So, there are still people like this in the world, and in Canada no less.
I’ve said before, that the welcome I’ve got once I got into the aviation community was overwhelmingly positive. There’s been no one within the industry that has shown any hint that they disapproved of women flying. And I’ve said before, the dissent and discouragement does not come from people who know anything at all about flying.
I have to say, that discouragement was one of the reasons I didn’t take it up earlier in my life. I knew it would be there. I think I’ve been lucky not to have encountered more than I have – my close family has been behind me a hundred percent, as have my friends. Also, I have to keep in mind that the airport I fly out of hold the title of “Most Female Friendly Airport” that they won last year during Women in Aviation Week.
Ultimately, I decided the sexism I would encounter would be no worse than what I encounter at work in tech support every day. Again, not from my colleagues or supervisors, but from the customers who don’t believe women can be good at technology. Little old ladies whisper to their husbands “The boys seem to be better at these things than the girls, don’t you know?” when they think I can’t hear them. There was one woman, not even an elderly one, who told me “No offense, but I would like to speak to a man.” That one was a pretty epic call, because I made her apologize. I told her “You can say ‘no offense’ all you like, but I am very much offended that you think I can’t help you because I’m a woman.”
Some people are excited to get a woman tech support rep, and pleased. Some people know women tend to be friendlier and more patient, and are happier to work with a woman. But more often than that, when I answer the phone “Tech support, this is Lindsay, how can I help you?” a customer answers “Oh, I thought I’d called tech support.” Because they’re confused. They’re talking to a woman, and therefore they must not have reached tech support. Yes, even after I begin the call with “Tech Support.” They explain their issue and I say “I can help you with that,” and sometimes even after that I still get, “No, no, you don’t understand, I need to talk to tech support.”
There are a lot of men out there that just don’t believe this happens. They think it must not be true because they don’t say those things or believe those things. They treat women as equals, or at least they believe they do, therefore it must not be happening. The law, for the most part, treats women as equals.
But even with all of that (and we do appreciate you men who do treat us as equals and encourage us to spread our wings, so to speak) we run into sexism like this every day of our lives. Men don’t see it often because it’s not directed toward them. If a woman is with a man, in fact, her man’s presence will often stop it from happening. Though, on the other hand, I’ve known some men to brush off a woman if she’s with a man, and speak to the man instead of the woman even if it’s the woman who is in charge or making the purchase. That’s another thing men don’t notice, because they’re not being brushed off themselves.
These people are the reason we still need organizations like the Ninety-Nines, and Women In Aviation International. It’s why things like the C-FLUG project are important.
But the nastiness in that letter to Captain Steacy…yeah, I’m with her and the flight attendants – I don’t know what to say. This guy needs to drag his sorry butt out of the eighteenth century. If someone walked up to me and said something like that, I would be looking at them like they had a squid on their head.
And then I’d be pulling out my smart phone and asking him to say it again for the camera so I can put it on youtube, because that shit is hilarious. I bet this guy had no idea how fast sexist buffoonary like his can go viral on the internet. I saw two different articles linked from two different social media sites, within hours of the articles going live on the news sites. I hope someone makes sure he knows how hard people are laughing at him right now.
So I could write the 1,500 word reply to refute this guy, but I haven’t got the heart for it.
However, two things…
You notice he says “she should be a mother”. What? So if she was a mother she couldn’t fly a plane then? Can you not do both? Give me strength…
It doesn’t help that I’m a Christian so I’ve seen more of this sort of thing than some people, and it just makes me wince when people start refering vaguely to bible references to back up their foolish, and actually unbiblical claims.
I realise, and understnad why, anything to do with the bible would make a lot of people check out immediately, but in this case, if I was speaking to this guy I might meet him on his own ground and direct him to Proverbs 31, which says these words about women:
“Honor her for all that her hands have done”
For me honoring someone, male or female doesn’t matter, includes respecting them for the skills and service they have demonstrated, which on this occasion includes a qualified pilot, who happens to be felame, flying this guys sorry ass safely from A to B.
