I Feel Safer Working With Men
Women Sexually Discriminating Other Women
I have been in the workplace for over forty years, I have been sexually harassed and discriminated against more times than I care to remember. Who hasn’t right? The only thing new here is that my perpetrators were other females. I know right. We don't typically hear this. In the workplace, it's usually accusations from a female against a male counterpart. I am here now to say that sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace is a two-way street, equal oppportunity offence. Over the years I have felt harassed and discriminated against many times, and yes I was harassed because I was female. My harassment came from the hands of other women. I have been victim to bullying, conspiring, gossiping, isolation, control, betrayal, withheld opportunities, right down to termination.
Sexual harassment is a type of discrimination based on sex. When someone is sexually harassed in the workplace, it can undermine their sense of personal dignity. It can prevent them from earning a living, doing their job effectively, or reaching their full potential.
A female can sexually discriminate or harass another female, and can and should be held accountable.
Let me paint a picture.
At a young age I experienced the meanness in girls, the cruelty. Even within my own little group of friends. Someone was always fighting or outcasting another girl. There was usually a pretty or popular girl as the ring leader. I remember it being just cruel. I guess this is where fear began to take some sort of subconscious root within myself. Now, I was popular and I was attractive in an athletic natural kind of way. I was smart and I had a witty sarcastic sense of humour which I naturally seemed to acquire as a survival mechanism growing up in a family of eight kids.
I knew on a very basic yet deep level that picking on another person was wrong. And I knew it was wrong because I could feel it in the other person, I could feel it inside myself. I could feel the pain just as if it were happening to me. It just felt wrong, naturally. I remember calling many girls out on this. And for this reason, things would never be the same between us. We would still exist in the same circles but it seemed now there was this underlying mistrust, on both parts really. For some reason they now saw me as some sort of a threat. That perhaps I would challenge them again. And I suppose it was true. But It seems I have always got into some sort of trouble as a result of speaking the truth.
As a younger child, I hung out with a lot of boys. My first actual friend was a boy named Lee Hall. Hell we just played, explored and basically goofed-off. It was light and it was easy. I remember on one occasion playing with some boys. Another boy and I had some sort of a disagreement, and suddenly we were down on the ground having a full on fight. When we got tired enough, or worked our anger out enough and no one was hurt, we just got up, dusted ourselves off and kept going. And the the day carried on like any other. No emotional scars left behind, just a smile at the rememberance of simpiler times.
In hind sight, I suppose my childhood friendships with boys, coupled with the cruelty I experienced amongst girls, contributed to my future career choices. I have spent almost thirty years working in male dominated industries. I suppose I enjoyed the male personality more. I felt safer with men, honestly. At least I could understand them. There were less games, manipulations, and underlying motives.
And this is not really something we hear in this day and age. There is far too much man bashing going on, truly. And Just as it may feel I am stereotyping females at this moment, men have long since been the victims of this same stereotype. I’m just here to expose it. Women can be just as guilty of sexual harassment and discrimination as any man or any other.
I grew up in a small town and when I turned eighteen and moved to the big City, it didn’t take me long to learn that women will dislike you just because you are pretty. And not just dislike you, but some will go out of their way to try and hurt you. Some will go to great lengths to try and sabotage you. And others will create little girl armies against you. And then, there are the real dangerous ones. The ones that will go so far as to befriend you, out of fear I suppose. But what their seeming act of frienship really feels like, is the whole ‘keep your enemies closer’ type of mentality.
Its’ scary right? All of this it.
I once worked a salt mine (yeah, I know I think there’s a song in there somewhere). The mine was all male, and I was the only female in the union. There were other females at the plant, but they were either in administration or management. In the four years I was there, I watched several female employees come and go, while not one of the male employees left.
You see, there were three women in the office that pretty much ran things even though there was still a male plant manager in charge. They were secretly known as “Johnny’s Dragons’. Let’s face it, we know who really runs things in an organization, the ones that handle all the little gory details. Just like Doctor’s and nurses, we know who truly runs the ship. I digress. Back to the mean dragons.
See, if the new girl hire did not fully subscribe to their little script, or expectations or did not respect their hierarchy, they would make it extremely difficult. And they did so with the intention of either bullying them into conformity or keep harassing until they quit. It became so obvious if you simply watched. I felt so conflicted, I wanted to stand up to them, to say something, like I had done so many times over the years. The reprecussions were too great. Unfortunately, after being harassed and bullied so many times at the hands of other women such as this, I knew there was too much a stake. As a result, I adopted my own personal rule as a personal safety boundary.
