Chivalrous Chauvinist

Living in a world of prejudice

by Published: Oct 17, 2012

One of the hard­est things I’ve con­stantly dealt with on a nearly daily basis is sexism.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those bra-burning femi-nazis—when some­one opens a door for me I thank them. What I’m talk­ing about is the con­stant belit­tle­ment of my intel­li­gence by peo­ple who lob me into the same cat­e­gory as every other 20-something ding­bat who knows how to tie their shoes but thinks tying a slip­knot is some­thing to do with a heavy metal band.

The brunt of this hap­pened to me when I worked at a retail store as an elec­tri­cal depart­ment man­ager. Daily, peo­ple would come in and ask me if I could find some­one to help them with their elec­tri­cal ques­tions. They were sadly dis­ap­pointed when I stood there in front of them and proudly declared “right here.”

On sev­eral occa­sions, and it was mostly men who did this, the per­son would say, “I don’t think you’ll know what I’m doing,” and walk away, find another asso­ciate, who in turn would call me. Then the asso­ciate would bring the per­son back to me so I could answer his ques­tion. This usu­ally led to a lot of ten­sion. I’ve found men don’t like it when a woman knows more about a “man’s work” than they do.

One of the big­ger insults I hear (still) is “Wow, you’re really smart for a woman!” It makes me want to say back “Astute obser­va­tion; you must be an excel­lent judge of character.”

Still more, once when I was chang­ing a 600-pound roll of 00 gauge cop­per wire, I had a man try to help me because I was “doing it wrong.” Mind you, I’d done this sev­eral times with­out fail. It’s a very lucky thing I’m never long sep­a­rated from a pair of good boots because this man’s “help” lead to me nearly hav­ing a bro­ken foot.

As the fork truck dri­ver maneu­vered the roll of wire into place on the rack­ing, I began to feed the rung from which it hung into the slots, and as the wire roll was being dropped, the man decided I hadn’t prop­erly posi­tioned the rung, removed it and the entire roll scraped down my right shin and landed on my foot. The man promptly turned and blamed me for the whole acci­dent. After the fork truck dri­ver lifted the roll of wire off my foot, I went inside, pulled the splin­ters out of my shin and found some­one else to cut his damned wire.

This is an exam­ple of some­thing I like to call “chival­rous chau­vin­ism,” which is basi­cally a polite way of say­ing “I’m a sex­ist prick, but it’s okay because I’m just try­ing to be nice to you or help you.” I’m not a fem­i­nist, I’m an equalist.

Just the other day I had a gen­tle­man tell me that “per­sons of the female species pre­fer expen­sive things, that’s why it’s a good thing men are stronger so they can tell them ‘no’ with­out fear of retal­i­a­tion.” This man gave me and my other coworker a nearly 10-minute dis­ser­ta­tion on why women weren’t equal because they weren’t strong enough to take down a man. At the end of this speech, I politely asked him, “Have you ever been hit by girl rugby player?” He was thank­fully silenced. My next sug­ges­tion was to give him a swift kick in the balls. That’s science’s way of equal­iz­ing the world—girls don’t have that disability.

Here we come to the axiom of this piece: If I need your help, I will ask. Furthermore, for the rest of the women out there: Stop think­ing you can’t do some­thing because you have the wrong set of gen­i­talia for the com­mon social norm. If I find one more of you ladies out in the world who insists she needs a hus­band to do cer­tain things, I’m going to give you a very spe­cial les­son in Jax Anger’s Women Studies Course 101.

Also, boys, don’t think you can’t do some­thing just because it’s women’s work. Want to take a good guess where my fiance is right now? In the kitchen, doing the dishes and mak­ing me a sam­mich. n

  • Airia Anton

    Love it! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001580733911 Johnny Traficante


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001580733911 Johnny Traficante