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Some of the people in my office have the job of calling people that they have worked with and seeing if they are using the programs that were recommended to them. Usually, these calls are pretty straightforward and include a brief questionnaire. What I have noticed is that the guy who sits in the cubicle next to me, whenever he is talking to a girl, and they say they have been following through with the programs, he responds with “good girl”. I cringe every time I hear it. It makes me feel as if he is talking to his children or his pets, and not human beings who are doing their best to be better versions of themselves. I woke up this morning thinking it was time I approached him about it. I couldn’t sit in silence any more. So when he walked in this morning,I told him that we needed to talk about something that made me uncomfortable. I explained the situation (shaking the whole time because I am horrible at confrontation), and he apologized. He said he didn’t realize that he was saying “good girl”. He said if he ever said it again, I need to stop him because he knows it isn’t right. He said he appreciated that I brought it up, and that if his children knew what he was saying, they would probably be upset too.
I couldn’t have asked for a better response. He understood where I was coming from and felt ashamed for how he had acted. I know that I am not the best at confronting street harassment, I usually just ignore it and walk away… but I like to think that if we stop people from using the same terminology in the work place, maybe it will have some sort of ripple effect when we walk out on the streets. In the very least, I can feel a little more comfortable in my cubicle.
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