I’m gonna fill you in on a not so secret secret. It sucks to be a woman in the workplace.
Actually, sometimes it sucks to be a woman in general. When I was younger I used to sometimes wish I were a boy, not in a transgender way but in a “life would be so much easier if I had a penis” kind of way.
Recently, this dude Bryce from the Daily Banter wrote a great piece about his similarly drawn conclusions: “Dear Men: This Is Why Women Have Every Right To Be Disgusted With Us”
One of the most blatant statements read as follows:
“I don’t know how they handle it. I’ve come to actively realize what I passively have semi-understood for years: Women have to deal with something — at best it’s a polite glance, at worst it’s a possible rape threat — at almost all times when it comes to dealing with men. And I don’t think most men even realize this.”
Truth is, we don’t really handle it because we often try to ignore the bullshit. But it’s tough to pretend sexism and harassment don’t exist when it becomes a sad and pathetic part of your daily existence.
In every previous places I have been employed I have dealt with sexism and harassment in various degrees by men of all ages and employment status.
The worst was by far the time I was physically assaulted – and yet the worst part about that was actually my female supervisor who just so happened to be a GS-15 government employee – that’s someone who makes a whole hell of a lot of money, carries a lot of supposed “clout”, and is considered a “Director” of some sort; she was basically a head-honcho.
Long story short, I regaled the assault that had occurred with one co-worker. I had not planned on speaking to anyone else about it because quite frankly I had dealt with a similar (although not as awful) situation in the past and nothing was done; he-said she-said stories never bode well.
And yet, through the grapevine, this directorate level supervisor caught wind of the situation in a haphazard game of telephone way, no doubt. I get a vague phone call and email asking me to get in touch with her ASAP – and being someone who never heard from said woman I panicked and thought I had screwed up a story or plagiarized somehow.
Instead, I head to her office and am immediately blindsided by her asking me what had happened between me and another co-worker. Fortunately, I took communication theory AND LOVED IT. I understood something known as Genderlects – basically the difference in the way men and women typically communicate. I knew I had to communicate in a more “masculine way” in order to be heard.
Keys to that type of communication:
- Stick to the facts, never say “I Feel…”
- Look other person in the eye
- Build your argument (either start small and work your way up, or use shock-value)
- Do not nod your head (men typically perceive this as interruption, not agreement)
So, I share the facts. I build up to the worst offense, the day I was physically assaulted, but don’t even make it that far because I get interrupted by her with words I’ll never forget:
“So-and-so would be horrified to hear that you FEEL THIS WAY.
So-and-so would NEVER DO THAT.”
And with those words, I’m done. I’m already out of her office before I actually physically leave.
Women like this make me sick. They lack backbone. They come off during meetings like this as if they were empathetic saying things like “how do you think I got where I am today?” and “I climbed the corporate ladder and experience sexism the whole way too”.
Don’t ever feed someone those lies when you’re not going to listen to them, not going to help them, not going to do YOUR JOB and make sure that your employees have a safe working environment.
Unfortunately, this personal story of mine is all too common – that’s no secret.