the man told me he had a problem with his phone, so it was probably better that the young man took a look! shock shock

I told him that if he was having a problem with the speaker on his phone, then he was more than welcome to wait for "the young man" but as he was a new member of staff, he was likely going to be able to do no more than ask me to fix it.

At which point he silently handed the phone to me, which I fixed in about 2 mins.

I was raging!

HiHowAreYou Wed 19-Sep-12 16:18:34

DD came home with a set of leaflets from school this week about extra classes she could do, after hours.

Except when I looked at it, just boys can do football. Boys who are not very good, boys who are ok, and boys who are great at football. Three classes.

That's it!

I mean, I guess if I asked, they'd have to let her join in, but they only used the word boys, and all the pictures were of boys. So I expect girls joining isn't normal.

I wouldn't expect her to go be a trailblazing feminist, changing attitudes, at four years old, so I just won't say anything.

I thought it was a shame. She likes football!

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 16:18:44

Hi TheDoctrineOfSnatch "How do you think a man angry about, say, homophobia should portray his anger?"

I'm trying to put myself in his position. Feeling an internal state of anger on a permanent basis is unhealthy and will not help the cause. He can be angry all day and every day, but ultimately, it will be his health and life which will suffer. I guess a similar comparison would be to be in a permanent state of 'fight or flight'. Producing so much adrenaline for a long period of time is damaging to a person's physical and mental well being. When a person feels angry, the physical response is very similar. Anger is not the best long term response to a long term injustice.

I've just re-read it and hope that I make sense. Please feel free to ask for clarification if you need!

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 16:19:57

mumtomoley Thanks for answering. I think you made a wise choice. Maybe, just maybe, you planted a seed for her and got her thinking though.

vezzie Wed 19-Sep-12 16:21:01

More on the sanctimonious lecturing on courtesy, and why I hate it:

- I am not rude. I can be passionate, but I don't insult people, especially people I don't know online. I resent my passion being conflated with rudeness.

- This is partly because reminds me of school (an environment where courtesy was talked about a lot, but within a rigid implicit hierarchy in which the requirement of courtesy was strictly asymmetrical);

-Courtesy can be a terrible waste of time when someone is deliberately pissing about with your resources in favour of the status quo. they are tripping you up deliberately by throwing extra hoops to jump through in your path. Sometimes.

-It feels to me (and this is only a feeling but don’t my feelings matter?) that only certain people’s feelings matter. It seems to me that some of the things which people say, which are offensive, are recognised as such, and other things, which are equally offensive, are mainstream enough to be acceptable. It is very tiring to be always on the receiving end of such things. This butts up against the point about messing with people’s resources. Sometimes I feel very Marxist about the fact that everything could be translated into a matter of how many minutes or joules or pounds or dollars you have to spare, and how many of them are being squandered by people who arrogate to themselves the right to dispose of them for their own convenience, and how inequitable this business is, and how people who have plenty of joules to spare make out that “politeness costs nothing” when what they mean is that it costs them so little it is negligible because their circumstances are so easy and they come across so much “free” politeness being poured in their direction in life, that they don’t notice the miniscule costs to them associated with reciprocating a little here and there.

-Similarly I notice, and I kept saying this, and I kept being ignored, that: usually on bunfights on mn there is a continual reference by MNHQ to the usual guidelines (which do not allow personal attacks and a few other woollily but reasonably identified things) – the implication being that when the guidelines are not being breached, people who are getting offended need, frankly, to just deal with it. With the feminists, this was not considered to be enough. There was a huge soul-searching looking for further restrictions on the discourse, and inventing new places to have it, because people continued to get offended although the guidelines were not being breached, and this time it was considered to be the fault of the people saying non-guideline-breaking-things, not the people getting offended.

-I suggest that this is because there is a cognitive dissonance about the status of feminism within mainstream society. People, especially women, don’t want to be seen as sexist, or think of themselves as so, or anti-feminist (somehow – however problematic it is to actually identify as feminist) but actually to be normal and mainstream is to be pretty sexist. People really lash out against it. It’s a problem. It’s a really prickly problem that people hold certain beliefs that they don’t want to be exposed, even to themselves, as holding. It means that pretty much anything you are going to say on the subject, however much you refrain from blatantly offensive things like swearing or name-calling, is going to offend them, and it’s not fair to make that the fault of the person doing the “offending” when the cause is that the offendee is so preciariously and illogically balanced in an uncomfortable psychological position.

-I have to admit certain personal things as well though. For instance that I come from a culture that is particularly violently repressive and sexist (and its immediate representatives to me don’t admit it, but that’s another thing). (I would like to write more about this, but another time). It is possible that English mainstream culture is not quite as sexist as the holding culture of my formative years (remembering also that I am now middle aged). I don’t think so though. I think it is just sexist in different ways. (Again, more to be said about this, sometime)

-Here is another personal thing to admit: I just personally (almost aesthetically) loathe all that overbearing “reasonableness”. I experience it as repressive. It is a style that does not suit me, it is a suave blankety logic-less overruling of dissent, it unfurls deadeningly straight from the powerful class to suffocate and obliterate. It strikes me, on a personal and emotional level, as unfair to outlaw my personal weapons of choice, in particular, rationality in a way that those normally pro-logic suddenly purport to experience as too logical, brutal, because it is turned on them. Suddenly this is not allowed because somebody's feelings are hurt by it. When do my feelings matter? Why are the hobnailed boots of Goliath, who have crushed generations of Davids, technically classed as "footwear" and David's lethal, accurate, clever slingshot confiscated and tutted over?

- Something else to add about polite discourse and the limits of liberalism:
There is no such thing as absolute liberalism – it always butts up against someone else’s sphere in which they wish to have autonomy / control. Making these rules supposedly in order to protect the individual’s freedom to express oneself without receiving abuse in return – attempting not to drive away those who have thin skin – drives away others, those who are intolerably frustrated by the dim witted being allowed to interminably rehearse pernicious received ideas

- Also it is a liberal mistake to think that rational discussion is what is always, or usually, taking place. there are other agendas here

Narked Wed 19-Sep-12 16:21:14

Let's all rejoice at these opportunities to enlighten hmm

Narked Wed 19-Sep-12 16:24:43

Did you not know Vezzie? If you do feminism wrong you just aggravate misogynists people and that's not good for anyone is it now? Much better for you to sit down with some camomile tea until you've regained control of yourself. wink

worldgonecrazy Wed 19-Sep-12 16:32:52

I remember booking into a v.posh restaurant - we were treating my parents and on phoning, I specifically asked for my parents to be given the un-priced menus as I didn't want them flapping over how much the dinner was costing us. On arrival they gave the un-priced menus to my mum and me. The food was fabulous so I'll forgive them.

When out I am always offered the wine to taste, though to be fair, usually the sommelliers are clued up enough to ask "Who would like to taste the wine" rather than offering it straight to the nearest bloke.

I didn't buy a car from the garage that tried to persuade me a certain model was "a lovely colour with plenty of room for the shopping".

grimbletart Wed 19-Sep-12 16:34:34

Although upthread I gave a recent example of sexism that happened to me, I must say that as I have got older (and latterly pretty ancient) it happens less and less.

I'm not sure whether that is because people are getting less sexist, they are a bit more respectful to older women or I am quicker and more confident now to give off "don't mess about with me" vibes.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 16:42:40

vezzie I enjoyed reading your post.

Let's not lose touch with reality. This is an anonymous internet forum discussing issues which affect women and I have no intention of becoming angry with something somebody posts. I may not agree with certain points of view, and sometimes will chose to debate the issue but I am always aware that people are hiding behind an internet identity.

Debating face to face is very different.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 16:44:27

grimbletart - My thoughts and experiences too.

nickeldaisical Wed 19-Sep-12 16:48:52

HiHowAreYou - my junior school self would have joined.
and so would the other 5 girls in my class.
we did that a lot "i need some strong boys to help move tables" we would all jump up and say that was sexist and offer our help.

vezzie Wed 19-Sep-12 16:53:41

Thanks florencejon

"Let's not lose touch with reality"

- how did I manage to write something that long and forget the word "patronising"?

HesterBurnitall Wed 19-Sep-12 17:12:01

Great post, Vezzie.

Great post vezzie

messyisthenewtidy Wed 19-Sep-12 17:25:19

What I find frustrating is that gaps in knowledge widen because of this tendency to talk over women and look to men for advice.

Florence I think that you try to avoid giving people the opportunity to say "calm down dear" is evidence of what a successful silencing tactic the popular image of the angry feminist is.

grimbletart Wed 19-Sep-12 17:26:09

nickeldaisical: it was something similar that made me a feminist at the ripe old age of 5 in primary school. In PE the teacher would say "now would the boys please move the benches?".

On one occasion I piped up protesting that I was completely capable of moving a bench and was told that the boys were asked because boys were strong. FFS - we were 5 year olds, when there is no difference in strength, and we were taking a subject that was supposed to make us all stronger and fitter.

Of course I did not recognise my road to Damascus formally as feminism then - just that I was being told something untrue, unfair, unjust and to be challenged on every occasion. It's why I worked on my strength after that and why I made sure my daughters did. Consequently we are all quite a lot stronger than many men we know. No hanging around looking helpless in among female grimbles.grin

I know that males are, on average, stronger than females but I wonder how many females are unnecessarily physically enfeebled because they buy into this mantra as little ones. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy (sad)

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 17:47:33

Hi messy - How many threads in the FWR end up as bun fights? I'm certainly not silent as can be seen by the huge number of posts which I've made on my day off and I do enjoy debating, but think it is more productive when it remains civil.

