I don’t think I’ve ever experienced as much sexism in my life as I have just from working at this job.
My step-mother worked in the construction industry. I don’t remember exactly what he job was (she wasn’t out in the fields using the super fun tools), but she was a woman working in a “Man’s Industry” and would have to fight harder for some of the things she wanted done and work harder at some other things that should have been easy. Other times, I suppose, maybe she had it a little too easy simply because she’s such a tiny woman, an easy target to under-estimate.
I don’t work in the construction industry.
I had a friend in high school whose sister worked on and with motorcycles. Were it not for the support of their father (who, to be fair, was the biggest man I’ve ever seen…no one outside of the clinically insane would look at him or his family wrong…) and the access he was able to give her, she would have had as tough of a time as one of her co-workers, Janine.
From what I saw, she knew her shit. The frequents to their shop, trusted her with their life (a.k.a. their rides). Others would wait hours or come back the days she was not at the shop simply to avoid having her touch their babies. Before Richy got her the job at that particular shop, it didn’t matter how passionate she was about what she did or how amazing she was with motorcycles, no one would give her the chance. Of course, this was 10 years ago, so times have changed for her.
I don’t work on motorcycles, cars, boats, etc.
I’m the Assistant Store Manager of a GameStop. My boss, the store manager, is also a woman. We’re both good-looking ladies. We’re both polite, sweet, and knowledgeable about our job and we both have plenty of knowledge that exceeds what one would normally have to know about our jobs. We’re to women running a store focused around the gaming industry. That being said, to some people, apparently that coincides with wonder, shock, amazement and, most importantly, blasphemy.
To be fair, I can understand where plenty of the doubt and skepticism comes from. The Gaming Industry is predominantly male, as are the employees at most stores or companies focused around it. Therefore, it could be understood that most people wouldn’t expect most women to know the difference between an RPG and an MMORPG or an FPS vs. a hack n’ slash. That’s fine. Assume away. It’s not the assumptions that bother me because we’re both quick to defuse them and set the record straight.
It’s the comments, the attitudes, and out-ward shock that makes me angry. What makes it worse is when it comes from another woman!
Woman: “Oh…do you work here? Wow uh…is there a man I can speak to? This store is managed by women? Why would they do that…never mind.” *leaves the store*
Man: “Whoa, I didn’t know they let broads work at GameStop. Bring your boss out there. I’d like a word with him.” “Sir, I’m the assistant store manager…and she isn’t here at the moment.” “Another woman? Where the hell did the men go?”
Woman: “I have a question about a game…Grand Thieves Auto?” “You mean Grand Theft Auto? What’s your question?” “Wait, do you know about these games?” “Yes, miss, I do. I play games, otherwise working here would be a silly waste of my time wouldn’t it?” “Oh wonderful! It’s about time they brought a woman in here.”
Man: “Hey sweetheart, can I ask you a question? What’s a good-looking girl like you doing working in a game store?” “I’m a gamer, sir…” “Really? You look more like someone who should be, like, waitress-ing or something. I saw a girl that looked like you at Hooters.”
Man: *to his son who is about to ask my boss about a game* “No, don’t ask her…I’ll ask that kid over there.” *I walk over to the son* “Do you like RPGs?” “Yes!” “Elder Scrolls is amazing. The only thing is that you have to invest a lot of time into it. It’s open-world, so you have a free run of what you can do. You don’t have to just follow a straight-pathed story line, either. There are a million oth-” “Excuse me, you know about these games? You play them? Like, of your own free will?” “…Yes sir. The store manager *motions to my boss* does as well.”
Woman: “Hi, um…I’d just like this gift card please.” “Oh, for a birthday? I have Happy Birthday gift cards, if you’d like.” “Yeah, sure. I figure it’s better to get him this gift card instead of the game he wanted…I don’t know anything about it.” “Which game was that?” “Some war game…” “Was it Call of Duty or Battlefield?” *takes out a piece of paper* “Uhh…Battlefield 3. For Xbox…” “Yup, that’s a popular one. I’d reccommend Battlefield over Call of Duty, anyway. Bigger maps in multi-player, bullet-drop…you can also control a few different vehicles, which is fun.” “Oh, wow. Sure, I’ll pick that up then. I just wanted to play it safe with the gift card.” “You can always ask us, miss. That’s what we’re here for.” “I didn’t realize you knew about video games. What happened to the guys that worked here?” “They were moved to a different store, so now I’m the assistant manager and the store manager’s name is Cristina.” “Two women? Wow!”
Not like amazement and things of that nature are bad things. I hate the presumptions, though, and the rudeness of a little less than half the people I and my boss deal with. The stories are endless and ever-changing. It’s a shame. Even still, I love my job. And I love how intrigued people get when they see a female GameStop employee. Apparently, we’re a rare breed.
Do any GameStops near you have female employees? If not, they should.