I know it has been a couple of days since I have posted. Don’t worry, I am still here. The reason for my absence is an interstate work conference and as with most conferences, networking drinks took up the time I would usually spend blogging.
The conference itself presented some useful tidbits of information in amongst the large amounts of mass obviousness that we were getting reminded of. At times it was difficult to stay awake and connect with the group. It was not altogether a waste of time though, as it got me thinking about some things which I will now share with you.
In group discussions, the responses that stuck out the most were made by females and as a female, I wanted to slap these women into sense.
The first display of disgusting behaviour I was fortunate enough to miss as I was in a different “tech” session. The sales guys I work with filled me in on what transpired and I was unbelievably shocked. Basically, the group of around 100 odd people were divided into two groups. One group was given a chocolate bar each, the second group had to attempt to persuade the first group to hand over the yummy morsel. It was meant to highlight the difference between persuasion and influence. Persuasion being short-term manipulation without any trust being engrained in the other person, influence is longer term and relies on a foundation of trust.
After about 10 minutes, everyone was asked to sit down and a couple were selected at random to advise whether they were able to receive the chocolate bar and in what way this was achieved. One person spoke of handling over a chocolate bar without batting an eyelid since he didn’t like the particular chocolate he had been given and thus had no reason not to part with it. Normal enough scenario. Most of the time if we don’t like something, we have zero urge to keep it. Unless of course someone else really wants it and then we may hold on to the coveted item as part of a power play. The next response is what struck me. A woman was asked how she had managed to talk a man into handing over his chocolate bar. Her response “I told him I would accuse him of inappropriately touching me if he didn’t give me the chocolate.” Well hold on one minute… you what?!
If I was working with this chick I would be having some serious thoughts as to whether to stay employed in the same company. With the amount of media coverage concerning the sexualisation and sexual abuse which was mainly started with the allegations made against Harvey Weinstein which have since trickled down to cover quite a large portion of men in the media industry it is such a horrible thing to manipulate for want of a chocolate. I doubt that there is a woman alive who hasn’t been subject to some form of this behaviour at some stage. Most of us are used to the boys clubs that pop up in every workplace and do our best to just get on with our lives unless something extreme happens and we are forced to take action. Having a woman use blackmail in this way reminds you of all the women and girls over the years who have cried rape and ruined an innocents life. Those that get caught with someone they are ashamed of and instead of not caring about someone elses opinions of a sexual partner, turn what was a consensual exercise into the stuff of nightmares for the man involved. I know quite a few men who are too scared to approach women because they don’t want to be seen as sexual predators or fall victim to this blame game.
I think that women who are caught lying about these incidents or making up false accusations to further careers, or just out of “fun” should be charged and publicly humiliated. I know this will be a fine line as many women (and men) do face horrible situations and are unlikely to come forward due to fears that they will not be believed or the perpetrator is seen as too powerful and protected. This may be why it has taken some people many years to raise a voice.
The second incident that really struck me was one I personally witnessed. A couple of sales people were asked to take the stage, one a young guy, the other a middle-aged woman who was supposed to take on the “trusted advisor” role of a leader and help guide her employee towards a good decision without straight out telling him what to do. The scenario: The young man has recently taken on an advertising account. The client is an industry veteran, hard-hitting woman who is not happy with the campaigns that have been run or the lack of a relationship with the media company as she has gone through a number of account managers in a short space of time. Simple enough scenario faced numerous times a week.
The leader was trying her hardest to ask the sales guy how he wished to proceed with the initial meeting with his new client. What he would say, how we would prepare… it was difficult for her not to just spoon feed answers. Something we are all quite guilty of at times. Then, it was opened to the floor for a general discussion of how we could potentially deal with this situation. General comments ranged from being completely transparent about campaign statistics and throwing yourself on your sword as your companies representative. Admitting fault if required before moving the focus to what the client wanted to achieve in the long run and how these requirements could be met. Out of no where, a woman spoke up with these rather simple words,
‘I wouldn’t send a man to this meeting. As a woman, she should talk to a woman and not a man.’
When did men become second class citizens? Just because the female client in question was written as a hard hitter who isn’t afraid to ask questions, doesn’t mean that she is a ball-tearing man hater. The room erupted in anger, mostly from the females in attendance. The men were just quite shocked at the force of our reactions whilst also being quite offended.
Women have been pegged as being emotional caregivers. Top “female” virtues are historically seen as: Sensibility, Modesty, Patience, Kindness and Humility. I do not know if it is the rise of feminism or just women sick of being looked down on, however, it has spawned a large group of evil bitches (for better want of a term) that make the rest of us look bad.
Personally, I don’t think of myself as a feminist. I believe that the sexes are equal although both have inherent strengths and weaknesses. I also believe that it isn’t your gender that really defines who you are. Some women can be fantastic as the male dominated avenues and the same can be said for our male counterparts. I think too much emphasis is placed upon gender. And the gender neutral movement which seems to be surging ahead, isn’t in my mind, neutralising anything. It is merely making a further divide and confusing pronouns. When you are of an age when you can decide if you wish to be referred to as he, she, they, you or whatever, then go ahead and make that decision.
Your decision should not have an adverse affect on anyone elses life.
Likewise, being a strong female does not mean that you have to tear down those around you in order to get ahead.