As we approach the centennial of U.S. women getting the right to vote, the two leaders are white haired old men, and the media is filled with discussion of how the country is still not ready for a female president. This nonsense only compounds my frustration with the lingering white male hierarchy. I have long been tolerant of the minor sexist transgressions of men. For many it has been a transition from how they were raised. However, as the decades pass, with little change – and I get older – I find my patience wearing thin for the same old nonsense.
Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against men. I spent most of my youth mostly around men both gay (theater) and very macho (cowboys). Most of my best friends, throughout my life, have been men. But it is past time for some of those views of male superiority to end. This is for those men.
To the man who tried to talk me into a custom tub to shower conversion, because “no shower pans exist with the drain on the left” – I suggest you try that line on someone who doesn’t spend nearly as much time at hardware stores as she does at the grocery store. Since bathroom remodeling is your career, I know you are aware that these things exist. Don’t ask me to pay more than I need to, just because you think I’m naïve.
To the man who called my tractor “cute” and decided he needed a bigger one – I have been waiting to see you do something with your tractor that I cannot do with mine. I have yet to see it. In fact, my tractor gets far more work than yours. I sure hope that $7000 ‘testosterone tax’ you paid for your tractor was worth it!
To the man who complemented the tackroom I built – your comments might have been more appreciated if they were not punctuated with so many notes of surprise. It’s nice that you finally said you could not have done better – but why was there any doubt that I could do as well, or even better, than you? You are not a builder by trade, so your only perceived advantage is your genitalia, and the inborn construction knowledge that is imagined to come with it.
To the man who asked if I had a man at home to use the tools I was buying – not only was I buying the tools for myself, but I actually know how to use them! I have more tools than the majority of men I know, some of whom aren’t even familiar with what many of the tools do. In fact, I have female friends who can say the same!
To the man who said that I can be “rather stubborn” about how I want my arena graded or my fences built – when you have spent forty years helping to build and maintain equestrian facilities, then you can come back and tell me how an arena should be prepared. Just because you have more muscle doesn’t mean that you automatically know more than me.
To the man who told me that I needed to act a bit more dumb and needy to get a man – why would I want a man who needed that? I know that you meant well, as a friend; but did you really think about what you were telling me to do? Why can men be who they are, and expect women to be attracted to them? Yet we are expected to use makeup, change our behavior, even get surgery, if necessary – all to disguise who we really are, just to please you?
To the man who thinks that leadership equates to bullying – why are you still here? The era of the tyrant leader ended a long time ago. You dinosaurs, who use anger and fear as your leadership method, should have died out a long time ago. The generations entering the workforce will make sure you do, as they will not tolerate it like their parents did. Not only are women getting sick of it, but people of other ethnic backgrounds are also sick of your old white boy’s club mentality. I may have walked away, but someone will rake you over the coals one day.
To the next man who says something that even remotely calls into question my knowledge, skill, or ability, with even a hint of it being about my gender – watch out! My filters for that sort of thing are worn thin. You might just be the recipient of decades worth of frustration in one go!
There are certainly many nice guys out there. Some of those mentioned above are generally nice. But the time of forgiving these antiquated notions of men being better at things simply by virtue of their gender – and acting surprised if a woman can manage on her own – needs to end now. You’ve had decades to make the transition – your grace period is up!