From being an Econ major at Mizzou to my various corporate career experiences, it seems I’ve ALWAYS been the only female representation my age in some fields and it has been quite an experience. Working with a lot of guys is certainly a different office flow than those of more female-dominated work genres like nursing, social work, or beauty. It’s no secret we are from Venus and men Mars, meaning we just have a different way of going about things. And as a STRONG cultural feminist, working with a bunch of Martians can get overwhelming when your thought process doesn’t align with their simple ( and sometimes vulgar) ways. So how does a smart career woman do it? How do we stand strong, yet remain feminine? Well, we learn and we adapt. Allow me to share some key things:
- Say it with your chest
Aside from goofing off and having a comedic catchup with girlfriends, women generally speak softer to people. This is definitely to our disadvantage when it comes to being in an office or business meeting full of testosterone-pumped males. As a woman we are innately softer in volume than men, I mean why else would they have those Adam’s apples? As a young business lady I know to get more attention in a male-dominated room I have to not yell, but project a little more, if this makes you feel less girly, just wear a pink blouse or a skirt. That’ll teach em.
2. Locker room talk
People may have been sensitive about Trump’s “grabbing the punani” comment, but he said it with intentions of no one but his guys hearing. As inappropriate as it was, it was no news to me as a woman in a man-dominated field because if I know nothing else it is that “locker room talk” is REAL! Once the guys at work have officially glazed you over as just one of the guys or co-workers, there will be no sensor to their non-work related conversations. So baby be prepared to hear some swearing, personal issues, and some downright crude jokes that could make Amy Schumer blush, or just get downright mad! If you are a co-worker who is not an authority figure, there’s little you can do about their mindset or even language even in the office setting, but you can tell them to shut it if you feel something is beyond disgusting. Of course everyone’s mouth can’t go from professional to wild hunnits like mine so if a good telling off isn’t for you, go to HR and tell them what is happening if someone says something especially derogatory.
3. We are not equal, and that’s a good thing!
In the modern era where women are still fighting globally for equal rights as men, this cultural feminist has a very different way of thinking on equality. Even with equal pay we will not be treated the same and I feel we should still speak up against that when it isn’t to our advantage. But I also believe that too many women stress the idea of having equal power to men to the point that they forget we also have some superiority over them as well. One of my co-workers joked to me, “Everyone’s a feminist until the bill comes.” I had to scowl at him but laugh inside because saving money is a big advantage to this girl, #sorrynotsorry. But aside from getting free meals and drinks, which is nothing to us BOSS BABES ANYWAY, women have a lot of advantages. We’re better multi-taskers and naturals at empathy. Our interpersonal skills allow us to be great managers, relationship builders, and problem solvers. Men might say we are more “difficult” or we “think too much” referencing how long we take to pick out a place to eat (guilty). But it’s because we are analytical and not as risky by nature, probably why according to a study U.S. banks with female chief executive officers or chairmen were less likely to fail during the financial crisis than banks run by men. I think one of the major things I’ve learned in an office full of men is that I think differently. Sometimes it’s superior, sometimes it’s inferior, but that’s okay! To my corporate ladies out there climbing, instead of making corporate climbing a power struggle for equality focus on building and displaying your strengths! Since being equal has proven not to equal better pay, strive for being different! Being different is superior in a lot of ways. Comment if you agree (or not, that’s cool too).