Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sexism knows no boundaries

For some reason, it has been a very sexist week. Several of my friends have told me stories of blatant sexism and then I've had a few stories of my own.

One of my friends discussed recruiting procedures with a European male colleague this week. He stated that the way he recruited at one location was to line up the female applicants, then hire all the ones with the largest breasts.

My sister is going to sell her business in the States.  This week, she had a group of 40-ish men approach her to buy it.  They insisted that her business must have woman-owned status.  Of course they did!  How else could she have become so successful if it weren't for the Government giving her a disadvantaged status? Certainly not on her own merit.

I met with a British business person this week so that I could consult on some work.  I can't write everything he said here (yeah yeah, that's right - even I have boundaries on how vulgar I will be online).  It all started with, "You ARE yummy, aren't you?" (imagine it in your head said by Austin Powers with a Briddish accent while dude stares into your breasteses) and went downhill from there. Discussion of "downtown" and how great that is... yada.

An Italian representative of a Kuwaiti tourism company referred to me several times as "Mr." in correspondence, then insisted that the rates they have offered (to me, as "Mr.") do not apply to single women - as single women don't make up the "leisure" market in Kuwait. According to him, there is a law in Kuwait which stipulates that single women do not have to be given rooms (is this true?) and it is up to the hotels to determine if they want female customers.  Well dayam, that's a pretty big market loss, isn't it?  What about professional working women like me who would love to drop some money on spa services and a room, pool, beach:  Aren't we allowed to take care of your "offers"?  What kind of a "tourism" policy is that?

Note that none of these "gentlemen" is Arab.  Personally, I have had very few problems with Arab men in all the years that I've been here.


Anonymous said...

Being eye raped is not just the preserve of ladies here in kuwait... if you are a reasonably good looking, non-lecherous, well spoken, reasonably intelligent and humorous guy here in kuwait there is quite the same from some ladies of all races.

i certainly am no Pierce Brosnan, Russell Crowe nor Jude Law - actually more Jack Black or Vince Vaughn - but i have been eye undressed a few times - and it can feel just as uncomfortable for us guys.

Q8iyaDownunder said...

OMG!!! i hate sexism, its so stupid
btw love your blog, just discovered it and now a huge fan <3

Anonymous said...

My friend used to work at the front desk in crown plaza and I asked her about it when my hubby and I had a fight and dont feel like being around him that day...

She said it's allowed as long as you're non arab and not married to one. But I then changed my mind so I never really tried.

Anonymous said...

Well, until a couple of years ago. Single Kuwaitis (men or women) didn't have the right to get a hotel room or rent an apartment. They had to provide a marriage certificate and their IDs.
But a law authorized it a couple of years ago. People still tell you that it's not allowed because they know that Kuwaitis are ignorants who never check things officially and base their information on hearsay.
When it comes to a foreigner (Arab or not) you need to provide your passport and that's it.
Some hotels don't even care but they're usually nasty. Some hotels would refuse because they want to keep a certain reputation.
I personally went to Movenpik in the free zone twice with my expat boyfriend and we didn't have trouble. He pretended to be a contractor and I pretended to be his Kuwaiti liaison. We had laptops the whole shebang.
By the way their hotel rooms are nice. Very clean.
Weird thing though, I asked if I could play the piano in the lobby and they said NO!!!