On Sexual Harassment

This week I watched Mad Men, a show depicting an advertising agency in the 1950’s (or 60’s), for the first time. I don’t consider myself especially feminist or a person who is worried about woman’s rights and still I was pretty horrified with the way secretaries on this show were depicted and treated. Voluptuous, single girls, waiting on the men in power suits around them, hoping that a grope will turn into a marriage proposal.”Oh, well, this was long time ago, things are quite different now,” I thought to myself.

Then, I encountered Brazilian corporate culture. Having to ask one of the big bosses to use his conference room, I arrived at the secretary bin, where cute Brazilian voluptuous girls, dressed in super tight mini skirts and low neck shirts, showing their assets, were running around the men in suites and trying to please them. Even I myself couldn’t stop staring at the moving curves around me. I can only imagine the impression this was making on the men. This is just one example. In my office (and I am sure that pretty much in every office) one cannot enter the elevator without being looked up and down by all present. And I was tipped that men normally give the right of way to women so that they can browse the goods walking in front of them. A friend at work suggested to politely refuse and demonstrated a sideways walk that helps you avoid the spotlight.

At first, I was surprised that most of my women colleagues (aside from secretaries) wear pants, finding them more “practical”. I am starting to better understand the meaning of this word.

– Written in the metro women-only cart, on my way to work

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