Thoughts on Gender from a Telemarketer

At the moment, I’m working in the subscriptions office of a major symphony orchestra, and I’ve found some trends emerging in the past four months or so when it comes to the spin callers and patrons place on gender (and sexuality).  This is just a list, maybe intelligent thoughts will follow:

  • Husband: “You’ll have to talk to my wife.  She’s my secretary/social secretary/the family secretary.”
  • Callers assuming that the wife might be home during the day but the husband will only be home at night.
  • Callers saying “is your wife home?” or “is your husband home?” without any evidence that the relationship between the male and female member of a household is indeed husband/wife.
  • Callers assuming that “partner” means opposite sex.
  • Callers suggesting that a patron bring a date to the symphony, as opposed to a friend or family member.
  • Wife: “My husband’s in charge/has all the control/etc.”
  • Husband: “No, she doesn’t want that” or “Honey, you don’t want that.”
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About Avory

Avory Faucette is a queer feminist activist, writer, and public speaker. Zie graduated from the University of Iowa with a JD in 2009, focusing on international human rights and gender/sexuality issues in the law. Hir current work focuses on queer identity, policy, and marginalized identities under the queer umbrella. As a genderqueer person, zie comments frequently on non-binary identity, transgender and genderqueer issues, and media coverage of these populations. Zie also speaks at colleges, universities, and events on transgender and queer issues and conducts trainings on related topics.

Posted on January 10, 2010, in gender and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. If you are lucky enough to have Sports Illustrated call you up you may get this entertaining question, “Is the man of the house in?”

    Treating every person as a separate individual is a challenge in our ‘enlightened’ age.

  2. Hannah Baldwin

    I know this was posted a while ago but I have to share something I’ve noticed about responses to solicitiation: my mom, if she is declining an offer from a telemarketer or someone going door to door will often (usually) say “I’ll have to talk to my husband about it,” which really means “No.” She knows exactly what she’s saying. She can make her own damn decisions, and does. My dad is the primary breadwinner of the family because he is the executive editor of a newspaper and my mom’s an artist but she is as capable as he when it comes to family economics. I have noticed though, that my dad will sometimes say “I’ll have to talk to my wife about it…” or something along those lines. Interesting how the passive-aggressive “No” is so gendered…

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