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Taxi for Sexism

I’d like to tell you a short story.

One afternoon last year, my partner and I decided to go all out and splurge on a taxi home from the supermarket. I know, I know, it’s just the kind of wild, millennial, outlandish behaviour you’ve come to expect from me. We entered the taxi full of the joys of life and elated with the knowledge of just having bought a whole cooked chicken. I politely greeted the driver and advised where we'd like to go. He proceeded to completely ignore me and looked through me as if I were perhaps a Victorian ghost, directly at my partner; "Where to mate?" I should clarify at this point that my partner is male. This is vital to the story. Also, that I was dressed like a Victorian ghost. 

My partner; him being a tall dark handsome virile man capable of speech. Me; a frail dainty ghost-woman incapable of remembering where she lives. It was a pickle. I was incredibly lucky he was with me. Otherwise how would we have ever gotten home? The taxi would have been completely stationery for anything from minutes to years, or at least until another blessed male saviour had walked past and came to my aid by speaking for me.

Enraged and baffled as I was by this man ignoring me I let it slide. Maybe he just hadn't heard me. I do have a soft voice. It's probably my fault for not speaking up. There was a lot of traffic right enough. It's fine. But then we arrived at our destination. He called out how much the fare was and I produced my purse and pulled out the relevant note. I handed it through the glass and he looked at my partner.

HE LOOKED AT MY PARTNER.

I was again, getting ahead of myself, being a feeble little lady with limbs much too weak to lift a piece of currency I really should have handed this to my STRONG MALE HERO to pay the VERY IMPORTANT MAN.

*

In the months since this altercation I’ve thought about it frequently.  I’ve come up with so many hilarious and stinging come-backs I could have fuelled his taxi for 12months. I’ve thought about it a lot because I just found it so confusing. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve experienced this type of flagrant sexism many, MANY times throughout my life, but this was so blatant it took me by surprise. I think the main issue I have is in trying to make some sort of sense of it where really there is none. This man seemed to find his comfort in acting as though a woman didn’t exist, or that I was at least lesser than my male partner, and that’s not in any way healthy.

I don’t know what the solution is either; do we make a stand every time a man treats us this way? Do we humiliate or reprimand? Do we have the energy? I know I don’t. It’s too exhausting rolling my eyes and lifting my small Victorian arms most of the time.

I suppose the best we can do is in sharing our stories and hopefully opening the eyes of the good men in our lives to these occurrences, these daily, BORING occurrences. My own partner was amazed to see the way this taxi driver acted and that made me feel hopeful. It reminded me that although it’s frustrating that many men are oblivious to how much blatant sexism we put up with in our daily lives, the men we choose to surround ourselves with are good.  They value us and treat us as equals because that’s what we are. Those who value us are who matter, and anyone who treats us as anything less than their equivalent doesn’t.

In conclusion, if I were to give taxi-man a tip (and as you might have guessed, I didn’t) it would’ve been to please grant his undoubtedly long suffering wife a divorce. Consider yourself BURNED.  

Kathleen NichollsComment