It was a Sexist Remark, Meant to Make Me Feel Better
In the summer after my sophomore year in college, I worked at an art supply store, and at that store, there were three managers--two men and one woman. I didn't get along with the woman for whatever reasons, and I actually ended up getting fired. This news was broken to me not by her, but (on her day off) by one of the men, who literally told me these ACTUAL words, apparently in attempt to salve the wound, "People don't like pretty girls."
Yeah, that happened.
Now, some of you may not realize why that was absolutely stupid and sexist. Here's why: It's OKAY for two people to not get along at work for whatever reasons--sometimes people just rub each other the wrong way. What's NOT okay is that this man, who was otherwise a nice man, but clearly clueless about such things, assumed that since she was an older lady and I was a cute young college student, that the reason for the friction couldn't have been any one of the million other reasons people don't get along, but instead HAD to be about...sexual jealousy.
Seriously???? If it were two men butting heads, do you really think that anyone would say, "Well, Herb's just mad that Brian's young and cute"...?
And to think that this patronizing, objectifying, ridiculous remark was made in an effort to make me feel BETTER, because apparently knowing I was pretty would make up for losing my job. And of course because I was only 19 at the time and didn't have my fully-formed-adult perspective, I didn't advise him what a messed-up thing that was to say, but I do remember feeling non-plussed rather than vindicated, so maybe I did have a little instinct about it at the time.
So guys--and by the way, I realize that not ALL guys do this-- please remember that we ladies would prefer to hear that we are smart and resourceful and capable and all the things that YOU like to hear that you are. Telling us we are pretty is only appropriate in a SOCIAL situation (relationship - definitely; friendship - probably). Comments about our appearance are NOT warranted in a business setting.
In other words, if you wouldn't say it to a MALE coworker, don't say it to a female coworker. Women don't want special treatment. We want equality. And sexism denies equality, simple as that.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/child-sad-sad-child-unhappy-1000610/ by MarkoLovric