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Some things women face every day that men just don't

7 years ago

I was in a meeting at work recently when a younger female colleague asked if other women had ever had to deal with men who treat us as weak, or not as knowledgeable or even disregard our authority. She was specifically talking about when out in the field (we work in natural resources and do physical work when out on field site visits). Anyway, the women in the meeting all started sharing stories of how they handle this type of treatment and the men in the meeting were really shocked that this was routine for us. in our office we're all treated equally and I must say the guys I work with are very respectful.

This led to conversations about every day sexism women face and just deal with-for reasons ranging from safety to just being tired of fighting it. I think the men in our meeting went home to their partners and wives and had some interesting conversations that evening.

Anyway, today I happened to make a mention of this in a public post and was roundly attacked by several men. Ironically, the article the post referred to was about how a woman journalist is called names but her husband never experiences that when he publishes articles.

One man replied to me that men are at a greater disadvantage over women in terms of incarceration, homelessness, access to medical care, reproductive issues (???), early death and treated unfairly in custodial issues. Oh, and they have to do the dangerous and disgusting jobs, so I should just quit whining.

I was pretty floored-it seemed my point was lost on these guys. I did reply that one advantage men had over women is that they never have to put on a bra before they go out in public.

This really upset me a lot-how do you other women deal with daily doses of inequality that men just don't experience or seem to realize we have to deal with?

Comments (56)

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I started as a nurse aid in 1981 at a very small town hospital, so I am sure it was behind in these behaviors from large, city hospitals. Nurses still wore white dress uniforms, white stockings and their cap. When the doctors (all males) entered the nurses station, everyone stood. The doctor chose a seat, lit a cigarette, and someone brought him a cup of coffee.

    So.....I have seen some drastic changes. Most of the department heads I work with are female and 1/3 to 1/2 of doctors are female. About five years ago we still had a male pharmacist that was a blatant misogynist. He knew who would and would not tolerate his carp and our administration at the time was pretty useless in those matters.

    We have a new CEO, COO and pharmacist. My work place is great. Home is a different matter. My elderly dad that lives with me will only listen to my son or ex-DH. They have to talk to him about anything important. He makes it obvious that to him I'm just a dumb girl and not worth his attention. It totally rolls off my back; he's not going to change.

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The hand that rocks the cradle can be the hand that rules the world. Although there have been some changes, child rearing often involves more hours by the woman in a couple, if the couple is a man and a woman, even if the woman also works outside the home.

    The early years are important, one can influence the expectations and behavior of one's children in a way that promotes more equality and less disrespect then and in the future.

    As far as the OP's question, I would address each situation on its merits. There is a huge difference to me between reacting to flagrant nastiness and economic and or work related damage, and to some old codger in the grocery store asking you which brand of detergent is best because he assumes you do the laundry (although I might still say something to the codger).

    And well known people who say stupid stuff that women have to listen to irk me much more, because those famous people do use their influence. Trump's comments especially that one to Howard Stern telling he could call his daughter Ivanka a piece of ass are infuriating to me.

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  • 7 years ago

    One man replied to me that men are at a greater disadvantage over women
    in terms of incarceration, homelessness, access to medical care,
    reproductive issues (???), early death and treated unfairly in custodial

    I think he has a fair point of view with the examples given.

    But that's not to say that his experiences deserve more weight than yours. So that "quit whining" comment only dismisses your feelings and does nothing to further his observations .

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I work with young adults, most of whom have part-time jobs. One young woman is a cashier at a hardware store and says she is verbally harassed by male customers quite frequently. Customers will compliment her on her looks and offer her rides home after work (but with much more crude wording). She has a supportive male manager who will take her off the register and complete the transaction himself when these instances occur. But still, she has to incur the abuse first before she can remove herself from it. Several others in the room gave similar examples.

    Most of these people work in customer service jobs, and although the companies themselves follow the standard HR policies that protect us from harassment and discrimination, these aren't applied to customers. I have no doubt that a significant portion of men in America engage in locker-room talk and readily apply that talk to women and girls they encounter. Maybe not the men in our lives, but they are out there.

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think throwing out the bra comment diminishes your argument. Disclaimer: I rarely wear one!

    That said, when have men ever been told to "quit whining?" The descriptors used for strong women are often quite sexist and sometimes unconsciously applied. If we don't pay attention and don't call people on it, it will continue. Think about how often we compliment girls on their "cute" or "pretty" outfit or how they look rather than telling them we noticed how they persisted in a difficult endeavor or how creative they were in solving a problem or creating something. It is hard to change this, but it is so powerful when we do. Look at how many threads there are that target our looks, make-up, search for youth.

