If you got offended with the caption, read on to find out the context…..
Recently I was on a flight and happened to sit next to a young lady. As usual I picked up my book and started reading. I could not focus on it as the conversation between this young woman and the man sitting next to her was distracting (rather making me furious)! Now don’t mistake me. I am not the type to mind other's business, but this one was very unusual.
From their conversations I could figure out that they both worked in the same office and the young man could be the boss. The guy kept calling the lady “Oh…you are such a piece of shit”. If I were to count the number of times he repeated that sentence during the one hour flight, his name will be entered in Guinness World Record!
Now what intrigued me was not his ability to repeat, but the attitude of the female at whom it was directed. Every time he said that, she giggled and said something sheepish to avoid him. The more she did that, the guy got encouraged. Their conversation circled around some office politics and in between the pauses the guy repeating “oh you are a ….”.
Not just that, he would pat on her thighs and also comment how fat she is and how ugly she is becoming. Being a trainer and having dealt with the topic of Sexual harassment at workplace, I knew the woman could sue that guy if she wanted. But what was going on was with the full approval and amusement of the woman. How long could this lady tolerate such a guy, who had nothing sensible to say. Every statement of his was directed at demeaning the lady and he was slowly reducing the self-worth of that lady.
I know what you are thinking…you may argue that the lady is quite strong because she is not reacting. She is not giving a damn to what he is saying. But is it? Does she really need to take this? Why is she acting so dumb? Can’t she express her displeasure more assertively? Was she mistaking it for love? or she is treating this as any attention is better than no attention? What is her upbringing? She looked like someone well educated. She had the right sense of fashion. Why was she not objecting to what the guy was saying? I could feel that it would have a strong impact on her sub-conscious mind. She may act as if she does not care, but deep down it will impact her. Is there a need to put up with such a relationship?
Is she scared that she may be fired at her job? Is she feeling great that she is close to boss even if it comes at a price? Does she not know her rights? Is she thinking that it is part of the bargain? Is she overwhelmed with winning the friendship of her boss that she can overlook his subtle insults? I had no answers.
Now I do not want to put the entire blame on that lady for tolerating this. What about the upbringing of that man? Was he taught that bringing down someone’s self-esteem will help build his own? Does he think that his position as a “boss”, as a “Male” offers him the immunity? Does this kind of an attitude provide him the real happiness and respect in the long run?
In the end, rather than judging those two individuals, I quietly introspected for any similar experiences in my life where I would have played along due to lack of self-awareness.