At work a few weeks ago, I was told to build a soffit in the same room as my least favorite sexist. We were working within earshot of each other, which always preemptively embarrasses me on his behalf, and I left my headphones on hoping this would be at least a signal of some sort. After five or so minutes, I inevitably ended up in yet another annoying and boring conversation about his oh-so-interesting hunting stories. As the resentment towards his self centeredness began to bleed from my soul I finally said to him:
“hey, so why do you think you’re so obsessed with killing things? you’ve been talking about ‘shooting the arrow through the buck’ since summer of last year, more or less everyday, and none of us hunt, so i was just wondering like what do you think makes you so crazy about it? That you always want to talk about it, even when you’re not hunting or around hunters?”
He repeated my question back to me, which is something i noticed he often does which i have since attributed to some kind of fake thinking, and he responded
” i don’t know! don’t ask me questions like that OK?”
After a moment his defensiveness set in, and he asked me in a fake interested tone “well what are your interests.” When guys like this ask me questions like that I always feel kind of weird and dirty. Because I know it’s not comfortable for them, and I know it’s definitely not what i want to talk about. It’s like two gays at a sadie hawkins dance; just going through the motions.
I told him “I don’t really know…” but what i meant to say is “you won’t really know what i’m talking about” “but if i had to say something, I guess I’m into music and politics.”
“oh politics? so what do you think of our president?”
Knowing where this was going, I started to talk in some weird interpretative circle until I was predictably interrupted by him.
“I don’t think a woman could ever be president”
Here we go.
In my mind i thought “oh yeah you mentally deformed asshole who can’t even hold a conversation involving any facts that have existed in any book in any language since the beginning of time? Is that your informed opinion?”
But out loud i said “Wow, that’s really crazy. What exactly do you think it is about women that would make them unable to perform the job of president?”
“Hahaha I knew you were going to respond like this! This is why I said it! (fake laugh fake laugh) It’s just what I think, it’s my opinion.”
To which i replied “yeah, you totally seem like the kind of guy that would think something like that”
“What is that supposed to mean ‘i am the kind of guy to think that?’ I am getting really offended by that”
And so it went.
I learned quite a bit of never before heard information from this guy (let’s call them new releases), like how women weren’t capable of making quick decisions, they just can’t. Which at least I know is 100% true. It’s also just a fact that the government is set up in a way that you are able to- HAVE TO- make really really fast decisions. It’s the motto of the oval office: “think fast.” Just like hunting. Just like all the greats.
For instance, when you meet a prime minister from another country, it takes the grace and wits of a man to respond to an extended arm and understand that someone is asking you to shake their hand. Like I just couldn’t come up with that stuff without male guidance. And that’s the kind of speed we are talking about here. man speed.
Now that’s enough, we both know the government is not set up for any sort of hasty or efficient anything. The president’s personality profile isn’t supposed to be impulsive or reactive. And guess what? If it was- guess who I wouldn’t want in there? A man.
So I kept pressing the hunter “so what is it about women, you know when we’re born and stuff, that doesn’t bestow the gift of quick decisions upon us? What is it about us that just can’t take us there?”
As per usual, because I have my own opinion and am not just sitting there like a microphone enhancing all that my male coworkers have to say, the conversation escalated to him yelling and making a scene, saying he “can’t talk to me about anything” and how he “is not a sexist or racist, so don’t even try and call me that like someone tried to call me the other day” ??
When I could get a word in through all the yelling and theatrics the quick reacting hunter hurdled my way, I tried explaining to him that he is actually just wrong. Again. He is totally sexist, and what he is saying is totally sexist, and he doesn’t get to tell me something totally absurd and offensive about my gender, and then tell me how i get to label him or respond to it. You don’t get to not be sexist because you tell other people you aren’t.
Describing women as innately inferior intellectually and skill wise to men is not only totally wrong, it’s embarrassingly absurd. And it’s sexist. It’s not an opinion, it’s sexism, and it comes from a place of fear. Because if a women was president, not only would men have to go to sleep at night knowing that a woman was in charge, but that a woman was also the most qualified person for the job. The job of a leader. And instead of allowing that to be the simple truth, it would never be separated from how that relates to men. A woman could never just be great at what she does, it would be an issue of why a man wasn’t better. Instead of just understanding that not everything comes back to men.
Some other weird guys on the floor heard the yelling back and forth and tried to jump in the conversation.
“I think he’s right but you know why?”
“nope, and i don’t want to know why. Because the beginning of your sentence automatically shows me what you are about to say makes no sense”
“I hope hillary gets in”
“A democrat should never be president!”
It goes on and on. My hunter tried to fix whatever disaster he knew he began after he blamed the argument on me and “how i always get.” He finished by saying “I guess I shouldn’t have said can’t, that she couldn’t be president- but that i don’t think she should”
yeah, I know that’s what you meant.