I admit it, my LinkedIn picture is pretty good. Taken at a friend’s birthday party, I was relaxed, happy and invested an unusual amount of time in getting my hair to behave. So I wasn’t overly surprised recently when out for cocktails with co-workers a male turned to me and said: you have a really good LinkedIn picture. You look look really great there. “As opposed to real life?”, I joked. He then leaned back, looked at me intently and said with a bit of surprise: you’re attractive, really attractive. Then turned back to speak to the other men at the table, leaving me to remember, yet again, exactly what it is that men value in women. Later he will ask me if I’ve noticed I’m the only woman out with them. I’m the only woman in most meetings I attend at work, I reply. I work in a male dominated industry, something which is extremely apparent to me, but not at all to the men who are running it. Disrespect and disregard run rampant. I have been ignored, spoken over, placated and spoken to in the tone of one speaking to an idiot. Just last week, after being interrupted for what seemed the millionth time, I asked if they heard me when I was speaking. Now, this could be because I’m incompetent, but I don’t think so. And it may not be that they don’t care about what I think as much as they care much more about they think.
The cocktails would flow on and later this man, who I have never worked closely with, will exclaim that I am the best one at my role and why am I never on his projects? Now, it’s entirely possible I am the best one at my role, but how would he know? He’s never worked with me and he didn’t think that before determining I was attractive. I’m sure it won’t surprise many women to hear that the next discussion was about another woman who has had some, ahem, plastic surgery. The conversation around her? She’s totally unqualified for her job, but who cares, look at her! I found myself seeing Joan Halloway’s face and I don’t know why because she is an extremely qualified, attractive woman living in an even more misogynistic time.
We continue to speak on how crazy our office is, how management doesn’t know what it’s doing and how we’d all do it better, as people employed in offices do. Later, walking to our cars, one asks me how long I’ve been working there. When I tell him, he replies ‘you’re too attractive to have worked here for so long’. I’m too attractive to have worked here for so long. What does that mean? I think it means I could easily find a job elsewhere, that I don’t have to remain in this crazy place. But it also means I could easily find a job elsewhere because I’m attractive, not because I’m qualified. I wish I thought to respond that he was too handsome to work there, see what response it gathered. I’m sure just a perplexed look.
What is a woman to do but continue on being competent, not accepting this type of behavior, lean in, but straddle the line between being labeled a bitch and being a pushover. I’m not sure what conclusions to draw except to say you’ve come a long way, baby, but still a long way to go.
Joan and Peggy: I'm still looking for a reason to use the phrase "whatever could be on your mind".
**Update** Fast forward to 4:41. I wrote this post before seeing this. Don't leave me, Jon Stewart, don't leave me....
This video applies to my last two posts! Someone as credible as you, while very attractive and articulate, at the core you are credible, you are like Walter Cronkite kind of credible. Unbelievable. I don't anything about this woman because I don't watch FOX news, but she shouldn't have her appearance mentioned in conjunction with her credibility in any way shape or form. This guy is blowing smoke up her ass on her credibility, but at least he knows to do that, unlike the guys I work with.