Let’s talk about power and control and men and women.
At the coffee maker in the office kitchenette, two guys are chatting about the latest X-Men movie, specifically, how amazing Storm’s breasts look mid-hurricane. Then a woman named Liv who happens to be the office live wire walks by and immediately gets on her soapbox: “How rude! How dare you demean women that way!!!”
Come with me as we Sherlock (analyze the crap out of) this moment.
Let’s call the two guys Bob and Joe. Bob and Joe were having a guy moment. Liv (possibly feeling a tiny bit envious that she isn’t viewed as a goddess) lashes out.
To a certain extent, you can understand why she did, but the truth is that by exploding and taking their conversation about a fictional character personally she immediately gave up her power.
By instantly taking a defensive stand, she allowed Bob and Joe’s words to control how she feels, how she views her status, and most importantly her self-worth. It’s as if Liv knelt in front of them, held out a sword and said, ‘“Please decide if I deserve to be knighted or beheaded. The decision is in your hands.”
But the movie, the character, and the conversation had nothing to do with her. Furthermore, it does not reflect on her, or any of her female co-workers, professional ability at all.
Bob and Joe don’t get off easily either. For fear of having to face that type of explosion again, or perhaps even a sexual harassment seminar, they deny themselves the occasional outlet, and the tiny frustrations of the day slowly begin to grow and fester.
Now work has become a dreaded place all three have to suffer through.
This week I’d like to hear from you. Have you witnessed someone “giving up their power” in the workplace? Have you yourself overreacted to what turned out to be an innocent comment?
Please share your stories below.
Next week we’ll take a closer look at this story from Liv’s perspective. Till then just keep your eyes and ears open and see if you recognize this scenario playing out in your workplace.