“And if you insist on continuing to make assumptions about my character, I’ll advise you only this: assume you will always be wrong.”
― Tahereh Mafi
Many people make assumptions all the time, and it’s crap. We’re taught early in our lives “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, yet so many people take no notice. Your age, your hair colour, your gender, your race, your home town, your choice of clothing, your favorite colour… None of that should matter. If you’re into pink dresses and Harry Potter pyjamas, fine. If you enjoy romantic comedies and Star Wars, fine. If you like both books and movies, fine. You like new music, classical music and country music, fine. It’s absolutely nobody’s business, and nobody should make the assumption that just because you like this you’re unable to like that. I’m a very emotional person, and when people presume things about me, it really does hurt my feelings.
Today at work, somebody was making absolutely ridiculous assumptions that anybody who plays the Sims (the super addictive, super fun simulation game), is the type of person who “uses Internet Explorer” and is the type of person who “wouldn’t know how to install a different browser”. They may not seem offensive, but they’re regularly used as a derogative meme in computing, and to openly assume a fan of a particular game has little computing knowledge is stupid and completely immature.
The day before this I was chatting to a colleague about a game I was currently playing at home, which was Spyro the Dragon, my lovely attempt to throwback to my awesome childhood. An hour or so later, he made a belittling comment to someone else “wow, I can’t believe she would like this game. She plays Spyro” as if my current nostalgic game play has absolutely anything to do with my regular choice of game… Again, it makes absolutely no difference and people shouldn’t make such obscure assumptions.
On Tuesday I went to a graduate fair, hoping to speak to some companies about graduate software development jobs next year. Instead, I was completely ignored by all the male representatives as they spoke happily to the guys I attended the event with. The only representative who spoke to me was a lady who questioned whether or not I was finding it hard being a woman in a male-dominated industry.
I’ve had this my entire life and it’s not getting any easier to deal with. I have a huge variety of hobbies, and people seem to be confused on how I can like Doctor Who and pretty dresses and nerdy t-shirts and games and lipstick all at the same time. Then, tiny, 5’3″, girly, geeky Morgan decides to head down the brilliant path of computer science, and the assumptions continue. “Girls can’t code” – shut your sexist mouth, and leave.
My point is, when you make assumptions about people especially to their face, chances are you are going to hurt their feelings.