Yes I admit I am a little late to the game, but I just started watching “Mad Men.” Great show, even though it is filled with sexism and racism. The show is set in the 60s so it was written to reflect the time.
In one Peggy and Pete were having an exchange. Peggy was trying to be polite and do her work and Pete got upset because she wasn’t giving him the “attention” he felt he deserved, so he told Peggy she was being unprofessional.
As I watched something about that exchange felt eerily familiar to me. It made me think back to a time when one of my male co-workers told me that I was not being disrespectful but I was just not respectful enough.
I started thinking about other situations and experiences that would qualify as one of the isms.
- Cursed at by a presenter in the middle of his presentation.
- Yelled at in front of a group for not giving someone a high enough mark
- Ostracized for offering my thoughts after I was asked my opinion
- Criticized and told I was unprofessional for correcting a group after they did not follow instructions
- Disparaged for being too professional when offering constructive feedback
- Ignored or dismissed when I had ideas but the same ideas were praised or incorporated when brought up by male co-workers
While in my gut I know that these we a result of sexism, there was no overt sexism, nothing that I could report. But I knew that if I were a man I would not have had to deal with these situations. On the occasion where I would bring up my concerns I was normally instructed I needed to work on how I approach and deal with people.
I’ve also witnessed the jokes and gestures. Sadly, I’ve even had someone criticize my clothes saying by wearing it I deserve to get assaulted.
It would be nice to say these things happened a long time ago when I first started working, but the truth is this list, the jokes, the gestures, the comments about my clothes have all happened in the last 4 years.
I want to believe that we have evolved. I want to believe we have become less tolerant of people who do the isms. But reality sets in and I realize I am just tired of waiting for Mad Men to behave like gentlemen.