Annie Yan

SUBJECT: a feminist thought at work

Is it harder for women to refrain from being flirty while still in a relationship than for men to do so? I think so. I think women are expected to flirt, to talk sweet, to handle others’ emotions with care, to smile, laugh, etc., TO FLIRT. I was chatting in the office with my two co-workers (men) and was able to easily endear myself and make them laugh with some real, REAL dumb girly sarcasm. They asked me what’s up and I acted all offended, threw them an “I’m surprised you didn’t notice my DRASTIC change in hairstyle from my recent haircut.” Note: my hair looks the same from before the cut. I got one layer added about an inch from the bottom, in the back. $85 later, my hair looked the same was my point to the boys. “Women’s haircuts are dumb,” “women are dumb” was my point. I know this, they knew this. They loved it. “Hey Julia,” they said from the other side of the office so I’d pop my head up out of my cubicle. They waited for me to laugh and make another joke, to bat my eyes. I did and I’m “easy to get along with in a work environment.” 

FOLLOWING UP: a feminist thought at work

I’ve been thinking more about this haircut situation. I want to come back to my earlier point: Is it harder for women to refrain from being flirty while still in a relationship than for men to do so? I still believe yes, it is harder. I still believe women are expected to flirt. But upon further thought, I believe men flirt in these same kinds of casual ways that women do. Men “flirt” amongst themselves. Because, “charming” is “flirting.” Men charm in business, but we live in a deeply homophobic, homo-denying society so this behavior is not labeled as men “flirting” with one another. Now, a woman “charming” a man — can you even read that without hearing something sexually wrought? A woman “charming” another woman? … You’ll get my point more later, I’m sure.

RE: FOLLOWING UP: a feminist thought at work 

Men can charm, can flirt but they also have the option to be powerful, controlling and un-emotive. This does not count against them in the workplace. So then, to my point: Is it harder for women to refrain from being flirty while still in a relationship than for men to do so? Let’s take a heterosexual couple that’s monogamous and look at how the male interacts with others outside the relationship versus the female. The female walks right into a trap of being a slut. She must smile, laugh, be “easy to get along with in a work environment” or she’s callous. Sure, people won’t default call her a slut or a flirt, but if there’s already an issue, it’s an easy claim to default to. A man can defer to cold distance if he wishes to signify that he’s romantically hooked, chained, sinker locked and loaded on another. This protects him. He is the innocent, loyal partner and how could you not be? Are these generic truths more poignant right now at 11:34am because I’m fraught with my haircut comment and my giggle when my boyfriend is texting me he misses me? haha, no, lol. No. More on this later, I’m sure.

RE RE: FOLLOWING UP: a feminist thought

My friend defended my ex, by saying,“He never even talked to other women” this is a FUCKED UP THING TO SAY AS A POSITIVE. Why should that make a woman feel better?

I drank a double shot (OF WHAT YOU MAY ASK??): FOLLOWING UP: a feminist thought

It’s 2:45.It wasn’t vodka and I didn’t tip fireball in my hot cocoa either… So, follow with me here: saying “I don’t even talk to other women [because I’m so devoted to you]” is sexist. I hate when men say this. Do you then not value other women as friends and people? Do you believe women are something to have, to obtain — not a variety of people who are inherently valuable? It’s dehumanizing. I’m sitting here fuming at my laptop in my cubicle but still smiling, dontchu worry gf gf. I’m smiling and I’ve decided: I hope to surround myself with and to date many men who speak with many people (women included), joyfully, playfully and flirtily — this is what I see as real feminism. Let us all charm and flirt openly and trust in commitment beyond that. Relationships are so much more than soft language. More thoughts on this later, I’m sure.

Julia Leatham | julia.leatham@yale.edu