A man driving my Uber car today was insanely patronizing and treated my like a child. Have you ever had an experience like this? The man’s whole conversation involved mansplaining. I usually just brush that off. But at one point it rose to another level: In the conversation (if you can call it that since he was mostly talking at me) he was mansplaining to me how often people get pulled over and turned to point at me, like I was a child, and said, “Now don’t you get into trouble in your new car. You be a good girl.” Disgusting treatment.
Who is this guy? I’m sure he doesn’t treat men passengers like children the way he did to me. “You be a good girl.”Can you imagine a guy saying something like that to another man? I tried to fight it with kindness but my blood was boiling. Of course in hindsight you always figure out the right thing to say. Simply not smiling and being silent from his comment would have sufficed. Isn’t it amazing how we still have the impulse to be overly-nice, even when someone is talking down to us? I wish I had said “Excuse me?” Or “How old do you think I am? What makes you think you can treat me like a child?”
Now here is the main point: When a man says to a women, especially a stranger, “you be a good girl” it makes my skin crawl. Because not only is it diminishing a full grown woman into a child, someone needing to be told what to do, but it also has a creepy sexual connotation. Argh it makes me sick. I am so disgusted I was treated this way. I gave him a rating of one star, i.e., a rating of “terrible” and wrote a complaint. Because I should not have to tolerate such infantilization and creepy treatment.
When people talk down to you, it gets under your skin. Sometimes you might not even realize why you felt uncomfortable. It is often challenging to articulate. Encounters where people treat you like a child, or treat you like your dumb, (like mansplaining) begin to chip away at your self-concept. If you treat someone a certain way for a long enough time, they will start to believe it themselves. Women have experienced this infantilization for most of history and I am sick and tired of it.