Apparently liking the same nerdy things as your boss makes it TOTALLY ok for him to come to your desk and whisper to you about how sexy you are, what a great ass you have, and what he’d like to do to it. I think this incident, added to many others, makes me a winner on my “You’re a woman and your body doesn’t belong to you” bingo card.
What’s really shitty about this, and it’s an aspect I think people don’t really recognize, is how fucking powerless I felt and still feel. Because what can I really do? I’ve worked here three months and here’s this guy who has been here three years, coming up to me and saying completely inappropriate crap that no one else can hear, but what can I actually do?
I was so taken aback in the moment that I didn’t say anything, I just fucking laughed awkwardly. That’s how goddamn conditioned I am to accept being treated this way, all I could think to do was whatever would make it end, there was no thought of standing up for myself or calling him out because that would make things hard and scary. And why? Because I can’t even prove this happened. It’s my little new girl word against the word of the guy everyone loves whose been there ages. So I go to HR and what exactly? I could lose my job for opening my mouth.
And not to mention I know the drill, I know my behavior will get called into question and doubted. According to the people I’ve already confided in he probably thought I was being flirtatious, which pretty much invites it in. As a woman, if I’m fucking nice to a guy, I’m deserving of unwanted sexual attention! Who cares that work should be a safe place and that an authority figure has no damn right to ever speak to me that way even if I DID come on to him. I get sexually harrassed and somehow that’s my fault, I wasn’t vigilant enough “You know how guys are. You should have set boundaries!” Right, from now on whenever my bosses are friendly to me I’ll definitely make sure to reiterate “Hey, I know we’re talking about The Avengers, which is awesome, but don’t try to make a pass at me - JUST SO YOU KNOW!” it’s definitely my fucking job to make sure other people don’t objectify me, sometimes I just forget!
And the worst thing is that I spent part of the day trying to talk to him like the whole thing never happened. Making the same random conversation and laughing along with jokes and trying to put out this signal that “I’m not reciprocating, sure, but things are totally cool anyways!” and I’m sick to my stomach about it and mad as hell. Mad that I feel like it’s my responsibility to reinstate a friendly and safe work place, mad that I don’t want my boss to get his ego hurt and take it out on me, and weirdly mad at myself and worried that I’m a bad feminist.
Because here’s another thing about it too - as a minimum wage earning recovering drug addict just getting on her feet, I can’t lose my fucking job. I can’t risk standing up for what I believe in, for feminism, for my right to have my fucking body respected, because if I lose my job I can’t afford my rent or my food. And that’s what all these fucking terrible things like sexism rely on. That my overwhelming need for basic necessities will outweigh my ability to stand up for myself. Well they did, and it fucking blows.