A simple debate on why ‘no-nonsense women’ are sometimes referred to as ‘b**ches’ at work, led to a male colleague telling me to ‘sit my a*** down’. For some reason, I always engage myself in these type of conversations. I just can’t help it. I’m not afraid to voice my opinion. If I believe in something and I have an opinion about it, why should I keep quiet?
Nevertheless, I realise that this is what happens to a lot of ambitious young women not only in the workplace but also in society. Everyone can be voicing their opinion, but women are told to sit down and just be quiet. Especially, if we portray any (assertive) behaviour that’s not our society’s view of how girls or women are supposed to behave.
Nice Girl Box
I was told “b**ch sit down” by my male colleague, not because I disrespected him or anyone else. I was told to sit down because I had a strong opinion, and I refused to conform to the ‘nice girl’ box that sometimes people want to place women in. And I believe that this is one of the many challenges women (in especially male-dominated work environments) face today. It’s like we literally have to strive to be taken seriously. Reacting to any inappropriate comments is often brushed off as “Oh it was just a joke” or “Why are you so sensitive?”.
Was I offended?
I personally don’t think it’s alright or professional to refer to anyone by the B-word, especially in the workplace. However, I was even more concerned about being told to sit down just because I had an opinion. So did I sit down? “definitely not” (at least not when I was told to). And that for me was a personal moment of victory. It’s like a light bulb went off in my head. And I suddenly realised that in life, when pursuing the things you’re passionate about and when you refuse to conform to the ‘ normal’, people will tell you to SIT DOWN.
- You are too ambitious “sit down”
- You can’t be a boss and a good mother “sit down”
- You can’t get married and have a successful career “sit down”
- You can’t start your own business “sit down”
- You don’t have the experience “sit down”
- You are not being realistic “sit down”
- You are too opinionated “sit down”
- You can’t write that book “sit down”
- You are not capable of doing the job “sit down”
- You don’t know what you’re talking about “sit down”
But hey, you have to realise that you’re on a mission here. People telling you ‘b**ch sit down’ has nothing to with you but everything to do with how your opinion, ambition, and drive makes them feel about themselves.