Friday, 18 September 2009

A Man's Head on a Woman's Shoulders

Recently I had a rant a bit about racial discrimination, so now I'll switch to the old one, gender discrimination.

I was reading an article in a print newspaper which I unfortunately can't put a link to because they don't seem to have published it online. That's why they make you get the print copy, for gems of 300 words like that.

Anyhow, the writer was telling of how insurance premiums were higher on his car than they were for his wife, even though they both have a clean driving record and are both the same age, and the reason was because he's male. He asked the insurance company and they said this was because men made more claims than women. He asked if they discriminated based on race too, and they said no, because they didn't collect any data on that.

He said this was annoying as gender was one of the things you can't change. Age relates to experience. But you could get older, in fact you usually did. Or you could move to a different geographic region. But you didn't change gender.

Obviously he hasn't investigated certain operations you can do, but never mind.

Anyway, the poor bloke seemed put upon, and this was one of the terrible things about being a bloke. That and I just don't know how men live with a bobbing Adam's Apple. Doesn't it ever feel weird having a round thing bobbing at your neck? It looks weird on some of you. If I had one I would be thinking it was very strange. Especially since I'm a girl.

But I don't think it is all one way. For instance, in some cases, women pay more for just being a woman. For instance, I passed the hairdresser's and a Lady's Basic Cut, the cheapest was, more expensive than the most expensive Men's Basic Cut (they have a slight range based, I think, on length of hair).

Now that is outrageous. I have seen men with tangly long mullets and women with little bob cuts and still the women are probably paying more. Grrr!

In fact it annoys me more than the car premium thing, because I've got hair. I don't have a car. Your hair grows on you, man. You need to CUT IT to get rid of it, ok some people's just falls out. Whereas if you don't want to pay for insurance on a car you can choose to not buy one in the first place. Easy peasy. So in that way I think it is even WORSE.

I have thought sometimes that I should go into a hairdresser dressed in a suit and tie with a m moustache drawn on my face and talk in a deep voice and despite having past-the-shoulder length hair and wanting a side part with it nicely layered etc, I would demand bravely to have a men's cut! See if they would dare question my ... errrh ... balls!

They've changed it now - And now it is happily gender-unbiased - but they used to have two different specials at the Belgian Beer Cafe - one was half-price mussels for males on Wednesdays, and for ladies it was a free beer if you wore red. (They've changed it now so the mussels deal applies to everyone and the beer special has disappeared.)

But at the time it annoyed me because I don't drink beer and I like mussels! And dammit ... What do I have in my wardrobe that's red? Too much planning!

On the other time of course one uses the feminine advantage to every extent they can when the guys who are selling fruit at Paddy's Markets make their comments about throwing in an extra few apples into your basket "for the lady".

I'm not sure if we should jump up and scream about all this disgusting, awful, gender discrimination, or accept it will balance out in the end, and/or accept which gender we are and what tricks and advantages it gives us and use them to gain the best advantages where! It sounds pathetic and very cliche but I do think some people might help me more because I'm a pint-sized female, if something falls, if a stupid ticket machine won't work and I start growling at it I think there is someone who is male/taller/wider/more authoritarian looking who delights in coming up and trying to help out, more so than if I were a big tall, large male with tattoos all over me.

Of course there are some areas in which gender discrimination/abuse/unfairness is quite serious; on the other hand when it comes to a little freebie given or not given here or there, a small slant in prices, a slightly different treatment, should it be something we worry about overly?

Or is not worrying about them being lazy, and silently condoning or making way for the bigger abuses, or contributing to them? Is that person whom you let get away with dividing man's chores and girl's chores and you don't mind her emphasising it because you'd really rather not clean the car or put the mulch on the garden or re-tile the roof ... is she the next one who'll be giving disgustingly different pay to males from females or refusing to employ certain people based on gender and part of that is your fault?

And you could be one of those victims!


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