How I got to know about women’s sexism

Sexism is attributed in radical feminism only to men. This unfounded notion may exist on the margins of society – but this extremist perception became the position of the most important establishments. So I wanted to share my own impressions.

Of course women do what feminist society should have seen as female sexism, in similar ways as men. There aren’t many men today who haven’t experienced such a feminine attitude. For example, in one of my previous workplaces at the end of a meeting in the conference room, three women sat, and with them myself and a male guest who came because of the meeting. When the meeting was over, the guest said goodbye. As soon as he left the room, the woman sitting next to me said, “My only disappointment is that Boris was less handsome. The beard was too much. He’s still handsome but I didn’t like the beard. Too fluffy.” A lively conversation between the three women then ensued, in my presence, about Boris’ sexiness, and two camps were formed – those who thought Boris would remain handsome no matter what he did, and those who believed it was a shame he added the beard. Eventually one of the three, my manager, interrupted the conversation: “What’s the matter with you? Boris will always be handsome! I’d eat him raw” (to understand what is wrong with the picture, at least according to the social criteria that feminism itself claimed it wanted to create, imagine the sexes in the situation reversed).

On another occasion in the same office, my manager stood with another worker in my room’s doorway, and had a conversation with him. The context was that the manager claimed that a visitor was handsome. The employee, who happened to be gay, was surprised by what she said and replied, “Sarah, how can you say that?” The manager shouted into my room as she turned to him – “Define a hunk,” ignoring the fact that he was amazed at the statement itself and not at the score she gave. He responded, embarrassed, “Sturdy.” “How old does he look?” She gave him a questioning look. I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, but the content was the manager’s evidence that the guest was handsome. On another day she shared her sexual impression of the men working in the office, at lunch. An employee, more senior than me, came to the table with a plate, and stood next to us. “Buttoned shirt, unshaven. Perfect,” she told me, looking at his face (translate to a male manager sitting next to a female employee and telling her about another female employee who is standing inches from the table looking at them, “how beautiful, a ventilated shirt, make up, perfect”).

And this was the most progressive, WOKE environment I had ever worked in – to give you some idea, the entire organization was arithmetically balanced to be exactly half-gay, half straight, half religious majority, half religious minority, half male, half female, and so on, and in all ranks.

It’s worth noting that I knew what atmosphere I was getting into. Even if I didn’t anticipate the degree of bluntness (especially because it was an ultra-progressive organization). Early on, when I realized that all my interviewers will be women, and as a man who had lived for decades in an ordinary country with fairly Western manners and ordinary feminist influences, I had already learned that in order to get the job I will have to be sexy. I did some push-ups and bike exercise, bought new pants and shirts, got a haircut, calculated my shaving days so that they would fall exactly two days before each interview (there were three of those) so that on the day of the interview my shave would reach exactly that brief moment when it’s considered sexy, an instance before it will be regarded neglected. I asked my wife on the morning of every interview – “Am I sexy?” (She was not surprised by the question). Indeed, I successfully went through all the interviews with all the women. Men know very well when they are sexually acceptable to a woman and when they are disqualified – women simply ignore a man who is not sexy in their eyes and treat him as transparent or with outright contempt (and if he persists in any correct communication, the contempt will turn into hostility and then immediately into aggression). I could instantly understand that I was acceptable to them. And I continued to make an effort after I was accepted: I made sure to shave after reaching the sexy beard, just before the neglected look, to put the shirt inside the pants to emphasize the pelvis – front and back – to wear tight shirts that emphasize some muscle and to smell good. Let’s stop to point out what I tried to do: Be sexy for them. But, after two months, I was exhausted. I made a conscious inner decision that it was time to reveal that I was an ordinary guy, not a Greek god with glasses, because if I was going to keep that job I would at some point have to feel comfortable, without giving a Chippendale show every morning. That week I didn’t get a haircut at the usual time, I didn’t shave over the weekend even though it was at that point when the sexy turns into the neglected look, and on the first day of the coming week, I left the shirt out of my pants. Regular, new shirt.

Here is the place to point out that this was not an unusual look for this place, where most male and female workers dressed about as you would for a party in your child’s kindergarten, including my roommate, who was among the women who interviewed me. I just equated my appearance that morning with the usual dress code. I immediately felt a chilling in the attitude of the women in my department, including my roommate – and especially, the manager. And the next day, the manager, the same person I described above who liked commenting on men’s appearance in my presence – a well-groomed woman between the ages of fifty and sixty – entered my room. 

She asked to have a conversation and grabbed a chair, putting it close to me, on my side of the desk, as always. In the conversation she laid out complaints that she said she had received, about my performance, claiming that I was inaccurate. She explained that such things eventually come back to her, and that she doesn’t want to deal with it. In fact, I wasn’t doing anything differently, compared to how I was doing things in previous weeks, and I was accurate anyway, as I also explained and demonstrated. Until that day, she used to place a hand on my arm or shoulder when she talked to me, and occasionally on my thigh as well (for a brief moment, designed consciously to be short. I could notice her insistence on quickly lifting the hand from my leg before it would look excessive; and yet, the possibility of not placing the hand there at all probably didn’t occur to her). This time her hands were resting on her knees. Her next sentence was, that if this continues they will have to reconsider my employment. 

In other words, the day after the relaxation in my appearance – which was not drastic, I didn’t look like a homeless person, just like a guy who comes to the office in the morning – she threatened to fire me. 

I eventually left that job on my own initiative, a few months later, for several reasons, of which this atmosphere around me and toward me being one of the main ones.

My experience is not unusual or special. A lot of the men around you, know this first hand. In a video call in another job, I heard a woman who was the manager and founder of a company, pointing at her employee as soon as he joined us on the video call, and saying before we were even introduced, “We can see your beautiful beard and mustache. I think it’s cute. I think it’s beautiful, a beard.” There were only the three of us on the screen. Instead of explaining to me his role as he intended, he had to explain that he was with a beard because of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Her reply ignored what he said, she responded, “I like it more than the mustache. But you must try it out as well,” and she went on about the beard, the stages it had before, and her preferences for it in relation to the mustache and to both together. So, my experience is not unique at all, it’s common. He and I understood what was going on, we both knew the whole story, the story about our silence, about what we are not allowed to say, we gave each other the “moving on” look. It’s a look that men who work in an office environment are familiar with. “I know what it’s like, you know what it’s like, we know what to do – not to react, to act as if we didn’t hear that, as if we were not surprised, of how this is possible – you stated that it’s forbidden and we abide, how can you be doing it yourself? It was you who said it was forbidden.” We moved on. When she got off the line we had a short, good conversation, we ended up coordinating who would send the summary email. It was clear to all participants, especially to her, that the summary would not mention such issues. So I mention it here. 

The only reason you don’t know about all this is that feminism forbids men of telling about it, feminism calls the act of men revealing this side of sexism as “appropriation” and “men taking over space to push women aside as usual”, or “misogyny”. That’s why women can’t know about all this.

Continue reading in Lovism: A Humanist Alternative to Feminism, available on amazon.

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