Nice rack, wanna check my code into ur repository?
April 22, 2012 8:49 PM Subscribe
My superiors keep checking out my cleavage during conversation at work. What now?
posted by amestar_runner to Society & Culture (49 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Background: I'm a technical female in a startup environment. I've worked pretty hard to get to where I am and am damn good at what I do (and have been openly granted respect for that, internally and externally).
Within the last year, I started working at a company whose motivations and goals I strongly believe in, but honest to god, the bro-culture is starting to get to me.
A few manifestations of this culture are:
- if I express any sort of discomfort or displeasure with how my team is acting overall (note that I typically frame this constructively with the team present), my superiors handwave it away and act like I'm being hysterical - distinctly different from how they (hilariously) just roll over for or appease some of my male colleagues.
- the team drinks together, but rarely invites the female colleagues. (Actually, when I do attend, I hear feedback about the job performance of my female colleagues that I should not be hearing thirdhand!)
- even though I'm one of the younger teammates, I'm treated like "mom" when we're doing a coordinated activity for work (ie, everyone expects me to know where we're going, when we're supposed to be there, how we get there, etc.)
- I also deal with the fun double-standard of "We love you because you're so good at being one of the guys!" and "You need to be more professional than how the rest of us act!"
- Most obnoxiously, though: my co-founders keep glancing at my cleavage when I am chatting with them. As we approach summer, my strategy of wearing scarves/shawls/etc. all of the time is not going to hold up (large rack => hard to hide). Note that these are some of the more vocal guys about valuing my contribution to the company, by the way - which is what makes this all so puzzling.
What do I do here? I am extremely passionate about what this company does and I am committed to riding this out until the end of this year for the sake of my career - bouncing seems like a bad step at this point for a variety of reasons that aren't relevant to this question. AND it's not all bad! There's some great people here. Truly, this is less awful than some of the crap I've run into in previous environments (my personal favorite was the VP I worked with who was fired for aggressively hitting on every woman in the office while remote - I caught the disgusting brunt of that when I apparently was the first one to speak with HR and he found out).
I recently mentioned some of this offhandedly to one of my male friends, but he was only puzzled about why I couldn't call my two male bosses out on checking out my rack during conversation (jeez, it's been 5 months - that alone feels awkward to do all of the sudden) - but that inspired me to ask y'all now: what do you do when you're in a place where this kind of crap occurs? We don't have an HR person and I report to the highest-ranking people in the company, so there's no one else here to protect me. I'm already open to better opportunities, but I can't really jump in good conscience until I've done my best to make this situation work.
PS, if you are a DTMFA, I'd love to hear how I should frame this experience should I start interviewing with other companies. I do have a lot of positive things to say that I've learned, but the question of "Why are you leaving when you are so passionate about X?" is a really hard one to answer.