    I think the safety issue is huge. Whether it is sexual or not, women more than men need to be more aware of where and when they are out alone. My husband was a runner. He never worried about being out away from other people. He thought nothing of walking down a deserted street in the dark or cutting through an alley in our historic small city to get to the next street at night. I never felt I had that luxury or at least I would not be so relaxed when I did it.

    Women need to teach boys and girls alike how to treat one another. I think it is interesting when women say that many men speak about women the way we have heard our president-elect do and seem to excuse it. It is as inexcusable as it would be if I engaged in "girl talk" (hate that term-we are women) about a man's genitals. The men I know do not do that. I know there are men who do, but women and other men who don't raise objections are complicit (not speaking of anyone here!).

  • 7 years ago

    "For example there are so few resources out there for male domestic abuse
    and sexual abuse survivors, In my sexual assault help line we accepted
    male callers and ran a male support group and this was so unusual we had
    men contacting us all the way from the United States".

    I worked for years in the DV and sexual assault community/field. We did provide minimal services to men (sexual assault, virtually none in DV). The domestic violence services/shelter system was created BY women FOR women whose needs were not being met by the patriarchy. Women are by far the most numerous victims of both. MEN did nothing to provide services to women being battered, raped, victimized.

    The feminist movement decided to take things into our own hands and built a grass roots system to help women get away and stay safe. We built it from nothing; begged, borrowed, etc with the minimum possible resources that the people holding the power and $$ (the patriarchy) refused to accomodate. We paid for it ourselves while instituting educational resources/systems to try to get local governments, institutions and other social service agencies to accept some responsibility to help. We have given our blood and guts trying to change the attitude of a whole culture that this was a "family" problem. That women are somehow responsible for their own victimization. That it's okay to treat women "less than." That women are asking for it, or deserve it. And 40 years later (from when I started this work) that same culture elected a man who says it's okay to grab women by the p*ssy. Yeah, I'm filled with rage.

    So when men start whining about there not being DV or other services for them, I say, "Well, why don't you do what we did? Provide some!"

    There used to be a commercial on TV (not sure for what) and the famous line was, "Get it yourself, Bub."

  • 7 years ago

    Thanks Cyn, I was upset and had just taken off the daily torture device when I said that. My intention of this post was to talk about the every day differences women face that men are not likely to even consider. For the most part, we have to wear a bra out in public, men don't. Women have to spend money for sanitary products. We are subjected to small inequalities day in and day out, and most of the time we're immune to them.

    I am not talking about a man asking my opinion on detergent-I'm talking about different types of conversations because of gender-like Mtn mentioned. About how deodorant marketed to women is 'powder fresh', in a pastel color, less product in the package and more expensive than the unscented stuff my husband uses that comes in a black and orange package. And how when I go in to the autoparts store, the men working there automatically talk down to me as if I don't know what type of air filter my truck requires.

    The great guys I work with in my office, as well as my DH and my son, do consider women to be their absolute equals, but they sometimes just don't see what we experience because they would not treat women that way. As Cyn mentioned, we must teach boys and girls to be more respectful of one another and not believe that there is such a thing as 'mens work' or 'womens work'. I used to tell my kids that the only thing women can do exclusively is give birth-everything else is equal.

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Olychick not to make it all about the mens but I just wanted to give an example of how patriarchy hurts us all. Our service accepted male volunteers to run male support groups (they were not allowed to volunteer on the helpline) and you would be surprised how much interest there was from men in volunteering, we had to turn them away. Our service was grounded in sort of 80s militant feminism and I have no idea why we started offering services to male survivors but I'm glad we did as it was very eye opening.

    I am very close to a male survivor of (male) domestic violence and male sexual abuse as a child and it was always amazing to me how much people minimized his experiences and trauma so is a topic on my mind when I think of how men suffer from patriarchy.

    Should men have be organizing to offer these services? I say of course! but that's imo another example of the patriarchy victimizing us all: it was extremely difficult for men to even begin to talk about sexual trauma let alone organize around it.

  • 7 years ago

    Robo, I don't minimize their experience; just saying that women shouldn't be the ones to fix that, too. Men ARE the patriarchy and only they have the power to change it.

  • 7 years ago

    neetsiepie - The anonymity of the internet is why you got the attacking comments that you did.

    When I first graduated with my business degree in the mid-70's there were firms who wouldn't interview me, or if they did, they told me I would be hired if I was a man. One man told me that If I was his daughter he would tell me to become a teacher or a nurse as that where women belonged. I stood up, told him I was glad I wasn't his daughter and walked out.

    I eventually quit work and became an at-home-mom. But, when my husband and I are out I am well-enough read and informed to more than carry my weight in a conversation and heaven help anyone who thinks otherwise.

    I have hopefully taught my sons (no daughters here) that women are just as smart, quick, informed and that they are to be treated as equals.

