I have never been sexually assaulted, molested or raped. I have never felt the transgression of someone touching me without my consent. I did not think I was a member of the MeToo movement.
In fact, I felt like I participated in workplace flirtations. They were part of the transaction, part of my currency. What do I mean? If my looks, my smile, my figure, my blue eyes got me extra attention, I was okay with it. I didn’t feel aggressed upon. If anything, I used that extra attention to prove my worth, to hold my own in interviews, to show up as smart.
And then I got it.
It was a slow dawning but I realized that whenever I traffic my looks in a workplace situation, I am asking to be viewed as something other than an intelligent woman. Whenever a colleague approaches me with flattery like ‘you’re so hot and smart,’ I have been slighted professionally. It’s microscopic. It’s not violent. Most men and women are unaware of this transgression. “Oh come on, it’s okay to say she’s pretty.” But is it? What does pretty have to do with intelligence? The minute we allow ourselves to be categorized as pretty, hot, sexy, etc, we have left the world of equality and slipped into the world of being objectified.
Yes, I am aging out of the pretty and sexy category but it’s never too late to wake up.