There seems to be an automatic assumption made by these types of men (Note: these men also happen to be the types who say “Oh I’m on babysitting duties tonight mate and the Mrs is having a night off” not realising that it is absolutely impossible to “babysit” your own children…unless your ‘Mrs’ gives you money at the end of the night then drives you home to your parents’ house…oh and you’re a 12 years old. It’s called ‘parenting’ not ‘babysitting’ you dimwit!)…anyway there seems to be an automatic assumption by certain types of men that a group of professional women gathered together must be talking about ‘women’s business’ – you know babies, when you’re having more babies, where babies come from, fashion, fashion for babies, shaving legs, periods, and Ryan Gosling. Whilst I appreciate that a group of women may at various stages in their careers talk about any or all of the above (I for one am guilty of many talks about that last category in particular), I can almost guarantee you it is not every, single time they are together.
Further it’s the negative connotation associated with a group of women gathering – as if you can’t let us gather together because then we’ll get ideas and form a union (yes a union that constitutes of 51% of the population) and then those floodgates that are currently trying to hold out ‘the gays’, ‘the boat people’, ‘the [insert another unnecessarily marginalised group of society] people’ will open up and anarchy will ensue. Every time I have to go to a ‘Women in Business’-type event, the ignorance from my male colleagues makes me think that the statistic that we only use 10% of our brain power must have been measured with a standard variance of 15%. Either I get looks of ‘you must be going to some Buffy-inspired witchcraft ritual where women hum and walk around a flaming pot singing chants like ‘pay equality’ or ‘maternity leave’, or I’m met with the same patronising comment: “uhhh [yes because these men always sound like ‘Beavis and Butthead’] uhhh why aren’t men invited? Isn’t that discrimination” …well done sir, I have never heard that pathetic argument before. Forget that due to years of patriarchal structures, women have been and continue to face unfair and unequal working conditions, forget that there are still countries that deny women some basic rights, forget that technically you were invited but scoffed at the idea of a “chick’s lunch”…no you sir, the white, middle-aged man are the true victim of all of society’s problems.
So next time, as a male approaching such a group, remember that it’s OK to join the conversation – you won’t feel ostracised, you may get a different perspective on an issue and of course, you don’t even need to bring your own broomstick to join and I can assure you that you won’t leave the conversation and look down at yourself to find high heels and female anatomy.