NB: This article in no way reflects the actual reality of my specific place of work – it is just a lighthearted commentary on office sexism in general and some ways you could potentially deal with it if it arose in your workplace.
I’m quite lucky in that none of the people I work with are massively misogynistic. Office sexism isn’t a major part of my working life.
But that doesn’t mean my office is devoid of sexism altogether. Most days, I notice my colleagues spouting some less-than-feminist ideas – conversations about ‘crazy’ girlfriends; musings about sex-workers; outrage at the idea of a male receptionist and a female CEO.. Little things, to be sure, but they’re enough to wear me down.
Now I’m not normally one to shy away from confrontation, but I have to work with these people every day, and quite frankly it’s easier to put my headphones in and ignore the slightly sexist conversations from my otherwise perfectly pleasant co-workers than it is to argue about the finer points of intersectionality (or even the less-fine points of basic feminism).
So to survive the daily barrage of moderate misogyny and office sexism, I’ve developed some of the following coping methods.
Pretend my colleagues are, in fact, my Grandad
My Grandad was a wonderful man. In fact, bar my mother, he was probably my favourite family member. Funny, kind, caring – he was everything you could want from a Grandad.
He was also, like most Grandads, pretty damn politically incorrect.
But that was okay, because he was my Grandad. And it’s much easier to forgive a kind, 70-year-old man of misogyny than it is anyone else.
So when office conversations start to take a less-than-savoury turn, I simply picture all my co-workers as my sweet, but racist, Grandfather, and my boiling rage reduces to a simmer.
Blast the Wicked soundtrack through my headphones as loud as possible
Because quite frankly, it’s hard to pay attention to moderate misogyny when you’re trying to stop yourself singing Defying Gravity at the top of your lungs in a crowded office.
Daydream about winning the lottery
Of course, to win the lottery I should probably start actually playing the lottery – but the point stands. When I’m richer than rich I won’t have to sit in an office cubicle and listen to my colleagues debate the idea of sleeping with Susan Boyle for her money. Instead, I’ll be able to lie by my private pool in the south of France and drink cocktails until I’m so day-drunk that I’ve forgotten that the world is, in actual face, a misogynistic pile of crap.
Sigh and tut every so often
Because what’s more British than quietly tutting to yourself to convey your displeasure?
Hide in the toilet and play Candy Crush until the derogatory conversation is over
Unless you are my boss and are reading this, in which case, I definitely never do that. I am 100% committed to my job and tied to my desk.
So there you have it, five ways that I cope with office sexism.