Shouty Linkage

Many of you will probably have seen these two things already as they have been all over Twitter, but for those of you who are tweet-free here’s what you missed.

One of the things that came out of International Women’s Day was a Twitter meme in which women recounted tales of casual sexism to which they had been subjected. So much material came in that Linda Grant, who accidentally started the meme, has collected the most egregious examples. There’s more information about it in an article she wrote for The Guardian yesterday.

I managed to miss the whole thing, but had I not done so the example I would have given was one evening when Kevin and I had gone out for dinner in Mountain View (one of the small towns in Silicon Valley). When the bill came I gave the waiter my credit card, which had my name on it. When he came back with the chit to be signed he gave it (and the card) to Kevin.

The other Twitter meme of note from the last few days is #ididntreport, in which women talk about sexual assaults to which they have been subjected, and which they have not reported as crimes for various reasons (including because the assault was either perpetrated by or watched by a policeman). Naturally this meme was immediately invaded by idiot trolls claiming that women deserve to be raped.

Thankfully, beyond the inevitable abuse from young men in cars (because in order to get up the courage to shout at women, men have to be in a group and able to get away quickly), I have nothing to report. I can’t say what I’d do if I did, but probably I’d say nothing. As a trans person you always have to weigh up the risks of interacting with the authorities, the end result of which can often be far worse than the thing you wanted to complain about. UK police forces do now have specialist LGBT units, but I live in a small, rural town and don’t fancy my chances.

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6 Responses to Shouty Linkage

  1. I do have another view on this one. I once went to dinner at a very famous, very good, Chinese restaurant in Kew, with 12 gay men. There was an AIDS & HIV conference on, and myself, and 12 gay men sat to dinner, to catch up.

    The waiters were besides themselves, with who to refer to as the ‘lead diner’. I got all my dishes served first, as default. At the end of the meal, the waiter brought the bill over, looked defeated, shrugged, and put it in the middle of the circular table.

    At the time, we all thought it was hilarious. 12 men they could have coped with. 12 women, just fine. 12 men and one woman, and they just flipped.

    This was the 90s, I imagine all London restaurants wouldn’t bat an eyelid now, and would just keep the person whose name the booking was in, in their eye line at all times!

    Of course, we have the opposite problem. Able bodied female, wheelchair using male. we have problems getting them to take the orders from David, or give him the bill… before now in stores, David has handed over money at the till, and the change has been handed to me. David’s wheelchair means he fails the ‘male’ test.

    • Cheryl says:

      Thanks! That’s a really good illustration of how this is really a power hierarchy, not just a gender thing. I suspect that mixed-ethnicity couples may have similar stories to tell.

      • Ah, there’s a good way of putting it! I encounter a lot less of this than average, and I’ve long suspected it’s down to having a lot of very early white hair, and so triggering the archetype for “matriarch” rather than “delicate flower that must be protected”. It’s unearned authority based on incorrect age.

        • Nice one. Another layer to add to this, is that I’m very tall, and very fat. If you put me in a mix with ‘normal’ males/females, I fail the female test – I will be ignored if there is any other female present.

          It’s only when you put me next to a male in a wheelchair, I get the status of being the one in charge.

          Something the young women at the Natural History Museum, whom David complained too about lack of disabled access facilities, will rather take to her grave…. when she smiled at David and said “Perhaps I can discuss it with you daughter….” looking at me. His gray hair, and my lack of it, meant the six year old child with us was my child, and obviously, the male in the wheelchair was the grandfather! So he was negated on age, and infirmity and sexual ability.

          On this, and more seriously, the people I think get most grief, are the ones with children who don’t fit the perceived power structure. I have a friend with two adopted from Chinese orphanges, children, who is constantly having people talk over them, and their children, as ‘not belonging’.

          Which is what happened in the extreme to couple of went to France for a day trip to the hypermarche, and then were arrested for child trafficking for bringing their own child (the one they’d gone out with) back home with them. Child didn’t match the power structure rules… just as ours doesn’t.

          Thankfully, ours is more than strong enough to cope, so far. Especially as he has long hair, like his Daddy…

          Poor child, fat Mummy, Daddy with hippy long hair and a beard, using a wheelchair, and he likes long hair for himself. Thank heavens we don’t send him to school! :-)

      • G says:

        I’ve also observed some weird power heirarchy stuff with regards to the whole abuse from young men in cars thing.

        When I was gender ambiguous/female-appearing I got a fair bit of it and put it down to a combination of sexism/homophobia. When I was adolescent-male appearing it stopped completely. Now as a fairly gender normative (I assume) male-appearing person it’s started up again.

        The abuse is always so incoherent that I can’t exactly figure out what it’s about, but I have been wondering if the fact that I’m a pedestrian/public transport user in the city/inner suburbs marks me out as belonging to a particular social class, and that the young working class men giving the abuse are attempting to assert their status over me as a middle class man through their car ownership.