I invite you all to take a moment and read my newest blog post, found here, but I want to talk about it for a moment beforehand.
In times gone past, I worked for a major video game outlet; as glamorous as that sounds, it’s really an OK job for young twenty-somethings to get accustomed to working retail. In all of my time there, I'll never forget the guy that bee lined to me instead of one of the women working with me to ask about Call of Duty. I was obviously busy; I was trying to keep our back counter area under control as well as make or walls look professional and not like we hurled game cases into the void in hopes that they’d magically land in the right spot.
The woman working with me was, too, but she was manning the register and assisting customers so that I could focus on the grunt work. We’d trade off on these duties, and would assist the other if things got busy or died down within the store. Of course, I would have done whatever she asked me to do; she was the Assistant Store Manager, after all.
So, this guy walked in, was greeted by my boss, and was offered assistance...and straight up ignored her.
I watched this guy disrespect a fellow employee, who then asked me my opinion on Call of Duty, just because I'm a man. As soon as he asked, I told him to ask her. I told him that I rarely, if ever, played Call of Duty, but she's a bit obsessed (paraphrasing, of course, it’s been years ago.) And nothing about that statement was fabricated; I’ll play the main campaign, maybe do the multiplayer, but I’m a Halo/BioShock kind of guy when it comes to FPS’s. My coworker, however, was pretty damned good at Call of Duty; we played a few times, and she won more matches than I. She was the “go-to gal” in our store when it came to that series, and this guy didn’t give her a chance to share her knowledge and experience based purely on her gender.
I wish I could accurately describe the look he gave me after I told him to ask the girl, my boss, about Call of Duty. You could tell he didn't want to go back to speak to her...and why would he want to? He just dissed another fellow gamer based on an assumption that she had less knowledge than I because, "girls don't play Call of Duty." He did talk to her, however, and, if I remember correctly, the fella promptly left the store after one question.
I reflect on that exchange occasionally and ponder why this guy thought it was within the realm of acceptable behavior to disregard my coworker and talk to me instead. This interaction stands out to me because this young man made it so obvious; in his world, Call of Duty is a man’s game, so why would the girl know anything? Did this guy pick up on a bad example his parents showed him, or is he the product of an often inclusive group of “hardcore” gamers? I won’t know.
And this wasn’t the first (or last) time this sort of thing happened. Some were pretty typical (men wanting to know the guy employee’s opinion on “War Simulator 12: This Time You Get to Fight in Europe,” some were odd (like the moms wanting to know the best kids games for their daughters,) and some were downright cruel (customers bullying women to get their way because they feel they’ll get away with it.) I don’t mind to give my opinion or offer assistance, and I’ll give it all day long, but if I’m obviously busy doing work around the store or helping another customer and my female counterpart has addressed you and you STILL want to ask the guy, you’re doing it wrong. If she isn’t able to answer your question, guess what? She’s going to say so, then ask you to wait patiently until another member of the team is ready to assist.
The idea of treating another person differently based on physical differences absolutely is mind blowing to me. We’re all trying to make it through life with as few issues as possible, and, if you’re like me, you’ve had your own fair share. Which is why I simply do not understand that there are still issues with treating everyone as equals. I personally believe it’s a combination of media and radical personalities that tell their fan base they’re socially “Alpha” and everyone else that disagrees is socially “Beta.” Somehow, that makes it justifiable, which I find ridiculous.
You can argue the many advances socially we’ve made in regards to women’s rights, but to say that discrimination based on sex, or color, for that matter, doesn’t exist is ignorant. Obviously progress has been made; women are filling roles that were only held by men. That doesn’t mean that discrimination was somehow stomped out of existence, though. Just because you haven’t personally experienced discrimination doesn’t mean it’s a fabricated social issue lead by the media and radical political parties and personalities; it just means that you’re fortunate enough not to be confronted with that situation on a regular basis.