By definition, Prejudice is defined as “an idea or opinion that is not based on a fact, logic or actual experience.” Prejudice is usually met with a negative connotation, especially when it is a hatred or intolerance for certain kinds of people. When a person acts on his/her prejudice, then it becomes discrimination. As a white female, I know there are many types of prejudice i haven’t faced in my life just because of the color of my skin. So when I speak on my most recent kind of prejudice I have been facing lately. I acknowledge that it is relatively minor, but would like to speak on it and really hear any thoughts/comments or even similar experiences that you may have faced. I am very open to learning from you all.
I work in a field that is primarily made up of men. I am a mechanic, I work on cars and do things like oil changes and tire rotations. Even though I am still learning things at my jobs, I would consider myself relatively knowledgable and very trustworthy behind the wheel of a car. I have driven a variety of different sized vehicles with ease. When I first started working here, there were comments every know and then like “Oh they have a woman working here now? Interesting.” At first it seemed like it was just an acknowledgment, but the more it occurred the more I noticed they didn’t think I should be there because of my gender. One day, a man in his mid twenties pulls up and I go out to greet him and ask what services he would want on his car. He gets out and as I start to get into his car he says “Well, wheres a guy mechanic, I’d rather him drive my car.” I replied, “Everyone is working on cars at the moment, but I would be more than happy to pull it in for you.” To which he responses “Id prefer you not pull it in, I don’t want to get any damage on my car, my paint is brand new.” Comments like this have only begun to increase in frequency. One of my coworkers addressed my boss about it, because they didn’t want me to feel like they didn’t care about how it affected me. I told them not to worry about it, that I would prefer to not make a big thing about it. Honestly, Im tough enough to handle the comments, I reply to them with confidence and show them I am more than capable. I prove them wrong just by doing my job well and showing them that a woman can do this job too. I enjoy challenging the gender stereotype than woman aren’t able to do the same as men. I work twice as hard just to prove that I deserve to be there, and even though I am willing and motivated to do so, why should I have to be? Ive even gotten a few comments assuming my sexuality based on my occupation. I don’t want to say I’ve gotten used to it, because I don’t want to ever be complacent with the idea of sexism/prejudice against woman, but for the sake of my job I have learned to face it with the assumption that they just might not know any better, and take the moment to educate them by seeing me work in action. Ive gotten a few apologies, which is nice to receive. But it felt better knowing that they took away a lesson from our interaction. Please feel free to ask questions or comment on my experience if you feel the need to do so, I am open to interacting about my experience.