There are a lot of things I absolutely despise and have zero tolerance for and one of them is the toxic ‘bro’ culture. What pushed me to write about this now is something that happened recently at work. I have been keenly observing the environment at my workplace and it’s only now I’m realizing how toxic it really is.
It vexes me that my male colleagues are given superior treatment, are respected more and can absolutely get away with anything. The same behaviour for which my male colleagues are rewarded and applauded for, me and my female colleagues are ridiculed for.
So, after having really thought about it and having discussed with two of my female colleagues, we have realised how dangerously malignant this culture is. There are some patterns which might be fueling this ‘bro’ culture at my workplace or any other workplace, really.
Men in the position of authority:
The bro culture is perpetuated because the positions of authority are populated either by men or less or almost no women. Why are women necessary to be in positions of power? Because women are most likely to understand other women. Specially when working in a corporate, as a woman you know your fellow female colleagues are going through the same sexist shit that you’re going through. You know that even though the channels of communication are very accessible and that you can complain about a certain activity by your male co-worker which made you feel uncomfortable, you know that it’s probably gonna amount to nothing. Especially when you know that the hierarchy is all a sausage fest. Either that, or you’re too afraid. I have seen one of my team leaders verbally passing derogatory remarks towards my friend. And when she asked him to stop, he just said, and I quote, “You should meet me outside work because we don’t have a special committee against sexual harassment outside, do we?” This coming from a man in his mid-thirties.
Men suffer from no repercussions:
Men try to mask their “bro’s” professional mistakes or derogatory behaviour (towards women) because they believe their “bro” can never do anything wrong or that women are overly-sensitive about things. We talked about the aforementioned team leader (let’s call him Mr. S) with one of our guy friends. He simply said that he knew about Mr. S’s behaviour as he was infamous for that amongst the women population of our company. Meaning, Mr. S had done such activities with other female employees, too. But when we pointed out the seriousness of these actions of Mr. S, our guy friend went on to never speaking with us again because, to him, his bro was the human embodiment of flawlessness. So, yes, not matter how much you complain, there are almost always going to be situations where men don’t face any repercussions and will literally get away with anything.
Men need to realize that years of drinking beer with their bro while cracking sexist jokes doesn’t mean that they’re a good person. I mean, you have to be really thick to think otherwise. Let your bro own up to his mistakes. Seriously. Your bro is not a 10-year-old who doesn’t know how his actions are impacting someone else’s life.
Trivialization of issues:
Oh, how men like to disregard when a woman speaks up. It’s almost as if their sadist self enjoys doing it. Saying things like, “Oh, she might be on her period!” or “Girls these days are just waiting for bad things to happen to them!” First of all, no. We’re not waiting for bad things to happen to us and neither are we menstruating 365 days a year. And yes, my real-life friend did complain about a male colleague who was constantly bothering her only to get fired. So, yep, you can shut up with your victim-blaming and just make peace with the fact that you’re not only making me feel uncomfortable but you’re also further trivializing my problems, which, should be and could be addressed properly.
It’s saddening how my male colleagues get a pass at things which have a severe impact on someone else’s mental and physical being. So, unless we have more women in power or unless men realize how to fucking act (which, I think is very unlikely), I’m afraid there is very little we all can do about this god awful of a culture.