  • 7 years ago

    Neetsie, sorry I went off the specifics of your topic. Some of the things that I think men don't think about that affect me/us every day are the sizes of so many common items that both men and women use, or even worse, things that by default more women use, that are sized for men's hands. I wish I could think of the one thing that drove me crazy because obviously, no one in the design phase thought to size something that would work more easily for women's smaller hands. (oh, I just remembered, it was the now obsolete cd jewel cases).

    Since women generally do the vast majority of housework/cleaning, I think of all the hard to clean appliances, the poorly designed products that, if men had to think about cleaning them, would be much easier to take apart, reach. Or what about a place to put a purse in a car?

    Same with tools. Don't get me started on not being able to get my chainsaw started, or the leaf blower. I think it should be easy to design something easier to start for women with less upper body strength, shorter arms, etc. And I'm plenty strong.

  • 7 years ago

    When out and about and dealing with strangers, men, from teens to seniors are always addressed as"sir", a respectful title that doesn't indicate anything other than being male. Women go from "miss" to "ma'am". And we all know what the first ma'am indicates - we're old, we have wrinkles, we've aged and how dare we do so.

  • 7 years ago

    Olychick wrote: Since women generally do the vast majority of housework/cleaning, I think of all the hard to clean appliances, the poorly designed products that, if men had to think about cleaning them, would be much easier to take apart, reach. Or what about a place to put a purse in a car?

    Yes! My DH goes on and on about our vehicles' torque power, towing ability, 4WD stuff (it snows a lot here, but we're in the suburbs... the snowplows start prepping at the first flake). Yet I can't find a cordless vacuum that has the power of a corded vacuum. That's a pretty small engine, there, compared to a vehicle.

    A place to put a purse... wouldn't that be a nice design feature in a car? Where I sit in my vehicle, I have access to 3 cupholders. My purse? It goes wherever butt$ or feet were designed to go.

    These are First World problems, of course. But while marketing and advertising have nailed women as the primary decision-makers in household spending, we're losing on the industrial design side. I'd help fund a scholarship program that supported creative and industrious young women to spearhead efforts toward daily functioning of women.

  • 7 years ago

    Olychick, my post above remarks about a relatively benign part of this thread--my purse dilemma. But your words below, copied from another post of yours, are much more pertinent to this discussion. It's a great example of how, when the government isn't working for the people, the people can convene and work toward a more meaningful level to impart change. This is why I follow local and grassroots initiatives. (Much could be argued here about our recent presidential election, I know.) Regardless, your posts above are insightful, so I thank you.

    The feminist movement decided to take things into our own hands and built a grass roots system to help women get away and stay safe. We built it from nothing; begged, borrowed, etc with the minimum possible resources that the people holding the power and $$ (the patriarchy) refused to accomodate. We paid for it ourselves while instituting educational resources/systems to try to get local governments, institutions and other social service agencies to accept some responsibility to help.

  • 7 years ago

    Lisa, what I really want in a car is a place to keep the snow brush!

  • PRO
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    @ LisaD82, Almost bought a 2010 Honda CRV, it had a GREAT spot for a purse. The area circled, between the seats, was open to the floor. When I mentioned that wonderful feature - a place to put my purse - to 3 different salesMEN, as I was shopping for best options/price, none recognized the value of that feature. Honda has since changed the design.

  • 7 years ago

    mdln - And that is exactly where my purse goes. :)

  • PRO
    7 years ago

    blfenton - you have one? a CRV?

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hmmm....women, daily basis. I think things we do automatically to protect ourselves from sexual assault are things that men don't think about -- like approach our car with keys in hand and don't loiter around outside the car -- like not sleep with windows open unless they are inaccessible from the ground (and mind you I live in a very safe area), walking in certain areas alone especially after dark. I think street harassment is another one. When I was growing up, if I mentioned it to my Dad or my brother that I got a wolf call on the street, I'd invariably be told, be happy, it's a compliment.

    DH and I each travelled a lot on business, and I would always be so jealous as, when he was alone, said he'd go eat at the bar and inevitably run into someone to talk to. He was always surprised that there would be a connection with them, however distant, be it a place they visited, or a relation who lived near us or whatever. Instead of eating alone, he'd have a pleasant experience. As a single woman, I never would go sit in a bar by myself to eat and have a nice cordial chat with a stranger. Women only go to bars alone to be picked up. It was always eat alone in a restaurant with a book or room service. I've even had issues with seat mates on a plane. I remember reading an article about how women chilled overly aggressive seat mates. The best one was a woman who said this worked like a champ: turn your head slightly and start picking your nose.