I actually subscribe to the popular feminist image of the 'angry feminist' which was debated on another thread recently, hence, I use the term 'equalist'.

As we are all fighting for the same equality, why don't posters put forward their argument demonstrating that I have made an error of judgement in deciding to make a conscious choice for the word I use describing being a campaigner for women's rights?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 19-Sep-12 17:53:12

Hi Florence what is cOnfusing me about your posts is that no one on this thread is describing "angry" behaviour - no one swore at the car salesperson or shouted at the women asking for a man to fix a projector.

Thanks for your invitation but I am happy self defining as a feminist and am not bothered if you associate that word with "angry". If you wish to self define as equalist, go ahead.

florencejon Wed 19-Sep-12 17:56:48

grimble "I know that males are, on average, stronger than females but I wonder how many females are unnecessarily physically enfeebled because they buy into this mantra as little ones. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy (sad)"

You're right. It is sad, which is why I'm a very strong believer in the importance of sport for females. I hope that the Olympic spirit continues long after the games.

kim147 Wed 19-Sep-12 18:29:21

Thinking about the "projector / laptop" comment - "We need a man to do it" - I wonder what would have been the reaction if someone had said "Why?".

SaraBellumHertz Wed 19-Sep-12 18:29:47

My example relates to something a woman said to me. I posted on here at the time but was roundly told it wasn't sexist. Regardless it still rankles grin

I was interviewed for a senior position. The company had been interviewing all day. When I left I was escorted to the lifts by one of the directors. Whilst we were waiting a female employee approached, introduce herself and same if I was the directors wife.

The assumption that a woman couldn't possibly be attending for a board position really grated

Male colleague and I leaving the building separately, him six or seven paces ahead of me. Both dressed in suits. He says to the security man "goodnight"
The man says smartly "Goodnight sir"
I pass, I smile and say "goodnight"
The man snorts and says "Er - yeah. Goodnight love"

Lovecat Wed 19-Sep-12 19:14:38

grin Vezzie and Orangekipper - I too think it's absolutely tragic that attitudes don't appear to have moved on since whenever it was that Orange did martial arts as a child.

I am slightly flabbergasted that florence thinks it's a triumph/opportunity for my SEVEN YEAR OLD to educate a grown man, in 2012 out of his ignorant assumptions.

She won't be going to that martial arts class, I shall find another. What if, heaven forfend, she was a bit shit at it? I don't want to give the sexist tosser an opportunity to have his predjudices reinforced, tbh.

There was a woman in her 40's (same age as me) in my office who invariably, when a computer-related issue arose first thing in the morning (I worked odd hours, she was the office manager it was part of her job to sort such stuff out) would look around helplessly and go 'ooh, we'll wait for one of the boys to come in and ask them' - said boys being also in their thirties and forties. I gave up asking her in the end and found out the answers to such taxing questions as 'do you have a USB cable spare' myself...

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Wed 19-Sep-12 19:17:28

^My friends FIL won't close the curtains at home. He says it's "woman's work".*
That means he can't do it Kendodd. The correct response was "oh you mean it's too difficult for a man"

up thread about helping any gender.. I will admit when I see an older gentleman struggling with bags or doors etc.. I am slightly slower to help. Not because I don't know he needs the help but I am aware that by me a female helping him.. I might embarrass him hmm

grimbletart Wed 19-Sep-12 19:29:04

IdCalU: that rings a bell with me. Many years ago we were moving house; an uncle offered to help. Ta. Much appreciated. Except that he would insist on taking 'heavy' stuff off me e.g. full drawers. Then he puffed and faffed about as it was clearly a struggle (he was 20 years older than me). I could have done the job in half the time and half the grunting and other effort noises.

But I could not bring myself to take the heavy stuff off him - not because he had offered to help, but because I didn't want to 'demasculinise' him.

I was torn between irritation at his sexist "I'll lift that - it's too heavy for you" and some innate courtesy that meant I was unwilling to show him up as, well, pretty feeble really. Had it been another (older) woman I would not have hesitated.

And that's how we women - even the most feminist of us - can feed the "you Tarzan, me Jane" mythology sad

I'm not sure what 'area' of feminism I fall under and I know the opinions I hold are more 'watered down' than many of those who post in this section. However, I do enjoy lurking here, challenging my assumptions and reminding myself how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

The most obvious and saddening examples of sexism I have come across tend to be those perpetuated by other women. In brief; I have taken a 2 year career break to look after our children full time whilst my DH works away during the week. I will return to work, part time and self employed when the children are in school next September. (The plan is that DH will then be able to go part time too. Incidentally, we did this in reverse for 7 months when DS was a baby so it works both ways). I was self employed and earning a pretty good wage before I stopped work and foolishly imagined that everyone would assume that's what I'd return to. Depressingly however, women from my husband's side of the family now seem to assume I will now aspire to a "nice little job" earning a bit of pin money. I have had adverts for teaching assistant courses and other routes to minimum wage employment given to me along with suggestions such as "you'd be good working with children" (actually I dislike pretty much all children except my own, who are perfect and far superior to everyone else's obviously grin)

Thank God my DH and my own family (and, oddly considering his rather outdated views, my FIL) don't share these views, or I think I would go mad.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 19-Sep-12 19:47:11

Yeah, Sara, I'd go with that being sexist. Unconsciously sexist, maybe, but sexist.

florence you wrote
As we are all fighting for the same equality, why don't posters put forward their argument demonstrating that I have made an error of judgement in deciding to make a conscious choice for the word I use describing being a campaigner for women's rights?

Please do that on another thread. I started this one to discuss "unbelievably obvious examples of sexism" - as per the title.
Thread-drift happens, but you're suggesting a whole other conversation, best served by a new thread.


Yep, I think that was a sexist assumption to make. I'm sure it wasn't intended to be sexist, but as assumptions go, it betrays the attitude that men are interviewed for board positions, and women are married to those men. Which is sexist.

I think some of our problem comes from the fact that people feel that calling something sexist is mean somehow, (rather than descriptive). It can help to make it clear that you are labelling the behaviour/action rather than the person: Eg "the salesperson's refusal to acknowledge my presence and input was sexist." not "The salesperson was sexist." - but sadly people who are feeling defensive about being called out (even by implication) don't always get the nuance.

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Wed 19-Sep-12 21:16:54

Oh I'd like to ad a few commercials that grate on me, most o them are local so may not find youtube links. BUt this one is especially irritating.

1. Why si a grown woman who has had children trying to be the same size as a teenager who presumably not carried a baby and had her hip spread

2. Why is she wearing her daughter's jeans. This is what annoys me most about the commercial- I feel like being a mother there is someone always telling us our daughters are our "competition angry

Astr0naut Wed 19-Sep-12 21:25:54

And even MR AStronaut lets himself down at times.

He told me to "ask a man" to help me sort my car coolant out when I was in work the other day.

On the other hand, whenever DS sees an ironing board, he joyfully shouts: "I do th e ironing, just like Daddy!" So we're making progress.

Portofino Wed 19-Sep-12 22:04:56

Talking of Astronauts - we got the brochure today for the Belgian kids "holidays without their parents" thing - that my employer heavily subsidises. And dd looked past the cooking, pony riding thing and is going to Astronaut Camp where they get to build model rockets and go on all the space simulators. No-one is telling HER that women don't get to be astronauts. grin

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 19-Sep-12 22:18:48

Agree blackcurrants.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 19-Sep-12 23:00:59

In fact I will own up to sexist things I have said or assumptions I have made:

- frequently talk about other professionals in my industry as "he" rather than "he or she". "he" is the norm and I try and remember to say "he or she" but sometimes forget.
- got that logic puzzle about the surgeon wrong when I was young (the one That only works if the surgeon is a woman)
- am slightly surprised on my commuter train if the train driver's voice is a woman's.

Etc. But i try not to be defensive, just try to aware of it, watch out for it and try and improve it.

samandi Thu 20-Sep-12 09:14:30

grimbletart - I've experienced similar from older men and am beginning to think that they genuinely have no idea about women's physical strength. Drives me nuts sometimes. Especially when they complain about how much effort it all is!

TheDoctrine I think that's a fair list - I'm sure I share some of them, and have some more of my own. The thing about believing that the patriarchy is an overarching system is that we get to understand that it affects us too - not just as "women, the oppressed" - we're subject to the same obnoxious messaging about women's inferior status as men are, so it's perfectly logical that we'd be subject to some of the same beliefs (often unconscious). I think that's one of the reasons why consciousness-raising is so valuable.

I work in a very female-dominated environment so don't struggle with assumptions there, but I do talk about other drivers as 'he' - no idea why, I've been driving for (gulp) 18 years now; but still it comes out: "Why'd he need to cut me off? The pillock".
Needless to say, 50% of the time the driver is female.

This is a great thread. grin

Something I've been doing for a while now, is I always pay in restaurants and I always taste the wine if I can. We've got shared money, so it doesn't matter at all who pays, but it is fascinating to see how often they offer the card to DH automatically. The best ones will calmly put it in the middle of the table where we can both reach, or just say 'whose is this', but so many places just automatically hand it to him.

