Unconscious Gender Bias: How To Quickly Mess Up A Conversation With a Proud Unconventional Woman

Every time I tell a man we are buying a new home with a three car garage, they ask me if my husband is excited about the extra space for his tools and toys. Grrr. You should see the smirk leave their faces after I clarify that the garage is actually for my tools and my toys because MrEnginerd doesn’t know the difference between a compound miter saw and a circular one, even though I have explained to it to him a thousand times at the Home Depot. It may sound emasculating to some but my spouse is more concerned about the kitchen size and the trim colors than about anything else in the new property. In his worldview, a man doesn’t need to know how to change oil or chop down a tree. He needs space for his beer, wine and video games. Interesting perspective, uh?

The reason conversations like these turn awkward for me is because gender bias is alive and well. Forget the fact that for eight hours a day I am an engineering and a coach, even the men and ladies in my team have made incorrect assumption based on my gender, age and social status. Rare are the humans who get to know what I am about before starting to show their gender bias, asking questions about my life choices (no children) and overall likes and dislikes based on my gender.- Maybe in the 1950s it made sense to assume all women over 30 were housewives and didn’t dream of careers but even that overlooks the fact that many of them had degrees and had wanted to join and command the workforce. – Ambition, greed, intelligence, grace and charm are gender neutral. I’m not sure who decided that men couldn’t be bossy and bitchy or that women couldn’t be assertive and driven. It bothers me that we continue to perpetuate the stereotypes and archetypes based on faith, culture and expectations of society.

The only reason all this is nonsense to me is because I am different. I am not your typical girly girl (the most misogynistic phrase there is, at least to me). I’m tough as nails, can rough and tumble like the best of them without ruining my pretty dress and hairdo. I wasn’t told to be nice and sit there and look appealing. My family made sure I was street smart, intelligent, kind and self aware. To them I was more than a token trophy wife. I never understood why the rest of the elders wanted to confine me to the kitchen and the home when I grew up seeing Margaret Thatcher kick butt as Prime Minister and Madonna strut her stuff and Vogue.

Women have always yielded power well, just ask Lyanna Mormont. Five minutes of Game of Thrones screen time and she is the most revered fictional 8 year old on the planet! (She didn’t look a day older than 10.) As a society, we devalue women and make them no more than servants to men, which is why the most common phrase to put a woman in her place is to ask her to make one a sammich. (Sandwich) Life please give me strength to fight this battle because I am tired of being looked as property and a subordinate to my husband. It has made me rethink having gotten hitched. As the house accountant and financial advisor, I’m running a household like no one else has done so before. People like me challenge the stereotype so you can stop making an ass of u and me, when you assume. Treat everyone like and individual. Shelve the clichés and platitudes and make your own chit chat questions. Learn about the other person instead of putting them in a box…

If you really want to irk me, talk to me about how you think that how a woman looks or is dressed makes her a sexual object or less feminine. Rape victims are victimized again when they are told that they were asking for it. Really? I hope you understand that if your wife or significant other doesn’t want to have sex with you they don’t have to, right? Why is violence against women so prevalent if we have in fact won the feminist movement? Because gender bias is still amongst us and I blame religion for most of it. Yes, religion. Read the Bible and you will find where a lot of these archetypes and stereotypes about women come from. I will not cover my body up to ensure you don’t have unholy thoughts about me. Married or not, I can wear what I want,  when I want to. What I do is not up to you.

Next time you bump into a beautiful and wise woman, who may not seem conventional to you, don’t tie her identity to the men in her life. Don’t thank and congratulate female athletes by calling them so and so’s gold medalling wife. Don’t make it about the coach if she is single. Don’t make it about her needing a man now that she won. Successful women can be so on their own and to infer that without a spouse or a family they are not whole is insulting and rude. As we move into the 2020s, lets start to see the ladies as humans that can want the same things as men and can enjoy them without being less feminine and without questioning their judgement. I’m sure they will appreciate it. I know I will.

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