February 04, 2009

This girl wants the corner office

I should be writing my article about university drop outs right now, because it's due today. However, I can't even remotely concentrate on it before I get the following off my chest. Then I'll write the article and then I'll probably read "Nice girls don't get the corner office 101. Unconscious mistakes women make that sabotage their career". That book's been lying around here for a while now, since Finn bought and read it about half a year ago. I never felt like reading it, because I never felt the need for it. Now I do.

The thing is, I've never been much of a feminist. In fact, for a very long time I was quite "appaled" by feminism because - at least in the german speaking world - it shows itself mostly in the destruction of language. And while I get that sometimes language is discrimination I'm still a big fan of language and I don't very much appreciate it being destroyed in utterly idiotic ways (for all my german speaking readers: I hate the way some people substitute "mensch" or "frau" for "man", that's just plain stupid).

My other reason for not immediately taking to feminism is a much more understandable one. It's simply that I never needed to. I was never personally confronted with any injustice based on gender. Sure, I encountered resistance at my very straightforward, direct way of dealing with things and people. I'm naturally assertive and people don't tend to like that. I had a hard time accepting this but somehow it never occured to me that it might not just be me. That it might partly have to do with the fact that I don't have a dick.

Now that I'm working in a field that is typically dominated by men (e-sports, gaming) I'm beginning to - more consciously - understand the things that set men and women apart in a work environment. And I'm disgusted. For some reason I have to constantly prove myself. For some reason if I make an honest mistake it is treated like this big thing. For some reason the guys are constantly allowed to make mistakes, no questions asked.

I have to work my way through every door - literally, because they simply get shut in my face, when I'm not invited to participate in meetings, not getting the code for the door to the "inner sanctum" that is the office where they guys are. Now, I do get that I'm the new girl and that they won't immediately trust me with access to everything, but the emphasis does seem to be that I'm the new girl. I get the feeling that were I a man I'd have that code already - and had they not given it to me freely I'd probably have asked for it and then received it. If I were a man, that is.

So it seems that for most of my life I've been on the right path by being assertive. Unfortunately, I was then taught to be less so, to be more socially acceptable, to be less me. And now, for fear of offending someone I'm keeping my mouth shut, secretly seething with anger. But the thing is, I'm not just a girl. I'm a woman and I'm (I gotta be) capable of speaking up for myself. I'm going to have to get not less but even more assertive if I want them to respect me. And while I still condemn that I have to do more than a man to earn respect for who I am and what I do, I'm still going to have to do it if I'm heading for that corner office.


finn said...

well, at first they make fun of you for buying such a book, then they keep laughing as you read it and before you know it, they convert to feminism and read "the good book" themselves...WAY TO GO, GGRRRRLLL!

Laura Valerie said...

Strange, that this relevation did not come to you some time before.

Can I link to this article? I'd like to post something about the feminism-issue myself.

And I do consider myself a feminist, even though I'm always told that I am not because I lack a certain aggression/strength in voicing my opinion. It always seems strange to me when women tell me that they have never encountered discrimination because of their gender. Maybe they are just too busy trying twice as hard as a man to succeed half as much to realize it.