Sneaky Women, Entitled Men

And Why They Persist


At work not too long ago, my manager called me in to note that "someone had expressed concern" about my underwear being noticeable through my dress. I'm no fashionista. I wear professionally-toned Zulily dresses that I look fantastic in and thong underwear that I feel fantastic in. But it's not like I'm auditioning for pole dancer.

When I presented as a male assigned at birth, no one ever commented on my underwear. My ass wasn't an issue in the workplace. So why now? Why am I the one who must account for someone noticing the outline of my panties through my dress. Shouldn't their eyes be on my face?


I've since learned that it was a (once-) trusted female workmate of mine who told my manager about this "problem." She daily talks with a male colleague who noted to her the "issue" with my undergarments.


She's not innocent—she's complicit.

Ravages of White Male Patriarchy #1

He felt entitled to speak aloud my appearance to my coworker instead of bringing it to me. Why?


Ravages of White Male Patriarchy #2

Because he knew she was a partner in his game. Years of cultural hegemony had taught him how to enlist women in the subjugation of other women.


Ravages of White Male Patriarch #3

She dutifully took part because the only "agency" she allows herself is to sneakily do the bidding of the regime she's navigated her whole life. She's not innocent—she's complicit.


women have been trained to not just avoid confrontation in our own interests but to subvert it at all times, to be the good girl

Choices, Choices, Choices

She could have taken me aside … but that means potential confrontation, and we women have been trained to not just avoid confrontation in our own interests but to subvert it at all times, to be the good girl.


She could have just snickered with him, shook her head, and said to herself, "I would never dress like that" and let the matter drop.


She should have said to him, "What kind of comment is that? It's none of your or my business. Besides, why are you leering at her ass in the workplace?" But she didn't. See "pavlovian conflict avoidance" ^^ as defined above.


Each step of the way, women had the chance to do the right thing, but they never saw such agency as a possible route

Actions

What she did do was take it to my manager, another woman, who, instead of saying, "Babe, that's none of our business. Besides, why was he leering at Bethany's ass in the workplace, anyway?" took me behind closed doors and willingly engaged in the sheer awkwardness of talking with her employee about asses and underwear.


Each step of the way, women had the chance to do the right thing. But not only did they not embrace the agency that the leering man felt in even bringing my ass into discussion, they never saw such agency as a possible route, instead eagerly enacting his denigration and policing of the way I carried myself.


why does being who I am, and you being who you are, have to mean willing acceptance of systemic degradation?

Broken Trust

You may say that I'm a naive trans woman who's getting her comeuppance for embracing womanhood. "You're surprised at this, Bethany? Welcome to the world of women. Hey, you asked for it."


But why does being who I am, and you being who you are, have to mean willing acceptance of systemic degradation?


(By the way, I'm today wearing the same dress, with thong underneath.)


All of us have experienced this. All of us have done this. All of us have a choice to do better.

The Cure

I took the matter straight to the sneaky female coworker and have since confronted and flipped off the asshole male who started the whole fiasco.


But the blank look on my female coworker's face when I asked her, "Why do women so hate other women?" lingers.


"I never thought about it like that," she said. And let the matter drop.


And has since engaged in other sneaky, butter-wouldn't-melt in her mouth behaviors.


All of us have experienced this. All of us have done this. All of us have a choice to do better.


Me, Happy to Be Who I Am, With No Sneakiness


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