A Light View on Gender Differences in the Workplace

I don’t consider myself a feminist, but I have something I’d wanted to bring to attention.

I’m an English Teacher in Japan at the moment. During a lesson, a student asked me, “how do you use ‘DIY’ in a sentence?” I told her, “we don’t really use DIY in sentences. We just say….’I’m doing a DIY project’, or something like that. As long as you know that DIY means Do-It-Yourself, then you’ll be okay. And she said, “so, it’s not important?”  And I thought, “well, 70% of this book is not important!”, but I said, “if you know what DIY means…then you’ll be okay.”

She later asked another question, such as, “Why don’t you say the ‘box will be arrived’? But you say ‘The box will be delivered’?” and I said, “….well….we just don’t say that. We say, ‘the box will arrive’ and ‘the box will be delivered’” It’s difficult to explain. It’s better if you remember this.”
But I said it in my normal personality, with some, “well……..it’s….. just the way, we say things, I guess”.

Now let’s be honest; how would you explain this? If you were put on the spot? You only have 3 seconds to decide. By the way, this girl questioned everything!

Anyway, my point is, because of the way we are socialized, it’s much more comfortable for me to say “um, well… you know,…we just say this!” with an apologetic grin, than it is for me to behave in a masculine, “It just is.” Straight-faced way. The way we are socialized from birth, is the reason for this.

I imagined my male coworker who started the same time I did. He would have probably said, “well, because, that’s the way we say it.” He probably would have raised his hands, and dropped then, and said, “So anyway,…” and continued.  Would she have been as upset as she was with me? No, because I believe subconsciously people, especially in Japan, respect males more. They have authority. If they say something with a little confidence, people believe them. Next topic.
Another curious situation was today after work. I accepted an invitation to get drinks with 5 male coworkers (5 females out of 30 males, so it’s not so strange as it seems). After our 2nd 8% shochuu, the raunchy stories begin to come out. One coworker told us a story of his first hooker at age 18, and how her hideousness halfway during his blowjob sobered him right up. The other poked us with his hints about numerous hookers during his time in Greece. After the round of laughs, they looked at me, and said, well, Monica, what about you?
And I laughed. Even though I was tipsy, there’s no way I would say anything even remotely equivalent to their stories! IMAGINE! A woman telling a story as shocking as a man and his hookers!

One time, I mistakenly spoke of a man I drank with one night at a bar. He was older than me, and of course I let him buy him drinks. I even regretted telling this simple story. I felt judged and like I should feel shame for drinking with an older man and letting him buy me drinks. It’s socially unacceptable! Stories from women with men involved are often seen as inappropriate. The reaction to our stories would not be anything similar to male stories. It would be sheer outrage, disgust and aversion for the rest of my time at work.

They kept bugging me to share. But they don’t realize, these stories coming from a woman, is just socially wrong. And disgusting. What can we do about?
What do you think?


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