November 03, 2009

It hasn't got any better!


At Christmas, Magic for Her, Technology for Him

We get advertising every Monday from a variety of businesses near by us. This booklet came yesterday in the mail. I immediately started to twitch and tick when I saw the cover. Not only is Christmas shopping being promoted from November 2nd in the stores, but this cover is so sexist!

From the time I arrived in France, I was always upset and angered by the casual sexism in companies and in society as a whole. I used to scream at some of my more macho co-workers for their off-hand comments about women at work. I went so far as to get the entire copy of the United States Sexual Discrimination law to give to one of the most obnoxious of my colleagues (the French Sales Manager).

It used to get the Sales Manager's goat that I was at the same level of hierarchy as he was. He made it a point every day to slimily complement me on my clothes, my hair, my general glowing positive nature, etc., etc. He treated his assitant (a lovely woman) like a slave and she'd just take it. I used to try to get her to revolt but she was too scared to lose her job.

There are so many jokes about women; blonde jokes are especially popular here. And if you take the time to explain the sexist content of these jokes, the guys just stare at you as if you were from outer space.

Since moving out of Paris, there has been less of this kind of rampant sexism being thrown in my face. However, the equality of pay doesn't exist here. On average, for equal work, a woman gets paid 30% less than her male counterpart. I guess I've let being outraged take a backseat to other, more immediate concerns. Maybe I've gotten older and I don't fight as much as I used to. Who knows?

But when I saw this toy brochure from our local supermarket, I saw RED! In all of the pictures, the boys are doing the cool expensive stuff (pool tables, scientific experiments, heavy machinery at 153€ 73) and the girls get WHAT???? Babies and kitchen items for 29€ 70!!!! Give me a break!!!!

I'm about ready to go to that supermarket and give the manager a piece of my mind. The first few years here, when I'd get mad and wanted to make an intelligent point about political-correctness, my French would falter and I'd wind up just getting mad.

I think that I've been here long enough now to be able to sound reasonable sane and coherent when complaining. Otherwise, I'll make an idiot of myself, and as usual, Monsieur Titi will be deeply ashamed for me.

12 comments:

Nadege said...

It is so unusual nowdays in the US to run into blatant sexist people at work, I would get upset too. Without being angry or raising your voice, you could ask your neighbors, friends, students... (showing them the catalog) if this kind of sexism happens often. You just have to raise their consciousness.

Shanster said...

Yikes! I can understand the seeing RED! Hard to swim upstream when it's so ingrained in people and culture. But only people like you create thought for change! Way to go!

the fly in the web said...

Give them hell.

L.R. M-J said...

Bonjour!! Always great to hear about yet another piece of Americana taking root in la France profonde ;) We are about 25km east of Le Mans. I have a very good friend down towards Tours who is also American & married to a frenchmonsieur, we did a book club last year every month & it was a blast. I'm missing it greatly but have no time b/c of the renovs...and the blog-gah! I had almost caught up to keep the renovs up to date for all following & then la vie hit...trying to get it going again. Thanks for stopping by & keep in touch! If you ever come up this way zip me an e-mail, love to meet up! :)

L.R. M-J said...

P.S. Totally forgot to actually comment! I 100% agree with you and not only see red, but raging red! My working tales from Paris corporate life sound eerily identical to yours...hurrumf!!My poor hubby has had to hear the diatribes so many times he can probably recite them now...fortunately he does his little bit :) I do have to say the country is definitely less obvious about their sexism, but the same Super-U adverts come our way Monday mornings...I don't know how my friends with kids deal...rock on!

French Fancy said...

Don't get me started - I closed one bank account because they wouldn't put my own name on the cheque book - just M and Mme (his) surname - despite me having kept my maiden name.

ladybird said...

Dedene, No use of trying to fight this on your own ... Your protest would be like water on a duck's back. If you want to take action, try to get some support from a women's organisation or your village council. These chainstores are tough, only interested in selling their goods. Good luck! Martine

Debbie said...

I encountered that at the school I sub in today! Sexism drives me nuts too.

Marie Reed said...

Another thing that makes me see red when it comes to French adverts is that all of the people featured are always white! It's quite odd considering what a wonderful mix up of races and cultures France has! Nice to meet your blog:) I'm an expat from California living in Saint Fargeau, Yonne. That's not really very far away from you!

Betty C. said...

I cannot believe this! But you are right, there's a lot of casual sexism (not to mention casual racism...)

Barbara said...

Boo !!!!
She has every right to be in the tech age as that boy !!

Not Waving but Drowning said...

It gets right up my nose too, GG