Friday, 20 February 2015

Sexism in the workplace.

Background: I am the only female in the entire building.  The guys at work often have conversations that would raise the eyebrows of just about any decent human being alive, and I often laugh along with them.  We're all close friends, and all of them are a) married, b) old enough to be my father or c) both.

Of course, if the guys push things too far I politely let them know to back off, but it does raise questions.  The biggest one is: If I were to be sexually assaulted, not just by the guys at work but by any male, how much would his defence lawyer use my lax attitude around my co-workers to discredit me?

The fact is, unless a woman is a complete prude who always wears long pants and a heavy non-fitted jumper at all times, there's always going to be someone who blames her if she gets raped or sexually assaulted.  If a woman dares go to a late-night party and gets her drink spiked and gets assaulted, it's her fault for drinking.  If a woman goes out clubbing with friends wearing something flattering and gets assaulted, it's her fault for wearing something flattering and for being out at night.  If I were to get assaulted by a client, how much of that would be "my fault" for being too jovial and letting things slide?  The words "slut" and "whore" are still too easily thrown around, and not just by males either - women can be NASTY to a female that they think is too sexually liberal (why it's anyone elses businesses what anyone else does in their bedroom is beyond me) which leads me to my second concern.

The other is the issue of my standards compared to that of other women.  Up until the end of last year there was another girl in the office, who was a lot less forgiving about sexual jokes and innuendo. Subsequently all the blokes in the office didn't like her.  It makes me wonder if I really am okay with these jokes, or whether or not I'm just letting things slide for the fear of being the least favourite person in the office.  Of course, I shake this thought off, seeing as I start my fair share of questionable conversations, but sometimes I wonder what would happen if I were to pull the guys up.  On top of that, am I betraying my gender by being like this?  Am I betraying other females by laughing at "tits and ass" jokes?  When I think of the times I've laughed at the guys objectification of women, I remind myself of the constant objectifying of men I tend to do (hell, my friends and I have a rating system where we rate the backsides of our favourite cricketers and footy players).  I sometimes wonder if the fact that we shut up when someone from outside walks in is a bad thing.

It's no great secret that men and women, hell, everyone has a different view on sexuality and the opposite sex.  We all have a right to have our bodies and our standards respected.

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