#CelebrateingtheRainbow at the workplace – share your stories of Pride!
It's not wrong to be nice, just be nice to everyone equally. If you are complimenting female colleagues only, on their looks, then you are not treating her as a professional, as any other colleague, but as a woman.
Why compliments on women’s appearance are problematic, when given by cis het men.
The other day, someone I have only known in a semi-professional capacity messaged me that I had looked so pretty. I replied with an ‘aww’.
There are several layers to why I replied thus.
To the women reading this, I probably don’t need to explain it because many of you on a daily basis have learned to diffuse compliments on your appearance, knowing what a potential landmine they can be. But to the cis het men, here’s why I infantilised that seemingly innocuous compliment.
Truth is, I don’t know the intention behind the compliment. It could have been small talk, a la what’s with the weather these days, it could be a genuine aesthetic appreciation of my appearance, but like all women I went for the worst case scenario- this person was interested in me beyond the scope of what a professional relationship offers, and I had to nip it in the bud.
But here’s the dilemma, cis men are dangerous creatures. They are the apex predators of this planet, and women cannot practicably ‘afford’ to anger them. A compliment is a tricky/sticky situation and I may still need to interact with them in a professional capacity (although after this exchange, I will no longer work with this man, and that’s a privilege most women cannot afford). So I chose to answer in a way that alludes to my disinterest, forcestop the conversation in its tracks, but without wounding the fragile ego of the man.
Are the cis het men reading this beginning to realise the complexity that an innocent compliment poses to a woman yet? No? Then read on.
There is a phrase in American pop culture ‘No Homo’. No Homo is a hugely homophobic phrase added is a postscript to a compliment or something affectionate you as a cis het male say to another cis het male. The worry is, the compliment could be misconstrued as romantic or sexual.
So, men do understand that a compliment can make a disinterested party uncomfortable, but when it comes to a woman they don’t care about her feelings.
Post Shashi Tharoor’s tharki comment on his colleagues, women parliamentarians, many men are whining nasally, what is the world coming to that they cannot even compliment their colleague. What is a poor man to do?! Some women are fighting for Tharki Tharoor’s honour claiming that there’s ‘too much ado over nothing, what’s the problem if the women didn’t mind it’.
But Tharoor did not compliment any colleague on their appearance. He only complimented his ‘female’ colleagues.
Think about what it is to be a woman professional.
You are still a minority, no matter the profession. If you’re super successful then you have supposedly “slept with the boss”. In the lower positions you are often the “decorative tokenism”. You work hard, often harder than your male colleagues, and all you are complimented on is your appearance.
So no. Cis het men, you who have made this world unsafe for all genders, you don’t get the privilege of complimenting a woman. Mind you, it’s not wrong to be nice, just be nice to everyone equally. If you are complimenting female colleagues only, then you are not treating her as a professional, as any other colleague, but as a woman. And that is sexism in a nutshell.
Image source: Twitter
Hema Gopinathan left a blight of a corporate career to homeschool her two children. A teacher trained in the Waldorf/ Rudolf Steiner pedagogy, a writer, an artist, a crocheter, Hema spends half her time in read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Can you believe this bloke compelled me to wear only saris - full time at home- till the eighth month of my pregnancy?! The excessive heat coupled with humidity made my life miserable.
Recently when I browsed an interesting post by a fellow author on this very forum I had a sense of déjà vu. She describes the absolutely unnecessary hullabaloo over ladies donning nighties and /or dupatta –less suits.
I wish to narrate how I was in dire straits so far wearing a ‘nightie’ was concerned.
I lived in my ultra orthodox sasural under constant surveillance of two moral guardians (read Taliban) in the shape of the husband’s mom and dad. The mom was unschooled and dim-witted while the dad was a medical practitioner. But he out-Heroded the Herod in orthodoxy.
My supervisor introduced me as a valuable member of the team, emphasizing my skills and contributions rather than focusing on my gender identity. This simple act set the tone for my experience in the workplace.
As a transwoman navigating the corporate world, I had encountered my fair share of discrimination and challenges. Transitioning without the support of my parents and having limited friendships in my personal life made the journey difficult and lonely. However, when I stepped into the office, something remarkable happened, I left behind the stress and negativity, embracing a space where I could truly be myself.
Joining the marketing team as a graphic designer, I was initially apprehensive about how my colleagues would react to my gender identity. But to my surprise, the atmosphere was welcoming and respectful from day one. My supervisor, Sarah, introduced me as a valuable member of the team, emphasizing my skills and contributions rather than focusing on my gender identity. This simple act set the tone for my experience in the workplace.
As I settled into my role, I discovered that my colleagues went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and included. They consistently used my correct name and pronouns, creating an environment where I could be authentically me. Being an introvert, making friends wasn’t always easy for me, but within this workplace, I found a supportive community that embraced me for who I truly am. The workplace became a haven where I could escape the stresses of my personal life and focus on my professional growth.
Please enter your email address