Gender shmender: Don't judge me by my undergarments

I don't ever play the gender card. Judge me by my merits. Don't give me the job because you need to fill a quota. Give me the same chance you'd give anyone and may the best person win.

This month I've been helping a friend of a friend manage some home repairs (long story). Hiring, negotiating, and managing painters, glass cutters, plumbers, reglazers, heating repair professionals, and handymen. I may be a girl, but I've got a tool box worthy of Bob Vila. I'm extremely handy and have fixed more than my fair share of things around the house. I'm proud to say I've got just as many tools as nail polish colors (which is a lot!).

Now, I'm sure you won't be surprised by this next part. The person I'm helping keeps dismissing my input. Frankly, I think it's because his underwear is different than mine. What can a girl know about thin set and drywall, right? Well, this girl knows plenty. So far, I've recommended two things and have been ignored. Well, turns out Mr. Boxer Briefs tried it his way and later had to reluctantly admit that my suggestion was the best way to go. Imagine that?

Sure, women are dismissed everyday because there's a perception that a man knows more about a given topic. But, it goes the other way, too.

In the last season of "The Apprentice" (you know, the reality show where people compete for a job with Donald Trump's organization), there were two teams tasked with creating a retail display for a new celebrity perfume. The team of three women was favored to win because, of course, women know more about the topic. The team of two men and one woman were perceived as the underdogs. What do men know about foo foo stuff, right?

Well, the team led by the men knocked it out of the park! Their display was absolutely gorgeous. Sophisticated, feminine, and inviting. The women's display, on the other hand, was childish and unprofessional. So much for underestimating the guys, right?

Sure, men might have a better aptitude for some things and women might be inclined to excel at others. However, it's a person's knowledge, background, interests, and attitude that really determine how successful he or she will be--not which side their shirt buttons up on.

Now, pardon me if you will. I've got a cake to bake and a door to hang...


  1. Excellent post. I love the word "shmender." Hehe.

    It is hurtful when someone disregards your input solely based on anything checked on a form, undergarments or whatever. They usually learn their lesson like the person you mentioned did.

  2. I know some great fathers out there, but I have always gotten weird looks when I am with my kids and how close I am with them.
    This is in large part due to how my wife and I handle the partnership, but I do most of the cooking, a fair share of laundry, I changed as many diapers as her, and have no problem doing pretty much anything she did for them when I could do it.
    Yet, it seems to cause weird looks as if I was the outlier, which I guess I might be?

  3. Hey Trudy! Thanks for weighing in.

    Well, the person only admitted that they wanted to pursue the other option. They didn't, unfortunately, give me credit or acknowledge that that "option" was my initial suggestion. Oh well. What can you do??? It's an uphill battle sometimes.

  4. There is nothing more heartwarming to me that seeing a man being a good dad. Kudos to you for sharing the parenting with your wife, Todd! Super duper brownie points to you in being a hands-on father and a husband who shares responsibility. That's just fantastic!

  5. Amber, Why do shirts and blouses button from different sides.??????? Oh and the article was fun.

  6. Excellent point of view Amber! I love the title and the content was not what I was expecting. I agree with you and I also learned a new fun Amber fact. I commend you on being able to handle DIY projects around the house. I could use that skill. :)

  7. Hi Jerry! I put a hyperlink on the shirt thing. Click the link and it explains why men's and women's shirts are each buttoned on a different side ;-)

  8. Thanks, Sukhraj! Glad to hear I was able to surprise you! ;-)

    The guy working on the place today didn't bring the right tools. He had to borrow mine. I've got one dope toolbox for a girl!

    Thanks for the comment!

  9. That in itself would be interesting to read: The top 10 tools every girl should have at her disposal. It's probably not your usual blog content but you've got the know-how - might as well share it. You could link back to this blog post. Just a thought. :)

  10. Interesting thought! I'll have to ponder that ;-)

  11. Cool! Can't wait to read it if you do write about it :)

  12. Isn't it bizarre that in 2011 we're still having this conversation? Gender has got to be one of the more asinine bases on which to judge a person.

  13. Speaking as a person who can hang and texture drywall like the pros, I agree with this post completely! Since remodeling my own home, I get a little bit testy with men at hardware stores who treat me like I'm there to pick out a paint color and that's it. Sadly, this kind of thing continues on in the workplace. But women, too, have to stop with the stereotyping as well. They can be our own worst enemies. My sister is experiencing this at her workplace now - it's disheartening that women treat other women badly just because they're ambitious and successful - apparently, those should be traits reserved for men. Great post, Amber! I'm glad you wrote this.

  14. You said it, Jayne!

    Ironically, after I wrote this, one of the workers came up to me to say he couldn't complete the job since he forgot his level. I lent him mine and sent him back to work ;-)

  15. Oh, I'm sure you can put most people to shame with your skills, Jean! I pity the hardware store clerk who underestimates you ;-)

    As for the women and women thing, I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, I've experienced this first hand. A woman hires me because I'm smart and talented and then once I work there she's threatened by me since I'm not a moron. Women treat women so poorly sometimes.and there's just no need for it. A female subordinate can shine without it diminishing your glory. Man! Insecure much?

    Thanks for adding your perspective to the dialogue, Jean! I'll think of you next time I need to buy drywall ;-)

  16. Great writing - loved the title, and how you combined personal experience with a reflection on popular media, then brought it back to the personal.
    My biggest frustration - gas station attendants who say,"You'll need to get your husband to ..." Neanderthal cave dwellers!

  17. Thank you for the compliment, Suzanne! Glad you noticed the nuances I try to incorporate into my writing style ;-)

    Fortunately, I have never experienced a "husband" comment like the one you mention. Undoubtedly, that would infuriate me as well! Those kind of stereotypes seem to sometimes be regional, too. Some areas are far more progressive than others.

    Thanks for stopping by and chiming in, Suzanne!


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