They do not get a tip. smile

I am still angry about Barclays telling me it was 'illegal' not to change my name when married, and subsequently the guy making jokes about how joint accounts are dodgy because your wife might spend all 'your' money. hmm angry

I have recently noticed that if I send out emails to people I don't know, or if people email me after I've written something, if I use my first name (identifiably female), I will almost always get emails to 'Ms LRD' (you think this is good, right?). But if I just use my initial and last name, I get emails promoting me flatteringly to 'Dr LRD'. It's true in my discipline there's a drop in the number of women who carry on from PhD to academia, compared to the number of men. But it really pisses me off! I've also noticed that when my male friends organize conferences, they get letters to 'Dr Hisname' and it's assumed they're the person in charge (as if!), whereas if women do it, lots of people will write assuming we're Prof So-and-so's secretary. hmm

Btw ... I am not suggesting Russia isn't a deeply misogynistic society, as it is ... but I am not remotely convinced that's a reason to love Pussy Riot!

I find the way Western media portrays the whole issue with Pussy Riot immensely patronizing, TBH. It irritates me that you have young, attractive, punk-y women doing vaguely feminist protests, and suddenly my facebook is alive with men approvingly patting them on the head.

HazleNutt Thu 20-Sep-12 13:10:10

LRD I was just about to complain about something similar.
If I just sign my business emails (to people I haven't met) with Firsname Lastname, almost always they write back: Dear Mr Lastname.
My first name is not very common and not obviously female, but instead of thinking that hm, I don't know if this person is a man or a woman, most people either assume I'm a man or they think it's safer to "upgrade" me to one.

That's so annoying.

But then, when I had a job where I sent out a lot of emails to people whose gender I didn't know, my (male) boss told me men will be offended if referred to as 'Dear Mr/Ms Smith' but women won't mind 'Mr Smith', so better to go with that option. hmm I had blanked that out of my memory until you mentioned similar, but I assume someone somewhere is peddling this as 'etiquette' or something.

UptoapointLordCopper Thu 20-Sep-12 13:16:18

I get called "miss" by my students, despite the fact that I tell them at the start they can either address me by my first name or by Dr Lastname. My male colleagues are all addressed as Dr superior-male-person. angry

seeker Thu 20-Sep-12 13:20:51

It's the same with babies. I read an report of an experiment that showed that people were offended if you mistook their boy for a girl- but notthe other way round. So it's safer to say "he" if you're not sure.

It's all about male being the norm, and female being the abberation.

GoldenPrimrose123 Thu 20-Sep-12 13:24:43

In a previous job, I was asked to cover reception for an hour, as the person who worked there was off sick. I was usually happy to do this, and had already done it many times. On this particular day, however, my office was short-staffed, and I was extremely busy, so I asked if a temp from another office could do it. I was in my early 30s, had a degree and a reasonable amount of experience. The temp was about eighteen, no degree, very little experience, but he was male. I was told, "Dont be silly, we can't put a man on reception!" and was given this look shock

LRD I read a brilliant article somewhere (can't find it now) about waiters being trained to leave the bill in 'switzerland' - the neutral zone riiight in the middle of the table. It's not always right in the middle, over here (depends where/how you're sitting too, right?) but certainly I rarely see a waiter hand a bill directly 'to' someone - it's always left tactfully near an edge.

Of course, I tend to eat out with friends, rarely with DH (one of us is at home!) so perhaps I'm just not au fait with swanky dining dynamics! chance would be a fine thing

wintersnight Thu 20-Sep-12 13:51:04

Tandems seem to have become really popular recently and I have never seen one with a woman on the front and a man on the back. The same is true of pillion passengers on motorbikes.

ByTheWay1 Thu 20-Sep-12 14:15:53

I used to work in an old-boys network type of government department.... we had to sit an old fashioned promotion board - I was in computing and the only woman to sit the board....

colleagues responses:

"Never mind - if you don't pass you can always go down the other route"
"other route?!?!"
"Yep go home and have babies"

"They have quotas you know, so you're bound to pass"

"You can always sleep with the board members"

"remember to bat your eyelashes"

damned if I passed and damned if I didn't.... I did pass (and THEN I went home and had babies ;p )

I'm another 'heavy lifting' one. Happens all the time (I'm short and fairly slim). I was at a garden centre last year with DD in a sling on my back. I had loaded bags of compost onto a trolley, paid and was loading them into the car boot. An older man came rushing over to help as he 'couldn't possibly stand by and watch me struggle' (I wasn't) and insisted on doing it, huffing and puffing with effort, despite my perfectly polite 'thanks but no thanks'. How he thought I'd managed to get them on the trolley etc I don't know.
It was the same when I worked in a garden centre (a few years ago) = I was skinny and had very short hair and people always assumed I was a 14yo boy when they asked me to lift stuff then tried to stop me when they realised I was female.

More recently I was helping a friend move house and another friend was moving boxes the end of the truck one he announced was a two man or three woman job. I unloaded and moved it on my own.

I think most women are stronger than they and most other people give credit for.

OneHandFlapping Thu 20-Sep-12 14:18:45

I have been guilty of sexist assumptions - to my utter mortification, having been on the receiving end many times.

My nadir was some years ago saying to my new American neighbour, "Oh, have you moved here because of your husband's job?"

"No," she replied, "I'm the UK Finance Director Of Coca Cola!"

Coca Cola FD 1, me 0!

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 14:25:18

grin at loading.
i'm a bookseller, so do a lot of heavy lifting.
and it makes me laugh when a man of the same build assumes i can't lift the boxes, when they're clearly not booksellers, so don't have the experience.

having said that, the need to challenge these stereotypes made it very difficult for me to make other people lift when i was pregnant.

nickeldaisical - me too, people often didn't realise I was pg with DS1, ask me ot lift something and quickly back track when they realised. I found being pg a bugger for lifting mainly because of the bump getting in the way.

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 14:48:43

I felt like I had to say "I can't lift because I'm pregnant" just in case they thought I felt "i can't lift because i'm a feeble little girlie"

black - oh, that's nice to know. Good for "switzerland". grin

nickel - oh, god, nothing funnier than watching someone who doesn't know how books weigh trying to lift them!

HazleNutt Thu 20-Sep-12 14:57:19

The physical strenght is a funny thing. Yes, on average men are stronger, but that does not mean all men are stronger than all women. confused
I teach Bodypump classes as a hobby. I can handle more weight than most men. So you have new (male) participants coming - I always try to explain that this class is very different, even if they go to the gym and lift weights, we don't do 3x15 reps, we do 800; they should go easy, just take light weights for the first class etc etc.

Do they believe me? Ha. "Silly woman", I can almost hear them thinking, "what do you know". So they will load the bar up with my weights and usually die after a minute. Obviously I won't yell "told you so!" but I am tempted..

I know we can lift heavy weights, and I too hate asking for help. However there is one "women's problem" with lifting things that I have learnt about recently to my cost (I'm in for surgery next week) and that is the effect on the pelvic floor. So although I am all in favour of equality, I would just say watch your pelvic floor, there are a lot of people on the prolapse threads who like me have been merrily shifting heavy furniture, boxes, bags of compost etc but will be unable to do so ever again and it is more common than you think because people are reluctant to talk about it. Sorry, slight thread hijack, but it is important to be aware.

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Thu 20-Sep-12 15:11:57

I get called "miss" by my students, despite the fact that I tell them at the start they can either address me by my first name or by Dr Lastname. My male colleagues are all addressed as Dr superior-male-person.

Yes Uptoapoint this happened to me as well. It was one of the most demoralising things about my job and persisted no matter what I said.

Along with lots of other similar factors (male lecturers getting to teach interesting classes for which I was orders of magnitude better qualified, while I was stuck with 'biology for dullards' term after term), it contributed to my resignation.

No, I've heard that. You can do something nasty if you're a bloke, too, but I forget what it is - you end up having to wear a support bandage thingy, though.

My GP pointed this out to my dad because he insists on lifting heavy stuff to show he is stronger than his wife and children, and sadly now we are grown up this is no longer true!

But good warning ... lift with your knees not your back; split into smaller loads if you can, etc. etc.

Tamoo Thu 20-Sep-12 15:16:08

My friend's husband won't order pints for women. He reckons it "looks bad" and "women shouldn't drink pints".

Haven't been out with them for a long while.

Libra Thu 20-Sep-12 15:19:38

DH is always handed the credit card back because it has my title on it - Professor - and therefore because he is both male and older than me this is assumed to be him. I have even had waiters assuming I am trying to muscle in and take over 'his' card when I put my hand out for the machine to put the PIN in. Tutting that I know 'his' PIN.

My favourite was turning up to a bed and breakfast that I had booked using my title - I was at a conference. The owner of the b&b (a woman) was very confused at my appearance and finally confessed that 'since I was supposed to be a man she had decided to give me a double room because men needed bigger beds'. I assured her that this was not a problem and moved into my big man-sized bed!

captainmummy Thu 20-Sep-12 15:23:34

Tamoo - talking to a neighbour about going to the pub and having a pint of beer - her daughter (about 14 at the time) open-mouthed said 'girls don't drink beer! I was a bit shock as she came from an all-female-adults household

HazleNutt Thu 20-Sep-12 15:24:09

I remember a story here where the poster tried to book a room for her and Dh, they were both doctors. There was quite a confusion - so you need 3 rooms, for Dr Smith, other Dr Smith and yourself?
-no, two, for Dr Smith and Dr Smith
- but where will you sleep then?

skyrocketsinflight Thu 20-Sep-12 15:25:11

a conversation with my PIL to be about previous jobs i have done.

