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Sometimes Women Choose

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These thoughts have been swirling in my draft folder for a while. They were brought on months ago and have nothing to do with anything going on in my life right now. Some similar things came up in discussions at the retreat so I know they swirl in the minds of many women.

I have been fortunate to have good relationships with most of the men in my life. They have, for the most part, been kind and understanding men. Men who supported my dreams and whose own dreams I supported. I have, however, experienced issues in the workplace and looking back, even though I leveraged complaints, my concerns were rarely heard.

i remember having an issue with a man in our sales department erupting vocally on me in a very aggressive manner. I complained to my boss, a woman. Instead of filing a larger more formal complaint, the male VP talked me into letting him handle it. I folded. I chose not to ruffle any feathers because I knew they valued the sales guy more than they valued me.

Their way of handling it allowed this man to come into my office with just the two of us, close the door and apologize. It was 20 minutes of a very strange apology. It was frightening. A couple of years later this man killed his wife, their cats and then committed suicide.

You might think this is rare, but I have even seen a male supervisor hurl a coffee cup at a female employee and I had a boss throw his glasses at me.

I was shocked to read this article from Huffington Post about corporate training Ernest & Young conducted as late as 2018 on how women should dress and comport themselves around men in the workplace. It is discouraging.

I welcome my male readers to respond in kind with the things that men sometimes choose. I think it might help us understand each other.

Sometimes women choose…

To stop at a fast-food restaurant bathroom because it feels safer than a rest stop.
To stay home rather than go alone.
To stay silent for fear of not being believed.
To not have children and the reason does not matter.
To leave a good-paying job because of harassment.
To stay when they know they should go.
To fight until they can fight no more.
To cry because they feel something – not always because they are sad.
To laugh rather than cry.
To be alone rather than to try to be someone they are not.
To act like a man so they are not treated like a woman.
To suck it up in order to keep their job.
To stay single.
To have platonic relationships with male friends.
To travel alone and hope to be safe.
To choose a career over everything else.
To choose a family over everything else.
To raise their voice in order to be heard.

13 thoughts on “Sometimes Women Choose”

  1. I spent most of my working life in careers where women were ‘supposed to be’ treated as equals. However, female EMT staff sometimes wore a different uniform to us at first, involving a skirt, and pantyhose or stockings. This often led to comments about their legs, or being able to see up their skirts. Such sexism was frowned upon as long ago as the late 70s, so it was a silly man indeed who got drawn into such comments. If the woman concerned complained, you would soon find yourself posted to somewhere unpopular, and trail a bad reputation along with you.

    By the time I worked for the Police, uniforms were standardised. That job also attracted many gay women (and men) and some had served in the armed forces. By that time, a kind of ‘reverse’ banter had begun, where they talked openly about their sexuality, forestalling any negative comments they might have received. I did however see many occasions where gay officers (male and female) openly made lewd remarks to ‘straight’ staff of both sexes. It seemed they thought they were ‘fireproof’.

    As to your list, and general points, I very much doubt that most men see the world in the same way as women. We rarely think anything of travelling alone, being out late, or taking public transport in suspect areas. Most men in my experience find it very difficult to have platonic relationships without considering the possibility of them going further. Bullying and intimidation at work can go both ways, though in the case of men, it rarely has any sexual element. But I have left jobs or places of work in the past because of being intimidated by managers, both male and female.

    I have never really claimed to understand the emotional differences between men and women, though after three marriages and many relationships, I am acutely aware of their existence. Despite that, I have been described as ‘kind and understanding by at least four women. I have also been described as ‘too much in touch with my feminine side’, by one former lover who told me she wanted ‘a man to be a man’.

    I have to conclude that whatever our gender, we are just all different as individuals. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Pete, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to this post. A few points surprised me a little. My husband and I have often discussed the female energy Vs. male energy and this age old adage that all men are looking for the conquest is so hard for me to understand. I actually prefer a man who is in touch with his feelings and not caught up in the testosterone based idea that men must be something different altogether. Kind and understanding appeals to me. I also think perhaps our viewpoint changes as we age and I think you are right – we are all different – in spite of our gender.

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      1. I VERY much agree with you. I am thankful to have a husband who is very able to be in touch with his feminine side.
        The “points” you posted were really right on. I KNOW our generation can identify with most of them, I hope our daughters identify with less however with the current “climate” I feel like women are being made to feel like we’re moving backwards.

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        1. I am sure the current climate in our country makes these issues bubble to the top. It is not a great time to be a woman or a minority of any kind in our country.

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  2. A GREAT LIST:
    I would never stop at a rest stop alone. Even with my spouse, I make him wait outside the RR.

    Going alone at night is not usually an option I would take.

    I am not good at staying silent. But that being said, I was always silent when higher ups gave credit to my male counterpart for work I had done. It happened under 6 different principals.

    To stay when they know they should go. I stayed in a relationship I should have left.

    To cry because they feel something – not always because they are sad. Always

    To laugh rather than cry. Often

    To suck it up in order to keep their job. Yes

    To have platonic relationships with male friends. There are a couple of men I trust with my life.

    To travel alone and hope to be safe. Not usually

    To raise their voice in order to be heard. This never worked for me.

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  3. Thank you for finally posting this after your 15 rough drafts. I was chilled by the account of the crazy worker who then murdered his wife. Lots of responses bubbling around in my head, but none too clarified to write here.

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  4. I am very happy this post wasn’t lost, Maggie. I know the women who are important to me. my wife, daughter, niece and friends have made these choices and must consider things that I don’t worry about. I’ve seen women suffer the subtle abuse that is common to many offices.

    I won’t list our choices, but I will mention being nervous about saying things that might be misinterpreted – even in blog comments. Never wanting to offend, or frighten sometimes makes communication difficult.

    My daughter sent me the EW article. I worked for two of the old Big-8 firms. I was reprimanded for wearing jeans to a hockey game (in the 80s) because I could have been seen by a client and it would have reflected badly on the firm. It’s hard to understand how those thoughts persist almost 40 years later.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read this, Dan, and for sharing your thoughts. I know things have changed and morphed in the workplace between the genders. I am hopeful it will be better for our children and grandchildren. There is always such a double standard in many of the big companies, but then I saw the same things in small companies, too. It takes all of us to do our part to make the future better.

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  5. That article upset me, GREATLY. I cannot believe that propaganda passed muster in the last thirty years, let alone last year. Wretched.
    Here’s my advice for working women: Go to work clean, on time and then do your job to the best of your ability. Oh wait, that’s my advice to working men, too.

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