    Things like tending our purse is always present whether in a restaurant, movie, store on the street, wherever. I'm also very mindful of my shoes. Some are better than others for sitting vs. standing or walking. I don't think DH has ever thought, gee, I'm going to be standing a long time at that cocktail party so I better not wear these shoes.

    Things like how we sit. Whether I'm in pants or a skirt (and I see this with a lot of women) we sit with our legs together or crossed whether someone is sitting across from us or not. Men tend to sit with their feet wider apart than their hips, even if they're in a tight airline seat. In fact a knew a transgender M to F a few years back who was in the process of transitioning and one thing he got really wrong was how s/he sat. That "keep your legs together" starts at a very very early age.

    I'm sure more will come to me, but those are just the few that come to mind first.

    neetsiepie thanked Annie Deighnaugh
  • 7 years ago

    I'm so sad that I don't feel safe walking in our local forest preserves, not even the wide-open prairie preserves, by myself. I won't walk on the bike path that goes right between the road and the train tracks, because there is too much growth alongside. However, I'm glad that I feel free to ask questions at the hardware and appliance store or of my handyman, that I can ask for help with the car, ask for directions. DH feels constrained by expectations, where people don't expect me to know anything! Even if I do know, I can find out if THEY know.

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Anger being seen as hysterical instead of righteous.

    Always having to present ideas in a conciliatory fashion at work instead of a straightforward fashion.

    Being coached constantly from a young age not to appear too intelligent for fear of seeming condescending.

    Getting yelled at in the subway for not making nicey nice to drunk guys.

    Having much less freedom and room to roam as a teen than my brother even though boys are more likely to suffer physical violence from strangers.

    Always me being asked when we're going to have kids instead of my husband (I'm infertile).

    In my youth being stalked/followed home from the bar by two guys who tried to force their way into our apartment and not calling the police because why?? We didn't want to bother anyone?? Boggles my mind in retrospect!

    Small but annoying - ever notice it's always women who get sat next to first on the bus/subway? Men get to enjoy their empty seats longer.

  • 7 years ago

    I must be odd - I never give a second thought to any of this stuff. Don't fear for my safety, don't go to my car defending myself against sexual assault, don't think twice about what shoes I wear or how I sit, etc.. I never feel like I'm treated unacceptably by men, etc.. Maybe it happens and I just don't notice. I know I don't spend any time thinking about men's vs women's plights in life. I think more about people blessed with good fortune vs those who have not been.

  • 7 years ago

    Mtnrd, you would hang out in bars by yourself in strange cities? You're much braver than I. But then again, you were staying at classier joints in fancier places than I was...

  • 7 years ago

    I agree with 3katz and Mtn, really. I go through my day not noticing anything different because I'm a woman. Hospitals are pretty unisex work environments. I don't ride public transportation. I feel as safe as anyone, even when travelling alone. It's not that I have a shred of doubt that other women face different issues, though.

  • 7 years ago

    It is a little difficult to explain. I have no problem being out in public alone-dinner alone, traveling alone. That is not the same as what bpathome and I spoke about in re walking in the wild, on a deserted street especially at night, or along little-traveled paths. It is not the same as being cognizant of your surroundings and paying attention to the possibility of the presence of questionable characters. I do think women need to pay greater attention than most men and not only to defend against sexual assaults which are not what I usually have in mind. It is just that we are more vulnerable. I always have my key (not really a key, but a starter thing) in my hand in my pocket when I head to my car. No digging necessary. I do not live in fear at all. I don't lock my doors all the time and have even forgotten to close the front door at night on occasion and I live ten minutes outside D.C.

    I work in a career that is historically female-dominated-education. Please note that we also continue to be more poorly compensated that many other businesses that started as male-dominated. The same is true for social work and many social programs. We receive less repect for what we do when, imho, what we do is one of the most important jobs anyone can do. When was the last time clients decided to fix a lunch for your office as a thank you for all you do? Not that that isn't lovely, but, seriously, a raise or holiday cash bonus would be much more appreciated. Sorry, enough ranting. Getting off topic.

  • 7 years ago

    Uffda Ladies....I sympathize with all the S**t you put up with!!!! Males can sometimes be asses. My Mom & Dad raised 2 boys who are respectful. My Dad would've KICKED MY A$$ if I acted disrespectfully in any sense.

    At our store, we don't care who is buying a certain item. If I see a Woman looking at a $700 Stihl chainsaw, I treat her the exact same way as a male. Gender has nothing to do with how we approach customers. It's obviously much more common for men to be looking at saws, grills, etc however. It's just the way it is most of the time.....

    This might be funny tho'.....

    When starting a chainsaw, the only 2 safe methods are on the floor, or....squeezed between the upper thighs. We have to start Stihls in front of the customers. I can't start a saw when it's on the floor anymore. So....(((ahem)))....I pull it "up there"....and....well....commence the starting procedure.

