For those of a feminist persuasion, though, really, anyone could perceive this.
How do you separate sexism from just plain rudeness or stupidity? I'm not talking about harassment, or times when it's obvious that you're being treated differently than a group of guys, or when someone tells you that they're treating you differently because you're a woman.
I mean the more subtle, sometimes everyday, things.
For instance, when we bought our first new van, the salesman spent the first part of our time focusing only on dear husband. Dear husband drove the van first, and the salesman talked to him the entire time. I was sitting in the back with 6 yo son and 2 yo daughter. As we got back to the car lot, the salesman turned to dear husband and asked how he liked it. Dear husband replied that it was nice, but that his opinion didn't matter. He then turned to me, said it was my turn to drive, and asked how I liked it so far.
The look on the salesman's face was priceless! Dear husband said that it was amazing how fast he turned his head to look at me in the back seat.
Not only had he pitched his sale to the wrong person, he had totally ignored the person making the sales decision!
Fortunately, he recovered quickly, and was pretty decent to deal with for the rest of the time. Informative, but not too pushy. We bought the van. It still sits in the garage, happily bright red, and older son drives it now.
I always wondered what the salesman was thinking. Here's a family with two small kids - who's going to be driving the van?! Obviously the mother will, but the father got the sales pitch. Sexism, stupidity, take your pick.
A few years ago, our 16 year old washer died. I researched the one I wanted, went to Lowe's, got a credit card, and got very little attention from the salesman. He was more interested in talking to the guys in the washer department, and perfunctorily took my order. Even more than vans (where the father might drive it on weekends), washers tend to be the woman's domain. Why ignore a woman shopping for one?
Unfortunately, we ended up with the same salesman when we went to Lowe's last weekend to replace the dishwasher. As we they discussed it, I got a good view of the side of the salesman's head. We had more questions so we went home to do more research. Fortunately, when we returned that evening, there was a different salesman who was quite polite and attentive as I ordered the dishwasher and paid for it with my Lowe's card. I have a Lowe's card; dear husband doesn't, because I end up buying the big ticket items. I'm the one at home using them!
There are some people I see on an ongoing, but not terribly frequent, basis. Conversations with them were similar. What I remember of a conversation with one guy is his ear. Except for a sentence or two at the beginning, he spent the entire conversation talking to dear husband. I later observed this guy in social settings and he didn't seem to be overly sexist so I ended up attributing that to rudeness instead.
I refer to them as guys not gentlemen because "gentlemen" implies a certain level of manners. "Gentlemen" doesn't mean that they're not sexist, but "gentlemanly" manners should tide them over in everyday conversation enough so they pay attention to all the people participating in the conversation, regardless of gender.
So, ladies, would you attribute things more to sexism, rudeness, or just plain stupidity? Although, I suppose it doesn't make that much of a difference since I try to remain polite, regardless.