In my 33 years living on this planet, I’ve mostly lived what I hope is close to the prototypical life of a modern female. That is, there have honestly been very few times in my life where I have directly experienced sexism.
- I never had teachers or parents that discouraged me from STEM pursuits. Though oddly, I did have a math teacher at a summer camp who was trying to encourage all students (both male and female) to yell, “I hate math!” Equal opportunity discouragement, I suppose.
- I was never pressured to be overly concerned with my appearance (my intellect was judged to be far more important by parents and other authority figures) and as a result have never been much for wearing makeup or keeping up with the latest fashions. It also helps that Mr PoP actively dislikes it when I wear makeup.
- I’ve never been subject to a dress code that differed from the men I’ve worked with – so no requirements for panty hose or high heels. I’ve never felt talked down to, and certainly have never heard anyone in a professional environment call me “honey” or “missy” or “little lady”.
Granted, it hasn’t always been a perfectly gender-blind life I’ve lived. There was an emeritus professor where I went to grad school who particularly enjoyed hazing female grad students. And I had one supervisor early in my career who was hazing me, his only female new hire, but his actions were quickly addressed by those above him.
But in all the areas that really matter in life, personally and professionally, it has been a very rare occurrence that sexism has been directed my way. (Unlike some of the rather ridiculously blatantly sexist remarks coming out of the Olympics – holy cow!) In my day-to-day life, sexism is so rare, that when it does occur, even when it’s something that doesn’t matter, I feel inordinately bothered by it. Especially when it comes directly to my mailbox.
Or Rather, Mr PoP’s Mailbox, Apparently
Occasionally uninvited real estate purchase offers turn up in our mailbox. Investors offer to purchase our house, our empty lot, or our duplex. Or rather, nine times out of ten, they offer to buy Mr PoP’s house, Mr PoP’s empty lot, or Mr PoP’s duplex and go something like this:
Our records indicate that you own the property at [ADDRESS]. We at SREP (Scammy Real Estate Partnership) are prepare to buy your property today with a cash offer that will save you on real estate closing costs.
Call us today at 555-2424* to sell your property!
Joe Schmo from SREP
Despite being listed in our county’s property records as being jointly owned by both Mr PoP and I, it is a rarity for one of these letters to acknowledge my existence or rights to ownership and joint decision-making when it comes to our various real estate investments.
Honestly, it was kindof funny the first time I started to realize these investors assumed I either didn’t exist or wouldn’t have any meaningful input on whether or not it was the right time to sell any one of our three properties. But after a while, when it happens again and again and again… it gets kindof annoying, especially on our house where originally *I* was the sole owner legally, and we didn’t add Mr PoP to the deed (and pay additional doc stamps for doing so) until we refinanced the property in 2012. And I’ve been by Mr PoP’s side sharing in much of the literally heavy lifting that we have done to improve the place over the years.
And Mr PoP’s Cabinets…
Speaking of that heavy lifting… a fair amount of it has involved woodworking the past year. So I guess it’s not a huge surprise that in buying all sorts of wood working and cabinet making tools, our address managed to end up on the mailing list of the International Woodworking Fair (being held in Atlanta in just a couple weeks!) and the Cabinet Makers Association (who will have a booth at the IWF in Atlanta).
What does come as quite a surprise, though, is that Mr PoP (according to a another flyer we reccently received) is apparently a master of the craft of woodworking. Yup, Mr. PoP. To quote the personalized flyer from the CMA…
“You love the craft of woodworking… [Mr PoP], you’re a master of your craft. Precision is your middle name.”
All that cabinet building that I’ve been doing for the past 13 months, and I never even knew that I had a master cabinet maker sleeping in the same bed with me. Damn. What other secrets has he been hiding from me?
Well, none. Because Mr PoP hasn’t ever built any cabinetry! Take note, IWF and CMA. I’m not exactly sure how you got Mr PoP’s name and address. All of the woodworking tools and supplies have been ordered and delivered to Mrs. PoP, not Mr. PoP. Perhaps it might then behoove you to remove your gendered assumptions from your mailing list and send the freaking flyers to Mrs. PoP since it would seem (at least to this girl) that the person ordering and taking delivery of all the cabinet making tools and supplies is also fairly likely to be the one using them.
Big picture, I get that these instances of sexism are tiny and that I speak from a place of privilege to be able to say that these small offenses are basically the extent to which sexism impacts my day-to-day life. When Katinka Hosszu’s husband gets described as the “guy responsible” for her gold medal finishes in the pool, Mr PoP getting credit in the form of a mail flyer for my cabinet making or him being recognized as the only owner of our properties ranks pretty low. But the sexism displayed in these assumptions is still annoying. And (people behind solicitations like this listen up) it makes me (and Mr PoP) a lot less receptive to whatever you’re pitching.
Am I being too sensitive here? What sexism have you encountered?
* Bonus points to anyone who knows whose fictional phone number this is.