Monday, August 27, 2012

welcome to denmark, now shut up and eat your smørrebrød

22/8.2012 - late summer


there are a lot of things i don't understand.

like how if slightly older men present something and you ask questions about it, they try, almost immediately, to write you off as a.) a woman, b.) a foreigner and if those don't work, c.) a bitch. you are present at the meeting on the same footing as they are and should therefore have the same rights they do to be part of the process and ask questions. in fact, that's the whole idea. the idea is to have a well thought-through decision made, based on good information and good arguments. and not just hand the design of the building to the chairman of the group. (or have i somehow misunderstood?)

i also have trouble understanding how someone can go on and on about the fabulous design of a new library/culture house in copenhagen and then when it's discussed that the group go to look at such buildings in other towns, and you suggest the much-praised building, the whole room recoils in horror. because it's in...(gasp) copenhagen. and that's (gasp) on the devil's island, which may as well be the moon, or possibly the very inner circle of hell.

and further, i utterly fail to grasp how someone can say, when you are in fact, an immigrant, that the aforementioned building (which he brought up in the first place) isn't relevant because it has to serve (gasp) immigrants. and i should note that the word "immigrant" - invanderer - in danish has taken on an extremely negative connotation in the past decade.

one more thing i fail to grasp is how you can fail to bring enough copies of a really important document to the meeting, when you know ahead of time precisely how many people will be attending the meeting. and how when you, in fact, are ONE copy short, you are entirely unapologetic about it and when asked, at the end of the meeting, if you're going to send a copy to the person who didn't get one, you refer to her as an "old witch" to her face. 

so let's review - i'm an old witch of a damn foreigner.

welcome to denmark.

but to get serious for a moment, why on earth is it even still possible more than a decade into the 21st century, for men to be able to write off the intelligent questions of an intelligent woman and brand her a bitch for asking them? and what can we (and by we i mean me) do about it?

edited:  this makes me feel so much better. thank odin for the new york times.

14 comments:

Spilling Ink said...

It is possible more than a decade into the 21st century, for men to be able to write off the intelligent questions of an intelligent woman and brand her a bitch for asking them because....because....because....because....

I've been asking myself that question for a while now and I fail to find an answer so I can finish that sentence. (A man keeps telling me the reason is male ego.)

What do we do about it? We keep bitching and we at least try to, as women of equal gender and all, stick together to tear down whatever hurdles still exist that prevent us from apparently freely use the mighty and quite brilliant brains we women were fitted with.

(Argh! It makes me so m-m-m-mad!)

celkalee said...

I see your situation as having two components. The personal impact part and the more public "statement" issue. It is not likely that the perpetrator is ever going to change, no matter what you do. So, find an ally, fight the fight and hope that somehow others will support your cause versus go along with the same old same old. The political climate, however, may be an obstacle that controls the situation, in spite of support.

The personal component can only be measured by you. I have found that some fights are just not worth the anxiety and angst they produce, but that is me. I am older, I am tired of fighting the status quo. While I do not deal with the same issues, I am noticing others rearing their heads to challenge me.

How ever you decide to proceed with your predicament, I know you will think it through and do what is best. I find it sad that with your best intentions a Little Man, (define that how ever you choose) is so petty as to dismiss valid courses of action to provide the best scenario for the community he professes to serve. Geez.

Lynn said...

Ugh. Not to trivialize what happened, but frankly I think it's in a man's dna to be obtuse and act like he knows something we, as women, do not. Even the good ones are a bit like this. Today hubs and I were at Walmart (gasp! I know...), and I needed a coilbound notebook. I'm looking at the shelves of notebooks, and my husband is pointing out, "Well, there's the small ones, there's the larger ones, these ones have the elastic..." and I'm thinking, "DUH!!! I'm RIGHT HERE with EYES!!!" But, since we have to pick our battles, I rolled my eyes and that was it. I know that's different than the obvious condescension at the meeting that you attended, but it springs from the same space. Just manifests itself in a much disturbing way in the people you had to deal with today. I'm sorry that you had to suffer through that bull. :(

DahnStarr said...

First off he needs to be corrected and told that you are still considered an apprentace witch and will not become an old witch until you successfully pass your final potion exam. This being in accordance to the bylaws established by your order in Salam, Massachusetts. Then offer him a drink with a shy smile.

Most men that I have encountered like this are weak minded and very intimidated by smart/intellagent woman. Their only defence is to act out with the attitude of "I'll show her". By not having a copy of the documents for you and calling you nasty names to your face, he has proven himself the fool. My first response was to tell you to treat him as he is, as a child. However, I know that as a professional you can't do that.

In truth I think that all you can do is carry on, not feed into his treatment, and keep showing up! I also feel that you need to address the name calling. In a meeting setting that is not cool and that needs to be addressed asap!

Stay strong and good luck.

Murr Brewster said...

Wow. Most men I know do not treat me this way. They're frightened of me, as well they ought to be. Perhaps I should share some of my incantations.

Miss Footloose said...

I needed a sedative just reading your post, and I do hope it was at least somewhat cathartic to write it.

I agree with one of the other commenters that men like that are threatened by you as an intelligent female. Obviously, very small-minded, but that does not help you deal with it.

The name calling is unbelievably rude and even abusive and if you have it in you, bring this up in another meeting as unacceptable behavior.

Writer Lady said...

You did get a big dose of male clodishness, didn't you? Sorry to hear that. They are not very enlightened. I hope they aren't married or treat their wives that way.

julochka said...

@spilling ink - it has made me mad for 2 weeks as well. he was even worse at a mtg a week later, but last night I got him. I stopped letting him take my energy and took it back. I was able to use that energy to wrest last night's mtg from his iron grasp and everyone opened up and the whole dynamic changed. it was actually better than telling him off.

julochka said...

@celkalee he still wants that contract to design the building, but I will do all I can to keep him from getting it. and he's no longer entitled to steal my energy. turns out you really can decide that. :-)

julochka said...

@lynn this guy certainly is a troglodyte (I <3 that word), and that is an instinct at the base of many men's behavior, but some part of me remains eternally hopeful they can be trained/socialized out if it.

julochka said...

@dahnstarr. I so wanted not to go to the mtg last evening, because I didn't want him to steal any more energy, but then I decided simply not to let him. and it was a bit like witchcraft in its magic.

julochka said...

@murr I think he treats me this way b/c he is afraid...

julochka said...

@miss footloose. I needed a sedative (read: glass of wine) to go to the next mtg., but it helped and I overcame his bad energy with good. it was so satisfying.

julochka said...

@writer lady - he was even more appalling the next week, but I got the best of him last night and it was amazing how the positive energy opened everyone else up as well!