This is not a personal situation but it is about something a friend of mine is facing and I got inspired to blog. She is not goth, doesn't dress in alternative clothing at all, in fact, she dresses rather conservatively but it seems like her wardrobe choices are cause for harassment. Personally, I don't think there is anything wrong with the way she dresses and even if she were to change her style, (which I don't think she should because her clothing does not break any company policies) I think she would still be harassed. Some people are very insecure with themselves and they need to find an outlet for their frustration. Unfortunately, my friend is such an outlet.
I think being involved in a subculture, makes me more acutely aware of these situations, which is why I think she came to me in the first place seeking a friendly ear to vent to. I am sure some of us has faced discrimination/bullying/prejudice at one time or another and this is a topic I think we can all relate to. This is a topic that should not be ignored and should be addressed.
I used to work with her in the past and I can speak from experience that she is very a professional, intelligent, and kind hearted person and I am upset that she has to face this kind of treatment, especially from her immediate supervisor. While I don't think it is fair to give clear examples of her problems at the office, here is a wikipedia description of what workplace bullying is.
"Workplace bullying occurs when an employee experiences a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes harm. Workplace bullying can include such tactics as verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation. This type of workplace aggression is particularly difficult because, unlike the typical forms of school bullying, workplace bullies often operate within the established rules and policies of their organization and their society. Bullying in the workplace is in the majority of cases reported as having been perpetrated by someone in authority over the target. However, bullies can also be peers, and on occasion can be subordinates. Recent research (2010) has also investigated the impact of the larger organizational context on bullying as well as the group-level processes that impact on the incidence, and maintenance of bullying behaviour. Bullying can be covert or overt. It may be missed by superiors or known by many throughout the organization. Negative effects are not limited to the targeted individuals, and may lead to a decline in employee morale and a change in organizational culture."
My advice to her was as follows: If anyone wants to add or comment, please do so
- Considering this person is her boss, document all conversations. Date and time stamp. This will serve a purpose when going to upper management, a potential lawyer or human resources.
- Stand her ground. DO NOT let her boss make her feel bad about herself. NEVER LET ANYONE DETERMINE YOUR SELF WORTH!
- While at times it may feel like the whole world is against you, remember, it is usually a very small, select few individuals that share this idea.
- Do NOT give an emotional reaction. Her boss is the one with the problem, not her. Her boss has gotten emotional and she is making an ass of herself, let her shoot herself in the foot! While it is OK to get angry, it is better to vent with someone else than to lash out on the bully.
- Ask for a transfer to a different department or quit. This is a toxic environment.
I think the majority of people were bullied at some point in their lives and we need to speak out! Teasing/harassing/physically harming someone based on their appearance, clothing, sexual orientation, etc should not be accepted or considered the social norm, whether it is in a classroom setting, on the street, or in the workplace. Better resources should be in place where this kind of behavior is stopped. Victims are often afraid to speak out in fear of the bully retaliating.
I would like to compliment my friend for coming out and acknowledging that this type of behavior is NOT acceptable and is taking actions towards it. Ironically enough, it took me several days to write this post and am finally able to publish it today. For those of you don't know (I bet the majority of my readers do know) on this date, 7 years ago, Sophie Lancaster passed away after being in a coma for thirteen days due to head trauma. She was at a park with her boyfriend when they were attacked by a group of teenaged boys. The reason for the attack? The clothing they wore, they were a part of the goth subculture. To this date, the victim's mother, Sylvia Lancaster, who set up the Sophie Lancaster Foundation is working hard with local authorities to help prevent these kind of attacks from happening again.
|Source: Facebook, World Goth Day page. http://www.sophielancasterfoundation.com/|
I always found solace with fellow goths. I once went to a "normal people club" and it was horrible. A real "meat market" as they call it. I got my rear end grabbed by a stranger. I did not feel comfortable there at all. The common consensus was that I would be leaving the club with one of these gentlemen. When I do go to a goth club, yes, gentlemen and sometimes ladies have made advances towards me but they were respectful. I felt comfortable leaving my drink unattended with people I did not know very well. I always had a positive experience amongst the gothic community and I hope others have felt the same for the most part. While the elitists sometimes annoy me, they do provide an endless source of entertainment!
Thank you all for reading my rant! Hopefully my friend could find employment elsewhere or resolves this matter without having to quit her job. I find it sad that she is the one that has to look employment elsewhere while people like that remain in a management position. Here's to hoping Karma does it's trick! Good day Darklings, be safe! xoxox