It shouldn't surprise me anymore, but it does, when I get into a conversation with someone I don't know and they make an assumption about me based mostly on my appearance.
The latest encounter was with someone who started to explain to me in very simple terms about the physical properties of liquid nitrogen. I said, simply, "Yes, I know." The person asked "How do you know? Do you work in the office of a company that supplies liquid nitrogen tanks?"
I am certainly not insulted at being mistaken for an office worker, though I think it is a bizarre first assumption when hearing that someone is familiar with the properties of liquid nitrogen.
What about me signaled "office worker"? I was wearing shorts, a short-sleeved shirt, and casual sandals, so I clearly wasn't dressed for office work of the sort the other person imagined (though I was, in fact, dressed for going to my office).
Why not stop after "How do you know?". Or just ask, "So what do you do?", "What's your job?" etc. if you want to know if the liquid nitrogen familiarity is job-related.
In my daily life, I don't care if random people guess that I am a scientist or not, especially if I'm not wearing my special graph paper socks and shirt, but I wish that the possibility that a woman is a scientist were considered more likely than it is.
This was one minor incident, but it was one minor incident among many, and that's what I want to change.
1 year ago