My First Encounter with Casual Sexism in the Workplace

It’s entirely possible that it’s happened before, but hey! I don’t remember that/I didn’t have a blog then.

My work just hired a few new people, and in a position occupied by mostly females, one of those individuals happens to be a man. Now, we already have one guy, but he’s just a nice guy who has never said anything remotely questionable.

But this new guy…

Last week was my first time working with him, and when I was lifting this sign (which is a bit heavy, but I consider it my strength workout for the day so I don’t mind) he asked me if “I wanted him to move it instead”. Which seems like a nice thing to offer on the surface, and he seems like a nice enough person in general, but it’s not like I’m harming myself by lifting that sign; there’s no real reason for him to do it instead of me other than the fact that it would be easier for him. Anyway, I laughed and said something like, “no that’s okay, this is my workout for today”. And on the shift went.

That seems fairly innocent and friendly, sure, but coupled with this new piece of information I got today, it appears less so.

Today, one of my coworkers told me that on her supervising shift, she asked New Guy to water the plants (a job that we all take turns doing) and he said something like, “I’ll leave that to the women”. This caused metaphorical alarm bells to go off, because this dude clearly believes that some duties (his duties, in fact) are inherently feminine and thus below him.

Or perhaps he thinks this duty is not below, but above him. That his masculine energy will somehow interrupt the growing of life, which is, as we all know, a woman’s domain. That last sentence was sarcasm, by the way.

I just find the whole thing rather stupid. It’s your job. Just do it. Your gender identification and genitals will remain unchanged, I promise.

Unless it’s a poisonous plant that does that.

But I don’t think we sell those.


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