Save. Spend. Splurge.

Being an equal in a (mostly) patriarchal world

Something I’ve noticed time and time again at home, or when I travel abroad is when I am with BF, I am not addressed as a person.

He’s the one that gets the: How are you doing today, sir?, and I get jack squat.

This doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens enough for me to notice that I am not acknowledged in about 20% of the situations I’m in.

Or when I reply to them when they say vaguely: How are you doing today?, they’re surprised I opened my mouth to say anything. Or when BF defers to me.

Of course, this happens in stores and areas that are more geared towards the male race, but it has happened in banks as well, when we went in together to figure out what kind of investing options there were at a particular bank.

He was addressed formally with a handshake and everything, and I was just the decoration.

He was the one they talked to, until I quietly asked what the minimum was for a particular investing account.

When they told me $100,000 in a slightly condescending manner, I just asked if I had more money invested, if it would mean better terms for me.

They were taken slightly aback, but their attitude changed to one of bemusement.


(I feel like we still live in the Mad Men age, to some extent)

It even happened at the border when we were thoroughly questioned, and he was grilled 10X more than I was about consulting, because they assumed I was his assistant secretary, but not a “real” consultant who had any power.

I was too young for them to have any brains, and add on top that I’m a woman, and they couldn’t imagine another scenario.

It amuses me at the same time that it bothers me slightly.

Even though I am able to make the same salary as BF who is a decade older than I am, and even though I  have significant assets for my age, it doesn’t matter when everyday people don’t know that and treat me as though I’m some insignificant partner.

They think he has all the money and power in the relationship, when in fact, we’re equals in that respect, even if I am 10 years younger.


It made me think that this is probably not a singular phenomenon, and many women must go through the same marginalization by being treated differently just because they’re women.

I’ve read plenty of stories in PF books about how millionaire women are underestimated because they’re women, and sadly enough, it doesn’t surprise me (but it does make me laugh when it results in a favourable outcome, when they play with those misconceptions).

It doesn’t surprise me that women’s voices are still not heard as loudly as men’s in elections, and that we still don’t have a woman President (USA) or Prime Minister (Canada), and the closest that Canada got was with Kim Campbell, but in the U.S., I haven’t heard a single peep from any woman wanting to even run.

It’s all men making the decisions and calling the shots.

A lot of it, is we are still clinging to old values — men lead, women follow — and women are just not doing their part in stepping up to the plate to seize the crown.

What we can do in our daily lives, is consider if the way we treat women is equal, in the sense that it disregards their gender.

It means an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

If a woman is rude, tell her off the same way you’d tell a man off. It goes both ways.

The last point would be to vote or STFU, and vote with your money.

Don’t give money to businesses who don’t treat you well or don’t treat others well, whether you are a man or a woman.

Women, have you ever felt this way as a woman?

As a man, have you ever noticed it?


  • Lila

    Yes I’ve gotten that condescending attitude at banks as well! It can be frustrating because if you’re a young woman under 40 some of the people who work at banks, act as if you don’t know anything about saving, investing, etc.

  • Tania

    Sometimes in meetings at work (usually the only woman), the men will apologize to me for small bits of sports chit chat they do at the beginning. Yet, I was avid college football and basketball fan at one point while one of my male counterparts probably has never watched a game in his life (they never apologize to him). Although I don’t watch much sports now as I focus my weekends on writing I understand every word they say.

    There have been these commercials on Hulu lately that really piss me off. It’s a site to research car values before buying a car. The commercial shows all women and no men. The actresses are talking about how now they can go buy a car without a man. Puuuhlllease, when I bought my first car, I researched blue book values and other sites online. Why do women need their own special site?!

    I love Mad Men and at the same time I get really annoyed and want to slap the smugness right outta them.

  • Anne @ Unique Gifter

    Haven’t read the comments, but Hilary and Barack duked it out in the primaries last time, to be the presidential nominee or whatever they call it in the US.
    I definitely understand your experience in other cultures. My spouse and I find it funny when I have the cash or the credit cards sometimes, or check us into hotels and whatnot, after being treated as a non-entity. *sigh*

    This banking thing irks me, a lot. Especially as between the two of us, I’m more knowledgeable about the ins and outs of investing! (Not by a lot, but by enough on the consumer end!)

  • Allison @InsomniacLabRat

    I’ve noticed that this happens now and then. I actually think it happens more now that I live in the south compared to when I lived in the midwest, but maybe I just notice more now. I’ve also noticed that if I go somewhere with Ryan, people will usually address him, but when I go to those same places alone, they treat me just fine (I especially notice this at the car dealership when I or we go in for routine maintenance). That’s still not really equality, I guess, but I like that at the very least, if I go somewhere alone, I am treated the same as anyone else – and if I’m not, I try my best not to give them my business anymore.

    In my department at school, I think all but 1 of our faculty are very gender-neutral (one older male makes it very clear that he does not support hiring women who might *gasp* have babies!), but I have seen instances like Bridget describes with faculty from other departments. It’s insane. There are more female students now than male students, chances are at least some of us are doing just as well as the males…

  • PK

    Y Chromosome here: I’ve seen this with my wife, in pretty much the same situation as Christiane – car shopping with my (then) girlfriend, now wife. Even though we explicitly stated she was buying the car, the salesmen (and they were invariably men) addressed me.

