Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Vendors and Genders

I had a very negative interaction with an author/vendor today. This person (I'm guessing male from the name on the email account) called me cowardly and "pathetic excuse for a human being" because I asked to not be emailed again. 

I did some research and found that I wasn't the first person to be treated to the series of emails, decided I didn't have the time or the desire for a fight, marked the email as spam, and moved on with my day. But I'm still angry. Above and beyond the ridiculousness of this exchange - buddy, if you're trying to get someone to look at your links and/or buy your books, don't you think it would be more appropriate to be *nice* instead of insulting someone? - there's another layer of anger. I'm pretty sure this person was banking on my backing down or at least not fighting back. That's what made me stay angry, even hours and hours later.

So I started thinking about the gendered aspects of this exchange, about his insults and about my reactions. A man is frugal; a woman is parsimonious. A man is direct and has depth; a woman is incapable of consilience. A man is a straight shooter and a leader; a woman is bossy. Men can get angry; women are supposed to be nice no matter what. In the end, I decided to laugh at it and to use it for some good: writing a post about it to add to the #libleadgender conversation.

How about you? Have you ever had an interaction with an author or a vendor that you *knew* was gendered in some way?


  1. I haven't had that kind of interaction yet as a librarian, but in a former life, I worked in hospital administration. (Male) Vendors would talk to me and then, when I was not buying what they were selling, they wanted to speak to a manager who had "better decision-making skills" - i.e. a man. It was always a pleasure to send them over to my boss (and my boss's boss), who were also women. :-)

  2. Your experience reminded me of this incident: