I am disappointed to say that I don’t know a lot about cars. It’s not through lack of trying or even lack of interest; my brain just isn’t very “practical” and common sense isn’t a strength. Recently, I have had two problems with my car, 1. A soft tyre 2. A roof tile fell onto my car and dented the bonnet, brilliant.
It was actually my dad that pointed out the tyre; I heartbreakingly discovered the dent myself and to be honest I had no idea what to do about either. Obviously I understood that I needed to get them fixed but I didn’t know where to even start, beyond taking it to the garage.
I was forwarded the details of a local garage and I made the call. In preparation for this I scribbled down everything I knew about the whole car situation because I was determined to seem like I knew what I was talking about. To be honest I felt embarrassed and nervous that I would look stupid… Why’s that? GENDER ROLES! Disappointment filled my veins. I couldn’t believe I was reaffirming gender roles; I was the walking stereotype that women don’t know anything about cars. How complicated.
I am pleased to say that my phone call was greeted by a friendly customer service person called Eleanor. She put me at ease and didn’t make me feel like an idiot- woohoo!
I had quite different experience when I visited a timber yard with my partner last summer. My SO is a million times better at real- life- common-sense- problems. Our experience with the assistants at the yard was terrible. The shop was filled with men who couldn’t even begin to imagine that we knew what we were talking about. They were unhelpful, rude and condescending. I can’t say for sure that they acted like this towards us because of our gender, but it definitely looked that way.
I am always desperate to be knowledgeable about topics that aren’t stereotypically associated with women – I aim to be armed to challenge assumptions. However, is this attitude adding unnecessary pressure to myself and other women to be all things to all people, in an attempt to be treated with respect?
Feminism is about believing in equality for all genders. So surely, in order for women to be treated equally, we shouldn’t have to live up to masculine ideals in order to be treated like “men” and therefore fairer in our patriarchal society. Men face their own pressures in terms of masculinity and what makes a “real man”. Feminism aims to challenge this, which actually benefits everyone. I guess the point I am trying to make is: isn’t it time we abandon the ideals surrounding gender? Can we please just acknowledge that the human race is made up of individuals, who are all good at different things? Everyone is entitled to the same opportunities and to be treated fairly.
It is also okay that I am a woman who doesn’t know a lot about cars and that doesn’t make me a bad feminist; At least, that’s what I think anyway.