    Some of the comments were pretty offensive too – stuff like “what features does she want?”. Well, you could try asking her…

    • Mochi & Macarons

      As if she is a non-entity right?

      For car sales, they’re awkward, as is with real estate if you are buying alone.
      The one that irks me the most personally is in banks. As if women don’t have money!!

  • Mochi & Macarons

    That banking one gets me.

    Every time. I always get the proverbial head pat and congratulations on wanting to SAVE, let alone invest.
    I let it go unless they unknowingly insult me, but at the end of each conversation, they end up realizing I don’t want their extra added services for only X amount a year to learn how to budget and save. I’m fine on my own.
    What irks me the most is men asking me: but do you have any PROFESSIONAL experience in investing?!
    As if you need experience to read investing books. If he’s so much smarter than me in investing, why isn’t he a millionaire? :p

  • Mochi & Macarons

    I do that sometimes but it gets exhausting to do so all the time because they assume you have no say.
    Other times I just let it go and then say: No, thanks. I don’t want to buy it here.
    When I walk away, and BF doesn’t say anything, I hope it teaches them a lesson.

  • Mochi & Macarons

    Wow. Good for you!!!! Vote with your money. If they ignore women with it, they don’t deserve it.

  • Bridget

    I feel this way a lot. It’s so awkward, because I don’t even think I’ve really “made it” yet. I mean, I’m only in my FIRST “career” job after university, it’s good but it’s not that glamorous. For me it’s just the first rung of my personal career ladder so it usually catches me completely off guard when someone assumes I have an even lower position. Sometimes when I tell people where I work they’ll respond, “what do you do there? Secretary/Admin-assistant?”. I have nothing against those roles, we need those people, but why did they just assume that’s what I did because I was a young woman? I have a feeling if I was a guy they never would have guessed Admin Assistant.
    I feel really sensitive to gender stereotypes in the workforce. I’m so upset about the income gap between men and women. I feel like even though I make decent money it would be even more if I was a male (though I know there’s no real way to know if this is true) and that bums me out.

    The absolute worst incident I ever had was when I was in graduate school and I had to do a presentation for a course worth 100% of my mark in front of the entire department. I was well prepared and absolutely rocked it and got an A, but in the discourse afterwards someone actually said they were “surprised” that I was so intelligent because it seemed that my “interests lied elsewhere” (in a place where brushing your hair was considered getting dolled up, I looked overly fashionable in grad studies. I also had an active social life of someone that, you know, was in their EARLY TWENTIES but I think gave the impression that I didn’t take things seriously). I couldn’t even believe that had been said. I was speechless and my PI was totally losing his shit over it, but then he told me that I would face this my entire career because that’s just what the scientific community is like. It was so exhausting. It added so much stress to the already challenging feat of getting a PhD and post-docs and a secured tenure professorship. I just couldn’t deal with my gender getting in the way of my success, I didn’t feel passionately enough about the field to fight that battle so it ended up being one of the contributing factors to make me leave graduate school, which is HORRIBLE.

    Now a huge part of my job is encourage women in science and engineering, which should be a positive thing but sometimes makes me feel bad because there’s still going to be so many barriers in their way. About 25% students in our faculty are women, but only 13% of working engineers are women. They leave the career for many reasons, but you can bet a huge number of them come down to the fact that it’s just plain hard to motivate yourself in a male-dominated industry.

    /END RANT.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      I get that: so are you an intern here?, comments a lot

      The thing is to continue showing them how you’re not like that.

      People are surprised I’m not a shopaholic who spends everything (although I disclose I used to be like that) and that I actually know and enjoy my job more than guys who have been there for 10 years.
      Of course they have no idea of my real financial situation so I get a lot of: “I hope you get another contract soon. It must be hard.”, mostly because I’m young and they think I’m heavily in debt and not making much.

  • Mochi & Macarons

    Good point. I think it is more that our age differences are so big when we go in together, they’re surprised.
    One thing I have noticed is when I go to banks in richer cities and areas like Toronto, they’re not as surprised. But a smaller bank in Montreal and they’re a bit more surprised.

  • arianaauburn

    While I traveled in the UK, I was treated the same way whenever I entered a business with Cutie. It was different when I was by myself, I was treated very politely. But I guess it doesn’t help that he is 6ft tall and I am super-short. At a department store, a sales lady thought Cutie was my dad (he’s actually younger than me) and asked him if he needed help buying me something from the kid’s section :(.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      I do recall not being treated like that in England because they are generally polite and know business is not only men.
      I will say that it doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but about 20% to 30%. I’d need to record every interaction to be sure.

  • Pauline

    I just moved to Guatemala and have a handyman who just nods when I ask him to do something and then goes on to do something else. He only listens to my BF, which is really annoying! Don’t get me started about the ”only women get hysterical” looks when I raise my voice to try and get something done. How can other women raise men like this?

    • Mochi & Macarons

      Some cultures are more patriarchal than others. I know that Latino cultures are more apt to be like that, as one Latina friend told me.
      I hate that hysterical label. I can’t help that my voice is high.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *