Gender based bias is myopic — or worse

Savvy readers will note from the byline of this column that my name is Jamie.  Since my earliest days, the girlie moniker my parents gave me has been my primary identifier. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just mine. I’m fine with it. Not everybody is. 

Throughout my school days I was gifted with a series of teachers and administrators who, with the best of intentions and a staggering quantity of condescension, explained to me that my name was actually Jim.

“You see, Jim is a boy’s name,” they said. “Jamie is a girl’s name. Your name is Jim.” 

Imagine the warmth and respect I grew to have for those self-important busybodies. My mom told me my name is Jamie. I believe her.

If my emotional reaction to the interference of others could be charted on a graph with scientific precision, the downward trajectory of the metric would point very nearly to the center of the Earth.

Throughout my life I have encountered a long list of near strangers who truly believe they know my real name, even as I and my nuclear family members are pronouncing it and spelling it perfectly clearly. I have no doubt my well-established disdain for authority figures is rooted in these many patronizing exchanges.

Now for the segue. This is the same frustration and annoyance I experience when I hear male pilots disparaging female pilots because…now, brace yourself for this logic…they’re women.

I’ve been a CFI for better than 30 years. I’d like to think I’m a reasonably good one, too. But to date I have not been able to find a copy of the FAA Practical Test Standards for Girls. When the FAA reworked that series of documents and issued the Airman Certification Standards, I searched high and low through those files as well. No luck. I can only find performance standards for pilots. Not a single document about how to be a girl pilot, a female pilot, an estrogen rich pilot or any other combination of descriptive terms. 

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