I had an interesting encounter with a gentleman today while waiting in line to grab lunch at a popular local restaurant. The gentleman was in front of me and I was patiently waiting my turn. Suddenly, his cell phone rang, he stepped aside to answer it and a few minutes later reclaimed his place in line. While doing so, he turned to me and uttered, “Ugh…women.” I was surprised and replied with, “You are talking to the wrong person, since clearly I am a woman.” Then, it was his turn to order and the conversation ended and we parted ways.
The purpose for taking the time to tell this anecdote is because as I walked back to my office from lunch I started to think about all of the things that simple phrase he uttered implies in our society. Most people will immediately comprehend what this gentleman meant by his comment. I am sure many of you are thinking of adjectives like difficult, confusing, emotional, irrational etc.
I acknowledge that he may have meant no harm by it and simply needed to vent to someone in his moment of frustration. Yet, I cannot help but wonder why of all people he would think it would be ok to turn to a woman for validation. I know that this kind of societal stereotyping and gender bashing is not one sided. Women are just as guilty of taking out their frustrations on men in similar ways.
From this anecdote I would like everyone to think about moments in their every day life when they have made a comment that may have played into gender stereotypes. Was there a better, more constructive way to phrase the comment? Did the comment have the potential to offend anyone? Most importantly, I would like to hear from you regarding what CT NOW can do to combat gender biases and stereotypes!