Saturday, 16 August 2014

"You're not a feminist - You don't look like one!"

I got really riled up the other day when a car reversed into the back of mine. And it wasn't because he scratched or dented it.

There's a term that my friend Kim coined once when I was telling her about all the times that people didn't take me seriously because of the purple ribbon tied in my hair, or because I'm on a phone that has bunny ears on.
'Elle Woods syndrome'

If you've seen Legally Blonde (and why wouldn't you have - it's amazing), you'll know what I mean. When people don't take you or your opinion seriously as a grown-up, because in their eyes, you don't look like one.
Let my homegirl Zooey Deschanel explain it to you as she best knows how...
When she said this in New Girl, I practically jumped out of my chair in agreement.
There's been so many times that I've been spoken down to because of my appearance and way I dress. A flatmate of mine once laughed straight at the fact that I called myself a feminist, because - and I quote - I didn't look like one. Apart from not knowing what that actually mean (how is a feminist even supposed to look?...), it's also ignorant and offensive to females and feminists everywhere. 
Feminist or Feminine. 
That isn't a choice that has to be made - why can't you be both?
But this incident really took the biscuit. I went to the supermarket, and as my dad toddled inside to get some milk and other bits and bobs (Elle magazine, chocolate, wine - you know, the essentials), and I sat in the car, all parked up, and waited. And while I was sat there, waiting in my stationary, parked car,all of a sudden there was a big crash sound and I felt a bump. A guy hadn't looked properly while he was reversing, and hit my car. So I got out to check my car and speak to him - like anyone else would do (and also thought to myself, what on earth he was playing at - was he not looking?!)
He just kept telling me how I was making it into a bigger deal than it actually was and that I was over-reacting. The car was fine, but I wanted to take his details in case something came up later on, but he just made me feel like I was being a drama queen!
"Oh, it's nothing really! You should stop worrying - trust me! You don't need my details!"
The way he was talking to me was like I was a useless, little girl, who didn't know my left from my right. He was even getting back into his car while he was saying all this. But then, when my dad came back to the car, the gentleman in question all of a sudden was a whole different person, being super apologetic.
"I am SO sorry. Are you sure everything's OK with your car? Have a proper look - I'd hate for you to drive off and then find something wrong."
I was stunned. 
He would've trusted my dad, who - no offence to my clever and delightful darling dad - is elderly, prone to forget things, English is his 2nd language, and can't even hear my when I say 'Good Morning' to him, rather than talking to a young woman who is socially engaged, studying a Masters degree and does actually know what she's talking about, despite what he thought.
My dad got into the car and I vented all the way home. And when I questioned how I just didn't understand why he did then, even he jokingly replied "Well, you are wearing a dress with hearts on it!"
It just makes me angry and disappointed because it's so ridiculous in this day and age, that people still judge others on their sex, and even more silly, on what they wear! 
Because that's exactly wheat that guy did - he saw that I was a girl. A female. One that didn't dress 'serious' enough, and just assumed that I didn't know anything, and swept me to the side as a silly, little girl who couldn't have dealt with the situation until a male came along.
And in 2014, that just isn't right.
Hope you're all well,
Speak soon.

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