(We don't know where we'll end up ... but we're all starting at single.)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The RN: In the Eye of the Beholdee

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. - The Duchess (Margaret Wolfe Hungerford)
Sometimes you get compliment that's not actually a compliant at the time. At another time or in a different place it would be a compliment, but right just then it's not. For me this usually happens at work or school (back in the day). Work and school are places where I need to be taken seriously as an engineer. We've talked about this before: I'm not a total frump, like some girls who are engineers, but I'm not model either.

This is not me.More my style.Not me either.

I've been told I'm not good terrible at taking compliments, which is totally true. They kind of embarrass me. Usually because I sort of disagree with them; I'm not that awesome. But that is another topic. I like to look ... nice (not hot or sexy, but nice) for work. I don't mind general comments on how I look at work - those are nice. Some examples of things I like to hear:

  • You look <really> nice today.
  • Your outfit is great today.
  • I like your outfit today.
  • I don't know what you did different, but you look great.
  • That skirt is really good on you.
  • You look really professional today.
  • I like your hair up like that.
A few comments that are borderline to get at work (these can be okay, depending on who's around and who's giving them):
  • You look hot today.
  • I really like what that skirt is doing for you.
  • I've been trying to read your shirt all day.
Some compliments I'd rather not get at work:
  • That skirt makes me crazy.
  • You look ... wow!
  • I like the way you move.
  • You look good enough to eat.

My issue with the second (sort of) and third (totally) sets of comments is they are (can be) sexual in nature. Now if I was out for the night, or even out with friends, I would have no less of a problem with any of these compliments. But when I'm at work, these aren't compliments. These comments sexualize women at work. In a professional office the last thing I want is to be sexualized, especially because I work with engineers.

Stereotypes aside, I know a lot of engineers that have trouble talking with girls, let alone working along side girls. I literally need for these guys to not think of me as a "datable girl"; I need them to think of me as that engineer down the hall.

Oh, you're not that guy? Cool, but don't say anything in front of those guys that will change the way they look at me. That's right, I have to worry about what the other people in the room are hearing when you "compliment" me. It's not that I don't appreciate what you're trying to say, but I need to work with guys who can work with me. If they hear your compliment and start sexualizing me, they may start sexualizing me. Trust me when I say trying to work with someone who can't stop thinking about you in that way is very awkward and difficult.

I work hard to find a line between nice looking, professional, and conservative. Yes I know I dress pretty conservative at work - that's on purpose. Please don't take it away from me with your well meant compliments.

Otherwise my work environment could turn into this, or this, or worse this.

If you think harassment doesn't take place anymore, I'm telling you are wrong. I have experienced it first hand. Have you ever had a professor ask you to sit on his lap? How about having a manager kiss you? Maybe have a co-worker offer to rip your clothes off you, you know, if you're into that kind of thing? What about a security guard that won't let you through the checkpoint you have to go through daily until he's done flirting with you? I have had all of those things happen to me.

I think one of the most unintentionally offensive things I've ever had said to me was, "If I had a pussy, I'd spend all day sticking stuff in it." Wow, really?!? Actually, if you did have one you would treat it like any girl treats hers. Because only then would you truly understand what we have to go through.

My vagina is not an amusement park!

Also, you have plenty of holes in your body; do spend all day sticking things in those holes? No? You don't? Then why should one more hole be any different?

Sometimes the compliment isn't a compliment in the eye of the beholdee.

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