Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A wee bit of estrogen

I have gone on record as being a reasonably poor feminist. I sort of hoped we were in a post-gender society, at least professionally, even though I know I'm wrong. I know women still have to deal with maternity leaves and glass ceilings and bawdy jokes at dinner. Goodness knows I feel like I've heard stories of all 3 in the past few weeks. Including the bawdy jokes - I mean, really. If you're already 70 years old, can you keep it contained for 1 meal? But, I digress.

And yet, despite my desire to believe no one cares that I carry around a set of modestly-sized boobs to work every day, I sometimes get smacked in the face with the reality that we are definitely NOT in a post-gender society. 

Sometimes it is when I realize all the admins are women and all the executives are men. And I have no idea who I would rather eat with at lunch, since I care little for golf talk, but there's an organizational cost to consider. 

Sometimes it's when I sit at a table surrounded by men, wondering how come my chair has 2 settings - a) looking a head shorter than anyone, boobs on the table, feet on the floor and b) dangling feet and eye level. Or maybe that's just because I'm short.

Sometimes it's when I hear a perfectly competent female colleague characterized as "nurturing." And thus, by the way, not executional. It conjures images of breastfeeding and tucking in. It makes me think she kisses boo boos all day. Nurturing is a fine and wonderful attribute in a mother. Indeed, I think we'd all do a lot better in the workplace if we were a bit more nurturing of each other. But, somehow, it was definitely presented as a weakness. Nurturing people aren't go-getters. They don't take the world by storm. They sit at home and make chocolate chip cookies to help the team get over the next hurdle. 

I didn't realize you could even say these things out loud. It felt like some sort of euphemism for "overly pre-menstrual." Like they wanted to say "she's too much of a chick," and knowing that was un-PC, they opted for something that felt less offensive. 

Well, it didn't work. It's no wonder we lose so many women in corporate america. Makes me want to go open up an ice cream shop. And nurture the hell out of it. 


Priya said...

that's really unfortunate that the person being too much of a woman was the reason for not hiring them. like you, i don't understand how nurturing is a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

You would kick butt at owning and running an ice cream shop!