I started a new job recently and I was working from home for the first couple of weeks, so I had not yet met my new boss. While talking on the phone with her, I mention that I have some work being done on my house so we will need to arrange our meetings around that. Her response: “Oh, carpenters? I bet they’ll be cute.” OK, I think, I reckon it is morally acceptable to think carpenters are attractive. Later that week, I tell her that the guy refinishing the bathtub is there and I’ll have to call her back. Her response: “Is he cute?” Finally, after the third time of the same kind of thing, I say with a laugh: “Jeez, you’ve got a one track mind.” Oh-oh… stony silence followed by terseness . Great, I’ve pissed off my boss before I’ve even met her.
This week, I’m in the office being shown around and she is reviewing a client’s priority list with one of the sales managers. The clients were supposed to prioritize their change requests, but they listed something like 5 number one priorities, 4 number two priorities, etc., instead of ranking each item separately. She says: “That company must be run by men. Men think everything they want gets top priority. Ha, ha.” Happily, the saleswoman and I both
looked at her like she had taken leave of her senses.
And it went on…
I don’t expect that everyone go around being perfectly PC all the time and I am not above checking out a good-looking man, but for chrissakes, she is my boss and we’ve only just met each other and we’re at work! If I knew men in the company were talking like this about women, I’d be furious, and I bet she’d spit nails. But since she and I are both professional women in our forties, she thinks we automatically belong to the same club. Ick. I’d like to file a sexual harassment complaint against her, but I suppose, as a woman, I’d have a hard time making that stick.
I’m not asking for advice; I know how to handle this woman. I’m just on my soapbox.
I think I might be a little hypersensitive right now because I’ve been thinking that one reason I didn’t get the help I needed as a kid was because I didn’t react ‘right’, not ‘like a girl’. And I have been thinking a lot about my ex and how impossible it was for him just to grow into the man that he was because the women in his life belittled and punished him for being a boy. And I’ve been thinking about my brother who has nearly destroyed himself living up to the tough guy image.
Mindlessly turning people into sex objects, assuming you know someone’s motives and thought processes based on their gender, treating people like caricatures… Are we never going to get past this crap?
End of vent.