Everyone must walk their own path, just as everyone must fight their own battles. Exception; if another female asks for my help, I am there 110%.
I did come to know one of the girls who actually left the mine on stress leave. It was obvious to everyone how much the dragon didn’t like her. On one occasion, I overheard the dragon adressing this female employee. I'm not going to lie, it made me a little sick to my stomach. The dragon spoke with this sickly sweet feigned sincerity. If I hadn’t known any better, I would have thought she was sincere, that she was a very kind and thoughtful dragon.
That someone could feel one way on the inside and say something the exact opposite on the outside, is frightening and very much out of alignment. It’s no wonder I developed a fear of women, this stuff is scary and it's dangerous. This girl who was bullied until she finally had to leave was competent at her job. She got on well with her co-workers. She was strikingly beautiful. She had a fit body, and she may have dressed a little revealingly. And you see, we once again come back to being discriminated against simply because of the way you look as a female, or harassed because another female doesn’t like the way another dresses. Absurd.
It makes me think of this one particular line in one of Van Morrison’s songs, “all of the women dressed up for each other”. It’s true . There has been a lot of controversy regarding women and what they wear in the workplace. Is it appropriate? Is it sexual - provocative?
First off, a woman can wear whatever the hell she wants. It is her equal right. But lets take a closer look at this. When a woman wears a shirt that quite obviously shows her cleavage, she knows men are going to look at her breasts.
I can feel a collective gasp as I read that out loud. It is true and I am not saying this out of meanness, I assure you, it is simply a matter of fact. Hear me out.
A woman gets ready in the morning. She decides what she is going to wear just like she chooses what she is going to have for breakfast. She knows that when she gets to work men are going to look at her chest. At her consciously and beautifully displayed breasts. Of course the argument could be; 'A man shouldn’t be looking there anyway', and this may be true. What if I told you that men are not the only ones looking at your boobs? Women are looking at your breasts too. And how do I know this is true, because I do it too. And so do you. All women do it. Just saying ‘tit for tat’.
If you decide that you are going to wear something revealing, then you must also accept responsibility that people are definitely going to be looking at your conscious revelation.
Women blame other women for their cheating husbands.
This is a little off the topic, but this is an opinion piece right? So I'm just going to throw this in.
Women spend more time resenting the other woman whom they don’t know, then their actual supposed committed cheating husband. This man who promised to love and honour them. They project all their negative energy on someone they don’t know. You see ladies, if it wasn’t her that he cheated with, it would have been some other pretty girl. It should be your trust in your husbands love, and his respect and trust for you, that keeps him from ever following through on any pretty thing that walks by.
It was only one hundred years ago that women were finally given the right to vote. And today women are basically doing everything that men are doing, including becoming a priest.
When women were struggling for our right to enter all areas of the workplace, they had to endure things that we cannot not even imagine. These brave suffragettes did so because they wanted to demonstrate to the world that women could enhance the workplace, simply by being in it. They succeeded! Ladies, all we had to do was walk in and do the work we said we could do.
Over the years I’ve witnessed a minority of women destroy reputations, marriages, even lives as a result of feministic pot-stirring. This has created such fear and conflict in the workplace, instead of enhancing it, we have created a very boring sterile and stagnant working environment. Our feministic fear mongering tactics, have left us isolated and feared.
As a former police officer, I witnessed a lot of this. I remember a new group of recruits had been assigned to our division. After three days, one of the female recruits lodged a complaint because there was a poster of a “Bud Girl’ on the wall of the precinct gym. She said it was degrading to women. I only had three years on myself, but I could not understand what her motivation was in doing that, except to alienate herself. Degrading to women? There was only woman that could have been degraded, and that was the one that appeared in the poster. And from what I saw on the poster, she looked happy and healthy and yes you guessed it, she was B E A U-tiful. There it is again, our obsession with looks and clothes. Why do we need to do this? What purpose does it serve?
And now let’s take look at what our equal opportunity workplace environment looks like today. As a result of repeated aggressive feministic behaviours, allegations and demands, men and women now walk the workplace halls like robots. No one talks or makes eye contact in fear of something being misconstrued.
Men are huddled in groups talking and laughing quietly amongst themselves, ensuring no women can hear, lest they be offended.
Jocularity in the workplace is almost non-existent. Because everyday we come to work we have to put on our filters. Always on guard. This to me is sad. I remember the best parts of my workday were centered around coffee and lunch breaks. The laughter. The practical jokes. The witty banter at the water cooler. On some days, it was moments like these that I was able to keep my sanity, to do my job well. No wonder no one wants to go to work anymore.
