Stupid Girls

Another day, another viral email- this time from a young woman who asked her work colleagues to rate her office’s attractive men for the Christmas office party. In explaining what happened, after she resigned, she said

“In retrospect it was a stupid thing to do but there wasn’t anything controversial or sexist in there.”

Actually, there is.

Imagine the hue and cry if such a list were of the assets of women in the office. The HR policies which were no doubt broken are there to protect the company from litigation as well as the young woman in question who fired off the email.What intrigues me is how she could NOT find it controversial or sexist? Was it because it was men she was targeting? Was it because her intent was humorous? Or has she simply switched off to the messages drilled in by HR departments on what NOT to do in the workplace, as well as any common sense she had?

Working in the public service, I have been to at least two sessions organised by HR on harassment and discrimination (Doesn’t this happen in the real world?). The best message I got from this was: think before you speak- or send that email.

Boycott pink– I’m not a huge fan of pink (says the woman who had her daughter’s room painted in said colour). It can be frustrating finding clothes in colours other than pink from chainstores, and I do get tired of toys aimed at girls having a pinkish hue. But should we be blaming toy manufacturers and shop buyers for reinforcing entrenched stereotypes on what girls should be wearing and playing with? Sexism is more than having a limited colour choice.

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