Last Thursday, I had to attend a mandatory CPR training at work and was subjected to THE MOST sexist instructor I’ve had to deal with, like, ever.
He warmed up with a number of “compliments” about women, our patience and mercy, or whatever. At the point in the presentation that he began talking about giving CPR to people, he was telling us that we didn’t have to, just because we’re trained to. He took this moment to make a “joke” with another man that “it depends on what she looks like.”
I was hoping this was just a mistake. You know, pulling the pin in a grenade when you’re really fumbling for a match. But then he kept talking.
He was stressing that, when some is choking, one needs to do very hard abdominal thrusts. “You need to BEAT ‘em!” he said, “Beat ‘em like you beat your wife for turning off the TV during game seven of the World Series!”
He actually said that.
This was beyond the pale and I spoke up. I shook my head, frowning, and said, “Come on, man.” “I know!” he responded, either A) thinking I was agreeing with him and he was completely appropriate or B) ignoring my protests, further demonstrating his chauvinism.
Asshole Showcase CPR training was over, I got my card and looked around for a course feedback form on which to lay my righteous indignation. Nothing. There was nothing. Fuck.
I was so discouraged. There was nothing I could have said to be taken seriously or to have an impact on what this imbecile said. Nothing.
I talked to my direct supervisor afterwards, and he encouraged my idea to contact the training company, though first telling the department manager about my plans. As I was talking to my department manager, before I even finished telling him why I wanted to report the presentation, he knew, “It was sexist” and said, “I’ll get you the number.” Not a moment’s hesitation.
It later occurred to me that as discouraged as I felt, as ineffective as I felt, this may be the “victory,” if there is to be a victory. I imagine there was once a time, maybe not that long ago, that women would speak up about this and be completely ignored, maybe even punished. Today, men are quicker to believe a woman’s judgement and can see the injustice as clearly as any human being.