For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” – Emma Watson
I had an alarming conversation recently with a male colleague during a casual afternoon coffee: he was telling me how happy he was that I recently got a big promotion, but that if his father heard that news, he would tell him that I “got to him.”
To be clear, me and Ben* were classmates in college getting our degrees in accounting, and applied to work in a start-up company that I would say we both helped get to its feet.
I had to ask him to repeat it.
“He would probably tell me, ‘Oh son, you let the women get to you.’ I don’t personally hold that viewpoint , which is why I guess I can’t talk to my father candidly about how I’m doing at work. He just knows I’m an accountant at a big company,” he laughs, then shakes his head.
“You were always the better one at crunching up the numbers and keeping the sheets, you know,” he adds, and knows I am not going to let the topic go.
He is a sweetheart, and firmly believes in equality, bless him, and while there are unicorns like Ben in the workplace who are woke as hell, there is an equal amount of people my age who grew up around people like Ben’s father, and in their old age, will become like Ben’s father, unless you know, they get a rude slap to the face to get them to wake up that women just want the same opportunities as men do.
And don’t even get me started on the various intersections that concern equality: it’s not just about straight, white men and women in the workplace, you have to factor in the fact that there are sectors of women of color, women with disabilities, and women from the LGBTQ community all wanting to just have the same opportunities to thrive.
So when I heard what Ben’s father might have to say about a woman’s progress in the workplace, I firmly believe it’s a threat and a slap to their ego. Well, unfortunately for him, women all over America are starting to care anymore about the fragile male ego.
I’m fortunate enough that the company I work for now has zero tolerance for situations like that if it does arise, and I’m sure I would be supported by my credentials and work ethic if a man unlike Ben were to come along and whine ‘Waaaah why her? Did this company let a woman get to them?!’
Women from all walks of life aren’t out to ‘get you’, in the workplace, at school, or in business, but if you feel that way, then maybe we just have to if it means getting you to see past your insecure, fragile manhood.