I just went to lunch with a group of white dudes. We went to a local sports bar, and as such there were multiple televisions on broadcasting various sports channels like ESPN and, I assume, ESPN 8: The Ocho.
Background for those of you who have somehow missed this: I am a woman in science with liberal politics. I let people here know just enough about me so that they know I’m strange, but I don’t let them know specifically how strange.
I have been in the world of science for 10 years at this point and, as I have mentioned before, due to my accommodating nature and a great deal of luck, I have been able to integrate into the culture without experiencing the blatant issues that are often cited by women attempting to work in men’s fields. What does this mean? I keep a great deal about me to myself. I let a lot of things slide (I pick my battles). I am generally not particularly excited about going to work because I don’t really have any friends here.
According to the televisions, there was a bad call last night in the Packers game. Because of the current Scab Ref Situation, everyone is up in arms about how stupid these people are and can’t apparently shut up about it. The replay was broadcast every 5 minutes. Luckily, the sound was off so I got to listen to both of Fun’s singles at high volume while watching various people scream silently about the idiocy of the officials.
I guess this matters to Green Bay or something. Also it matters if you’re a real red blooded American man! Apparently! The people at my table felt it necessary to talk about the call every time it was replayed on tv, while also making fun of how much coverage there was. When there wasn’t something about that playing, no one seemed to have any idea what to talk about. My guess is that if I wasn’t there, they wouldn’t have opted to talk about how much they like sluts. I expect the conversation would have gone something like this:
Dude #1: Man, my wife is such a pain in the ass.
Dude #2: Well, you know, ALL wives are pains in the ass. Why did we get married, amirite?”
Dude #3: I hear ya. You know what I could really go for? Some sluts.
All: We love sluts! Until they start wanting to talk and shit. Then we don’t like them anymore. Yeah.
This was the thought I was having as I watched them incessantly talk about sports. I attempted to change the subject, but my comments were generally ignored. My sense of humor is a bit too sarcastic and dry I think and my mentions of nerdy things were met with “Oh, you’re one of those…” faces. They were talking about building bars in their homes and I said we already have that, and now it’s covered in Star Trek memorabilia. I then quickly reminded them that I wear a labcoat for a living and we all moved on.
At some point, a female broadcaster came onto ESPN to, seemingly, listen to the man broadcaster say brilliant things about the blown call in the Packers game. She was quite pretty. This inspired them to talk about how Fox News has really attractive female meteorologists.
Dude #1: Every woman on Fox News is hot.
Dude #2: Yeah…looks like another thing conservatives got right, ey? Heh heh heh.
Me: You know, there are a lot of foxy liberals out there, guys.
Dude #1: WHO? Name ONE!
I raised my hand and then said, “Also, most of Hollywood.”
Dude #1: People in Hollywood aren’t liberals. They’re SOCIALIST COMMUNISTS!”
Then Rob changed the subject, which was probably a good idea because I was dangerously close to a Romney AND misogyny rant.
I am tired of this. I am tired of being minimized because I’m not really one of the boys and because I don’t believe you are worthless just because you need help. While there is a certainly fun side to being the weird one, it also gets exhausting educating people that there is a huge world outside of their narrow perceptions and experience. It is exhausting not to have any kind of kinship with these people.
It’s hard to be the woman at the table listening to a bunch of guys talk about football and worry about how you seem to them. Do I look uncomfortable? Do I look bored? If you look bored, you’re a typical woman. If you look uncomfortable, you’re the cunt that’s going to start trouble.
Or are they looking at me at all? Do I exist at this table? Is the answer no? Is that the worst part of all of this? I just sat in a conference room and OWNED the room with my knowledge and expertise. Is my confidence useful for getting the sale, but worthy of being ignored or scorned when the sale has been secured?
I have explained privilege to people like this before…the privilege that makes people think that women are whining about nothing since sexism, like racism, isn’t a thing anymore. I mean, I’m a chemist. What more evidence of everything being equal and perfect can there be?
Also, if it snows in January, global warming is horse shit.
I have explained it and no one gets it, but if they observed lunch, maybe they would start to get an idea.
Also, what game were those Scab Refs watching, hmm? Can I get a hell yeah?
Yeah, I don’t fucking care either.
4 thoughts on “Once You See it, You Can’t Un-See it.”
I loved this post. It’s a perfect example of the kind of conversation that every woman who has ever spent any time alone in a group of men can relate to. That feeling of being invisible, marginalized, uncomfortable, a little afraid and objectified all at the same time. Excellent post. Thank you so much for sharing.
I’m a guy that doesn’t watch sports. I do like guns which is what I try to steer the conversation to when I’m talking to a group of “typical” men. Everything else I’d want to talk about would be too nerdy, liberal, or weird. I would have had a horrible time hanging out with the guys you described.
Interesting blog. Interesting post. I totally understand what you are saying here, and as a murse (male nurse) i have spent many tea breaks on the other end of this equation, which mihgt be something like this (N X A) + B = C. where A is a “gender”, B is a socailly isolating environment for the other gender, and C is the level of boredom and isolation the lone perosn of the other gender feels. B is a place that encourages this isolation, a sportds bar being a great example, but so is the tea room at work sometimes. I read a lot during breaks back when I worked on the wards because I didn’t like hearing how shit everyone’s male partners were, and how stupid men are.
Funny though that maybe this is ok, maybe we nee dplalces to vent and feel uber comfortable and supported, whihc is a little like what this blog achieves for you four maybe.
Any way, have fun. I saw On the Road with my wife last night, lots of poly-amory there in a pretty good adaption of a book I loved in my late teen/early twenties.
Cheers from Oz
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