There are Better Ways to Overcome Discrimination

photo credit: i.telegraph.co.uk
photo credit: i.telegraph.co.uk

We say a lot against modern feminism on this blog, and I know there are people who visit this blog and wonder why we are so hard on feminists. Many of these people probably think that feminists have good intentions and that sexism is a huge problem that needs to be addressed and without these feminists it will not be addressed.

This could not be further from the truth. This is literally as far from the truth as you could possibly get. If the truth was a point, that statement would be the farthest point from that point.

First of all, let’s talk about how the modern first world feminists got it wrong?

Those who oppose modern feminism do so because we feel that modern feminism is no longer about empowering women, but emasculating men and seeking personal attention and glory for women. Modern feminism does less for women’s rights as it does not look at the variety of issues that women specifically face in the modern times. Instead it takes uncommon issues like sexual violence perpetrated by random strangers, and unfair wages and blows it out of proportion in order to undermine men. All the while, out shining the REAL victims of sexism in the developing world who are actually actively getting violently raped and trafficked as sex workers, abused by their husbands, mutilated and massacred.

photo credit: dynamicbusiness.com.au
photo credit: dynamicbusiness.com.au

Actually, there are real issues out there with regards to unequal and unfair treatment of women, but feminists cry wolf so much that identifying REAL problems is like finding needles in a haystack of bull crap! One of the biggest issues women face now-a-days are faced by the women who have chosen to pursue roles that were traditional filled by men, especially high level business roles as well as engineering and tech fields. In such cases, there is truly an undeniable “old boys club” to overcome when it comes to navigating the work environment. Generally, this old boys club is NOT VIOLENT and you will not get raped or groped. The worst treatment you might receive is being:

  • ignored
  • not taken seriously
  • talked down to
  • flirted with
  • ostracized

Many of these things are common and an unfortunate, unconscious reaction to newcomers. Other than being flirted with, all of these same reactions are received by anyone who enters a new social environment and does not immediately “fit the mold”. These things suck, but they are not insurmountable odds.

In her book, How to Get Whatever You Want Out of Life, Dr. Joyce Brothers dedicates an entire chapter to this. Note: At no point did the good doctor say that discrimination makes it impossible for a person to achieve what the title of the book promises to teach. In fact, what she says is this:

There is no point in carrying a chip on your shoulder because of discrimination. What will help is to be aware of the problems you face and learn how to handle them.

 

A lot of women (especially feminists) think that if it were more acceptable for women to act like men, or if society accepted that anything men can do women can also do (including perceived sexual liberality, aggressive language and behavior, as well as rudeness), then women would feel and be empowered. However, Dr. Brothers continues:

Even the women who slip easily into the masculine (read: tomboy) work-style have more than their share of problems.

She goes on to say that the root of the problems women face is simply male fear. As I said before, with all newcomers into an established social environment, the founding members of that group will inevitably feel threatened by you. Know this, and be prepared for it. That’s all you can do.

In her chapter about addressing discrimination in the work place, she says the Divide and Conquer strategy is the best way to go about it. Often times discrimination is most prevalent in a pack mindset. However, when you get people alone to deal with them one-on-one, they tend to be more malleable and able to be persuaded. I actually learned this principle when I did door-to-door sales a few years back. We were taught that when trying to sell a product (or idea), it’s much harder to sell to a group of people (like a husband and wife) than to an individual.

Dr. Brothers goes further in this chapter by describing a woman named Candace who was treated poorly as a result of discriminatory practices. She says:

The other brokers would have nothing to do with her. Research memos somehow got “lost” before they reached her desk. Her colleagues “forgot” to tell her about staff meetings. This went on for two months. Then Candace decided to do something about it.

The way Candace applied the Divide and Conquer strategy involved isolating the co-worker that has shown her the most kindness (regardless of his intentions) and offering him flattery and a show of good-will in exchange for a favor. She asked him for advice, because according to Dr. Brothers:

She…knew that his inbred courtesy would make it difficult for him to refuse a direct request for a favor.

Here is the exact method she used:

  1. She bought him lunch and asked for his advice on a fictitious project.
  2. She had tailored the request to her co-worker’s specialty.
  3. She employed the sensitive listening technique which, as Dr. Brothers describes involves:
    • Never letting the conversation drift into a dead end

    • Always helping him to talk more about himself and his interests

  4. At the end of the two hour conversation, she thanked him for his help
  5. And complimented him on his knowledge of the subject
  6. Several days later, she told him his advice worked perfectly
  7. And offered her co-worker a quid pro quo in the form of a strategic business advantage
  8. She proceeded to repeat this same procedure with other co-workers until…

Today she is accepted by her colleagues – and she should be. She does more business than any of them.

In conclusion, discrimination is real. No doubt about that. However, it is a side effect of the human mind. There are some ideas about other people that are just plain wrong (read: lies, rumors and insults) and should rightly be corrected. However, being accepted by a group of people is not guaranteed, nor is it your right; and it definitely won’t be achieved by being pushy, arrogant or changing your nature. It is also not impossible under the right circumstances and it definitely does not happen over night!

Do you have experience overcoming discrimination? Do you think it is possible? Share your story in the comment section below!

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Author: African Femininity

African Femininity is a first generation American-born Nigerian. That basically means, her parents were immigrants and raised her with a mix of selective cultural values from both traditions. Needless to say, this left her with a very dissonant understanding of what being a “lady” meant. Now, as an un-married 30 year old woman, she is on a mission to delve to the root of being a woman in a world where conflicting cultural values and traditions are leaving many confused and disillusioned. She use the power of the pen to defend a woman’s right to choose her own lifestyle: be it housewife, social climber or being conventionally employed. Check out her Amazon author page for books written by her at http://amazon.com/author/shadowjackson

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