Tonight, we went with some friends to see a show at the Women’s Project Theater called What We’re Up Against, which is about the blatant sexism faced by the two women at a small architectural firm in the 1990s. The most enraging part of it is the “bro culture” and the blatant sexism that gets swept under the rug. The most disturbing part of it is that today, that’s still tolerated, and the most passive and subtle forms of sexism are so hard to define, but we just know it when we experience it. Like the sexism I faced at my last company, when you write it down on paper, it doesn’t seem so glaring. It’s very subtle. It’s like the time when my ex company’s former female legal counsel left (because of sexism), and she got replaced by a male friend and lawyer of the company’s president, my (male) colleague said to me that our ex-female legal counsel “just didn’t get it. She just didn’t know what she was doing. But (new male legal counsel) just gets it. He’s a dude (I kid you not — there was real emphasis on this word in his speech)! He just knows how to do this!” Oh, really? She just didn’t get it? But this man does, not only because he’s “bros” with the president, but also because… he’s a “dude“?
You try proving in a court of law that that was an example of sexism. You’d probably lose. But we both know that was sexism. This is one of many problems we face today even when we have it so much better than the many generations of women before us who got us to this “privileged” state.