Have you ever been on the receiving, or negative end, of a gender bias situation? How about gender bias bullying?
I sure hope you haven’t been on the giving end, though I’m sure we all have, in one way or another at some point.
And that’s okay.
I can’t remember a specific example of a time where my gender got in the way of something that I wanted, or where I had been treated differently based on the fact that I am a female. Not significantly, anyways.
Rewind a week or so to the last couple of episodes of Survivor: Winners at War (hear me out) and I was listening to Lacinta talk about the gender bias she has suffered and I still didn’t realize it was happening to me. If you don’t watch Survivor or have no idea what I’m talking about, the host of the program even admitted that he is sure that he has treated the men differently than the women over the last 40 seasons of the show, without even realizing it.
It happens, I get it.
But when I complained to the committee of my community garden about a neighbouring plot to mine building a greenhouse so large that it was blocking sunlight to my plants, it didn’t cross my mind that I would be treated any differently than anyone else with the same issue.
And then things got out of hand.
I was told that the committee wanted no part of the he said/she said, which I completely understand, so I won’t get into too much here. But I want to talk about how I felt I would have been treated differently, had I been male in this same situation, in order to open a discussion that I believe needs to be had. Sadly, it has to do with the garden’s group Facebook page.
Note: I am better than this. I know that commenting on Facebook in any way is a bad idea and would end poorly for me. Lesson learned this time?
The owner of the plot had apologized for offending anyone with the greenhouse, and I responded to say it was my complaint they had heard. I also noted my opinion that they should take the greenhouse down. A ridiculous demand made out of anger more than any sense of logic. I admit.
And after I did that, I was called a bitch. Told that I had anger issues and that I was the problem. I was not acting with “community spirit.”
I very honestly believe that if the gender roles were reversed, the name-calling wouldn't have happened. Not as aggressively. And to top it off, since I had refused an in-person meeting about the stupid greenhouse (sorry, not sorry, there is still anger there, deep inside), this man that I had never met waited for me at the garden last Saturday evening and followed me down the street to talk. While I was alone with my child and my dog.
This. Is. Not. Okay.
And on the heels of such a surprising conversation regarding gender bias as mentioned above, I cannot help but think that this situation would also never have happened if I was not a woman.
I made it very clear to this man in the moment that I did not want to talk. Yet he persisted. I was walking away, Archer beside me on his bike, Eddie on the other side on leash, and this stranger followed us at least a half a block down the road, talking. Persistently trying to convince me that his greenhouse was acceptable, even though I clearly communicated that I did not want any part of the conversation. Had it been Brad?
I don't think that man would have followed him.
I cringe when I think about it, to be entirely honest. It shook me to my core. And it upset Brad, to the point where he took off after I told him about the incident to find this man and try to talk it out. To stand up for me and let this guy know that approaching me while I was alone was the wrong thing to do.
I’m sure you can imagine how that ended.
No one threw a punch, thank goodness. But things were said that cannot be taken back and now I am on probation, essentially, with the garden.
Taking the time to look up on our walk this morning.
The ways that people react to situations are vastly different, especially in difficult or traumatic situations. Still, I sadly believe that this would not have happened had it been Brad. And it upsets me immensely.
I’m working through it, but I feel very wronged by the entire situation. I wish, so badly, that this was not the case. And I know there are much worse things in the world to be worried about right now, but I want to open the conversation with as much honesty as I could in hopes that this problem will get better one day. With hope that I can raise my kids to be better than all this kind of shit. And that they will never have to be on the receiving end of something akin to this gender bias bullying situation. That they will know better than to behave like this.