Monday, October 24, 2005

Evil and Eves

I am no feminist. And I am not sorry.

Power is neither male nor female.
Katharine Graham

Like all others, I believe that men are more prone to hostile acts towards women than the other way around. The explanation as to why this is so, is where the others and me disagree. Most men (including my own father who has lived in the house with 3 women for 22 years, so far) Women are gentle creatures without a violent bone in their bodies.

I know better.

Reading Disclosure was a re-affirmation of my belief that when it comes to the powerful committing atrocities in various degrees on the powerless-gender no bar. Throw away all the X and Y chromosomal theories and the Nature vs. Nuture postulates. Power Corrupts. Period.

Ok, so you can’t find women committing theft, murder, arson and rape as much as men. But that is simply because, by chance or cultivated choice- this happens to be a man’s world. Fact.
Not being the natural oppressor, the ladies do not get to indulge in some pro-active violence just to prove superiority. That is still the male bastion.

If the world really had equal opportunity then we’d have as many villainous women as there are men. And the women will not be just subtly scheming or poisoning stealthily, instead we’ll go out all for physical fights. That is probably a lot more therapeutic in solving intra-personal problems.

Going on to specifics, say the Work Place. There are females with male bosses and vice versa (software industry is the text book example). Read the following extract from Disclosure (a must read for anyone in that example industry)

Dorfman shook his head. "So much of this is unconscious. Rapport is unconscious, Thomas. But the task of building rapport is different, depending on whether you are the same sex as that person, or not. If your mentor is a man, you may act like his son, or brother, or father. Or you may act like that man when he was younger- you may remind him of himself.
"But if you are a woman, everything is different. Now you must be your mentor's daughter, or lover, or wife. Or perhaps sister. In any case, very different."

"I see this often, now that men are starting to work for women. Many times men cannot structure the relationship because they do not know how to act as the subordinate to a woman. Not with comfort. But in other cases, men slip easily into a role with a woman. They are the dutiful son, or the substitute lover or husband. And if they do it well, the women in the organization become angry, because they feel that they cannot compete as son or lover or husband to the boss. So they feel that the man has an advantage."
“Do you understand?" Dorfman said.
"You're saying it happens both ways."
I got newer insights into my work place relationships based on what has been said.
Its all true. Only if the subordinate guys to female superiors can become comfortably friendly yet maintaining the lack of intimacy (which would never challenge the real men in the personal lives of the female bosses), can the relationship be as smooth as silk.
In short, if you can begin to think of a guy you work with as your job-brother /son(in the same vein as the cousin-brother and the rakhi-brother traditional mindset of the Indian woman), you will be a great boss/mentor.

But getting a mentor when you’re a working girl, its quite a tough thing. Especially considering the “don’t stare at any guy if you don’t want him to get a wrong idea” dogma. [I am happy to announce that my friend has also joined the “Miss. Understood” club with me, that too in “conjunction” with a much younger guy J. So my case was not isolated.
The poor stripling fancies himself as her heartthrob while the poor gal just admits he caught her eye a coupla times and that is all. I say- been there, done that. I live to tell the tale.]
A lady can’t get a mentor of the opposite sex unless she can conform to his image of daughter or sister.

I know its not fair, but Life is never fair. So you have 2 choices, you rant and rave about how we're streotyped into being so nepotistic in the workplace despite our best work ethics working overtime in our tired conscience...or we could shut up and try to work around the obvious.

I know I am being a tratitor to my kind by unravelling this mythical mystique associated with the feminine, but hey whatever...bottomline - Never assume that women are angels who put up with the devils that are men. We are all human and each of us have the angel:devil ratio that is half chance and no choice. Women can and will be as good/bad as men in anyway.