For close to 20 years I have worked in environments dominated by women. As a gay man, I have been friendly with a lot of women, some of my best friends are female.
When I entered corporate life I was inundated with messages about how sexism permeates offices throughout North America. And I was mindful of how I spoke and listened to women, specifically.
After years sharing office space with women, I have to tell you: Women need to grow up.
The gossip, rumours, manipulation, mind games, vindictiveness, I witness every single day. Women don’t have to worry about men keeping them down, they do that well enough on their own.
I’ll give you an example of a recent altercation I had with a female colleague. We were preparing for a work event, and she was behaving bullish. She was rude, dismissive, unkind to her colleagues, at one point she literally threw a case of coke at me and told me to hold it until we got to the venue. This happened while I was sitting in her car on our way to set up.
I allowed her tirade to continue and noted it. The next day, I went to Human Resources for their counsel on how I should resolve what was a disturbing episode for everyone. They provided me with tips, I wrote them down and requested a meeting with my colleague.
We met in the boardroom, with the doors open, and I gently reviewed her behaviour. She immediately began crying, citing a stressful personal life, a dissolving romantic relationship, as reasons why she treated her colleagues poorly. I asked her to please stop crying. I reminded her that she was in a place of business, and that when she enters the front doors of the office in the morning, her personal life ceases. All of us, I reminded her, have stresses at home. They can be as minor as an argument with a partner, or as severe as the death of a child. They do not excuse abusive behaviour at work.
After a 30 minute conversation she had dried her eyes, we hugged, at her request, and went back to our work stations. I thought to myself, well, that’s that. Success! We will operate more professionally going forward. How wrong I was. I heard, within a day of our chat, that she was now gossiping about me to our coworkers, telling them that I was rude, threatening and sexist in how I dealt with her. I was floored. I could not have been clearer, and nicer with her. She clearly did not take our conversation the way I had expected.
She was a victim, no matter what. She was going to use her victim status to abandon any personal responsibility for her actions.
Lately I have been re-evaluating my relationships with women, and reviewing past friendships with more scrutiny. I often made excuses for my female friends and their sometimes questionable behaviour.
Years ago someone created a Reddit thread writing abusive comments about me. I was alerted to the issue, I wrote about this in a previous post, and I learned who the person was. A woman. Now, I did nothing with it. In fact, at the time I was embarrassed and humiliated, and outright confused that someone I barely knew hated me so much. It appeared, in some way, I was the topic of a lot of gossip amongst friends, and narratives about me, based on who knows what kind of made up information, were derived. Now, I state this for one reason and one reason only. Had this been a man who was writing abusive comments about a woman, online, well, it would be considered harassment. But as a man, I had little recourse. I had to take it. If I reported it to police I would not have been taken seriously. If I had confronted the woman in my anger, and I was angry, I could have come off as threatening.
With the feminization of our culture, I’ve noticed that victim narratives about women are common. But in my experience, interacting and working with women, I don’t quite see all this sexism that women claim they’re facing.
I’ve watched as women, perusing dating apps, degraded the physical appearances of men to where I felt uncomfortable. In said incidences I have expressed how this would appear if the situation were reversed, and men were callously dissecting women’s appearances. We’d be calling them douchebags, or toxic. As a sibling of three brothers, I have never witnessed them disrespect a woman’s physicality quite the way I’ve observed women talk about men’s bodies.
For all the talk about toxic masculinity, I wonder why toxic femininity is omitted from the conversation. Working with women is often challenging. For starters, women derive much of their self-worth and value on their romantic relationships. For example, having one. I’ve heard the argument several times that this is because of the patriarchy, and I remind my friends, okay, if the patriarchy is true, since you’re aware of it, wouldn’t it be prudent to set a different example?
Women are easily threatened by other women they consider to be more attractive or happier than they are. Yet there is a claim that women are more harmonious and kind to each other than men are. There is an argument that women are not competitive with one another. Well, I beg to differ.
