Two weeks ago I was sitting in a meeting with the President and CFO of my company, and some other random high ranking men in my division (all white men over a certain age), talking about an ongoing issue with one of the projects I manage.
At that point, my boss (a female) was in the country where the project is located, trying to sort things out. She had sent back a message that the project definitely needed back up, sooner rather than later, specifically from the finance and contracting office. One of the participants said something along the lines of "She's concerned this issue is going to blow up into a larger problem."
The CFO, shirt unbuttoned almost down to his navel, graying chest hair spilling about, snorted, "Well, you know XXXXX; she's emotional."
What are you, living in 1950? Come here, let me zip that shirt right up over your lip, Chesty.
But no, here I was, surrounded by men more than twice my age, faced with obvious sexism and totally out of my league. What to say? I felt like I should've taken a stand but duuuuuude, what to say? I need my job. Instead, I bit my tongue so hard it almost fell off.
Then, tonight, I was riding my bike about - enjoying the 95 degree weather and minding my own business. I'm on a residential street and this red car packed with men, rolls up next to me. A short pug-faced guy hangs his head out the window and squeals something lewd in Spanish. I want to throw my helmut in his smug little acne scarred face, but all I do is stick out my tongue.
And then pray to god they don't turn around....
Come to think of it, I was in the grocery store a few weeks ago and this NASTY old man (with kids!) was openly watching me walk around the check out area. Like, his head did a double take, looked me up and down and leered at me. Leered! Next to the change machine! How romantic. I was like, go back to your poor wife, Gross Old Man.
Look, I'm not fooling myself. I'm no model. In fact, guys, you can do much better than me. So the argument of "you should be flattered" is a non-starter. In fact, all of this leads me to believe that these men just think women (random women) exist for them to ogle and leer and jeer and point and whistle and hoot and holler at like large pieces of jiggly meat put on this earth for their enjoyment.
I am so beyond making jokes at this point. Usually I just amuse myself by thinking up some witty comeback, dreaming of punching them in the face, or asking them how they think it would feel for their daughter's to be leered at all alone at the intersection of Dennis and Inwood.
Now, I don't want to think harshly of the fairer sex. I like men; I truly do! I've seen them do strong and nice wonderful things for women. But you know what? The worst part of it isn't feeling like some dude's nasty masturbation image, or written off for being 'emotional' (so what if I AM?).
No, the worst part isn't being able to do a damn thing about any of it.