Sticks and Stones:  When Men Diminish Women at Work

“That girl who works for you, does she cold call for you?”  Asked a male co-worker of my business partner.  For context I am a forty-two-year-old woman and the man asking is maybe two or three years older than me—if that.  Also we’ve worked in the same office for seven years.  Yes seven years not seven months or seven days, but seven years.  We’ve sat in staff meetings together just about every month of those seven years.  Oh, and I out earn him.

I’ve spent the last two weeks fighting the urge to punch him in the throat when I pass him in the hallway.

Unfortunately, I am not alone.  When I told the story to another woman in the same industry she told me that her internal support person—who she claimed was the best she had ever had- quit and left the business altogether because of the mean, petty comments her male counterparts made.  She had been the only woman in her group.

Evidently even Congresswomen aren’t immune to such snarky slights.  I mean what was Bill O’Reilly thinking making fun of Congresswoman Maxine Water’s hair?  Are you in seventh grade?   I wish I were outraged but at that point I was too exhausted from spending the week not punching my co-worker in the throat to muster more than an eye-roll.

It’s death by a thousand cuts.  It’s the constant reminder that no matter how hard you work, how much you earn, how much respect you deserve, that some insecure man is going to try taking you down a notch by reminding you that you are less.  Less than worthy of respect, less than important enough to remember your name, less than an adult, less than them.

Well f**k that.

Ladies, listen up.  It ends now.  The next time your co-worker tries to hand you a hot mug full of steaming misogynistic snark I want you to toss it right back in their faces.  There is power in numbers.  If we all collectively decide that the buck stops with us the buck will stop.  Let’s call it what it is next time.  Let’s name what is happening and ask if they are saying such things to overcompensate for a deep rooted insecurity like their receding hair line or over reliance on Viagra.  Fair is fair.  It’s time to shut down those last few loser guys who still desperately clinging to their male superiority like grim death.

I’ll kick it off by introducing myself to my co-worker of seven years.  Less satisfying than a throat punch but when they go low it’s truly best to go high.

For laughter and inspiration read my blog NicoleCorning.com and my book The Working Mommy’s Manual, available on Amazon:   

http://www.amazon.com/Working-Mommys-Manual-Nicole-Corning/dp/0615637418/ref=cm_sw_em_r_dp_6ZRcqb0QFT7P8_tt

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