I was reading Captain Awkward a couple of days ago, and nodding along sympathetically with this post and 500+ comments relating similar stories. While many of the situations sounded familiar, I remember feeling glad that I had not had an unpleasantly forced encounter with a strange man in a long time.
And so, as punishment, the universe smacked me in the head with a textbook case.
I am walking in a busy shopping area and I want to send a text message. Because I am physically incapable of walking and texting on a crowded street, I move away from the general fray and stand by some railings where I am not obstructing anyone. After a few moments I realise there is a guy standing a few feet away, staring at me. I keep my eyes locked on my phone.
Last week, I moved to Oxford, which involved a lot of driving in the car with my mother, which in turn meant a lot of listening to the radio. I love Irish radio. We are a nation of excellent talkers.
However, last week on Irish radio, there was a moment of epic genderfail and I said several words that I would never normally say in front of my mother.
Don’t get me wrong, I hear a lot of genderfail from mainstream media outlets on a regular basis. As I have previously discussed, living on Feminist Internet can be an insulated experience and I am frequently startled by the levels of stupidity I encounter outside it. On Feminist Internet, even in the heat of disagreement, people understand the basics; for example, vague stereotypes are not a good starting point for productive debate.
This incident of genderfail was particularly infuriating because it came from a successful businesswoman who was trying to advocate for other businesswomen. To do so, she resorted to ridiculous generalisations about Women: The Monolith that would have been shouted down on any reputable feminist blog or forum within seconds.