    This does feel awkward when Women are present! ;-)


  • 7 years ago

    I do not discount the fact that some people may be in a place that is unsafe and there is legitimate concern for safety. However men may have the same problem, especially if they aren't big threatening looking guys. The adult son of a friend of ours was recently assaulted and beaten up on his way to visit a friend. DH was threatened by thugs when he was traveling in Miami Beach. It isn't unique to women.

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    If you either by fortune or by choice don't have to be exposed to difficult situations, then maybe you have never noticed it. So for example, do you travel alone a lot? Do you always have "someone to call" if you run into trouble somewhere? If you don't, you may never have had your car break down in a strange city and been at the mercy of various folks who might be around to help you. I have had my car break down on several occasions, mostly good or OK experiences getting off the road and the car fixed, but one time I was alone at night, (not late but it was winter) in a car mechanic's shop and could easily have been raped, because he started harassing me. I realized then that I didn't even have a particularly good escape route. I had broken down, called a tow truck on the road and he towed my car into his shop and I never gave it a thought that he might use that situation to his advantage. From then on, it is always something I think about. Guy totally messed up my car and I later had to have my regular mechanic fix it again too. But luckily it was a minor annoyance rather than a life threatening situation.

    I also once blithely accepted a ride home from a college party from a male casual acquaintance, (I had walked over to the apartment) thinking he was being a gentleman, but when I got winks and nudges from friends while leaving, I began to wonder. I thought they were being cynical, (I had never been anything more than cordial to this guy for the year I had known him, no flirting or anything) I just thought we were casual friends. But sure enough he hit on me outside my dorm and that really upset me, because prior to that I thought he was a nice guy. (And it's not like that guy wanted to date me either, I never heard from him again other than I think he knocked up one of the other gals from my old dorm and had to get married, so his attitude caught up with him.) It could have ended up worse, he could have driven me to a remote location and raped me, but it made me realize what a double standard is out there. I'm sure if something DID happen I would have been lectured about how I should have known better. Why for heaven's sake, would a guy think that it was improper to get a ride home from another guy casual friend, or woman think it was improper to get a ride home from a female casual friend? Then why was I fair game when the sexes were mixed? I had never been part of the "hook up" culture either, so there was no reason to assume I was into that kind of thing. But anyway, it made me realize that I had to start looking at the gender of the person I was associating with and adjust my behavior accordingly. I was all for "just seeing people, not gender" back then, but I gradually changed my thinking. I think that some people don't have issues with women because of their gender, but some do and the best you can do is hope you mostly run into the former. I will say that the jerks are the exception, and it is too bad that they ruin it for so many. And there are women who have chips on their shoulders about men and don't treat them well either, I have seen some of that too.

    I once lived in a lovely neighborhood that unfortunately had groups of teens roaming around that would grab purses and grocery bags from people walking outside their homes. I once saw three teenage boys walking down my street carrying a plank of wood and never thought a thing about it other than "why are those kids walking around with lumber?" until they approached me as I was leaving my car and going up to the house, and tried to rob me. Then I realized the plank was a weapon. I got inside my house before they could get my money but unfortunately, it gave me a reason to forever be suspicious of random teen groups walking around my neighborhood and also I survey the surroundings now before I get out of my car and always have my key ready ahead of time. I also realized that these kids were not the majority, but I realized that I had to be more aware of my surroundings and the potential threats. I was even visiting a friend nearby and we were sitting on her porch and were approached by a similar group, and she must have seen me bristle because she said, "Don't worry, those are the neighbor boys, I know them." And I work with teens all the time so I am well aware that the vast majority, even the grouchy, hostile looking ones, are just regular people!

  • 7 years ago

    It's true that I would not walk alone on walking/biking trails with places for someone to hide, or down alleys or deserted streets at night. I grew up in a high-crime city and those habits will always be with me.

    I left work very late one night and as I walked to the back of the parking lot, a car was slowly approaching. I locked my car as soon as I was in it and the car pulled up very close beside me. It was (male) family members of a patient I had cared for all day. Their ages ranged from probably 16-18 and there were three of them. They motioned for me to roll down my window but of course, I didn't. I left, made sure I wasn't followed and went home.

    The next day, I went to the patient room and sure enough, two of them were in there. I asked them to step out in the hall, along with the dad/uncle. I asked what they needed the night before. Uh.....n-nothing, ma'am, just saying hi. I calmly stated that they were never to approach me like that again. And that I was sure Mr. _____ (dad/uncle) would explain to them why it was totally improper behavior. And he sure did. He was furious. Maybe they really had not meant to be intimidating or improper but it was a good teaching experience for them. Hopefully, they became more aware of some of the ways it's different to be female.

