I went to see Bombshell tonight and it brought up old frustrations of experiences I faced in my corporate career. I wanted to yell out expletive words in the movie, because these men make me sick. They have and are misusing their authority and are bullying women into these situations. The thoughts I’m sharing are purely from my perspective and experiences.
When I worked for the bank I experienced sexual innuendos from male coworkers. It was 1979 and I was 18 years old, naive, and most situations I ignored or laughed them off. There was one male I worked with that I made sure I was never alone with him in a room and I was fortunate nothing happened. My coworkers and I talked about these things amongst ourselves and left it at that. No one ever said they were forced into doing something that they did not want to do. I look back now and we did nothing to stop the issues from continuing. More of what I faced was being passed over for promotions, the boys club was where it was at in most situations.
When I moved into technology in 2001, there was one male who was harassing a number of women. I didn’t know this until I was asked by a coworker if this particular male had ever said anything to me and I shared what he said and how I felt. We were fortunate that a private and anonymous voicemail service was established so women could express their experiences. The male in question was released from his position and we were all relieved.
My next experience was with a director of one of the technology companies I worked for. He would say inappropriate things to me jokingly that made me uncomfortable. I ignored the comments until one day when I was working from home and he kept insisting that we Skype so he could see what I was wearing. I told him no and said there was no reason to Skype and we could continue our call on the phone. He eventually gave up ad ended the call. I told my female manager about the situation and said I was going to talk to HR, she said no that she would handle the situation and I was not to share the details with anyone else. She met with me a few days after and said nothing would happen again. What was interesting was how she suddenly started to treat me differently, demanding more of me, becoming critical of me, I was feeling bullied. Both her and the director were stars with the company and I felt I had no one to turn to, no one had my back. I ended up changing positions in the company so that I was no longer working with them.
I had one of my bosses tell me after he hired me, he was glad I was in great shape, good looking and blonde, I would be a good face for the company. He said he was glad I was also intelligent. His comment was proof that outward physical appearance was a bonus for a company when selling their product.
In a lot of the situations, I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to be questioned as to whether these things happened. I also didn’t want to face the fallout after with the potential of losing my job. Most of this was because of my lack of confidence in myself and realizing I did not need to put up with any of it.
I’m glad these movies are being made, I’m glad women have been and are speaking out.
To criticize the movie from a perspective of the way it was made or more could have been done with it or it is similar to what another movie the previous year, who cares! Yes, the stories are similar because it is the same thing that has happened over and over and over. It’s different people being harassed and different people doing the harassing and it is a different company.
The story is, it is happening and we are still learning the astonishing number of times and the various scenarios.
I am grateful I was never forced into a situation where I was raped or felt I needed to compromise myself for my job. What I did experience was an erosion of confidence ad whether I was safe to be with some of my male coworkers, that makes going to work each day undesirable.
Am I a feminist, hell yes!! I believe in equality, equal pay for equal work, and equally eligible for promotion. Women having another woman’s back if they need support.
Do I hate men, hell no!! No one, NO ONE, not a woman or a man or humans that identify themselves differently, ever deserves to be treated in any way that makes them feel uncomfortable and if that happens they should be able to say “that was not appropriate and I deserve an apology”.
If these movies help one person be stronger and have the confidence to report the harasser, then I say great, keep making these movies!! Hopefully these movies are a message that this behaviour will no longer be tolerated.
If they make you feel uncomfortable, perhaps you have a guilty conscious for something you did or are doing to someone you work with. Hopefully it will make you take a close look at your behaviour and have the courage to apologize and change.
I have also started calling men out on their behaviour. When a man makes me feel uncomfortable or says something inappropriate, I tell him it was and ask him to be the change we need in this world. Sometimes I receive an apology and sometimes I’m told I’m too sensitive, it does end the inappropriate comments though.