I see it up close when a new employee is hired. If she does not offer the information herself on day one she will certainly be asked a litany of unprofessional questions: Are you married? Do you have a boyfriend? How long have you been together? Where do you live? Do you own? Do you have children? What does your husband do for a living? The goal is to detrmine where she sits on the hierarchy that all women must be measured.
If they determine that she is higher on that hierarchy they will begin the slow and methodical task of tearing her down. This occurs in gossip, passive aggressive comments, taking offence to anything she says, spreading rumours, vindictive behaviour, exclusion, gaslighting.
If women are not striving to get into relationships, they are slowly driving their boyfriends crazy.
Men do not want to get on one knee and put a ring on a woman’s finger. I’m sorry, but we don’t. We don’t want to involve any one in our relationship. I would argue that any secure relationship does not need the approval of the masses. But women have to make it public. And she thinks everyone else’s relationship is fair game for gossip and comparison.
Two of my male friends were groaning one day. Both had recently entered into new relationships and their girlfriends demanded that they follow them on social media. Both men knew what was coming. When I inquired further, they confessed.
She will sift through every single post dating back to 2006 (this is true, I’ve had female friends do this to crushes, not even men they’re in relationships with) and then demand that he start posting photos of them together. If he does not accept her request, because he knows what is coming, she will then accuse him of hiding something. If he is honest about why he does not want to add her to his social media, she will then become hysterical and claim not to be that kind of woman, even calling him a misogynist. Then she will demand that he delete any and/or all photos of him posing with another woman.
Plastering their relationship all over social media is typically not what most men want. But women do it, because they’re trying to make other women jealous.
Men don’t want to endure a wedding where their girlfriend infatilizes herself by dressing up in white and a tiara. They really don’t. But women need to do this for their mothers, grandmothers, and to show other women that she has worth, and a man wants her!
Often, when a woman is comfortable in her relationship she begins to talk about her husband like he’s a child. This happens especially after real children join their union. I don’t know how many times I’ve been witness to a woman talking down to her husband, whether he was present or not, in front of peers. He’s an idiot, especially after he’s served his purpose: proposing to her, marrying her, impregnating her, etc.
Then there is the topic of sex. I’ve had women admit to withholding sex from their partner for years, even going so far as to schedule sexual appointments. Then, because men are sexual, and need it, they turn to porn to get off. You think their wives would allow them this vice. Oh no. Men are publicly shamed for having watched said porn. But then, if say, he ends up cheating on her, he’s the bad guy, and she’s the victim. If women don’t want to have sex with their husbands, if their husbands are simply too stupid to be naked with, then allow the poor guys to get it somewhere, allow them to watch porn at least! This type of control is enough to drive any patient man insane.
Also, why are women blathering to others about every intimate detail of their relationship? They behave as though there isn’t a partner in their union who may not want everyone knowing his business. Maybe he doesn’t want all your girlfriends knowing his personal information! Maybe he didn’t sign up to have every fault of his used as a weapon.
This is where women are constantly getting away with abhorrent behaviour. They are endless victims. Yet I don’t see where they are victims. They are using this victimology to empower themselves, so that they can get away with deplorable actions. Simply to get their way.
These thoughts are considered controversial. But they’re not untrue. Sure they’re generalizations, but they are common enough that we should be having frank conversations about what’s really happening between the sexes.
Men don’t care what women wear. Women care. Women care what other women wear. Women are tearing each other down not because of the patriarchy, but because they are by nature, like men, competitive.
Men typically argue, fight and get over it. They can even be friends after. Women hold grudges forever. In previous jobs I’ve held, women have held grudges against colleagues for decades, over the slightest of grievances. Often, in my observation it’s for the simple reason that one woman believes the other is happier.
If we’re going to talk about toxic masculinity, please let’s talk about toxic femininity. Let’s stop pretending that women aren’t holding each other back. Let’s acknowledge that for most of us, our most psychotic experiences have involved a woman.