I was on the edge of not even wanting to go dignify this David guy with a response. Captain Steacy even is a mother, and mentioned that honour in her response.
And thank you for the Proverbs 31 reference, that’s a great line. I think it’s important to see true christians speak up against people who are only using the religion to criticize and oppress. I may not be christian, but I know that’s not what true christianity teaches.
I feel it necessary to stand up for the headsquid here. While it is true, that they do cause stares, the implied correlation with sexist twits is perpetuating an unfair stereotype. Headsquid are quite compassionate and frequently nurture their human hosts while devouring their brains in a polite and unobtrusive manner. Please stop aligning them with bigoted morons! Think of the squid!
But the poor head squid would probably starve, given David’s obvious lack of brains.
In the contrary, the head squid is typically associated with something out of place, like an alien invasion story where a unicorn suddenly appears, or a story that’s so far been a hard boiled murder mystery with no fantasy elements, but the killer turns out to be a vampire, with no foreshadowing. Or, you know, someone taking off on runway one eight after ATC has given them a wind of three six zero at fifteen knots. I of course meant only that this dinosaur is sadly far removed from his natural environment.
Unfortunately, the neanderthal mentality is alive and well. What’s especially humorous about this morons observations, is that he’s forgotten about the contributions of women during WW2.
Several dedicated mothers took to the factories to support the war effort building planes, tanks, and weapons. Some of them, gasp, even flew the planes to Europe. Oh the humanity!
As a father of two girls, I encourage them to pursue their dreams. Whether that’s flying a plane, fighting a fire, diving a tank, or whatever they choose to do in a historically male dominated industry.
As for the being oblivious to the sales rep directing questions or info to us when the lady is in charge, all I can say, is that I’ll work on being more mindful & alert. Especially since I have a wife & two girls.
Yes, the WASPs, and lady ATA pilots did some phenomenal flying in ridiculously dangerous conditions. And that’s not going into the women fighter pilots from Russia. The west didn’t allow women into combat, but Russia did, and women ended up being some of their best pilots, making the most kills.
A lot of guys are oblivious to the fact that women are pushed to the background of conversation. There have been studies done in classrooms, and when teachers deliberately give girls equal talking time to the boys, both the teacher and the male students perceive that the girls are getting more than their share, even through it’s equal. Furthermore, the boys will complain that the girls are being pushy and aggressive. Just for being forced to stop interrupting them and listen.
I forgot about the Russian pilots. If memory serves, they had several women who were also their top snipers during the war.
As for the studies, I wouldn’t doubt it. I remember back around ’06/’07, US Senator Hillary Clinton was poised to run for the Presidency. They even had a short lived TV show about the first female president. However, after she tossed her hat in the bucket, the US media turned on her like a pack of rabid dogs. I was not a supporter of her, however I couldn’t help but feel disgusted at their attacks. This is one of most powerful women in the US.
I could go on, but I know you know where I’m coming from. Recent extremists of the Republican party have fought tooth and nail to take this country back to the middle ages.
It is sickening though, and I’m embarrassed to be member of the gender perpetrating it, even if those groups are a minority.
I’ve generally preferred Republican to Democrat policies down through the decades, except in social matters, but I don’t rule out voting for Hillary next time round. Her time as Secretary of State has boosted her standing in my mind, and the minds of many, I believe, Republicans included. She lacks her husband’s ‘charm’, but could still be a better president than he was.
Left liberal parties and groups should not take women’s support for granted. The first woman Prime ministers in Israel, Indian, Britain and elsewhere were conservatives. Unfortunately the ‘Neanderthals’ have helped drive women to the Left. And not all those ‘Neanderthals’ are men, as Lindsay’s telephone experiences confirm.
I put ‘charm’ and ‘Neanderthal’ in inverted commas because they mean different things to different people. In particular, scientists now suggest the Neanderthals were as advanced and human as Homo Sapiens.