Today in reasons Anne’s not writing:
Cheerily Sexist Cable Companies
In recent days, I’ve had the dubious pleasure of chatting with my cable company.
It is, of course, necessary to update my television packages due to sports starting up again (in order to give myself even more temptations to not meet deadlines).
In recent days, I have spoken to — in my conservative estimation — one billion and three professionals of the cable-providing industry.
Here is how the conversation went EVERY SINGLE TIME:
ME: “Hi there. I would like to upgrade my package to receive more channels. I require Sports Channel 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.” (During the summer [read: “when there are no sports”] I scale everything back to basic, then turn it back up in September. Seriously, I’m not even sure why my television needs more than these five channels.)
THEM: “Hurray! I am delighted that you will now be paying us more money. Just one moment while I pull up your account.”
*awkward pause for idle chit-chat*
THEM: “…so…I guess your husband/boyfriend’s a big sports fan, eh?”
Why? Why would you say that?
Not even the fact that I am the one making the phone call leads the cheery voices to believe I have some sort of agency in my purchasing power. All things sports must be at the behest of my man-keeper.
This shit is hurtful.
And I don’t mean to me. I mean, sure, it melts my brains for a minute. It makes me rant to the cats about sexist idiots (note: I use idiots as a gender-neutral word. Both male- and female-id-ing cable pros made the same stupid assumption) and write grouchy blog posts, but that’s it. I’m cool.
But these assumptions hurt society.
I’m thinking of athletic young women who give up sports because they’ve been called “butch” or “tomboy.” Or simply because they’re tired of being told they “throw like a girl.” <– this, by the bye, is AWESOME. Go watch it. I’ll wait.
These assumptions are equally bad for our young men. If boys keep hearing the message that girls don’t belong in sports, the culture of exclusion continues. Likewise, guys who just aren’t into sports (*GASP!*) are stigmatized as “weak” or “girly.” Heaven forbid we give our boys a chance to opt out or our girls a chance to opt in. Free choice is for sissies!
Deciding who can and can’t love sports based on gender is crap.
And while I expect (which is sad in itself) this kind of sexist garbage from the drooling rabble that lurks in the dark corners of the interwebs — the truly crazy ones who INSIST that real men like sports, just like real women should be getting their man a beer and stop vacuuming while the game’s on — it’s beyond frustrating to hear it from cheerful professionals who are just trying to be friendly.
Because it’s this sort of sterile, friendly, unintentional insult that is keeping gender stereotypes alive.