That Woman.

For those of you not privy to inside information into my life, a lot has recently gone down. I won’t bore you with the details, but among them is the fact that I’ve been working at a TV show for the past few days (I know, I know, I’m very famous).

So this morning, something happened that got me thinking, and that I would like to share with you.

Picture it: It’s about 3:30 in the afternoon, and I walk into the kitchen to get some hot cocoa. In there, I run into none other than the big boss lady. Skinny. Tan. Bejeweled. A little intimidating. I hover near her awkwardly because she was standing in front of said cocoa. I look at her, I wait next to her, I shift from foot to foot. I’m quite obviously there. This goes on for about a minute, and yet she continues to ignore me. Finally, I feel so uncomfortable that I try to strike up a convo, and here’s how it goes:

Me: Is it just me, or is it really cold out there?

Her: (without glancing up) Yes. It’s cold.

Me: You’re cold, you frigid bitch! …Yeah.

Her: (turning around to leave the room and looking at me for the first time) I guess they put the AC on. You should bring some Uggs or something.

OK. Seems harmless enough, right (although that Uggs comment was a little backhanded)? But here’s why I’m telling you this story. Because my knee-jerk reaction, as she essentially ignored me and seemed put out by my speaking to her, was to write her off as a total B, signed, sealed and delivered.

And so, noting my own expectations of her and my subsequent judgment, I got to thinking -the successful woman stereotype (bitchy, cold) has been played out since the power-shoulder pads of the 1980’s, right? And yet somehow it doesn’t seem to be slowly eroding or drifting away. You’re either Bridget Jones or Anna Wintour, either Carrie Bradshaw or Hilary Clinton. In other words, you’re either likable and semi-ambitious, or horrid and highly ambitious. So knowing full well that these stereotypes exist, how does it feel to nevertheless shove aside (at least outwardly) concerns over what people think of you, and brazenly be That Woman?

The flip side of this question, of course, is me, the receiver of the ‘tude. There are a million reasons why she might have ignored me, that are all very likely, and that all have nothing whatsoever to do with me. I mean, maybe she had something on her mind. She has a whole shitload more responsibility than I have (to be fair), and so it’s just ever-so-possible that she had something more pressing to dwell on than my current body temperature. What is a man had reacted like that to me? I probably would have left feeling like I was the idiot. Heck, I might not even have made that wimpy-ass comment to a man.

However, all that said, I stand by the fact that she was a bit rude and standoffish. I know that I usually try to introduce myself to people I don’t know when I’m alone in a room with them. So my question is, should we applaud women like that, who don’t let stupid stereotypes affect the way that they behave — in other words, don’t cave to societal pressure to “be nice” — or should we hold everyone in power positions — men and women — to higher standards, and insist that even in this cutthroat, capitalistic society we live in, saying hi to someone by the hot cocoa is common courtesy no matter what your rank in the hierarchy?

Your thoughts?

Originally posted at Shady Sadie

Published in: on July 31, 2009 at 2:28 pm  Comments (2)