It occurred to me as I read through some of my last posts that I am concentrating on all the negative stuff of late. It also very pointedly exposed that I am in a bit of a rut, and I need a little shaking up. It’s easy to get into a rut (routine / easy path) because we’re built that way. It is harder to change myself than it is to gripe about circumstances and situations.
I am reminded of this meme:
In my meanderings on LinkedIn, I came across this article. In it the author discusses sexual harassment and the fact that women deal with this a lot more than men. Now I am not going to get into a debate on the nitty gritty. You are adult (hopefully) and can make reasonable and logical deductions for yourself. What I felt was good to emphasise was this:
To quote Former Governor of NSW David Hurley (because some men will only listen to other men) “The standard you walk by is the standard you accept”.
The standard you walk by is the standard you accept.
Which leads me back to the being in a rut theme. I am guilty of allowing this type of “talk” to occur in an office where I am the HR Manager. Personally it is like water off a duck’s back – I hear it and ignore it. However, on reflection, if similar things were said in my presence in front of either of my children, I would be very offended. What is worse is that my children (now young adults) have seen this behaviour and consider it “normal” and accept it for themselves too.
By our implicit compliance we teach those around us, and our children, that we will put up with bad behaviour, innuendo, sly jokes, sexualised commentary and constant judgement. By not speaking up we allow this to continue in our homes and workplaces and in public settings. I know it is easy to follow the crowd. No one wants to be ostracised at the company event because “you can’t take a joke” or “I didn’t mean it quite like that! You must have a dirty mind!”. We all crave for acceptance and to belong to something other than just ourselves.
Just as I need to choose to stop focusing on the negative in my personal life – the beast grows ever bigger the more I do, I need to choose to stop allowing others to manipulate me. Those small insidious manipulations – the ones we seem to accept as women (and men) because it’s what was modelled to us and it just is the status quo.
How do I change? Words on a screen are easy to type. I can say anything here and no one will hold me accountable. It is the internet after all. So how do I change, that is lasting and has an impact?
It takes a community to be held accountable. So I am asking you, Dear Reader, to do so. If I am stagnating or too inflexible – let me know. Be honest (not cruel) and let’s have a conversation. As I famously told my boss:
“I am willing to be wrong or change my opinion/thought if there is merit or at least try it another way. Adapting and adopting new things, always makes me a better and more rounded person”
I am consciously going to watch my language more and my biases. The article relates specifically to sexual harassment – but I can easily translate this into any form of discrimination. I can see how my actions and words set up a stage where implicit compliance creates long-term societal issues since we pass it on to our children and all those we associate with.