Women Friendly Workplace Campaign Speakout
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"Here's a crayon, play..."
- Subject: "Here's a crayon, play..."
- From: Anonymous <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 13:30:10 -0500
My first internship, in the my city's Department of Finance, was the summer
prior to my
first year in college. It started out fine enough; my boss seemed
to just be an arrogant jerk, but nothing I couldn't handle with
my witty comebacks. Until, much to my dismay, I arrived at work
one day to find Gary (not his real name) waiting for me at my desk,
grinning. "Look what I picked up for you at the store," he said,
before giving me a pink dinosaur crayon case, a coloring book,
and a pack of crayons. "Now you'll have something real to do
so that you won't be worrying your cute little head over our budget.
I almost started crying. The other women in my office had mixed
reactions to this. Some told Gary what a jerk he was being, others
laughed nervously to play along, and the city's executive staff thought
it was just hysterical. (Of course, since 5 of the 7 had had charges
of sexual harassment levied against them from other women, which were
blown off by the mayor, I really shouldn't have been surprised
at their attitude.) And this crayon incident was only the most
flagrant example of Gary's condescending behavior towards all of
the women who worked in our office. I was also told how hot I looked in
short skirts, how it was really a shame I wasn't legal so I couldn't
go get drinks with him after work, etc.
This was the summer of 1994. I have grown up a lot since then, especially in
my feminism and my ability to assert myself, and I'm ready to claim
this experience as only one of the personal motivations I have in
striving for a "woman-friendly" workplace. I don't want my daughter
to have to deal with harassment at her first opportunity for work in the
I did get Gary somewhat, though; friends of mine helped me morph a
picture of Gary's head onto a really obnoxious cartoon I posted
around the office. I did get the last laugh, but I still wasn't
comfortable working there.
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