Saturday, July 2, 2011

The war between rivals

Reading the Workplace Sanity column of June 12, 2011 instigated me towards writing this article and penning down what many professional ladies have to go through day in and day out. The person asking for advice believed that the ‘attractive and bold young girls’ in his company own an attitude which in his own words is ‘very seductive’ and although he is not sure if it’s intentional; this behavior is driving him and his colleagues crazy, confused and depressed. Although a perfectly balanced response, both complete and unbiased was given by Workplace Sanity (Rahila Narjeo), I failed to understand since when a seductive attitude from the fairer sex has depressed the sons of Adam.

I believe, or at least, try to (although many forces work towards breaking my resolve), that to judge the character of an entire gender because of the misgivings of one particular person is not fair. As a friend skillfully puts it;

‘koi acha nahi hota, koi bura nahi hota, sab dono dono hotay hain’

‘No one is totally innocent, no one is totally evil, every one has a tinge of both’

But sometimes the forces I talked about above succeed in shredding down my believe into teeny weeny pieces and I end up asking myself
“Why are all guys the same?”

The fact that I got out everyday to earn doesn’t make it alright for people to harass me at every place they can, from bus stops to institutes, from streets to organizations. No one has been blessed with the right to judge others, though this is exactly what we do and certainly what I am doing right now. But to do a little justice to myself, I have been driven to this particular school of thought by (let’s call it) weird experiences of not only myself but many other ladies as well.

Thankfully, I work at a place where there are strict rules for such behavior. And I believe that these policies are the ones that stop them rather than their decency. But, not-so-thankfully, I also happen to belong to a society where woman, no matter what their age, no matter what their educational background, no matter what their values and virtues, are blamed for everything. It is sad to know that ‘larki ne hee kuch kiya ho ga’ mentality still prevails.

This kind of mind set, I understand now, is why most parents don’t allow the women of their household to do jobs, in particular office jobs. Even if families do allow, it is difficult enough for us to get jobs in a society where girls are automatically considered incompetent even before conducting the preliminary test and interviews. And if we do get jobs, by our continuous hard work and determination, and a bucket full of luck, our progress is hindered by the so-called “gentle” man who God knows why are under the misguided impression that they are so utterly and totally handsome that every other girl feels the urge to talk to them.

Here’s a note to the guys:
1)      A smile is just that – a smile. Do you really want us to scowl at you every time we talk? A smile is in fact a representation of good manners and professional attitude.
2)      We dress well and look good so as to follow the work place attire rules. We expect the same from you and will not like much if one day you decide to show up “extra” casual. (And believe me you won’t want the same either). But dressing well, no matter how you look at it except through the manly goggles most of you seem to be wearing, is not an attempt to impress you.
3)      We talk, because we need to. We can’t possible launch a girl’s company within the company just so that you don’t start believing we want to be “more-than-just-friends” with you.
4)      What name will you give to a girl at your workplace/school/college/university who doesn’t smile at you, talks to the point and that too in a harsh manner? That girl you’ll call “akroo”, right? So you can’t actually be happy no matter what we do?
5)      Cut us some slack. Give us some respect.

To the ladies;

No matter what you do? No matter how much you try to safe yourself from such inane thinking, you’ll be called one of two things; seductive or rude. It’s the law of nature to throw at you exactly what you are trying to run away from.
I am in no way trying to scare you off. Not everyone is bad. Out of 100 you’ll find maybe five poor souls who believe themselves to be unsung heroes of some Hollywood blockbuster.

Nor am I advising you to be not careful. Wherever you go, to whatever age group you belong to, you always have to be extra cautious. For your own sake.

But the thing is you can’t stop living just because others have decided to be insane. I’ve seen girls go into a bout of depression, spend living a life-long season of lost self esteem, resigning in the hope of finding a better environment some place else and even worse; believing themselves to be the guilty party.

This is not the way to go on. Thinking that you are the only one receiving such attitude is also a misconception. But you are the only one who can get yourself out, if God forbid, you do find yourself in such a situation.

Here are a few pointers:
1)      When you join a new office or educational institution etc, try to keep a low profile in the beginning. During this time analyze the environment and the people around you. Making friends the very first day will not necessarily be later judged as people-friendly attitude. This same attitude may go against you and get you in trouble. (This happens to be a sound advice for both parties)
2)      Try to notice if any activity is going against your privacy. Putting out un-official email addresses and mobile numbers on a company-wide website is not necessarily a good thing. Anyone who really needs your number may ask you for it. However, do not consider anyone asking for your number an outright pervert. It is a common practice for colleagues to have each other’s number and texting or calling each other as and when needed.
3)      What you consider innocent gossip may in reality be tarnishing someone’s reputation. Reputation and respect of both the genders is equally important. And there is a thick and long line between gossip and warning. Try not to indulge yourself in such activities and stop others when you find them doing the same.

Also keep in mind, that not all ladies are innocent victims. There is good and bad in everyone but in some people the evil forces are far stronger than the pure ones. So blaming just the guys is not healthy either. There is a possibility that they’ve had their share of not-so-pleasant experiences. The better path to choose is to be a little careful and a little stubborn and a lot determined.


  1. Hmmm...! A long debatable topic. Harassment is always there on work place. Emotional, Physical, behavior and we totally can't help it. The better rule is to keep mouth shut and keep as much concern to your work as you can...

  2. @captureuniverse

    Welcome to Oriental Sparkle :)

    It's not just the work place. The fairer sex is looked down upon wherever they go.. :|

  3. nice post...point 1 is so true...these days most people dont realise that sometimes its just a sincere smile with no strings attached:)

  4. @m3az

    Welcome to the blog.. :)

    Thanks :)