Thursday, August 11, 2005

Observations on Social Change...
(doesn't that sound high falutin'?)

Okay so this good friend of mine, Miss C was telling me this morning about this idiot mechanic who is working on her car and giving her the "dumb blonde" treatment. It made me so mad. Then it reminded me of this time, a few years ago, when I was working with my M-I-L and something like that happened. It was shocking. Now keep in mind that my M-I-L was like the original hippy chick, before hippies even got started, women's libber, radical, fight-the-white-male-supression type. And she's like 5 feet tall with long, blonde hair, just so you get a good visual....Anyway, we had this locksmith at the office building replacing some of the locks in the stairwell and you could totally smell the booze evaporating off of him, he reeked and was all surly and just being a total freak in general, teetering on possibly dangerous if you asked me. So, she asks him a question about keys or something and he starts this long drawn out explaination (which, btw, didn't even answer her question) about how a lock works (duh) and is all totally condescending and doing the "I'm talking to a 3 year old" talk, baby talk and all....something like, "you. see. this. round. thing. here. is. the. dooooor. knob. and. etc., etc"....you get the drift...total jackass. Well, she got so pissed. Her blood pressure went up so high her ears must have been ringing. So when he finishes his little speech, and asks her if she understands, she says, "yes. I. think. I. can. wrap. my. teeny. tiny. little. brain. around. that" Note: squeaked up her voice on the "teeny. tiny." part...and was just giving him this totally malevolent stare, like she was going push him down the stairs or something. BOY! Was he shocked (as was I) and he backed off right away and got really polite even through his drunken stupor. I was shocked, but impressed (and I realized that my mom probably would have had a similar reaction as well). Here I was just disregarding the guy as a big loser who falls into the "to be ignored (or possibly pitied)" catagory...definately the "do not give business to him again" catagory. But, her reaction was so strong and she was so angry that it suddenly dawned on me how lucky my generation is. I mean I take it for granted (and rightfully so) that other people I interact with are going to treat me with respect and as an equal. We, for the most part, didn't grow up with the "girls are stupid little things that can't understand anything mechanical" attitude that she that was prevelent when she was growing up (disclaimer, I'm sure not all men acted thay way in the 50s, so don't jump on me for the comment). And it's not even like the change took that long....one generation. It's a pretty cool thing. I mean I know we still have some room to improve... Miss C's condescending auto mechanic as a case in point...but by and large that sort of treatment is something to be surprised by and not expected on a daily basis. I wonder if the daughters of our generation will enjoy some similar benefit....wouldn't that be nice? Just goes to show how quickly the social consciousness can be changed. So, thanks Mom and M-I-L and all the other women in your generation who made it better for all the women in my generation! I'll try to keep up your good work.

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