Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sexism in Financial Chit-Chat

Last night at work I was talking with "Carlos", one of the delivery guys, about opening up a bank account. Carlos is maybe twenty, but probably younger, he works 7 days a week and is paid in cash. Now throughout this conversation, it's Ben, Carlos, Chef, sous chef, and I just standing around the open kitchen. I can tell they are jockeying around, flashing words of wisdom to Carlos, mostly about their own situation which is so far from where Carlos is coming from.

First he starts asking another guy, "Ben" about banking. Carlos has never had a bank account, so we're starting from scratch. Ben says the most important thing is to pick a branch with the most ATMs, which in NYC is Chase. So I pipe in my $.02. I'm like, no, the most important thing is that your checking account has no minimum and no fees, and it is close to your home/work. Which is Washington Mutual or Commerce Bank. So then Carlos starts asking about debit cards. I mention overdraft fees and he is surprised that you're not allowed to spend more than what is in your account. I say something like, Carlos, I'm going to tell you something very important and you better memorize this- whether it is your cash or your credit, you never ever want to spend more than you have. There's a conversation stopper...

But the conversation, sans Carlos, turns to mortgages and credit fraud. And this is where I wanted to pull my hair out. I swear to god, every time I said something I was completely ignored. I'm not being sensitive or weird here, it was the strangest thing. I felt like I was that person on TV in the coma with everyone talking around them like they're not there and I'm the voiceover saying $h*t like "I'm here, I'm here!" And then they would pause and move on like nothing happened, even though they sense something else was said in the room. But sometimes they did address me, and then they would talk to me like I didn't know anything. Does this happen to anyone else??

I find that men speak to other men as financial equals, assuming that they are from the get-go. They may not assume to know everything, but they assume intellectual equality enough to converse. But then they'll talk to me like I'm dumb and dumber, slow and deliberate, explaining everything they say like, you know what a sub prime mortgage is- it's blah blah blah until I interrupt and say I know, but one can only do that only so many times before you seem indignant. Which is exactly what one is at that point.

Oftentimes I'll leave a social setting with M and we'll be talking about certain exchanges that had happened, and she's like, god if they only knew you read the Wall Street Journal every morning. And I think, god, if they were only reading the same blogs by both men and women I read they would be many times the wiser.

8 comments:

gildedbutterfly said...

I feel the same way! I get so angry at the way women are treated in regards to finances. I know much more than many of my male friends, but I'm very rarely seen as an equal.

My only comfort is, with the exception of one, none of my guy friends are nearly as financially secure as I am. :)

PiggyBankBlues said...

lol, yeah, i have that one exception too...

Mrs. Micah said...

Sometimes it feels that way. Depends on which guys I'm talking too. Thank God most guy bloggers understand womens' equal brains.

Ms. M&P said...

I've found that in certain settings (unless they know your background), men will block women out of conversations on finances, politics, the economy, and other topics. The incident you described just makes my blood boil. But you have the last laugh. You've got your nest egg, your Chinese oil stocks, and some land in Arizona. They've got a bunch of debt. It's their loss for not listening to you!

PiggyBankBlues said...

micah- i thnk the bloggers are pretty considerate. part of it is the anonymity, maybe. you can't always tell if a blogger is male or female. but in general, pf bloggers are pretty open minded.

m&p-it's funny, but i think background has a lot to do with it. people assume they know your background. and i totally agree with you on male subject chauvinism!

frugal zeitgeist said...

That doesn't happen to me too often, but it's most frustrating when it does. There is something to be said for learning from the astoundingly foolish things people say, though.

SavingDiva said...

I would be extremely frustrated in that situation! Unfortunately I don't have the guts to talk about personal finance with anyone that I know...hence why my blog is so random and filled with thoughts...

PiggyBankBlues said...

zeit- thankfully it doesn't happen to me too often either. i'm always taken aback when it does, and ready to pull my hair out!

diva- your blog is not random, i read it all the time :) i do think that blogging is a great way to talk about finance when one normally doesn't/can't. i think it's why a lot of people probably start a pf blog in the first place...