Racist Perceptions of “Femininity”

// 16 February 2008

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There’s an interesting post by Tami over at Racialicious (originally from her own blog “What Tami Said”) about her experience of white male colleagues at work treating her as somehow less “feminine” or attractive than her white female colleagues. Here’s a snippet:

“There is nothing to be done about this, really. A male colleague not recognizing my femininity-some would call that progress. White women have fought for years to be taken off the pedestal on which society has placed them. At any rate, my experience today has nothing to do with work and productivity. One can hardly charge down to HR and file a complaint: “Bob said I look my age!” Most importantly, I have a successful working relationship with this colleague. In fact, he seems to value my counsel. He does not; however, value me as a woman. So what, right?”

So we have the patronising chivalry and “submissive” stereotyping that some of us suffer and the rude and presumptuous comments that Tami refers to. Men are perfectly capable of being polite to others without some assurance of dominance, so why are the guys Tami speaks of behaving like such jerks?

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