Ladies, we are responsible for this. We have made it this way. Yes we deserve equal opportunity, but our female ancestors already established that for us. All we had to do was go in and shine, but no. We wanted more and more and somehow ladies we got less and less.
From many lessons learned throughout my working career, I created two personal boundaries for myself in the workplace, this seems to keep things in balance.
Practical Workplace Boundaries
#1 - You can say whatever you want directly to me. You can say whatever you like behind my back, as long as you don’t say it within ear shot of me. It’s none of my business what anyone thinks or says about me.
#2 - No matter what is being said, I always have the choice to walk away. If you don’t like what is being said - walk away. And if circumstances do not provide a walk away option, then use your voice.
I remember when I worked as a mason, it was a snowy winter afternoon and I was busy at something in a little equipment shack. There were a handful of guys hanging about making small talk. I wasn’t really paying attention, when I felt a sudden hush. I looked over at them and heard one of them quietly say, “I’ll tell you later”. Shortly after, I asked one of them what that was all about. One of the guys had been telling a story and suddenly realized that it may have been inappropriate for my ears, so he said he would finish it later. I respected that, but at the same time, I felt so left out. But it wasn't their fault.
I want to know what people are saying, anyone. I'm interested. Most times it's downright hysterical. And geez, I’ve got thick enough skin to hear any cuss word and not be offended. They are just words. And jokes, well that is what they are jokes - what else needs to be said about it? It’s not serious. Lighten up. I can laugh at just about anything. I’ve learned that most importantly we need to laugh at ourselves.
This is exactly what we as women have done to ourselves, we have alienated ourselves. Isolated ourselves from life, real life. Is this is really what we want? We fought so long to get here and now the pendulum has swung so far the other way, that we find ourselves isolated in this place we fought so hard to be a part of. The irony is paradoxically tragic.
All the years I have worked in the male dominated industry, I never felt discriminated or harassed by another male. It has always been at the hands of another women. Women use this power, but it is to control other women with their own fear. There is too much power here and not enough balance and certainly, very little accountability. I myself, would potentially have several solid cases of sexual discrimination and harassmen against other females. But that's just not the way I roll. Instead of taking legal action, I will start at the bottom and that means exposing it and creating awareness around it. I do so in order that others who have been victim of female perpetrated discrimination, can begin to heal. For those who have been silent victims for so long to finally be able to heal the scars left hidden.
It is not my intention to sit here and bash other women, its quiet the opposite really. I do this first for my own healing. To acknowledge all the actual and up to now unknown scars I carried as a result of other women’s discrimination, harassment, and cruelty. It has subconsciously affected my relationship with women on the whole. I no longer trusted women.
Secondly, I confess these things so I can forgive myself for not knowing, for not seeing, for not helping these women at the time, instead of resenting them later.
And lastly, to forgive all the women who have betrayed me, hated me for speaking the truth, or conspired against me.
When I do this, I can begin to understand from all sides. Instead of blaming women for my feelings, I have to heal it. I have to change the way I see it. I want to love and respect women again. I want to trust them. I want to see women love themselves, in order that we can love and support one another. To be strong together and for each other, not as victims, but as the strong women we are.
I want to thank all the strong confident women out there. The ones that I was able to be myself with, without fear of judgement. The ones that I didn’t have to dim my light for, so they would not feel threatened. It is these women who have restored my faith in all women. And just as we are trying to raise emotionally healthy and expressive boys, we must also show our girls the importance of empathy, compassion and inner beauty.
And a second and long overdue thank-you to all the male-co-workers I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. First and foremost, thank-you for making me laugh, you all know it’s my favourite pastime. Thank-you for teaching me, including me, sticking up for me, respecting me and showing me. Thank-you for trusting me enough to be youself in my presence.
I had a favourite line (created as a coping mechnism in male dominated workplace) I used when things could potentially border inappropriate. First, I'd point to the ground drawing an imginary line with my finger, then with humor in my heart I would say, "See this line Johnny, you're about to step the fuck over it", or something to that effect. We'd all bust out laughing. It changed the subject without any drama or accusation, and most importantly got the message across.
Bottomline: Beware that sexual discrimination and harassment is equally opportunistic by definition. Meaning it can happen to anyone, and it can be committed by anyone of any sex.
I want to create discussions about this. I want to know your experiences. I want to know how you feel both as a victim or abuser. Let's blow this wide open. Let's re-create a workplace filled with respectful color, laughter, creativity, security, and the freedom to be ourselves. The most efficient organization is one that benefits from the different inherent abilities of both sexes. These differences compliment each other. Let's begin again.