I really should find ways to entertain myself other than reading feminist blogs when I’m sick. I’m sitting here achey, miserable, and now seething.
The problem is that my default position is that while sexism is a huge issue in corporate America, it isn’t necessarily an issue for me. I tend to think this because if I blame certain phenomena on sexism, it means that I am not as in control of my own world as I want to be and I hate that shit. Here are two examples of things on my mind.
Scenario 1: My (all male, all 8+ years older than me) team and I spent several hours this past week planning our 2010 approach. We outlined what we need to accomplish and then assigned an importance to each category of tasks. For example, since we’re in product management, we put a 1 on pricing – meaning that figuring out how much to charge for our product is of critical importance. Duh. After doing that, we broke them up into functional groups, one of which each person on the team will be responsible for. You with me? My responsibilities are fairly evenly split between 3s and 2s. Not a 1 in sight. There are a lot of possible reasons for this – the fact that my disillusionment is showing is definitely up there, for example.
Scenario 2: I recently received some extra compensation. I’m aware that I make less than anyone else on my team, but as the person with the least time in the company and in the industry I can’t really fault that. So anyway – this money shows up in my paycheck and I think ‘huh, that’s weird that my boss didn’t tell me this was coming’. He didn’t actually mention it for several weeks, as a matter of fact, and then he brought it up in this completely nutball way. The upshot was that no one else in our group (not just the four of us on our team but the 12 of us under one VP) got anything of the sort. AND – he had no idea why I got it. Apparently someone “up the chain” recommended it. There are only a few folks who could have influenced that decision, and in general they have not actually worked closely enough with me to determine what I’m worth. If that’s the case (i.e. it wasn’t based on my work related awesomeness) then what the hell did I get it for?
These are not by any stretch of the imagination all of the things that I’m mulling over at the moment, but they clearly represent the two sides of what’s going on here.
Am I getting the level of responsibility I deserve, or am I being underestimated because of my gender? Am I getting the treatment I deserve, or am I receiving opportunities/compensations because my male colleagues find me attractive?
Should I be as angry about the second as I am about the first? Definitely. Is it hard to get as indignant about it? Yes. Which then leads me to be angry with myself for being unbalanced. And angry with the men who don’t think I’m good enough. And angry with myself for maybe just not being good enough and thinking that the reason I’m treated that way is because I’m a girl.
You can see how effective this is. Down the rabbit hole we go, darlings.