None of my coworkers or customers know I spent the first 20 years of my life being assumed to be a woman. They have no need to. It’s never come up and unless it is relevant, it is strictly irrelevant information. So, when it comes to how they treat me, I am treated just like every other guy, which has led to some insight when it comes to men interacting with one another.
Customers and coworkers alike have stated blatantly misogynistic things to me and expected me to agree. They automatically assume that I am misogynistic. This has come from anyone from teenagers to the elderly, both in words and actions. For example, I recently had a customer come in and begin complaining about a female employee from another store. He expected me to agree. He attempted to get me to agree. I was silent. I shrugged and listened. Then he left. I was baffled.
I had a coworker show me photos of a woman who had apparently slept with five guys (who were Black, cause apparently that just adds to the shock) and quoted Chris Brown “these hoes ain’t loyal”, I flat out told him maybe if he stopped beating women and calling them hoes, they’d be more inclined to stay. He seemed taken aback. I didn’t agree with his racist and misogynistic comments? What?
I’ve had boyfriends and husbands put down their wives and girlfriends in front of me in an attempt of brotherly solidarity, attempting to put themselves as the true gamer (because I work in a gaming store) while their partners were inferior. I’ve caught the hurt expressions from them as well. Once again, it was assumed that I would agree that women gamers are somehow inferior for simply being women.
This is something I’ve watched and experienced firsthand from the other side. Before I transitioned and began being perceived as male, I would have customers, completely engaged with me, answering every question they had, and then when it came to actual gaming knowledge, turn to my male presenting coworkers and begin to ask them questions. Apparently, despite clearly knowing what I was talking about, I had never played the systems or the games. Funnily enough, I was the only one in the store who owned a Wii at the time. Jokes on them.
This still happens today when I am misgendered. Customers who assume I am a woman (due to my long blond hair, small stature, and feminine mannerisms), treat me much differently than they do if they gendered me relatively correctly from the bat. I’ve watched customers code switch in the middle of a conversation upon realizing that I was not the woman they assumed I to be. This trend seems to be more noticeable with masculine men (especially of the ‘bro’ type), than other customers.
I’ve watched this same thing happen to female coworkers as well. They would greet a customer and approach them, only to be ignored and the customer ask the male associate working with them. They could not even be bothered occasionally to answer her. Other customers would do as they had done with me and the Wii, ask basic questions to the female employees before turning to the male employees when it came to the actual knowledge about games. It’s subtle, but it has meaning.
In the recently light of #GamerGate, an entire movement based and started because of misogyny, I’ve become more aware of the microaggressions that women gamers face in this industry. Of course, that is not to say that this is something confined solely to gaming. I’ve had non-gaming customers act this way, from parents, grandparents, and so forth. People who had no knowledge of the gaming industry brush off female employees in favor of male ones (or in my case, seemingly male).
Men are automatically assumed to be misogynistic. It makes sense. We are told from the moment we are born that women, especially feminine women, are inferior. This is something echoed in feminist circles and queer circles as well. Femininity, due to its association with woman, is lesser. Thus, those perceived as masculine (or in the very least male), are assumed to build this identity on the misogyny ingrained in this society to keep it afloat.
We live in a culture that values men over women, that much is certain. Due to this, men are expected to be misogynistic. We cannot have a patriarchy without making women inferior, it would simply not be if that was not the lie spoon-fed to us. It is amazing what men will say to other men about women, in an attempt to build friendships and comradery. Masculinity, especially in this patriarchal society, is built on the idea of women as being seen as weak. It is something that can only be kept as long as anything associated with being a woman is kept in its place; below.