Internalized sexism makes people act weird.
This is a follow-up to my earlier post about how I've noticed that people treat me differently depending on who I'm with.
A few days ago, I went to the bank to close my account. My father came with me, because we were on our way to do some other errands together. He waited in the line with me, and when a teller opened up he stood a little to the side as I approached the window and told the woman what I wanted. She took my ID and bank book, asked me why I was closing the account, and started typing in numbers.
After a minute or two, she turns to MY FATHER, who at this point is sort of bored and spaced out, and says, "Would she like cash or a check?"
I kid you not. Apparently, despite the fact that I am a legal adult, despite the fact that the bank account is in my name only and filled mostly with money I earned, it seems that the teller couldn't get over the internalized sexism that automatically, subconsciously, suggests that middle-aged, white males like my father are the authority figures.
It's really not my intention to beat up on the teller for making this mistake, since I think it's an easy enough mistake to make in this culture. Still, I have to say that it really blows my mind that, despite the fact that I was standing right there at the window and that I had been handling the transaction, she still turned to my father out of habit. (I mean, what she did was, technically, illegal.)
Anyway, my father gave the woman a confused but slightly stern look, and she repeated the question to me. She did not, however, apologize. For the rest of the procedure, she interacted with me, although I wonder if she did so because she knew that that was what she should be doing, or because that's what my father, the "authority figure," clearly wanted. At least my father sees me as an adult, which meant I got to avoid a more unpleasant situation--I can only imagine another father and the teller deciding what to do with a young woman's money and ignoring her when she says, "Excuse me! It's my money, it's my choice!" Actually, that's kind of what happens a lot with some issues, on a larger, governmental and societal scale. No wonder this kind of bias trickles down into even everyday interactions.