“Of course, women don’t like Westerns.”
This statement from a stranger probably triggered one of my more embarrassing social interactions in college.
I don’t know about wherever you went to school, but at my undergraduate college, it wasn’t unusual to find yourself at a cafeteria table of mostly strangers. The following incident was relatively early in my college career, before I realized the importance of coordinating meal schedules with friends and arriving early so that I could avoid the awkwardness of small chat with strangers.
But on this particular day, I didn’t know any better and had found myself in this situation and, as an introvert, I responded by developing a laser-like focus on my plate and ignoring everyone else at the table. I was jarred out of this protective social cocoon when I overheard someone confidently proclaim that “Of course, women don’t like Westerns.”
Now, as a woman who happens to immensely enjoy Westerns–indeed, some of my favorite books, movies, and television shows are Westerns–that broad generalization really infuriated me. And without giving it much further thought or even clarifying context or anything else, I immediately blurted out an unintentionally very confrontational, “Well, I like Westerns!”