  • 7 years ago

    mdln - Yes, I have a CRV. (Sorry took so long getting back here)

  • 7 years ago

    "Always having to present ideas in a conciliatory fashion at work instead of a straightforward fashion."


    My recent performance review was glowing, except for the comment to soften up my strong opinions. I'm not the only female director to get this advice.

    I'm very kind and appreciative of my subordinates and I've always been a straight shooter with my peers and uppers. Clearly my boss doesn't appreciate it. He appreciates seeking advice from the one male director, while ignoring the three female directors who are subject matter experts in their respective fields.

    It's been said, at my place, that to get ahead, you need to wear a tie or short skirt. Lucky for me, I look good in skirts. But I rue the day I left a progressive agency to work in such a sexist environment.

  • 7 years ago

    Two Towns over we have a building supply store. I was in line once on a Sat AM at the cashier. Finally came to my turn. The male cashier looked right over my head and waited on the man behind me. I put back the items I was buying & left. They lost a lot business, over the next 5 years we roofed 2 homes, 2 kitchens and one house was a total gut. Everything new! I wouldn't buy a single thing there. I have heard other women are treated the same.

  • 7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I've been thinking about how very glad I am that times have changed so much. We still have a long way to go, but when I compare how things were in the male-dominated environment in which I worked as a young woman to today (still in a male-dominated industry), it's like night and day. Of course, that could have something to do with the fact that I was young, cute, and very naïve back then and really had no idea how to stand up for myself and say that I was bothered by certain male behavior. I would go scarlet red and just want to dig a hole and disappear. I worked in an administrative position for the US Air Force and was blatantly propositioned by men in uniform numerous times. I was blatantly harassed by older civilian men - one in particular liked to stand over my desk and announce to all the other men in the vicinity that my fast-typing fingers surely meant I could give a really SPECIAL massage. (Vomit.)

    Now that I'm in my mid-50s and no longer young (although I like to think I hold onto perhaps a shred of cuteness ;-)), I generally have no qualms when it comes to speaking out -- or if I'm in a situation where I deem it more prudent to keep my mouth shut, I'm pretty good about not internalizing somebody else's clueless and inappropriate behavior and making it "my" problem. I do note that in my world male behavior has changed significantly since I was in my 20s, and I don't think it has anything to do with me ... I think men have become much more cognizant of what is and is not tolerated, especially in the workplace.

    My company has a female president. I'm sure there are probably a handful of men who work beneath her in the chain of command who might not like the fact that she's a woman, but isn't that just too bad for them. I also grew up in a church in which women were relegated to positions of ministry such as teaching children and other women, acting as hostesses, or some other subservient role. Today I attend a church where the male and female clergy are equally involved in all aspects of the ministry, and I find that beautiful and empowering. The way it was always meant to be.

    If I'm ever confronted with sexist service when I go to buy a car or a chain saw (or what have you), I will take my business elsewhere - but I will also make my voice heard to management as to why I won't be a customer. It's not my responsibility to determine whether or not the company cares, but I don't think I could live with myself without speaking my truth.

    I won't walk in a dark, deserted place at night if I can avoid it - but neither will my big, body-builder DH. I don't think that speaks so much to fear as it does to common sense, and knowing not to put oneself in situations where we have greater potential of becoming a victim of crime.

  • 7 years ago

    On the subject of men getting less help for domestic violence and rape, I suspect it's partly because those things are considered "women's problems" and thus not important enough.

    Sort of like how even though more men are raped (by men) in the military than women are, the solution to sexual assault in the military (according to our older more male senators) is to keep women out of combat roles.

  • 7 years ago

    I would bet that no man has ever been told, when shopping for a clothes washer, or looking at a model home (and strongly considering a purchase) to "come back with your husband and we'll talk". These incidents some 30-40 years ago -- wonder if they would happen today?

    Having to be conciliatory or humble or unassertive when discussing work issues -- I work in a hospital, and still find that if you are not, even when engaging with other females, it is not well received. There are real differences in the way that males and females have been conditioned to talk to each other -- and I blame this for the slow pace of coming to agreement and making changes -- no one wants to rock the boat.

  • 7 years ago

    When I was a young gal, before dh was my dh he needed a new pulley for his tractor as the old one had a groove in it, so he gave me the old one and said go to the parts store and get me one of these. So I went and the guy started giving me pushback, telling me there was nothing wrong with the pulley, that I didn't need one. I told him what dh said and why he wanted a new one. He kept disagreeing. I was stunned that he was arguing with me and finally said, "Are you telling me that you are refusing to sell me a new pulley?" He finally said no and eventually sold me the part. I swear that would've never happened if I wasn't a young gal.

  • 7 years ago

    The famous line on this subject is: what men fear worst about going to prison is what women worry about every time they leave their house.

