Can I say #metoo? Yes, I can. But that’s not the only bias I’ve ever experienced as a woman. Women fight harder just to be allowed in certain domains.
I’ll never forget the day that I experienced blatant bias against me as a woman.
I was driving a ski boat for a company that would provide lessons waterskiing, wakeboarding, or if you just wanted to go tubing with the family. Having a female boat driver isn’t really the norm so I was used to getting weird looks when they found out.
Most of the men appreciated it. They were surprised but they tended to respect the fact that I was a woman boat driver and respected me.
I do remember one guy kept making negative comments towards me, but his wife kept putting him in line.
The women loved, loved, loved having a female boat driver. And when you are driving mostly families, which included the mothers, having the mom be over the moon about having a female boat driver made the trips all that much more fun for everyone.
But this one day, a family came down. The kids wanted to go tubing, the parents were just going to ride in the boat and watch. The father looked at me and pointed and said, “Are you driving?” I said yes, knowing he was being hesitant and I was used to the hesitation so didn’t take offense.
He looked me up and down and said, “Hell no, my a** is going to stay right here on the dock.”
Ok, offense taken.
And there he plopped, shaking his head and mumbling to himself loud enough that everyone could hear how he felt about a female boat driver.
I quickly gathered everyone into the boat just to get away from the comments.
This was the first time I really knew I was being treated poorly for the simple fact that I am a woman.
I took those kids out and gave them the best ride of their lives. And I didn’t blink one single bit nor was I going to allow him the satisfaction of getting me angry. I put my poker face on and moved on.
I’ll be honest, sometimes I just don’t want to fight. I feel like I am alone. I feel like my voice is not going to be heard anyways. I feel like I don’t want to suffer the consequences of the fight.
Sometimes I want to take the easy road and not ruffle feathers, and I don’t want to put my energy into being allowed into certain domains because things won’t change anyways. At least that’s what I believe.
One thing I struggle with is being grounded when I set my boundaries. It sounds like a bumbling, emotional mess that doesn’t make sense even to me, because it can take me a while to process what I want to say, and then the moment is over. And I think of 10,000 great comebacks after the moment uggggghhhh.
Part of the reason it’s so messy is because I am unclear about how to communicate the way I want to be treated. Sometimes I simply forget what I deserve.
I don’t want to be treated like a man, because I am not a man. Women are different, and I want to be treated like a woman.
But it starts with turning inward and being able to communicate my value and my needs.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Today, I will not feel inferior.
P.S. I still drive a damn boat.