I am a male car rental specialist working in a female only office. My male friends think that I’m lucky, but I disagree. Sometimes it feels like my co-workers gang up on me and make comments based on me being a man. I try to shrug it off and act like I’m not bothered thinking they will get bored but it only seems to make it worse. What tips do you have so that they appreciate I’m not willing to be the butt of their jokes?
This is tough to answer because I can only guess at how your colleagues gang-up and how they ridicule.
What is interesting about your question is that we are so used to hearing about harassment the other way around that our immediate reaction, as seen from your friends, is to ridicule the scenario. The fact is that your situation is as important as that of a female worker subjected to innuendo from men and you have every right to want this to be taken seriously.
Unfortunately your mates typify what is wrong in so many places.
They listen to you talk about work, but are imagining your job as a fantasy sexual arena.
Ganging-up against the odd-one-out begins at school and sadly never really leaves us. It is a sick part of human nature. My first piece of advice therefore is to try not to take it too personally. If you were the only left-handed person in an office or you were the only red head you would still experience stupid and senseless prejudice.
Try to clarify in your own mind what your colleagues are doing that is really offensive. Write down examples and maintain a log. Sexual harassment can be tricky to define, so before you start reporting your colleagues be sure of your facts. Do they touch you or make frequent comments about their own or your sexual activities? Do they force you into doing “men’s” chores such as lifting heavy brochures more often than are prepared to do?
Divide and rule:
Do they really act against you as one consolidated unit? Surely at least one of the women is worth talking to alone. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking they are all they same. I am sure that most of them are decent when apart from the group. Work on building a friendship with one person. It would be better with someone to whom you have no physical attraction (and vice-versa). You will then develop a professional relationship that is built on what you have in common. In time she will distance herself from the remarks of the others. Once the other people realise that you can be taken seriously, they will follow.
Overall I’d say this is a human rather than a gender issue and please don’t allow it to influence the way you think about women. The truth is that anyone can be horrible to anyone else and we should maintain awareness of this.
As bad as it is for you, neither you or I (as men) have experienced the pressure of wearing certain types of shoe or ‘flattering’ clothes to work. Women continue to treated worse than men and as a victim yourself you now have the awareness that avoids most men. Maybe you can use it to broader advantage.
Lady Gaga image: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/7Siugif5Wes/hqdefault.jpg
Ship Image: http://www.pulpinternational.com/images/postimg/lash_on_demand_09.jpg