Just a short epilogue to the story.
The man apologised to me and we talked afterwards. It looks like the situation was a misunderstanding. However it does not change my perception and any future behaviour or any instances of sexism (for the non-believers sexism does exist) or inequality I will witness, will trigger the same kind or reaction.
The whole story below.
One afternoon after school my son was playing football with his schoolmates. However, unlike all the other times one of the fathers decided that he was ready to take on the 7, 8 and 9 years olds on. I’m guessing the father was in his 50’s so it did seem like the right age group for him. I’m not against fathers playing with kids but I’m against cheating and against grown-up men competing against boys. And believe me or not from the moment they started playing he was at it, he wasn’t trying to teach the kids anything. He was trying to win and show them what a great, fantastic and powerful dude he was.
At some point my son’s team (my son was a goalie as he usually is) scored but the brave, powerful grown-up decided that it wasn’t a goal ‘cos he didn’t save it (he was standing right in front of the goalie making sure that no ball was going to pass him).
I said, “No, no, it was a goal.” Any adult person with at least a tiny bit of self-awareness and self-confidence would say “Yeah, fine, it was a goal”. The game like this should be fun for the kids, not a stressful activity where they have to be accepted by the Almighty know-it-all asshole.
Well, the asshole (I don’t know his real name but I do believe this one is appropriate) decided that he was having none of this, especially from a woman. I am a woman so what I know about football, scores and the rules applying on a pitch.
I didn’t want to pick a fight; I just wanted him to fuck off and leave the kids alone. However he decided to keep insulting me starting with the statement that he has been playing football with the kids for the past 10 years every Tuesday. He might have but to be blunt with you I never saw him play football with any of the kids previously (I have been in the school for almost 4 years) and my son has been playing a lot after school for the last year or so. But that didn’t end there as he decided to go all the way and shout out: “Look at her, she is so angry; what kind of vibe you are giving. Look at her face, she is so strict. She is a very special person. Look at her.” To which I replied that yes, I was a very special person and his attempt at embarrassing me and shutting me up didn’t really work out for him. He did everything in front of all the kids and the other parents who found it amusing if not funny. Well done for having integrity.
Believe me or not but I didn’t want to start a fight or an argument, not in front of the kids who, as we know, learn by imitation. But he couldn’t let it go, he was too insecure to let some woman whom he usually ignores at the school gate tell him off. When the second part of the game started he decided to attack me verbally again. However this time he took a different approach. He was calm and composed, patronizing me all the time. Once he scored, he started shouting to me “Was that a score or it wasn’t?” so I said, “If you want to say something to me come over and talk to me”. He did that bringing a bunch of kids surrounding him and started telling me how angry I was. At that point I maybe was angry or maybe I wasn’t but that is none of your business, you asshole!!! I asked him if he was trying to pick a fight to what his reply was “I didn’t fight with anyone since the kindergarten.” I honestly didn’t want to argue with him in front of the kids. It’s not right. I just calmly said, “Just go and play”.
This asshole has a daughter and I bet at some point in her life she is going to meet an asshole like him on her journey or maybe a boy from school is going to treat her in exactly the same way he treated me. Thanks to people like him sexism, inequality and disrespect for women still prevails everywhere and the older I get the more I see it or maybe simply I don’t want to be “nice and sweet” little woman any more.
But I’m not having any of this. If a grown-up is trying to win a game against kids in a dirty way I’m going to speak up even if I have to take some shit afterwards ‘cos you know what buddy. Dudes like you make me laugh. Dudes who after so many years of holding power over women are still terrified the moment a woman challenges them in the slightest.
And next time you want to play a real football, pick lads your own age unless you are too afraid you are going to suck and lose and as we all know that won’t be good for your already shattered self-esteem.
PS. People who allow sexism behaviour, find it funny or amusing in any way are as guilty of spreading that type of behaviour as the “powerless” insecure dudes that execute that kind of behaviour and I have no time for people like that in my life.