  • PRO
    7 years ago

    If you think it is bad here, you should try traveling in Mexico - or maybe Turkey or Saudi Arabia. In Mexico, unescorted women are considered fair game and therefore get a lot of unwanted attention, and so many women become friends with gay men who can accompany them and not have to worry about being harassed. Imagine if you were required to wear a burka to cover your face whenever you go out or not be allowed to drive. And I agree that it is worse in Texas than in other places, which is why I left as soon as possible, as I was harassed for not being masculine enough - with threats of violence against me. On the other hand, I have also been chased by women in Texas and had to fend off their advances.

    I did notice in Texas at the gym that my mother belonged to, there was a private area for women only, but there was no "men's only" area, as women would not allow that, and so when I went to that gym, there would be women sitting on the machines doing nothing else but gawking at men. I would have to ask them to move in order to use some of the machines, and they were not happy about that. After that, I joined a men's only gym in West Hollywood, and there was a women's only gym down the street. That to me seemed like the best solution. I personally have never known men in locker rooms to talk about women at all - I think that is a fantasy - in fact they do not talk a lot at all. Men do not communicate with each other nearly as much as women do, and perhaps women talk about men more than men talk about women. If men are going to brag, they will do it in a bar - not in a locker room.

    When my sister got a law degree, she was one of very few female lawyers in Texas and had to put up with a lot of discrimination in the office. Then she got a job as a law professor at the University of Arkansas, and that was even worse.

    I work in a female dominated profession, and I see positive and negative attributes to that. The worst part of it is that women seem to change their minds more often than men, often created unneeded extra work. Some of the women I've worked with have had horrible mood swings and did not mind taking it out on whoever was nearby.

    If you want to advance women's rights, at least listen to men without prejudice if you expect them to listen to you without prejudice. I'm all for complete equality, but too often, opposing camps get set up without any way of bridging the gaps. I think segregating men and women is part of the problem, and when you have women's support groups that exclude men and then tell the men to set up their own groups, you are creating an atmosphere of hostility and resentment. How do you expect men to understand you if you exclude them?

  • 7 years ago

    "The famous line on this subject is: what men fear worst about going to prison is what women worry about every time they leave their house." So true Graywings.

    That brings to mind another line I remember from a study done many years ago (sorry no source, as I forget) but that the worse thing women worry about at the hands of men is being murdered or raped. The worst thing men worry about at the hands of a woman is having a woman laugh at them.

    "If you want to advance women's rights, at least listen to men without
    prejudice if you expect them to listen to you without prejudice. I'm
    all for complete equality, but too often, opposing camps get set up
    without any way of bridging the gaps. I think segregating men and women
    is part of the problem, and when you have women's support groups that
    exclude men and then tell the men to set up their own groups, you are
    creating an atmosphere of hostility and resentment. How do you expect
    men to understand you if you exclude them?"

    Lars, If you read those posts carefully, you will see the reason men were excluded in some arenas is because men have always owned and run and decided everything. Everything. So when women's needs were continually being unmet and men (who were in all the power positions in society) refused to see things from a woman's perspective, or listen to what women were saying, or take women seriously, or stop blaming women for certain problems (i.e. rape and domestic violence) women said "enough" and decided to provide for ourselves. Not easy and not without cost, both personal and societal. (Just think about the backlash and targeting toward feminists). Why WOULD you expect us to include the men who didn't want to provide what we needed. We did it ourselves, without your help (there are exceptions, of course). If you now decide it's something valuable, that you now want, well, you can't have what we've fought for and bled for. Figure it out and make it happen for men (and women, too, while you're at it).

    You understand I mean the figurative and not literal "you."

  • 7 years ago

    "Always having to present ideas in a conciliatory fashion at work instead of a straightforward fashion."


    I (and another woman in my office) are tasked with using charm and salesmanship to sell our "recommendations" to another bureau we work closely with. The thing is, that group has to come to us so we can document the "legal sufficiency" of their work. So, it's not as though we're making suggestions about wallpaper or tile -- we're telling them when there work can or can't withstand legal scrutiny. But we're supposed to be conscious of their feelings.


    Thankfully, in the next few weeks I'm moving into a bigger and better role where I won't have interaction with that bureau any longer.

  • 7 years ago

    Lars, I think you only saw the sh*tty side of Texas. I promise we aren't all like that.


  • 7 years ago

    A few months ago I met with a man and his consultant out at the mans property. I told them what the law would allow as far as his project went and the guy pretty much refused to listen to me. He actually argued with me.

    Today, we met out at the site again, this time with a male colleague. I'd filled in my colleague on the issues so he knew what I needed this man to hear. He told him virtually everything I'd told him a few months ago and surprise surprise, he agreed with my colleagues assessment. So now we're going to have the guy submit his project in the way I suggested before, but he's ok with it because the MAN told him how to do it.

    Years ago we'd gone to a car lot to look at trucks and the salesman kept telling my DH all the features, etc. DH told the guy that I was the one looking for a truck, not him and since he'd pretty much ignored me, I was no longer interested in buying that truck. I ended up buying myself a truck at a different lot, DH was no where to be seen and I was treated a lot differently.

    But when I'd go to the gas station or tire shop, even just out shopping-men would make comments about my '"husbands truck". Grrrr

  • 7 years ago

    Faron - I start my Stihl on the floor by sliding my foot through the handle to help keep it steady. However I'm unable to start our generator - the pull cord is too high up and I can't get enough torque - I'd need a stepladder.

    My profession was dominated by women and I can readily say that I never faced discrimination at work. Of course like most women I've encountered my share of men making crude comments and insinuations and as a young woman was never taken seriously when I took my car in for repair. And there were a few alarming situations where I seriously worried about my safety.

    When DD was growing up I tried to set an example for her, I felt it was important for her to see me as a capable woman. I wanted her to be strong and independent . When she graduated from college we went to buy her first car. I had already locked in the price online and brought a copy of the sales agreement. However the salesman kept saying that certain items were omitted and he wanted to re-write the agreement and came back with a higher price. I walked out of the dealership. DD was crushed because she thought she wasn't going to get her car. The salesman came running after us and we did get the car - at the original price. It's a story she vividly remembers.

    However she is now working in a male dominated job and is facing discrimination, ridicule and even career sabotage. There is no HR department, she has to take these issues to her boss - who frequently says that she's whining and then later approaches her when she's alone and rubs her back and says he's sorry. The only other females at her work place are doing clerical or administrative work and are off premises. She's the only woman working on the job with 6 to 8 men. It has become a toxic work environment and she has consulted with an attorney as to how to proceed. I'm proud of her for taking the initiative to get legal advice but she's so disillusioned and stressed that she's also looking for another job.

  • 7 years ago

    Neetsie, that's how I start my Stihl, too. When my husband was alive, he had a McCullough, but when he died I couldn't ever start it (I'd never chainsawed before - he always did it) so I did some research and went to the Stihl dealer and bought one I could start. The great thing is the dealer is a family operation and the person who helped me was the woman in the family. She understood completely what I needed, took me out to the lot and had me start one cold to prove to me I could do it. It was such a great experience that I went back and bought (over the years) a leaf blower (I'd never wanted one, but taking care of this place on my own, I just couldn't do it with a rake), a chainsaw on a pole, a generator, a chipper shredder. If I hadn't had such a great chain saw purchasing experience, I doubt I would have bought all those other items. Then I bought a splitting maul and taught myself how to split the wood I sawed. :-)

  • 7 years ago

    The last chain saw we bought is a little one that's battery powered and we love it. It lasts a long time between charging as it runs only as you use it. It makes cutting so much quieter, it's reasonably light weight and it's especially good for doing tree trimming where limbs are hard to reach. We still have the big stihl saw for doing major tree cutting which DH handles, not I.

  • 7 years ago

    Oh Robo - how true! Especially the last sentence. I could cry!

  • 7 years ago

    Yes I hate the term hysterical. Ancient Greek men thought that one up. As if your uterus is controlling your brain. Men get emotional too ( watch any NHL game ) but they don't use a similar description.

    Why can't we use the strengths of each gender and not call women weak. We're anything but weak. I do worry for my safety when I'm alone.

    Something has to change in the TV and movies where violence and murder are shown all the time and often a woman is the victim. We just need to reject it. The language on the internet is horrible. Men say awful things about women and they laugh. About rape, about appearance, about women only being good for sex. Even if they would never do such a thing, it still bothers me when they all comment in like fashion online.

    Men are wonderful, it made me cry once, there was an online chat where men were saying they rarely get compliments, except maybe from their mothers and how much it means to them. One man was so happy all day when someone noticed something nice about him and said so. We need to let them know the world needs them, we think they're special, irreplaceable. They need to see our merits too and value us.

  • 7 years ago

    In the '80s, I wanted to learn how to put up crown molding. This was before the internet and I couldn't find any info. I had a miter saw but I didn't know what angles I needed. After many failures I went to several building stores and somehow no one had any info or knew where I could find out. I found a store that specialized in moulding and so I went there to ask and was told they didn't know either. Then a retired fellow who was in the store and had overheard my conversation, took me aside and told me exactly what I had to do. He told me the guys in the store knew the info but they were obviously intimidated by a woman asking. He said it was fantastic that I was interested in doing this and told me not to get discouraged but to always keep trying. His words have stuck with me all these years.

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