Not entirely sure why, but I get “carded” when ordering a drink more as a woman than when I pretended to be a man.
Perhaps it is flattery. Women are expected to like being shown they look young.
Perhaps it is that I no longer show my gray hair as obviously. Women experience far more pressure to hide age.
I display as much charisma and intellect as before. Perhaps more so now. So my presence hasn’t diminished.
I just think our culture views woman as closer to being children than it does men. Perhaps we are considered more infantile in our development. I think, but need to check, that the science and medicine of the 19th and early 20th centuries held such bias.
While I don’t consider being “carded” a form of patronization, I do experience patronization from men now—being perceived as unable to back up my travel trailer without a fleet of men to help me for example. In that particular example I was treated like I was a helpless child. You should hear the voices these men used when talking to me. They meant well.
I’ll also admit to having committed such patronization as a man, despite having an extremely non-misogynistic worldview. I just think I swallowed the cultural norm until I started really questioning it as a young adult. I’ve never thought of women as childlike, but remember deciding they were stereotypically clueless when I worked at a car maintenance shop in my youth.
That’s particularly funny, because now when I go to any car maintenance shop I feel compelled to beat the men to a description of the problem and probable solution. I want to show them that I know my shit. That way they don’t patronize me. But more importantly, I’m trying to stand up for my sisters in STEM.
The term “drag” (dressed as a girl) comes from a time in Shakespearian theater when women were forbidden to perform. So boys whose voices had not yet deepened played women’s roles. In this manner they defined and represented femininity in terms of infantile men.
Similarly, in Christian Constantinople, boys castrated at a young age sang the high pitch voices in choirs. This was considered “angelic”, which is often considered feminine (I’ll discuss that connection some other time). But my point is that the removal of the testes resulted in a more feminine voice and more feminine secondary sex characteristics in these men, probably contributing to the bias that females are underdeveloped men.
It’s like the bias in science about “living fossils”; organisms that are thought to have changed little since the time of the dinosaurs (e.g., crocs and sharks). This bias is finally changing as the absurdity of assuming these organisms aren’t continually adapting just like everyone else is finally kicking in. Similarly, a more appropriate way to view female and male development in humans is to regard them as divergent, but to an equal degree of development and biological specialization.
White intellectuals used to assume black individuals were infantile in their biological development. Many of us still hold this as an unconscious bias, but about cultural and professional development. Just like the men who patronize me for my femininity.
When I’m carded, I proudly show my ID because it says “Emily” and “female” on it. It is an opportunity to remind myself how far I’ve come.
And I don’t mind being assumed younger than I am. I am a stereotypical woman in many ways after all.
But it is interesting to deconstruct the gender dynamics of being asked to show ID at bars.