Me- I ran a security team in a nightclub for 2 years.

FIL- What you ticked people of lists and stuff, not chucking them out

Me- Well it was me that ran the teams so i had to do everything, I had 15-20 staff

MIL- But you would have got the men to chuck people out (laughing) do you know self defence (more laughing)

Me- It would depend on who got their first and yes im trained in various methods of restraint and have done martial arts and boxing

PIL- confused

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 15:36:50

I knwo what you mean about prolapse and pelvic floor WhoKnows
I spend a long time making sure that i've tightened all the relevant muscles before I lift anything since DD (i'm sure it happened automatically before!)
thankfully, I do belly dancing too, and am very aware of muscle movement when manual handling (who'd've thought dancing and manual handling were related!)

LRD - is it hernia? I know that one, don't know of any others. but I think women can have hernias too.

It's not just lifting with your knees, but making sure that you control the weight with not just your knees, arms, but with your whole abdomen. It's kind of tensing everything, but not really tensing. Taking the strain, I suppose grin

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 15:37:12

I always drink pints.
except when it's wine (i'm not that hardcore! grin )

Yes, hernias for men. I've always been very careful with my back when lifting, but was less aware of the pelvic floor issues, mine used to be very good from doing Pilates, but I got out of the habit after the DCs were born.

Anyway, I like a pint too. Luckily the prolapse nurse says to lift nothing heavier than a half full kettle for a few weeks, I reckon a pint will fit the bill nicely.

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 15:48:56

every day, WhoKnows - you have to do them every day until you die.

i have skipped a couple of times, and really noticed the difference.

UptoapointLordCopper Thu 20-Sep-12 16:12:55

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor - our department is quite OK with distributing courses, at least I haven't had to do anything I don't want to yet... But this year's mission is to bloody get them to NOT call me "miss".

According to the BBC a "female British soldier" has had a baby

I reckon a pint will fit the bill nicely. So sorry you've got to have surgery, nickel, but that did make me grin - nice one!

I know a couple who decided to change one of their names upon marriage. He took her name. She is a university professor so they are Doctor and Mr Bloggins. She says when they go to hotels people often indicate that they 'thought we were going to be two married men.'

They are they only couple I know where the man has changed his name to match the woman's name, not the other way around or some hyphenating variant thereof. It caused problems with his family, who saw it as him 'rejecting' them. If she'd taken his name I doubt anyone would have inferred rejection of her family.

Might be, nickel, I am very hazy.

I drink pints and my dad - bless him, for all his faults - always brought me up to do so. From an inappropriately early age. So I can yak on about real ale with the best of them.

DH drinks real ale on occasion, but also likes disgusting stuff like peach-flavoured beer.

You can guess how often people come back from the bar and hand us the wrong drinks, even though we've just said them to whoever's getting the round. hmm

libra - that is so rude! shock Have you got a good standard reply?

HipHop I noticed that, too - not a "British soldier" or anything, nooo, we must make clear that it's a female soldier, because ALL soldiers are MALE, innit? Except for the abberations.

If the headline had read "A British Soldier had a baby at Camp Bastion" do you honestly think people would have gone "OMG a man had a baby!" rather than work it out? grin

black - DH hasn't changed his name but regularly claims it's his name when booking stuff. But then, his is a right bugger for English people so it's not purely a lovely feminist gesture.

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 16:25:57

because you're not allowed to use Doctor with any other name except that which you had when you got the doctorate.
so, if you were Ms Long when you got the doctorate, you can only be Dr Long. If you got married to Mr Short, and you wanted to take his name, you can be Mrs Short, but not Dr Short.

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 16:26:58

blackcurrants - that's refreshing. smile

Oooh, I did not know that, nickel. Crikey.

I know loads of people who got their doctorate in one name, got married and changed their names, and still use 'Dr' ... are they technically not allowed to do that?!

HazleNutt Thu 20-Sep-12 16:28:59

Nickel I didn't know that. So if you get a doctorate after marriage and taking his name, you might get divorced but you're stuck with the name?

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 16:32:06

i'm pretty sure that's right, Hazle - you'd be stuck with the Dr Marriedname.
but you can probably apply to get it changed (at the University rather than the government)

It's because it's earned rather than just a title.

MummysHappyPills Thu 20-Sep-12 16:35:36

I could come up with so many tales of what has happened to me at med school. But I can't be bothered to type them out as they'd just make me too angry!

ATailOfTwoKitties Thu 20-Sep-12 16:41:11

How I wish I could link to the email DH has just had from Sainsbury's online shopping:

'Geoff, feel as Good as you Look in Tu clothing!

5 ways to flatter your figure

Look 1: Fit 'n' flare

This style of dress suits every body shape! The top half skims over your curves without clinging, while the gently gathered waist creates a gorgeous A-line silhouette that flatters your tummy and thighs....'

can't wait to see him in that lot!

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 16:43:26

i'm trying to find a sodding reference to the rule.

I found this on netdoctors, though...

"The only legal problem they ran into was when they were taking whatever licensing examinations (2 female dentists & 1 female physician). The name they put on the examination had to be their legal name & the one on the official ID that allowed them to enter the examination. have to allow enough time for your DMV to get your ID to match your legal name, if you choose to change.

However...there are many female prescribers who do change their name after licensing. I know because of their DEA #. That # always begins with either an A or B & is followed by the first letter of your last name at the time you apply for it. Many female prescribers have a DEA # that will begin with BL, for example (her maiden or previously married name @ the time of licensure was Lee perhaps) then later she married or remarried & the new name is Smith....but the DEA # never stays BL. can graduate with whatever name you want & change it at any time you want. It can be at the time of marriage, 1 yr, 10yrs or never.

I married while in school & changed my name at that time, so I graduated & became licensed with my married name & our kids have our name."

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 16:44:17

oh, go on Mummys - that's what this thread is for!

Tail [snarf]

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 20-Sep-12 16:45:18

Blackcurrants yes I honestly think there would be a moment of dissonance or double take in the brain that went, "a man had a BABY? Oh no, hang on, the soldier was female." Bit like the surgeon-is-female logic problem I mentioned elsewhere.

However it probably would be better NOT to use female as from those moments of dissonance, we learn!

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 16:45:25

ah, it can be done but it's a faff (like all name changes i suppose!)

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 16:47:07

and here

this is just medical doctors, though, I haven't found other doctorates yet.
(i hav a feeling the rule might apply to other doctorates)

atail that is hilarious! grin

nickel - oh, sorry, I'm an idiot, that would make more sense. I guess you have to be very careful about doctors and fake identities.

I was just getting fed up because my mum changed her name after she got her doctorate, and I get annoyed because she never uses it, so they get letters addressed to 'Dr and Mrs' instead of 'Dr and Dr', and it really annoys me. But it's possible she has a point.

(I will refrain from muttering she shouldn't have changed her bloody name!)

MummysHappyPills Thu 20-Sep-12 16:53:15


1st week with the surgeons. They kept us in til very late every night. Not because there was anything to do. Just because that's what they had to do at medical school. Last day one of them gave me the choice to go home or see another patient. I said I would go home if that's alright, because I had not got home before dd was in bed one night that week. His reply "Welcome to medicine..."

Few days later in theatre a registrar who was on placement from Eastern Europe heard I had a daughter. He asked me what I was doing there. I asked him what I meant. He said I should be at home looking after my daughter. His wife stays at home and looks after his children like a good mother. I said she was home with her Dad who she loves just as much as me. He said it's not the same.

His poor wife and kids. Never mind that he has dragged his family half way across Europe for his career and is probably never home to even see them.

It was very telling that all the consultants on that take were going through divorces.

nickeldaisical Thu 20-Sep-12 16:54:10

I would be annoyed at my mum doing that too.

I've just been looking on apostgrad forum, and someone said that they rang the registrar or births, marriages and deaths and they said yo ucan change your name even if your title is DR, but you have to have a good paper trail. (and others saying it's bad to because you'd lose your reputation and searches for papers etc etc)

but, she should use Dr and Dr is that's what she is.

quietlysuggests Thu 20-Sep-12 16:57:34

Oh well as a med student you will have this to look forward to
Relative or Nurse says to patient "well did you see the doctor?"
Answer "well I saw the lady doctor"

Aagh, its so common. Doctor = man (obviously_
Woman standing at bottom of bed explaining the surgery she is going to perform = Lady Doctor (ie the woman who is here now, the Real Doctor will be along later)

Drives me potty.
Seen mostly in people over 70 and in any other age if they are badly educated themselves.

Oh, good lord, mummy that is awful.

Can you make a complaint? Surely what he said is really, seriously not on?

nickel - yes, I wish she'd use it. It's relevant to what she does (she's a tutor in her subject) and she wonders why she doesn't get much respect, but she won't use it. Mind you there's a world of things I could say about my mum and how much she's been crushed down by things like that, so I pick my battles. sad

I'm not (just) being patronizing here, btw, she honestly isn't very happy, it's not that she's a perfectly content not-very-feminist type, she's an unhappy woman resisting feminism because it scares her.

