I decided the other day that I should change my Yammer profile photo to Renee Zellweger because my so-called manager, male and 2 years my junior (also less well educated and experienced – but hey who’s competing?), repeatedly tells me I lack empathy and feelings. I wanted to show that I did have empathy, only it wouldn’t be where he expected it to be.
I am obviously not a famous actress, but the comments she derived from outsiders about her appearance and not about her work or professional abilities is distressing for her and the rest of us who read about it. Who would want to follow in her footsteps? Only those young enough to think it won’t happen to them and by then it’s too late.
If we only read about people we think we know, are we in danger of thinking these attitudes do not exist in the most common places? I found more examples of gender inequality in universities, offices, banks, in fact just about everywhere. If males regard my gender as inferior, I don’t think it has crossed their minds that I think of them that way too. There are too many destructive influences in our lives and if nearly all of them are instigated by men in positions of (so-called) authority, it is time for them to be subjugated and relegated. And not in a few decades time – now.
Unfortunately I see all too much the stereotypical upbringing being played out by women all around me. They still believe in white weddings, love (which I don’t believe to be a legitimate emotion) and being a couple as normal ways of progression. It’s so sad and disappointing. Until this attitude changes and the majority are weaned off this prescription the better it will be for all of us.
Physical stature and muscle strength can certainly overpower (and I include men on men here) and it is fear of harm that keeps the peace as we all know otherwise we wouldn’t have a police force or an army as coercive powers, but they are just as internally destructive as they are externally. The initial euphoria of using force is short-lived and only wins approval if used against those in the wrong. Mindless acts, and there are so many, just turn me to disgust and revulsion.
So, did I change my profile photo? In the end I didn’t. I wondered whether it was worth it because I still have to work with this individual and I didn’t want to give his behaviour credence. He had attacked me personally before getting his facts and lied about other people I worked with to enhance his argument. I let him run on – keep digging, I thought. When I said he was a bully he asked me what I was going to do rather sheepishly – I didn’t say. He won’t be sufficiently crushed by me behind closed doors, but I will have my revenge one day.