“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” -Madonna
A man dressed in a grey suit walks into my office today and says “This client of mine, she’s absolutely crazy.” I hear this about 20 times a day. Yes, 20 times and I’m not exaggerating the slightest bit. Yes, we all get it. You’re the normal one and they’re the crazy ones. We knowww (this is of course what I’m saying to my sarcastic self as my conscious is rolling her eyes and the real me is smiling). Most of the time I don’t hear a word they’re saying. I just see their lips moving. I occasionally chime in with an “uh huh” and a “mhmm.” Today was a different kind of day. It was a day where I would put away my uh huh’s and mhmm’s and save them for a rainy day. What I’m about to tell you may shock you, may make you leap out of your seat, it may even make you shout aloud “No way”. Alright, I’m being dramatic. Although it was a bit irritating to hear this come from a man who considers himself to be professional in a professional environment, I wasn’t at all surprised. I had the privilege of hearing this: “That’s not how a woman should be. A woman should be delicate, soft-spoken, you know…nice. I can’t stand women who act this way. It’s unpleasant and disgusting.” He. Didn’t. Just. Say. That. 5’8” of male chauvinism stood right in front of me. A real poster boy for female rights. Weren’t his choice of words to die for?
“A woman should be delicate, soft-spoken, and nice” -gets me every time, every damn time a man opens their mouth. So I stared at him blankly, batted my eyelashes and smiled big, real big. He looked at me and said, “You know what I mean?” So I replied in a delicate, soft-spoken voice and let the words elegantly roll off my tongue-“Why of course Mr. A. You’re absolutely right.” He couldn’t even tell I was mocking him. Kill em’ with kindness, I thought. Sometimes you just have to if it means getting through the 9:00-5:00. Unlike any other day, today I just couldn’t. I slowly unzipped myself and climbed out of the poised young lady suit I had been wearing and climbed into a strong, I will school your uneducated butt, suit. The suit I usually wear but am sometimes afraid to show off. I was going to reflect the type of woman my mother and father taught me to be. I swear, if I were a chameleon I’d be the talk of the animal kingdom because I turned into more colors than a bloody color wheel. The diva inside me was all like Oh no he didn’t. I couldn’t sit there and let him walk away unscathed. I would be committing a crime. It would be a complete disservice to women. Women in the corporate world constantly get hassled for being aggressive and are labeled as bitches for being strong and having an opinion. I know this because I have experienced this firsthand. I was astounded and bewildered (all at the same time) by his pride in sharing his opinion. It was as if he had just discovered the 8th wonder of the world. He was explaining this to me, a woman who is 24, university educated, and sure as hell ready to slam down any bullshit flying out of his privileged male mouth. So that’s what I did.
I told him that his views are what is so wrong with society. Of course it’s important to be polite and cordial but why is it a characteristic that women should maintain and carry. This is one of the many problems with society- we have male bimbos reinforcing stereotypes we are trying to break away from and thinking it’s okay to voice them. At least I can thank him for his honesty…and his stupidity. Looking back, I should have thanked him for being the example I will never teach my unborn sons to lead by. After all of that he says: “Oh you shouldn’t be so offended”. This was the equivalent to hearing nails on a chalkboard. Umm HELLO, earth to chauvinist, you’re talking to a woman. How could I not be offended? Well you know what they say- Rome wasn’t built in a day. At least I tried.