UptoapointLordCopper Thu 20-Sep-12 16:59:09

Told my FIL that I don't like to be addressed as Mrs DHlastname and that my friends address me as my-firstname and the rest of the world can call me Dr my-lastname. Isn't that obvious? That's what happens to male PhD holders, is it not?

amigababy Thu 20-Sep-12 17:13:38

A long time ago I was a very young audit clerk, studying for accountancy exams, and on the point of getting married. The male FD at a company we were auditing asked if I would be giving up work to be a housewife. I politely said no, I aimed to qualify as an accountant - he was adamant that I would find out that marriages worked better if the wife stayed at home. I just bit my tongue - no choice, i was half his age, and he was the client.

Skipping on about 6 years I was then running an accounts department in a commercial environment, and had a vacancy for a purchase ledger clerk. There were lots of applicants, including, guess who, this FD, who had recently been made redundant. Sadly I didn't think from his application, that he was suitable for the position advertised smile

quietly arrgh that must be a bloody nightmare! Have a friend who is a surgeon, early 30s, yes, young-looking (damn her, she's barely aged in the 9 years I've known here.. not like me!) but the one standing there in scrubs talking to the patient about cutting out their cancers.... She says if she had a quid for every time she's been called "nurse" and asked "Nurse, when do I see the surgeon" her DCs would be going to private school!

slug Thu 20-Sep-12 17:28:48

Blackcurrants, the male half of a couple I know well changed his name to hers when they got married. He took great pleasure in the confusion from banks etc when he tried to change his name on accounts.

During my teaching years I would make a point of telling students not to call me Miss. The classroom conversation would go:

Me: "Yes?"

Presumably the not changing your name to a different one from that with which you got your doctorate is the same for men too? So it's not strictly sexist, just likely to affect women more than men. As with so many things.

captainmummy Thu 20-Sep-12 17:29:47

When I worked at a fuddy-duddy office in London, one of the women there told me that when she first started there, there was a rule that once married, women could not work 5 days a week - they had to work only 4. To look after hubby, you see. She still never worked on fridays, regardless. She told me that in those days it was common for married women to be chucked out of their jobs straightaway, so the office was actually very forward thinking!

This is the same office which - when photocopiers came in, so not that long ago - had someone whose job it was to check the original against the photocopy, word-for-word, for errors!

I was listening to a Radio 4 documentary the other day about family life in Italy and particularly why the birthrate has fallen so low there. One of the participants said that it is still common for women starting a job to have to sign an undated resignation letter to be kept on file for when she gets pregnant. No wonder the birthrate has plummeted.

samandi Thu 20-Sep-12 17:35:39

But then, when I had a job where I sent out a lot of emails to people whose gender I didn't know, my (male) boss told me men will be offended if referred to as 'Dear Mr/Ms Smith' but women won't mind 'Mr Smith', so better to go with that option.

I'd imagine many women would mind very much!

Herrena Thu 20-Sep-12 17:40:53

I struck a small blow today....

DCs and I were at the local softplay, where they have lots of themed rooms (supermarket, vet surgery, construction site etc). A small girl was bouncing up and down saying 'I'm a man building a wall!' and I told her that she could also be a woman building a wall. She looked puzzled yet thoughtful.

Hopefully she will post on a thread like this in 20 years' time noting the incident as her introduction to feminism smile

Nice one, Herrena smile

CaptainWentworth Thu 20-Sep-12 18:34:06

Is that really true about the doctorate name thing? confused I got married last year and after much thinking decided to change my name to my husband's (and maybe I made the wrong choice but I'm not flaming changing it back now!). I got my Ph.D 2 years prior to that and have been calling myself Dr marriedname- bit worried now! I'm sure some of the women in my old department (chemists) used their married names too. I know about the publications thing but thought I would be ok since I no longer work in the field.

In fact one thing that swayed me towards changing my name is the fact that DH is a medical Dr so I liked the thought of us being the same. Also that 'Dr Jones?' scene with Indy and his dad in Indiana Jones blush

Actually I'm now almost finished my accountancy training amigababy and I want to qualify in my new name to avoid confusion later.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 20-Sep-12 21:54:42

I don't see how the Dr thing can be true for PhDs. Dr isn't a protected title in the UK. If the awarding institution wants it could decide only to confirm awards under the names they were obtained under. But that doesn't mean you can't use it, only that you'd have to explain to people who checked.

Bookbrain Thu 20-Sep-12 22:04:13

slug, my dad was a primary school teacher and the kids used to call him Miss smile

Can I mention the time I arrived at a new office to join my new team, as a software engineer, and the Receptionist (on being asked where could I find the x team) asked me "Are you their new secretary?".

Smellslikecatspee Thu 20-Sep-12 23:09:16

I have a unisex name, is that the right way to say it?
One of those where it sounds the same but spelt different dependant on gender

Every time I sign up/ in to anything I will later get the paper work etc. addressed to Mr Unisex name, I have ranted about this before, I’ve been puffed at, well it is a male name too. .

I get that, what I don’t get is most of the time I will have spoken to them, clearly female, spelt my name out etc. And why is the default here to male anyway?

We get the pint/ half pint thing regularly, and was out with some of OHs work colleagues, asked what we wanted to drink, Cider (as we were in a cider famous area grin heaven), person came back with a pint and a half.

Because my hands are too small, being girl hands, to hold a pint glass, I shit you not, this was the reason given. I didn’t challenge him one of the other men did calling him a tightwad before I noticed.

Same with the wine as people have said above.

The common assumption that the reason we’re not married is because he hasn’t asked me. .

Normally asked by women and accompanied by a head tilt, Oh doesn’t OH want to get married?

I used to say oh yes, he does but I want to do xyz etc.

Now I say yes he does and?
If I’m in a good mood I might say yes he does but I’m holding out for someone richer/prettier/ taller. .

The general shock that I can not only cook, sew and knit I can also change a plug, regularly fix washing machine etc., change a tire even though I don’t drive. Apparently my interest and ability in baking means that I can’t put a wardrobe together, fix the boiler or be informed about current affairs.

OH and I have a company together, I do a lot of the day to day stuff, mainly because OH travels a lot, recently had to use an new accountant for various reasons, went along to sign some paper work, it all need the company directors signature, all of this was presented to OH, first time fine, the co. name is a play on his surname.

We smiled and OH went oh no Smells is the MD, he then did it again and again and again. He also found reason to comment, he said that he hadn’t encountered this situation before, fair enough, what was annoying was him going on and on about how odd it was and did other people not see it as odd and he couldn’t work with his wife.

I did reply at that and point out that OH did not work with me he worked for me (honestly we work together, but sigh) and then carried on to say that I saw nothing odd in it as my Father had worked for my Mother.

Thankfully our usual accountant is now back, he may be an unpleasant rude git, but he’s not in the least sexist about it, rude to everyone.

In my real job, we have a 80/20 female/male split in the team, none of the men have line management responsibility recently went to a conference with one of them where male colleague was given all bills etc to pay all these had to be passed to me as he is too junior to have company credit card. All question were directed to him even though I have ‘Senior’ in my job title and we all had our titles on our IDS, even though, several of these people will have meet me several times before.

One particular delight wanted to ask a techie question, did random small chat with me while colleague was at the bar. Now this person knows that to have the title Senior you have to be very knowledgeable about the techie stuff, he also knows that all the seniors in the team are female, confirmed in the small talk. So he was either being a sexist twat or taking delight in highlighting someone’s lack of knowledge.

And for some good things, when my Sis and I went away recently Sis is married and has 2 DC, older DN was asked at the school gate who was babysitting them. DN looked a bit confused and said no one. was asked well who’s looking after you while Mummy is away? BIL said DNs face was so very confused, and he replied Daddy is, but that’s not babysitting.

Different DN aged 5 stated to some of her GPs friends that she wants to be either a solider or a or a farmer or a race car driver, was told by GPs friend that girls can’t be race car drivers,. She snorted at him and told him not to be so silly, of course girls can be race car drivers, girls can do everything. My Sis said she felt she should tell her off for being rude but when the kid is right shes right

Smellslikecatspee Thu 20-Sep-12 23:17:59

Sorry. .

think I might be a bit more annoyed by this than I realised. . .

That would drive me mad!

Skimty Thu 20-Sep-12 23:42:10

My MIL came to visit us the other day and both my children walked in with stickers from school/nursery.
MIL: Oh, DS, did you get that sticker for being so clever? Oh, DD, did you get that sticker for being so pretty...
But, IL related sexism probably doesn't even count..

IdCalUaCuntBtUvNtGotTheDepth Fri 21-Sep-12 03:08:23

Dh and I have had the bartender give us the wrong drinks too grin. I can't help it if dh drinks cat's piss and I drink proper beer.

Best one ever was in Germany. I ask for directions (in German) and the man totally turns and gives the directions to dh. Blanks me. Gives several minutes of elaborate directions to nodding dh. Who understands fuck all no German.

sashh Fri 21-Sep-12 04:09:51

* Wigeon*

Of course that is sexist, but in the example given it was not clear tat that had happened.

That can be a problem the other way round. One of my uni lecturers used to get a lot of things referring to him as Ms or Miss.

And I want to give your DN a hug.

Can I recomend you all eat at Chiquito - they bring the bill to whoever asks. Or if they are not sure they put the bill in the middle of the table. They also offer me the wine because I'm the one who orders it.

Incident 1:
After getting my PhD, I changed the title on my Bank card to Dr. Was in the supermarket buying groceries and handed card to checkout woman to pay. She looked at it and said, "Oh, you can't use your husband's card."

