32. Act Your Gender, Girl!

In an environment where everyone is rushing about and cutting into line-ups, it takes a lot of patience and tolerance to get through the day.

I’m usually mild-mannered about people that cut lines and barge their way through to the front. But on one particular day, I couldn’t handle this one guy that tried to bully his way pass me onto the subway.

I was waiting patiently by the side of the door that one afternoon, for my turn to get on when this middle-aged man came up behind me and tried to push pass. I elbowed him back to where he belonged, and that seemed to have lit a fire under his behind because the next second he was railing against me in a loud, obnoxious voice.

“What’s wrong with you?! What’s the meaning of this? Why are you shoving?!”

I retorted. “Why are you cutting in line? Why can’t you wait your turn?”

He continued.

“You’re a girl. Why don’t you act like one?”

I was wholly taken aback.

I’m sorry dear sir. Am I not demure enough? Am I not simple-minded, lady-like, and invisible enough for you? Did I express myself too much? Did I stand my ground too firmly? Did I hurt your fragile, insignificant, grotesque pride? I didn’t realize we were still living in the Middle Ages. But I guess some men will always be a few hundred years behind.

“Are you insane? You’re a human being. Why don’t you act like one!” I barked back at him as he made his way to the other side of the car.

My friends who were with me, pulled me to their side. I saw his face amongst the other passengers, and his small little eyes glaring back at me. This is where the overwhelming anger and hatred boiled to the surface and formed one of the meanest death glares of my life. If only looks could kill.

And because my mind was under a storm surge of red anger, I screamed out a string of colorful curses in English since there was no way I could have handled it all, coming out of my mouth in Chinese. Of course, him and his uneducated big head didn’t understand any of it.

The man soon disappeared in the sea of people and I was able to calm down, though only after extensive verbal death threats to his life.

Later on, when I told my Chinese friend about this incident, she shook her head and murmured about just how Chinese it all was. I thought back to all the times this insult had been used, this immensely sexist “you’re a girl. Act like it.” phrase, being so casually thrown around, and I feel a deep sadness overcome me at how unequal this society, and societies around the world, still is toward women; the fact that that man probably wasn’t even conscious about just how ugly that one sentence came out to be.

Unfortunately, there are millions who are just as or even more sexist than that unfortunate chauvinist misogynist pig (Yes, I am not above calling him names that he deserves). The silver lining is that I’ve probably lived a much more exciting, adventurous, and happier life than his shallow, narrow-minded, boxed-in existence. And I can choose to not surround myself with those kinds of dull-minded nonsense, and instead, be treated, appreciated, and loved like a human being.

So fellow readers, beware. These small sad creatures do still exist. And when handling one directly, be firm and strong. Don’t forget. They are people too, albeit of a lesser mind than others.


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