As I am speaking to lots of professional women’s groups, I am encountering lots of women. And I am discovering that lots of them are angry. Women who dropped out of corporate America and started their own businesses are often particularly vocal. Women who felt that they suffered from an uneven playing field are anxious to tell me about what they had to go through, and they are not taking the high road. They are furious. They don’t give a flying you-know-what about building collegial relationships with their male colleagues, which I advocate in my book. They hope those guys all burn in hell.
“They said I’d done well in the interview, but they weren’t going to hire me because they were afraid that the guys wouldn’t want to work for a woman.”
“I owned a company as a partnership with a man, and when we won an award, he accepted the award and never even mentioned my name. He said it never occurred to him.”
“I was sick of having those guys look down my blouse but otherwise ignore me.”
“My boss would stick his head in to say hi to each of the guys on my hallway every morning and would walk right by my door and not say a thing.”
“He told me he couldn’t take me out for coffee anymore because I had curled my hair last time we went out, so what were people supposed to think?”
“I thought my job was to work hard, and my boss kept giving me more work, so I thought I was doing the right thing. But I never got promoted.”
“I was using a lint brush to get some dust off my jacket in my office, and one of my co-workers came in and said, ‘I wish I was that lint brush.’ I didn’t know what to say.”
“My new boss was always staring at my tits. Then I asked for part-time work, and he said no. So I just quit.”
Listening to these women makes my skin crawl. Even years and years after the infractions, they still turn sad and confused. Or red and agitated. The absolute unfairness of what they had to endure still enrages them whether it was sexual harassment, a double standard, or cruel denigration.
“Ha ha,” says one of these bitter women looking at my book. “I don’t need your book because I have my own company now, and I don’t have to put up with their sh*t.” Only she didn’t say “sh*t.” She said the whole word.
Copyright © 2012 Jennifer K. Crittenden