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.