Thursday, September 3, 2009
"You're our eye candy." he said to me.
I won't say who, and I won't say when. That isn't important. What's important is the statement itself. I'm a woman who considers herself well-educated, independent and on most days, a professional. I'm not a feminist, but I also don't believe a woman's place has to be in the home. We now have the choice. It's also my prerogative to feel the way I do about the terminology "eye candy". What does it mean to you? I'm curious because I've been taught that, "the only message that matters is the message that's received." It wasn't received well, not on my end anyway.
Like the highly-sensitive woman that I am, I've given the term "eye candy" a lot of thought. I googled it, finding various definitions. I also googled images associated with the words "eye candy". Half naked women popped up on my screen. Enough said.
Either way, this definition quite possibly describes it best and underscores why it was so offensive to me. EYE CANDY: "Visual images that are pleasing to see but are intellectually undemanding."
INTELLECTUALLY UNDEMANDING? Intellectually undemanding? It carries a negative connotation. As if to say that women whom are considered "eye candy" are not intellectuals. And that couldn't further from the truth for most of us.
I asked both female and male co-workers about it. Perhaps to make me feel better about my discontent.
"Would you be offended if you were called eye candy?", I ask a female co-worker.
It's rude she replies, "I'd be offended."
But then I turn to a male co-worker who explains to me that "Men are hard wired to be visual animals." I think he used the word PIG in that sentence as well.
"We're genetically designed to ogle, to stare and to say it." He goes on to explain, "It's not our fault."
I laughed out loud. "Don't worry" I assure him. "I won't use your name when quoting you in my blog."
He breathes a sigh of relief because he knows that his opinions are not the most popular statements. But at least he's honest, and providing a perspective that I may never understand. It did, however may me think about all the "things" we're offended by. Perhaps I'm getting worked up over nothing.
No, I decide. It was offensive. I'm not going to apologize for being myself. I'm standing up for my feelings, and all the women who've worked hard to be taken seriously in the corporate world.
There. I feel better now.