Sexism is alive and well

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Sarah
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Sexism is alive and well

Postby Sarah » Sat Sep 10, 2016 5:04 pm

Conversation on launch today with RMHPA pilot while doing my pre-flight:

Him: "Sarah baby!"
Me: "What?"
Him: "Sarah baby!"
Me: What's with the baby? I'm not a baby."
Him: "Yes you are!"
Me: "I'm a full grown woman."
Him: "You're a full grown sweetheart!"

This conversation is unacceptable. Since starting paragliding four and a half years ago, I've been the recipient of overtly sexist comments, subtly sexist comments, questions about my reproductive status, and harassment. I am sick of it.

For those of you male pilots who treat me with respect, thank you. For the rest of you, it's 2016 - you're not starring in an episode of Mad Men. You can start by calling me by my name on launch, and only my name. I'm not sweetheart or baby and never will be. I'm also not interested in discussing whether or not I'm pregnant or will ever be pregnant or how it would affect my flying.

I expect the next time I'm on launch to be treated with the same respect as everyone else.

Eric_Bader
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Re: Sexism is alive and well

Postby Eric_Bader » Sun Sep 11, 2016 6:18 pm

I am sorry you had to endure this sexism. It is un-acceptable! You will always have my 100% support to combat this. Thank you for posting. It is important that our club have a Zero tolerance for sexism.

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Sarah
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Re: Sexism is alive and well

Postby Sarah » Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:10 pm

Thank you Eric!

donh
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USHPA Rating: P3

Re: Sexism is alive and well

Postby donh » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:18 am

We cannot tolerate this behavior in our community.

Over the years women have contributed a lot to our flying community. I'm grateful that Kim still serves on the the RMHPA Board. I remember all the contributions that Meg VanSciver made when she was alive. Many others contribute too.

Sexism has no place here!

whstites
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:50 pm

Re: Sexism is alive and well

Postby whstites » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:16 am

No tolerance for these actions. I have two young daughters and I won't be part of a community that acts this way.
"Everyone talks about the weather - but nobody ever does anything about it." - Twain

flytm
Posts: 379
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:15 pm
USHPA Rating: T3, P4

Re: Sexism is alive and well

Postby flytm » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:02 pm

So, for all, my sincere apologies for trying to be a nice guy. My apologies.

And for the record, it would have been totally cool for you to contact me offline, by email, by phone, or even in person at the moment to discuss.

We could all learn to be more sensitive and receptive and I look forward to every opportunity to become a better individual among my peers and my colleagues in our tiny little community.

Sorry your feelings were hurt. It's never my intent to insult or offend. I hope you know that. We all so much enjoy flying, we need to welcome everyone into our sport, including our own.

Let's get back to talking about flying...

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Sarah
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Re: Sexism is alive and well

Postby Sarah » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:55 pm

Tim:

I posted here without using your name because this problem involves more people than just you. It's worth having the discussion, and it's necessary to have a discussion to create much-needed change.

I shouldn't have to explain this, but I'm going to because it's important.

- Referring to me, and continuing to refer to me as baby and sweetheart in that conversation was not "being a nice guy." It was disrespectful and sexist. It was not the first time you've treated me in an unacceptable way, and you've missed all previous cues to stop.

- Wanting to be treated with respect is not the same as having my feelings hurt. Nobody's feelings were hurt.

- I shouldn't have to call you up privately to request to be treated with respect. Just like you are expected to put pants on over your underwear when you leave the house, you are also expected to treat everyone in our community with respect when you show up on launch.

- It's not time to "get back to talking about flying" until I can show up to launch without having to discuss whether or not I'm a baby or sweetheart or whether or not I'm pregnant or about to be pregnant (another all-too-frequent and inappropriate question), and every other way that you would never in a million years address a male pilot. By all means, talk about flying on launch - it would be preferable to the topics I've just listed. But right here, right now, on this forum, we're talking about how to treat women with respect.

Thanks everyone for having this dialogue.

rossco
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Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:12 pm
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Re: Sexism is alive and well

Postby rossco » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:37 pm

Nice work Sarah!

Tiffany
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Location: Villa Grove, CO

Re: Sexism is alive and well

Postby Tiffany » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:48 pm

Not an easy topic to bring up on a public forum - by any means - but you did so with such eloquence and candor, Sarah. I very much admire you for bringing this to light, in a male dominated sport nonetheless.

As a woman who has endured this kind of behavior time and time again in my years, I find this attitude of "trying to be a nice guy" so completely sickening. Just Be a nice guy. And show some respect.

flytm
Posts: 379
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:15 pm
USHPA Rating: T3, P4

Re: Sexism is alive and well

Postby flytm » Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:50 am

Sad that we even have to have this conversation, and in this very public forum no less. Important topic to be sure, and I'm seriously disappointed that I was in any way involved in this. Certainly learned my lesson, certainly humbled by the fervor. Would absolutely love to get back to talking about things that celebrate this passion we have in common.

Maybe I'm reacting too personally to a larger issue at hand. I think we all get the message. I think we all feel the same way (even if not expressed in the same manner). The thought that keeps coming to mind is that If we keep looking for ways to divide the community, we will find them-- or create them...

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Sarah
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Re: Sexism is alive and well

Postby Sarah » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:20 am

Tim:

Sexist behavior is divisive. Talking about it is not - it's important and necessary.

The way to unify our community and move forward is to take responsibility and stop the sexist behavior. Our community will be stronger and more unified when everyone is treated equally and with respect. I look forward to that day.


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