So here I am sweetly working and minding my own boring business when the client walks by and says, “You’re looking good today.”
I’m not sure how to react. So I don’t.
Instead I bury it somewhere at the back of my head, and hope that it was a figment of my imagination. Until the next day.
“Off the record, you’re distracting people on my floor, they’re asking me to make your project last longer.”
I maintain a straight face. I study his face. No perverse leer. Not even a playful expression. Just a smile. The kind which seems harmless enough, but instinct tells you that you should want to box his teeth out. But instead, I continue to discuss the documents in front of me with him.
This isn’t just me. Nor is it an isolated instance. Nor am I sitting in the middle of a street in some company which has no women. Quite the contrary. This company has a lot of women. And a lot of HOT women. Like that should make a difference.
So I ask around, I ask other women I know on how they react to such comments, and believe me, EVERYONE has faced them at some point of time. When I worked in a production house, I heard crap about “Don’t you want to become an actress?” from the studio manager. When I joined my next job, I was informed about colleagues crowding over a laptop drooling over a pic of a tattoo I had up on Facebook. When I go to a client location, I hear other stupid shit.
So I asked around. I asked men and women I knew about how they would react to such awkward situations. Was I being too polite in just ignoring the comments? Was I encouraging them? Or was it worth it to make my job a living hell by objecting every time a guy said something inappropriate?
The responses were, well, interesting to say the least.
“This is what sexual harassment policies are for.”
“You pretty girls na, you have a problem with everything.”
“It’s your fault, you were nice to them. Hence they think you’re a pretty little dumb thing and treat you like one.”
“Err….don’t wear all these fancy dresses and pants to office?”
“Stop over-reacting to everything. It’s harmless.”
Right. See, the point is, I’m not saying that all the men at work are out to rape me. But in the day and age where even the slightest sexual innuendo in some joke that a guy sends you on your BBM can be considered as grounds for suing for harassment, where exactly do we draw the line for inappropriate behavior?!
And just by the way, thanks for letting me know that since I take care to look decent at work, and actually talk to colleagues in a workplace dominated by the not-so-fair sex, and prefer being professional, it clearly is my fault. It brings back nice memories of Delhi police and the idiotic lot who nicely say that women and their ‘loose’ behavior is what attracts rapists and molesters in the NCR, and clearly the solution is for us to be clad in burqas and not be allowed out of our homes once the sun sets.
I’m from Delhi, and I’ve grown up believing that as long as you’re a human form who appears to be female (read: have boobs), it’s apparently every man’s birth right to stare at you and share his amazingly witty comments with you. But I was kind of hoping when I switch cities, when I switch local Blue line buses for a formal office setting of the highest order, when I switch the creeps on the street for highly educated men in suits, some things would have changed.
Sorry, I guess that was just my mistake.
P.S. This is my first post for Darlings of Venus, and believe me I hadn’t meant it to be this one. I am just SO PISSED OFF!!!