Monday, October 04, 2010

Woman on a Mission

There are few things in life I detest more than being treated like less of a person because of my gender.  I am a woman, yes, and the only things I need special treatment about are medical care and clothes.  I don't mind having doors opened for me, but I am fully capable of doing it myself.

Buying a car was a challenging experience for me this weekend.  I've yet to visit a car dealership that doesn't employ jerks who try to sweep things past me or skirt around topics or glance over details because I'm a woman.  Auto parts stores are commonly like that, too.  This weekend was no different.  The finance guy focused much of his time on my husband, explained details to him and not to me, and spoke that obnoxious "guy language" right in front of me, you know, that guy-to-guy "know-what-I'm-talkin'-'bout" dialect.  I understand there was a bit of familiarity between The Man and the finance guy since they see each other every day.  I accounted for that when judging the amount of sexist behavior the finance guy exhibited.

For example, on Friday, The Man and the finance guy were talking about the 'recent graduate discount' The Man got on his car.  The finance guy suggested The Man take the money as cash back instead of as a down payment.  He said, "I'll cut you a check under the table so you can spend it without your wife knowing."  The Man came home that night and told me all about the little scheme the finance guy was trying to pull over me.  I have no worries that The Man would ever sneak that much money around (not to mention we share 100% of our finances with each other, so it's not like I wouldn't notice the bump in our budget).  But I thought the suggestion alone was pretty disgusting.

I know things about cars.  I know how to change wiper blades, tires, oil and filters, some fluids, etc.  I don't know all the details of engines or electronics, but I'm pretty good with the cup holders and the flippy visor thingies and even the whole "park vs. reverse" thing.  When it comes to financing a car, I understand loan terms, interest rates, about how much to put down, and not to make any late payments.  It's not that hard.  But when people talk down to me or dumb things down or skirt around the issue, it really, really pisses me off.  And when they do it simply because I'm a woman, oh, that's just wrong.

Just plain wrong.


MissKris said...

Sad to know that all the stuff we pioneer Women's Libbers went thru to make it easier on future generations of the female sex has backfired in so many ways. So many of the male sex seems to have lost their sense of 'maleness' and masculinity because of female empowerment. Many still hate the idea of women being their bosses. Many still talk down to us like we're 'dumb chicks'. Oh well...tough! They can't give birth...well, not unless they're in some kind of sex-altering phase, ha! I saw an episode on a TV show when I was a kid, either "Outer Limits" of "Twilight Zone", where the world was inhabited by nothing but women. It was way ahead of itself on the idea of sperm banks. Maybe the world will come to that on some distant horizon?? Hmmmmm...something to think about, since so many men don't seem to want to come out of the Neanderthal way of thinking and treating women. Can you tell this is sensitive to me, too???

Jules said...

Buying our first 'new' car - I was shown the vanity mirror. Gee, yeah, when I was going to be the main driver, that's what I was interested in ...?

Strayer said...

This is a big problem for me also. I had a flat tire once, on highway 34. I was so exhausted, had been up like 20 hours trapping cats and changing my tire, putting on the doughtnut, was the last thing I wanted to do at that moment. But I unloaded everything from the back to get to the spare, to begin the task. Along comes this black guy in a pickup. He literally takes the jack from my hand to change the tire for me, and when a state trooper stops, and I am reloading my car of stuff, after he finished, I hear him tell the trooper, "I like helping women. They're so weak and can't do anything for themselves." My eyes meet those of the trooper. My fists are clenching as rage builds. I'd been out going through hell itself for 20 hours straight, and this dude, who has no brain, just testosterone and a need to prove his levels, is making jerk statements like that. At that point, I wanted to go punch the guy in the nuts and generally beat the crap out of him. I let him change it because I was tired and out of guilt I suppose for blacks and how they were treated, I guess. However, it was Rosa Parks herself who said she was discriminated against far more as a woman than she ever was as a black. I not only change my own tires, but I scrounge for tires that fit in wrecking yards. I've even changed a driveline before, with dollar store tools. Car businesses, if one ever arises, that get it, and treat women as equals, will thrive.

Jaggy said...

Strayer - I've changed more than one tire in my day, so I know that tired isn't the way to go about tire changing. But I can do it. And you can do it. And it's an important skill to have. And the next guy who treats me like the one who stopped to help you loses an eye.

"Howdy ma'am, you need to rest yourself over there while I change your tire."

"No, sir, thank you for offering, but I'm not some little flower who doesn't know what she's doing. If you'd be so kind as to make your way back to your vehicle slowly and wait there should I actually not know, I'll come find you."

The last tire I changed was done in under 20 minutes in a crap parking lot while the sun was going down and the rain flat pouring. Two sorority girls stayed in the car while my sister and I whipped that thing off and on so fast!