Had another yo-yo day today – my weekend was probably one of the best I’ve had in a long time and yet I found myself feeling mopey and down today. Had an interesting speaker at work (more about him in a minute) on Friday that led to some pretty cool “getting to know you” types of conversations with my coworkers, was able to relax that night, saw Wonder Woman and went out with friends on Saturday (and stayed out WAY too late for my age)…hell, I even made out with a guy! Pretty good as far as weekends go, right?
Then why was I in such a down and gross mood for most of today? It’s almost like the socialization leaves me in such a “high” state that when it doesn’t continue, when I don’t maintain conversation and friendship at that level, I go into “withdrawal” of some sort. I did go to an event tonight, though – an open mic night, which is not usually my thing. I did get up a talk a bit, although I was a bit unfocused and rambly, I didn’t hate it. I was even told that people thought I was funny. So…good, right?
…I guess? I dunno, something in me is making it really hard for me to be in a better mood. Maybe I’m just tired from my long night out still or maybe I’m just disappointed that the weekend is over or maybe I’m already starting to get anxious about travel that I have coming up later this week. I just wish that I could maintain some emotional consistency at some point.
SO…at work, we have these regular talks that are usually about something work-related: some new technology, new project management theories, etc. But apparently the group in charge decided to start inviting speakers to talk about more socially-focused issues. Last month, they sent out an invite for a speaker who was going to talk about “females in the tech space”. The invite even contained a tag line that the speaker was going to explain what “mansplaining” was. Here’s the problem, though – the speaker was a man.
Clearly, a lot of people had some…concerns about this, so they cancelled the talk last month to “re-evaluate”. Apparently the results of the “re-evaluation” were simply to invite the same man back to speak again, but to rewrite the invite so that it wasn’t so inflammatory.
Naturally, I went. I don’t feel 100% comfortable calling myself a feminist because I feel like that’s a fairly formal title with some big responsibilities, but I definitely consider myself to be very sympathetic to what women in this country have to go through every day and what men have subjected them to regularly. So I wanted to go to see if this guy was going to make an ass out of himself or if he was actually for real.
Turns out, he wasn’t that bad. He actually said some fairly on-point things about the disparity in wages and the severe lack of (and need for) women in positions of leadership. Things got a little iffy when he started talking about social dynamics and the role that women need to be play in their own promotions, etc. But he didn’t step on any major landmines.
My biggest issues with him were that he was clearly nervous and so he was very jokey about things in the first 30 minutes or so. That didn’t really help his message much. What’s more, he tried to be too familiar with some of the folks in the room and would often look at women in the room and address them as “girl”. Now, I dunno if he was going for “gurl” or if he was just trying for a more colloquial tone, but I know for sure that some of the females in the room felt a little insulted by the reference.
The biggest bone that I have to pick is that I still don’t think it looks great to invite a male speaker in to talk about female issues in a tech-based workplace. He might be an expert and he might be a great ally and it is helpful to hear things like that from men…but when he spends so much time in his talk explaining how it’s really troubling that women don’t get the opportunities to speak up like men do and he is literally a man explaining something that a woman could/should be explaining, the irony is not lost on me.
All of this is to say that men are awful and women are great.