Incident 2:
I was explaining to a friend that I shared a primary school class with a boy who had the male version of my name - cue much hilarity from the other kids who liked to mix us up. Friend said, "that must have been a pain for you both, but of course much much worse for him, really psychologically damaging."

Incident 3:
Being sent this by email in my (single) mid-30s: 
“Women are like apples on trees, the best ones are on the top of the tree. The men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and don't want to get hurt. Instead, they just get the rotten apples from the ground that aren't so good but easy. So, the apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality they are amazing. They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who's brave enough to climb all the way to the top becuase they value quality.”

seeker Fri 21-Sep-12 06:58:42

I remember somebody came looking for me at work once. He said to a colleague "I'm looking for that woman with the red hair who sometimes sits in the manager's office"

My team never let me forget that one!

MousyMouse Fri 21-Sep-12 08:05:20

my office.
big company.
the is not a single job that couldn't be done by either gender, but still the management board is mainly male, the department managers are all male with one exeption. secretaries are all female with one exeption....

HazleNutt Fri 21-Sep-12 08:10:39

Seeker grin

This keeps happening, mostly with a bit older people but not always:
Me and DH chat with another couple we haven't met. They ask DH all about his work. Oh so you're an engineer? Working for that company, yes we know it, very interesting. Hazle, you must be very proud.
After 20 minutes: oh, by the way, and Hazle, do you do anything as well, or not?
Me: yes, I'm in the management of the same company.
- Oh..[silence]
Nobody ever says that DH must be very proud. Although he is.

BlingLoving Fri 21-Sep-12 08:22:15

Thought of another funny one.

Dh and I leaving for trip away. I am driving. 3 yr old niece says, "are YOU driving?!". Completely shocked. I told her yes I was because I am a better long distance driver! I hope she remembers!

BartletForTeamGB Fri 21-Sep-12 10:35:37

You can use whatever name you want when you are a medical or PhD doctor. Changing your name with the GMC is very easy (just sent in my marriage certificate) so I could be Dr Married-name, although my first and second degrees are in Dr Maiden-name. As for a PhD and publications, I do have my name on my CV as "Firstname Bartlet AllTheLettersAfterMyName" then below that in smaller letters "formerly Firstname Maiden-name" so it all matches up.

nickeldaisical Fri 21-Sep-12 10:40:30

when i was in the hospital, post-birth, i assumed everyone in blue was a midwife and every one in green was a doctor. (my main doctor (person in green) was a woman. )
i have no idea how many weren't.

nickeldaisical Fri 21-Sep-12 10:43:38

re: the doctorate - pleas e see my last post on the subject - i was wrong, you can change it, but you have to do it officially, not just start calling yourself Dr marriedname. smile

nickeldaisical Fri 21-Sep-12 10:44:19

(when i say officially, i mean inform the relevant bodies)

enimmead Fri 21-Sep-12 12:30:26

Why is it loads of men seem to think they have the right to say something to you when you're walking by them on the street? A man yesterday was on the other side of the pavement and just said "Hello, love" as I was walking along minding my own business. I don't feel the need to say "Hello, darling" to every bloke I see. Do men do that to other men confused

vezzie Fri 21-Sep-12 12:31:50

housework housework housework



that is all

meddie Fri 21-Sep-12 12:47:37

My mother. comments in the last week include

'you're his mum, dont let him go out looking scruffy, you should iron his clothes for him' (regarding my 23 year old son)

You know your problem (on being single by choice) you need to stop being so bloody clever, men don't like clever women, just because you can change a wheel doesn't mean you should, act a bit daft, smile a lot, before you know it you will get a new boyfriend.

I,ve took some of your washing as I had none to do, (my sons, not my daughters incidentally, though both of them are adults and they know how to use a machine).

'Lucy asked for a new mouse for her computer for her birthday, I got her one with only 2 buttons on so it wont be hard to use' (shes a graduate from a red brick uni, it drives her mental)

If we didn't laugh it would make us cry.

grimbletart Fri 21-Sep-12 13:44:45

Quietly said *Oh well as a med student you will have this to look forward to
Relative or Nurse says to patient "well did you see the doctor?"
Answer "well I saw the lady doctor"*

The fact that there are now more women in med. school than men has just made me have this fantasy...

Relative or nurse says to a patient "well did you see the doctor?"
Answer "Well I saw the gentleman doctor."

As I said, just a fantasy. grin

HazleNutt Fri 21-Sep-12 13:48:35

ha meddie I've had the same - "don't be so bloody smart and capable, act helpless and dumb, that's the way to catch a man. "

Possibly, yes. But what the heck will I then do with a man who wants a fragile flower for a wife? He'll run like wind once I show my true colours.

Just thought of another one, a couple of weeks back DS's nursery school teachers (both women as it happens) come round for our home visit. DH was working, but I did mention that they would see him the next morning as he drops DS off for his first day.

I get told "the PTA are always looking for bright enthusiastic young things like you to get involved, perhaps you might consider joining"

The next morning DH gets told "we love to see the Dad's. Did you know they are looking for new (school) governors? Perhaps you might put yourself forward"


drjohnsonscat Fri 21-Sep-12 13:59:51

The Today Programme. All of it.

I listen to r5 breakfast instead. Surprisingly good.

drjohnsonscat Fri 21-Sep-12 14:01:35

Not read the whole thread but shock at goatbong's card.

enimmead Fri 21-Sep-12 14:10:22

drjohnsonscat - agree with you about Today programme. Only heard 1 woman being interviewed this morning. And she was an actress. The rest was all men being interviewed.

Oh yes! And it's SUCH a shame because the Today programme could (and should!) be so good. I used to love it but then one day I started counting.

Do I remember something about The Today Project where people actually counted the number of women, and reported it regularly? I wonder if that's still going on.

drjohnsonscat Fri 21-Sep-12 14:49:11

Also this is where the Today programme really is made worse by being so male. IMHO all things are worse by not having women in them <discuss> but the Today programme is particularly noticeable because they are by and large the same age and style of man (though the introduction of Evan and Justin has helped). So stuffy and think they are being witty when they say one slightly off-script thing and then they all chortle together.

Whereas I have been known to laugh out loud at r5. They have a male and female anchor and the woman has carved out her own personality in the show. The men acknowledge and make space for her and vice versa. It's normal but nice.

enimmead Fri 21-Sep-12 15:10:46
issimma Fri 21-Sep-12 15:44:03

Similar to idcal. In morocco, I did all the talking as I speak fluent French. Without fail, responses and further questions would be directed to DH who doesn't speak any French. Rather frustrating.

Wigeon Fri 21-Sep-12 15:47:57

Ok, wise women, help me come up with a pithy facebook comment for a (childless) facebook acquaintance who has just posted this:

"My 3 year old nephew is clearly a feminist. One of the bedtime stories he chose for me to read to him tonight was Princess Smarty Pants. Right on, dude"

Huh? Surely in this day and age no one should even raise an eyebrow at a little boy choosing a book in which the protagonist is a girl?!

All I have come up with is "Funny that. In my household when my DD chooses Thomas the Tank Engine, or Robinson Crusoe, or Oliver who was small but mighty, we just call that "reading". Any better gentle yet witty put downs?!

drjohnsonscat Fri 21-Sep-12 15:56:34

wigeon I think that's actually the last of the taboos. Letting boys see girls as normal. Letting them do what girls do. Letting them dress like girls if they want to.

When your acquaintance doesn't notice will be the moment it's all been done and dealt with. Sadly we are nowhere near. All we are dealing with is "women's issues" which leaves men the option of seeing them as belonging to that weird and slightly lesser sect of people who you definitely would not want to be mistaken for. Biggest humiliation in the world - a man behaving like or being taken for a woman.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 21-Sep-12 15:59:18

Hmm I dunno Widgeon Princess Smartypants is often recommended on here as a feminist option so she might not have meant anything by it!

Greythorne Fri 21-Sep-12 15:59:52

I have a friend who told me just this week that her husband would divorce her if she encouraged her son to do ballet.

drjohnsonscat Fri 21-Sep-12 16:03:27

I would have to divorce him just for saying that.

I knew I really liked one of the school mums when she brought her 2 yo DS to a party in a princess dress, much to her husband's dismay. He's a lovely little boy and I thought it was delightful to see him want to copy his big sister and be in that gang, without any sense of it being unacceptable. Lessons were a) girls are copyable and cool and b) I can do and be who I want.

elvisaintdead Fri 21-Sep-12 21:32:16

DH is a sahd and I am sick to death of comments. 1) People assume he was made redundant and I had to go to work - people don't seem to be able to comprhend that this is a choice we both wanted and decided upon from our own free will (even my own family don't get it) 2) When DH does my daughters hair in plait and people get all amazed and comment about how well he is doing - would peple compliment a sahm on putting a plait in her daughters hair? 3) People are always amazed that he does the lions share of the housework saying stuff like "you have him well trained" - he is at home full time while I work of course he does the lions share as did I when I was a sahm. I could go on but I will start to bore people....

Also it annoys the hell out of me when we pay in restaurants I almost always pay as the sole earner, I leave my card on the bill, the card that has the name "MRS E A Dead" and yet everytie without fail they hand the terminal to DH for the PIN....Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

LastMangoInParis Fri 21-Sep-12 21:38:25

Wigeon your Fb friend might not be at the helm of feminist thinking or imaginative parenting, but it sounds as if she's doing her best and moving in the right direction. Why the need for a 'put down'? hmm

nailak Sat 22-Sep-12 02:03:58

people compliment me when i put fish plait in my daughters hair....

