Several weeks ago I was a function where I was sitting next to a senior man, who was retired from industry but teaching at our university. We were eating lunch to celebrate somebody's promotion or retirement, and he and I were idly chit-chatting about nothing of importance. At some point in the conversation he said, "I'm sorry I'm having trouble hearing you. Some study came out that said older men can't hear women's voices because they are too high pitched." I was stunned. Noticing that he lacked a wedding band, I said, "That must be difficult for your wife." I turned my back and refused to talk to him the rest of the function.
Comments like this are offensive because they make me feel uncomfortable. I found no humor in the comment, and it deeply bothered me because it seemed to say that whatever I had to say couldn't (and wouldn't) be heard. This fellow is of no consequence to my career and has a year-to-year contract.
Upon telling someone higher up the food chain about the comment, they were horrified and told me that I needed to report it. Part of me thinks that reporting is the right thing to do, but another part of me doesn't want to be accusatory. I just want to go on pretending this didn't happen, even though it still bothers me. It could result in the termination of this guy's contract. I wonder if he is saying things like this to his female students? If so, then I don't have a problem reporting him.
So many times in this career have things been said that cross my line of my idea of gender bias. And time and time again, I don't report it. I just complain. I suppose if I reported all the biased things said and done, then the upper administration would get so tired of it that they wouldn't take me seriously anymore.