Francie wrote a terrific post on her blog about women in IT (but really it could be any male dominated industry). If you haven’t already, go here and read it. I was just going to put a comment on her blog, but realized I had a little more to say on the subject. Please do read her entry first, as my comments will make a lot more sense in context.
Another side to this issue (besides those mentioned in Francie’s post and the comments, such as being labelled a bitch or having to listen to off-color humor if that bothers you), is behaviour. Why is it okay for several guys to hang out together, drink, smoke and make off color jokes and no one would ever dream of insinuating that said guys are sleeping together? Yet, add one woman to that equation and suddenly her morale standards are in question. Of course, the guys’ morales aren’t in question, just the woman.
Why is it if a woman and a man laugh, joke and smile together they are flirting? Two guys laugh, joke and smile and it means nothing.
Even worse, why do people question a woman’s decision to travel for work if she has children? What business is it of yours how I care for my children. And yes, I have children, which may come a surprise to some of you because I don’t talk about them publicly. And ain’t that a shame? Yet, I feel like I can’t/shouldn’t. Any men feel that way? Somehow I doubt it.
So what do we women do? I choose to act like myself and dress the way I want. Of course, that also means I have to be overly concerned with proving that I am also smart and dressing the way I want is always tempered with wondering if it’s “too much”.
The worst part of it all is there is not a lot else you can do. To me, there is nothing worse than a situation in which there is no course of action. As Francie said “Damned if you do…”. More accurately, Feminist bitch if you do (respond), slut if you don’t.