There are some men who are forever trapped in the boyish mindset of the teens and find it incredibly hard to get out of that even when they grow up in age and enter a professional world. I had such an experience during a personal development workshop that I attended as a part of a training program for my company. In it, we were to do a communications exercise in a group of 4. It so happened that the 3 girls in the training were all in one group with one boy. Now, all the other guys at seeing this, started smirking, making comments on the pitiful condition of that boy in our group. One called us out and said ” Hey! Go easy on him”. Others make comments like “Dude! Hold tight!”. Now, please make a note that these people have at least 4-5 years of work experience and they are supposed to be people managers and yet the amount of professionalism that they show when it comes to dealing with females amidst them is zero. What were the three girls going to do to that boy? Eat Him? Skin him alive? Abuse him? No, in fact what the other guys were doing to him was abuse and at the same time an extremely immature and sexist act. How do you expect from people who tease a colleague for sitting with girls to be mature enough to deal with women in their team and what would their attitude be if they have female subordinates or female bosses?
An excuse can easily be made attempting to cover this behind a joke. “It was just a joke!”, I know for sure that would be the retort. But, I disagree. I believe, that to make such sexist jokes in a professional environment is wrong. You could may be make as many jokes as you like among friends but doing this in an office is uncalled for.
When the foundations of professional behavior are so shaky, how can we expect to ever get sexism removed from workplace?
This has made me realize that sometimes, a joke is not all innocent and we need to point out to such events where college/teenage distasteful and uncomfortable humor, specially regarding females, is carried on into offices and propagated. It creates a sexist and unhealthy work environment.
What’s most surprising and disappointing is that no one pointed this out, everyone either participated in it or shut up, me included. What that indicates is the unapproachability of senior people within companies and openness for suggestions.
But I wanted to highlight this incidence, if only to release my anger.