I have also complimented other mums on their plaiting skills.

BoffinMum Sat 22-Sep-12 07:37:14

Iran appear to have cut degree places for women by 50% on certain university courses (eg mechanical engineering) and is expecting them to do things like art instead, or stay home and have babies. Doesn't get more sexist than that.

nickeldaisical Sat 22-Sep-12 10:38:25

it depends on the type of plait.

bog standard three tail plait, i wouldn't compliment anyone! but a french plait, yes, i would compliment it and ask them to do one on me

Schnarkle Sat 22-Sep-12 10:41:07

Last week I was opening a new business bank account.

Bank: So you want to open a business account, I have forms here to fill out
Me: Yes thanks, I'll fill them now so will I?
Bank: Oh you can take them with you, we need all signatories to sign the forms
Me: That's ok it's only me.
Bank: Your the owner? We need explained slowly as I clearly look dumb as pigshit everyone that puts money into the company to sign the forms.
Me: Yes, it's just me.
They agree it would be better to fill out form there and then

Bank: Oh your married? does he not need to sign, we need all signatories on a business bank account to sign the forms.
Bank: Are you the sole owner?
Me:confused Yes. It's. Just. Me.

So i got the bank account opened, the walk back to the lift was a rather interesting odd conversation on their side about girl power and women doing it for themselves. Would a man have had the same reactions? Not in a million years.

nickeldaisical Sat 22-Sep-12 10:44:03

<coughs> yet another reason why i didn't change my name.
i know it's sexist, but having Ms as a title just seems to get more credit (not literally, obviously, i don't use my title to borrow money wink)

HazleNutt Sat 22-Sep-12 12:26:20

You can change your name and still be a Ms, there is no law about using the title.

nickeldaisical Sat 22-Sep-12 12:29:14

yes, I know that, I meant that most women who change their name take Mrs.
plus, you can read it as a separate point if you like, but Ms gets more credit than Miss or Mrs.

captainmummy Sat 22-Sep-12 14:56:17

I think all women should be Ms, I don;t understand why the world needs to know whether I am married or not. Mr is used on all ages of male.

LastMangoInParis Sat 22-Sep-12 15:04:56

Snarkle - OMG, OMG, OMG. The idea of the 'girl power' convo is making me cringe to the core of my being. But it does sound sort of hilarious, in a toe curling 'Office' type way.
I absolutely agree, captainmummy WRT Ms. But I guess there are some women out there who want to be known as Miss or Mrs. confused
I sometimes think I can hear an intake of breath when I say over the phone that I use 'Ms'. This is something that puts my teeth on edge.

pacificjade Sat 22-Sep-12 15:04:59

I run a small business with my DH. We make a product that is generally perceived as a male product, but don't get me started on that.
Get everyday "Can I talk to the boss?"
"Yes, that's me"
"Oh, oh really?" all the time. But by far the worse example was a phone call -

Man on Phone: "Hello, I need to speak to the company director"
Me: "Yes, you can speak to me"
MOP: "Sorry, I need to speak to him. What is his name?"
Me: (in a light pleasant tone) "Or her name. You can speak to me, I'm one of the directors"
MOP: "Yes, I really need his name - the company director"
Me: "I am Ms Pacificjade; a director of this company."
MOP: (obviously writing down name) "Mr Pacificjade. So he's the director?"
Me: (slightly impatient tone) "Not Mr, Ms. I'm Ms Pacificjade. I'm the director. You can speak to me."
MOP: "To you? Really? So you make decisions?"
Me: (more impatient tone) "Yes, that's right, I do."
MOP: "Oh, um, OK. Can I interest you in blah, blah blah?"
Me: "No, you can't. Perhaps you'll find a less sexist attitude will help you on your next sales call."

LastMangoInParis Sat 22-Sep-12 15:12:01

pacificjade (and others who describe similar experiences where you're super tolerant of someone who's struggling to get their little head around the fact that you have status/expertise/responsibility, etc.)
Could it be that your patience is actually working against you?
By that I mean, I wonder what would happen if by, say, the second time you get your "No, I want to speak to the manager, what's his name?" (or whatever), you abandoned the polite explanations and went for something along the lines of:
"Yes, that's me. What do you want?"
Could save time and disabuse these people of the illusion that they're speaking to some nice little lackey who hasn't understood them. (May also conform more to their expectations of a manager/director - i.e. as someone with little time to waste chatting to numpties.)

nickeldaisical Sat 22-Sep-12 15:14:01

LastMango - she did that, though, she said "you can speak to me, I'm one of the directors"

LastMangoInParis Sat 22-Sep-12 15:19:35

I know, nickel. But that's still v nice and polite, you see...
(Or perhaps I'm reading a 'tone' into words on page. I'm just thinking that an air of impatience rather than largesse can be helpful in these sorts of situations.)

nickeldaisical Sat 22-Sep-12 16:01:15

ah, i see, you think she's being "oh, you silly person, let me explain that nicely to you again" instead of "ffs how hard can it be?!"

I agree, but in business, you tend to be very customer service trained, and it's soooo hard to be rude to people"

UptoapointLordCopper Sat 22-Sep-12 16:50:50

I always regret being nice though. And I resent being made to feel that I am somehow in the wrong - "if only I had been more assertive or said such-and-such then maybe they would not treat me like that" type feeling. But clearly it's not my fault. Eg. with OP someone earlier wanted to know how assertive she was in the beginning of the car-buying business. Even if she was behaving like a timid little mouse hiding behind her big brave DH's back (which she wasn't grin) there is still no call to treat her like she's not there, is there?

Recently I have been a lot less nice. smile I recommend it. It is very liberating.

EmmelineGoulden Sat 22-Sep-12 17:29:00

True Last, but if you are running a business you are probably aware that the person on the end of the phone could be a customer or potential customer...

EmmelineGoulden Sat 22-Sep-12 17:29:41

ooh sorry. Reading an old version of the page when I posted blush.

HappyHippyChick Sat 22-Sep-12 17:34:19

I recently bought Merlin passes for my family. I filled out the forms, I put my name down as main pass holder and my dh and kids as additional pass holders, I paid for them all with my card and I am the one who mainly takes the kids places. So does the Merlin Pass magazine come through addressed to me? Or Mr and Mrs Chick? Or the Chick Family??

No, it is addressed to Mr Chick. Makes my blood boil! angry

After returning to work after maternity leave with DD2, both DH and I decided to go on a 4 day week - so we would each have a day with the kids. DHs (female) boss was supportive, but one of his male colleagues cannot understand why a bloke would want to do a four day week to spend more time with his kids.

Colleague has actually asked 'why won't your wife do it', and 'I wouldn't if I were you, it'll mess up your pension contributions.' And without fail he will try and organise a meeting every week for the day DH is off, and then will remark, 'oh I suppose we can't meet on that day because you are babysitting.' Grrr.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 22-Sep-12 17:53:49

MrBloom what a wanker that colleague is!

Can I record a small triumph for the National Trust then - recently joined as a Family, I did the form, paperwork came to me and the cards are Ms MyName, Mr HisName, Family.

Portofino Sat 22-Sep-12 18:24:48

I am aghast at some of these tales! I feel really fortunate that after 6 years in Belgium I cannot think of a recent example of casual sexism. I think 2 things really help - here family is seen as more important than work - in a general sense, and also women do not change their name when they get married. The company I work for (ICT industry) is pretty good and actively tries to recruit/promote women - or at least they say they do.

It is about 70/30 split overall - but women hold a relatively higher % of management roles. A large part of the workforce though is in the field - laying cables, installing internet/phone lines etc. I guess these jobs are not traditionally female ones....The only issue I have ever had at work is that I don't speak dutch - and the twat who made a huge fuss speaks both french and english perferctly well. He just wanted to make a point.

captainmummy Sat 22-Sep-12 18:51:19

Although...................marrried to a quite high-powered guy, i did have to goto london quite a lot (what a pain with 3 dses) and have been asked (apropros talking ablout daytime tv blush) 'so how come you can watch daytime tv? ' Me-well i'm a SAHM.............

Cue lots of hilarity, but they did expect me to be a city-girl/worker..

pacificjade Sat 22-Sep-12 20:00:36

LastMango you're right, I probably was too patient on that occassion, but as Nickel said it was mainly due to trying my best to be professionally polite.

I actually tend to be very blunt and to the point, naturally, and have to work hard at being 'nice' when I'm working, or people think I'm being a arse! Although, if I was a man, I've no doubt my natural personality would be accepted far more readily.

hairytale Sat 22-Sep-12 21:40:02

While discussing my flexible working request, my boss said "mothers struggle to work you know" and "what will you do when she is ill?". (he knows DP is going to be a sahp).

lisianthus Sun 23-Sep-12 08:40:55

I was at the Russell & Bromley childrens' shoe shop in Stratford Westfield yesterday. All the assistants (all female) were very helpful, but DH and I were taken aback by the advertisements on the walls. Above the extremely pink and sparkly girls' section, the ad for girls' shoes said "Twinkletoes!". Above the boys' section, the ad for the boys' shoes said "Good for Action!" Yeesh.

