As many offices return to in-person work, some women are concerned about reverting to the pre-pandemic white-collar norms that perpetuated inequality, discrimination, and sexism. But honestly, those concerns are mostly to cover up a bunch of super weird hang-ups we have about office life. So, if it’s not too much trouble, let’s take a look at a few daily professional problems that are totally unrelated to systemic gender issues.
We’re super scared to poop in office bathrooms
That’s right: #2 is our #1 priority. That’s why you’ve seen nearly a decade of discourse about this across various media outlets. Forget daily threats of harassment. Forget microaggressions. Forget perilous commutes. We’re scared shitless to poop — and by no means should we unpack how the fear of taking too long in the bathroom reflects broader concerns about in-person employers surveilling employees’ actions eight hours a day. It’s just a silly foible of ours.
We’re too cold
Can someone turn down the AC? So sorry for being difficult — and sorry for apologizing about being difficult — but it’s just so frigid in here! Maybe it’s because scientists have found that women are more productive in warmer temperatures, and thermostats are set to the preferences of middle-aged middle-weighted men. Or maybe we’re just needy. Yikes!
We need more time to do our makeup
You know women: always taking our sweet time getting ready in the morning. It’s just one of our quirks and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that research has shown women who spend less time grooming themselves make less money. We’re just obsessed with our looks! (And with making a living wage.)
We’ve forgotten how to pretend not to cry
Ugh, we’re such a mess. Crying between Zoom calls can be tough — but not as tough as keeping it together in-person after a male colleague gets praised for an idea he stole from you. Or, you know, when no one noticed your haircut. You may have heard that women are judged for showing emotions at work, and that 41% of women cry at work compared to 9% of men, and that women bear the burden of unpaid emotional labor as we constantly mask our feelings. But in actuality, we’ve just forgotten how to hold back tears while working remotely. So we should probably get some kind of training on that before we come back? (We can organize it.)
We’re nervous about hosting birthday lunch celebrations
Does anybody know what kind of cake Josh likes? Really, it’s fine; we can fit in this social commitment on top of everything else we’re doing. It’s not as if women are tacitly expected to do “non-promotable tasks” that majorly contribute to company culture but go largely unrewarded. Don’t worry about us! We’re agonizing over the oven at 1:15 AM because we want to.
Just throwing this out there, because there are a ton of valid feelings and perspectives in the room, but wanted to point out quickly that we have to prevaricate in meetings so we’re not seen as aggressive, but can’t prevaricate too much or we’ll be perceived as weak, and also we can’t spell out our thought process or it’ll be heard as rambling, but we can’t be too terse or we’ll come off as cold, and we need to make sure we’re using considerate language without being condescending, and, um…
Let’s table this action item for now.
Tampons, am I right?
It’s been ages since those of us who menstruate have found ourselves caught at work with no tampons, as we start one of the 86% of periods that begin in public. But here’s the real reason we don’t want to go back: you’re never stuck without a tampon at home, and even if you are, it’s kind of fun to look at yourself in the mirror, dart your eyes back and forth, and say in a fake hushed embarrassed whisper, “Hey… got an extra tampon?”
We need to take acting classes before we start performatively ordering salads again
Meryl Streep has nothing on the woman who insists that she could “really go for a salad.”
We have to pretend to care about Marvel movies and baseball
Please, tell us more about the rumored links between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. Regale us with riveting discussions about how the Phillies’ new manager (Joe) is screwing the pooch compared to the last two managers (Gabe and Pete). These are the conversations women could soon be sitting through at happy hour over a dull roar of Patagonia’d bar-hoppers. Some say you should go to these de facto mandatory social events to network and get promoted, but the main reason returning to the office would suck is that we shouldn’t have to pay for Disney+ and ESPN just to hold daily conversations.
We have to repeat ourselves because no one is listening
We have to repeat ourselves because no one is listening. We have to repeat ourselves because no one is listening. We have to repeat ourselves because no one is listening. We have to repeat ourselves because no one is listening. We have to repeat ourselves because no one is listening.
We have to thank Chad for telling our co-workers that we have to repeat ourselves because no one is listening
More Satire About Gender Inequity in the Workplace:
1. Reasons You Were Not Promoted That Are Totally Unrelated to Gender
by Homa Mojtabai
2. How to Negotiate a Raise If You’re a Woman
by Maura Quint
3. Now Hiring: Human Woman
by Sarah Chevallier