I’m the only woman who works in the team of hardware/tech support of about 5 guys. There are more people in our shop than that, but we work together the closest due to job overlapping. So I’ve spent lots of time around them, even though I don’t share an office with them. For the most part we get along. They are all big Republican supporters, know I’m very liberal, and often joke with me about it. I joke right back. I’m fine with that, considering I live in Oklahoma after all, and there’s not a time when I’m not around Republicans. The problem comes in with a smaller group of 3 guys who hang out, talk, and go to lunch together. More specifically, how one guy makes sexist comments pretty often, and the other two either laugh or agree.
None of these are directed at me, ever. It’s always about how some woman is usually hot or ugly. Like when Palin was picked to be the Republican VP candidate. I had to hear about how good looking she is, and how much better she looked than Hillary.
Having been a guy most of my life, I know how that goes. (It’s said that men will actually vote this way if the ballots permit.)
But the bottom line is this:
I don’t need to be friends with my coworkers, but having people who can be my mentor, or to feel comfortable talking out a work issue I’m having, or even as someone they see as a person they respect and can come to … that would be really impacted. Even though with all the stuff I just talked about, it sure doesn’t seem like he really respects me anyway.
The biggest thing? I’ve been kicking myself over this a little bit. Thinking maybe I’m just being too sensitive and need to grow a thicker skin. Or being too emotional, since before writing this I was literally almost in tears thinking about it all.
A thicker skin is a good thing to have, but she’s kicking the wrong person here: if they’re acting like boorish fratboys, how is it her fault?
Which got me thinking about our own department, three men and one woman, and whether we guys exhibit the same sort of noisome drool. And I don’t think we do, not so much because we’re so terribly enlightened and all God knows I’m not but because neither I nor my co-doofuses feel the least bit threatened by her presence. (Now her absence, that would be scary: we’d never be able to catch up with the hardware backlog.) Atavistic and Cro-Magnon as it may seem, there are still guys who quail at the very thought of being outdone by some mere girl (pronounced “GUR-uhl,” with as much feigned indignation as possible). I’d like to think that at least some of us have gotten past that stage.
(“You’re not nearly that bad,” said Trini, reading over my shoulder, although in fairness I must point out that “not that bad” does not equal “good.”)