Btw, just because you are a lightweight who drinks half pints doesn't mean you dont appreciate good beer, people! I say this on DH's behalf too, as we both drink half pints.

scrablet Sun 23-Sep-12 11:37:37

RAC: Can I speak to Mr Scrablet please
Scrablet, sorry not here, can I take a message
RAC No, is a problem with payment
Scrablet, Oh, it comes out of my account, what is problem
RAC sorry, need to speak to Mr, is in his name
Scrablet, Why? I took out policy I pay for it I am only one who has ever used it, it is my account, speak to me
RAC Has he left the household

A little while later policy renewed at 'special discount rate ' but really!

Scrablet did you get the discount after some good complaining?
I sometimes complain (I think it's good to educate people on why they are, for example, losing your business) but sometimes I just can't be arsed because I'm a busy person and frankly, life shouldn't be that hard. But when you do, and it gets followed up by someone who promises a change, it's extremely gratifying!

Kashmiracle Mon 24-Sep-12 18:16:10

My career is in Mental Health. One of the jobs I had a few years back was as a therapist in a Medium Secure Unit. Most people ask what kind of patients were treated there, and I'm honest and say it's offenders, and yes they can be volitile, sometimes violent and their index offences are often very serious.

More than one person has said in response to this:

'I wouldn't let my wife work somewhere like that' (men)

'I'm surprised your husband hasn't stopped you' (women)

I worked there for 4 years and then went on to work with Drug addicts. I didn't need my husband's permission to do either. He fully supports my choices, as I do his.

Other people are frequently sexist without realising it.
Me: (to a female friend) oh you've let your hair grow long
Her: Yes, but I don't like it
Me: would you like it cut short again?
Her: Yes, I much prefer it like that
Me: So why don't you?
Her: my husband likes it long, so I don't cut it.


InfinityWelcomesCarefulDrivers Tue 25-Sep-12 09:52:54

shock kash

Kashmiracle Tue 25-Sep-12 11:00:59

I know IWCD, it's weird, I kind of expect comments like that from the older generation because they've grown up in a different era. But to hear those things from my own peers is really quite worrying.

Kash I was surprised by how much I'd internalized "DH likes long hair, so I mustn't cut it short" - to the extent that when I DID want to cut it short, I ended up burbling on about 'maybe I'll cut it ' for a couple of weeks until he got what I was worrying about and said, bewildered, "it's your hair, currants, you do what you like!" - I was a bit abashed that I'd been subconsciously seeking his permission to drastically change my appearance (it was quite drastic, I buzzed it cut) ... I think I wanted to be reassured that he'd still fancy me or something. confused

When you look at how people react to cheating spouses (Well he's a shit but she'd let her self go, look at her, not the girl he married, etc etc) I think that's where I'd got some of that fear from. The idea that drastic changes were somehow unfair because I'd had long hair when we met in 2005 ffs!

Incidentally, my hair is v.v. short and I love it! He does too, but that's not what matters because it's not his hair. grin
It's always a shock when you discover pockets of internalized sexism really deep inside.

Kashmiracle Tue 25-Sep-12 14:17:50

It's hard I think, because in a relationship, you do have a need to please your partner to a certain degree, and I guess each couple needs to decide what they feel comfortable with. My friend probably thought it was no big deal to her. Having said that, I wouldn't let my DH's opinions or preferences stop me doing something I wanted to do unless it had a direct negative effect on him. He can voice them and we can discuss stuff but it's my hair!

Having said that, when he grew his hair I made it clear I wasn't a fan, and I joked about cutting it off in his sleep, but in all seriousness I didn't really care either way. It was important to him at the time.

notcitrus Tue 25-Sep-12 14:23:41

Cambridge University send out an alumni magazine. They sent one to Mr Hisname and then changed it to Dr X Hisname, and one to me and managed to change it to Dr N Citrus.
Then we moved in together in 1999.

Since then our copy is labelled Dr X and N Hisname. Looks like both my PhD and name got lost in the move. I would assume it was a simple admin cockup except I've asked them to sort it well over a dozen times now.

Though actually the worst sexism I've had in recent years was at an alumni do, where I took MrNC with me. Loads of male-female couples, mostly 40 to 50, and without exception they would come over and the chap would ask MrNC what he studied. They'd stumble slightly when he pointed out he was at a different college, then give me a dirty look, then talk to him.

After the 10th or so MrNC started ordering them to talk to me as they were supposed to chat to fellow alumni. After another dozen we started getting blatantly rude and pointing out their faux pas so the visibly-embarrassed wives wouldn't have to. My faves were the 5 or so who said 'oh, they let women in now? Ha, ha!' which had the obvious response yes, since 1972. Do keep up, though it must be hard if you're actually over 60...

HazleNutt Tue 25-Sep-12 14:35:00

ooh nocitrus I would be very tempted to inform them that "And do you know, they also allow women to vote now! And own property! I know, where is this all ending, a female prime minister next? ha ha..oh, wait.."

headinhands Tue 25-Sep-12 14:42:25

My nephew fell about laughing when I got in the drivers seat and dh got in the passenger seat. I did have some fun with his misgivings though.

Kendodd Tue 25-Sep-12 15:08:29

A plumber who always deals with me regarding some rental properties DH and I own jointly always addresses any letters to DH even though the only time he has ever spoken to him was once a few years ago when DH picked up the phone and said 'oh I'll just get DW to speak to you'. Today he called wanting to know DHs first name so that he can register a new boiler at one of the properties.

I told him he could put it in my name on it, cue complete confusion about teh fact that we have different last names. Bless him, he's so 1950s

HazleNutt Tue 25-Sep-12 15:18:25

My Dh always deals with our cleaners, as his schedule is flexible. I usually never see them. But they will still ask DH what he thinks I would like the cleaner to do today. Does DH know if I would like them to rather clean the windows or iron DH's shirts... confused

SleepBeckons Tue 25-Sep-12 21:04:33

I attended a (male dominated) industry event - evening get-together, speaker with drinks afterwards thing.

I went on my own. Two men stared at me for a while, then one of them approached.

Man: So how did you hear about this event?
Me: Well, I am a member
Man: shock confused shock


EduCated Tue 25-Sep-12 21:25:28

Had the whole card machine handed to boyfriend, but it's my card thing at Wagamamas tonight. Buoyed up by this thread I've just sent them a complaint grin

kim147 Tue 25-Sep-12 21:29:13

You needed the classic MM response:

Did you mean to pass the machine to my boyfriend?

BoffinMum Tue 25-Sep-12 21:32:20

I booked in for formal hall (posh dinner) at an Oxbridge college a little while back, as DrBoffin, and college automatically assumed DrBoffin was DH and I was the arm candy. angry

EduCated Tue 25-Sep-12 21:35:06

I know, I'm the sort of person who thinks up perfect remarks, just 4 hours later sad

We both just sort of squawked and managed to say that it was mine.

Years ago I worked in a big factory that ran a lot of training courses for the staff. I got sent on Leadership skills or somesuch, 20 or so of us wer sat around the big table and as an icebreaker the trainer asked everyone to talk about things they dream of doing. About half way round the room, one man made a jokey reference to his dream about Kim Basinger and everyone laughed. The trainer turned to me and said "I'm so sorry about that WhoKnows" and I was perplexed, it was only then that I realised I was the only woman in the room. I sort of brushed it off, but was pretty pissed off. i had to endure 2 days of this bloody man apologising to me every time anyone swore (other than that the course was great). This is my proud moment though, when he asked for feedback at the end I stood up in front of the whole room and told him that while I had no problem with anyone swearing I did have a big problem with repeatedly being singled out for being female and he had the grace to look really shocked and apologise.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 26-Sep-12 08:19:35

Yy whoknows, I've had several men apologise to me for swearing but not to the other men present. I always look baffled (genuinely) as I've rarely registered the word even (usually much milder than I would use!!) and don't know why this person is saying, "Sorry, Doctrine".

HazleNutt Wed 26-Sep-12 08:37:09

Oh yes, what is it with the apologising? I'm often the only woman in meetings as well and it happens constantly. Sure I could understand if someone blurted out a totally inappropriate word, but they shoudl tehn apologise to everybody. But I'm not some delicate flower that faints when she hears any mild expletive.

Exactly. I worked in a factory, did they think I had never been exposed to swearing before?

HazleNutt Wed 26-Sep-12 09:12:04

I once told our GM: "Charley, it's ok. Not only have I heard the word, I've been called it. Repeatedly."

Kashmiracle Wed 26-Sep-12 11:18:31

I don't like certain swear words, but that's nothing to do with me being a woman, I just don't like them. Having said that, if someone used one, unless it was in earshot of my kids, I wouldn't bother saying anything either.

In my line of work, you get used to being sworn at on a regular basis.

grimbletart Wed 26-Sep-12 11:59:51

This swearing thing....what really brasses me off is is not swearing or swearing accidentally and apologising to everyone, but a certain type of male (kind of old school type Lothario - think Leslie Phillips perhaps) who will deliberately swear then make a point of apologising to the female/s in the group. It's an ultimate put-down as in "I'm a man and men swear but not in front of poor little ladies, but I need to do it to underline I am a big strong man and you are a little feeble soul so I shall swear - and then apologise to you to show you how strong I am and how feeble you are".

Difficult to explain, but I'm pretty sure some posters on here will identify with that sort of situation.

BelfastBloke Wed 26-Sep-12 12:00:56

Why are movie magazines like Total Film and Empire in Tesco in the 'men's/male' section? I'm virtually certain i've seen women in cinemas.

Also, my shaving gel is 'optimised for male skin'. I'm not sure whether there's some scientific basis for that one or not.