Another Night Out and Gender Stereotyping

January 12, 2016 — 1 Comment

I think gender stereotyping is the word I’m looking for. I went out en-femme again to my favorite restaurant and then to the market for my shopping. Dinner was amazing this week as I didn’t have even the slightest twinge of nervousness. I walked in, sat down at the bar and J and C started chatting with me, and telling me how good I looked. I had a lovely dinner, feeling very confident and sexy! J even said she felt my mannerisms were much more feminine last night than the previous week and she could see the confidence I put forth. I even went on to strike up a conversation with a patron who came in for take-out. It was all comfortable and natural. Then on to the market…

And here, my gentle readers, I must digress to earlier in the day to make my point. I had gone to the market with my wife near her apartment much earlier in the afternoon. I was dressed in my regular male clothes at the time as my wife is still a bit uncomfortable doing “normal things” while en-femme. As we neared the register, my wife excused herself to the ladies room leaving me to fend through the check-out process. I finished paying, the bagger handed me the cart, and off I went. So how is this different from my experience later that night while shopping as Denise?

It started off fine. I made my way to the deli early enough that I was able to get what I needed, And, similar to last week, the deli person addressed me as ma’am. Even the assistant was chatting with me asking if I had tried one of the flavored turkey offerings. They were both lovely and wished me a good evening. And the rest of the shopping trip was uneventful up until the register process. Last week, still feeling a bit nervous being out at the store for the first time, I opted for the self checkout lane. This time, I went through the lane with an attendant. He was pleasant enough, asking if I found everything ok. He finished my order, bagged it, and placed the items in the cart and here is where things changed. I was asked “Would like some assistance to your car with that”?

I politely declined and said I could manage, but as I walked to the car several thoughts raced through my head. The foremost being: As a man earlier, I wasn’t offered assistance, but en-femme, I was. I was both flattered and taken aback. Flattered that I passed well enough to be thought of as a woman, but then floored to be on the receiving end of a chauvinistic, misogynistic, view that “women need help with bags”. And, I’m a big girl to boot. With heels I’m 6’4″ and close to 250 pounds. Do I even look like I need assistance?

So now I’m very curious how I would be treated in other situations, like at work? Are people’s attitudes so ingrained that if I transitioned fully, would my co-workers begin to defer decisions to male co-workers? I am in a middle management position, I manage several developers, and I’m in a decision-making role at director level but without the title. Would my recommendations then be taken with a grain of salt? Would I become limited by the glass ceiling? Would my male co-workers discount my opinions and recommendations because they see me a female despite 20 years experience in my technical field? It has given me a lot to think about and empathize with women who have been under this mindset for ages.

Ciao my lovelies,
Denise

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One response to Another Night Out and Gender Stereotyping

  1. 

    You betcha! The world sees women as different and often less able. You would earn less, get asked to make coffee and take notes, be put on all the entertainment gigs and seldom be taken as seriously. It can be quite subtle but it IS there.

    Like

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