A friend recently sent me this article which I highly suggest you take the time to read. It is a hilarious story that illustrates the issues women face in the workplace – especially when that workplace is dominated by, or even built on sexism. This story in particular is about a woman working in the video game industry, having to deal with the constant barrage of sexed up female bodies that is used to market their product.
She spins a tale of playing a prank on her boss that had a blown up image (above left) on one of the game’s characters on his wall – a female engineer with a drape of cloth for a shirt and underneath showing off pretty much every other detail of her barbie doll body. She responded by working with an artist and secretly replacing the poster of “Ruby Underboob” with “Brosie the Riveter.” (above right) Brosie is wearing nothing but a male thong and a helmet – and as she described it, has “nipples testing the air like young gophers in springtime, the post-apocalyptic breeze gently swaying his banana hammock.”
While many would worry about losing their job, as at one point she certainly did, her boss came back with this reply:
“That was a brilliant prank. You called me on exactly the bullshit I need to be called on. I put up pictures of half-naked girls around the office all the time and I never think about it. I’m taking you and Sam to lunch. And after that, we’re going to hang both prints, side by side.”
Bravo to that boss. He exposes a truth about sexism – that we all just plain screw up from time to time and the best policy is to just own up to it and apologize. Don’t spend ten minutes defending what you’ve said out of some need to prove you aren’t sexist – learn, apologize, and move on. Everyone mutters something angry in their car a time or two about race, gender, or age; or grumbles out an insult walking down a busy street. When it happens, suck it up and just politely say, “Damn, sorry.” Hell, take them to lunch.
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