Patronised

by

A few years ago I was working in a music store that sold primarily guitars, so as you can imagine: lots of male customers. I play violin (and had for about 11 years at the time) and decided to pick up a mandolin to play for a bit, which has the same strings and tuning as a violin, during a lull in activity. A male customer walked by…

Customer: Aw, you learning how to play?
Me: (incredulous) No… I AM playing.

Guess I should’ve realized that women aren’t supposed to have recreational abilities outside of knitting and organizing recipe cards. #MFIF

KM

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6 Responses to “Patronised”

  1. Clare Says:

    I had a similar situation, although I was the customer. I went to buy my first ever electric guitar, after spending nearly nine years studying classical guitar. I knew more or less exactly what I wanted (a Fender Squier Stratocaster) but did have some questions so I wanted to speak to a Person in a music shop rather than just getting one online, even though that was cheaper.

    I went into a shop near where I was at university and asked about electric guitars.

    “Is it for your boyfriend?” was the first thing the guy said. I said no, turned on my heel and never went in there again. I bought my copy Strat online from a store down on the south coast of England and rocked the fuck out.

    • Clare Says:

      What I meant to actually say, rather than just recounting my own incident, was that it seems to me also that there are some instruments are acceptable for women and some which really aren’t.

      Drums, for instance, are the kind of thing considered inappropriate. Anything that’s big, probably. It’s indelicate, of course.

      Bass guitar, for another. I chose to just ignore the patronising staff when I bought my Fender Jazz.

      Mandolin is probably another (I have one and was trying to teach myself but kinda gave up) because women aren’t seen to play it, ergo, we can’t POSSIBLY do so… or possibly because it looks a bit like a guitar (if only to the untrained eye?) and we all know that guitars are just penis extensions, right? /weary sarcasm.

      • The Heff Says:

        I don’t see a lot of men playing a mandolin either. ERGO they don’t play it either.

  2. Amy Says:

    This happened to me recently. I was in a different town and needed a single replacement string. My usual store that knew me was far away so I went into a different branch close by. I asked the clerk for a single Ernie Ball regular gauge B-string, and he handed me a D’Addario brand instead. When I asked why he just told me I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference! I’m sorry, do I need to prove that I can play guitar and know my stuff before I can get the string that I want?

    On a related note, trying to convince people that yes, I AM a guitar teacher, and NO, I don’t just teach beginners and little girls, is a task in itself.

  3. Cercis Says:

    Hey, don’t hate on the knitters. It’s this kind of sexism that makes it hard for knitters to practice their crafts – men and women.

    I think you should examine some of your own sexism.

    • Meg Says:

      I don’t think resentment about being expected to have a certain kind of hobby is ‘hating’ on those hobbies or the people who practice them. If getting annoyed at sexist presumptions is sexist then we’re hooped, aren’t we?

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