Sexual harassment doesn’t just happen in the workplace or politics. For many women it’s something that has occurred throughout their lifetime and in many aspects of their life. Sometimes the harassment is blatantly obvious; other times it is expressed via undertones and innuendo.
Then there are times when what someone says or does based on someone else’s sex doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of sexual harassment but is still crude, objectifying or demeaning to women, according to Amanda Gonzalez-Barone.
Gonzalez-Barone has owned Girl Fight Fitness for seven years. The fitness club is meant to empower women and make them feel like they have a comfortable space to workout in. Gonzalez-Barone said that when she is chatting with other CEOs and business owners, particularly male counterparts, she is not seen as equal. Rather, she said, her male peers treat her like a wife, girlfriend or daughter. She said male business owners have belittled her, felt the need to over-explain subjects to her, or to simplify conversations under the assumption that because she is a woman, she doesn’t know what is being discussed.
She said some would even say things like, “How’s it going, dear?”
“I’m thinking you would never talk to another male business owner like that,” she said. “It gets patronizing very quickly.”
Another big issue, Gonzalez-Barone said, is the way men give women unsolicited advice.
“Unfortunately, what you kind of have to do is be polite,” she said. “Especially as a woman, you have to be gracious, thank them for the advice and explain to them carefully why it doesn’t really apply.”
However, she said, that doesn’t always work, and women are often met with hostility.
“It almost makes me feel like I’m in a bar being hit on, and even though I’m trying to say no thank you, I’m made to feel that I’ve got an attitude or you know the B-word, or whatever, because I’m just not appreciative that I’ve gotten this attention or this advice,” she said.
Today’s stories – All too familiar:
- All too familiar: Local women share their stories of sexual harassment
- Yasmine Syed, Niskayuna: ‘It’s … a tactic to delegitimize and diminish a person’
- Nikita Hardy, Schenectady County: ‘People roll their eyes’
- Ali Schaeffing, Albany: ‘I know I didn’t invite that’
- Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas, Schenectady: ‘We need to make sure that people are speaking up’
- Madelyn Thorne, Schenectady County: ‘This should have stopped a long time ago’
- Carmel Patrick, Schenectady: ‘It seemed so universal’
- Elizabeth Canavan, Niskayuna: ‘I had no idea what to say or how to respond’
- Amanda Gonzalez-Barone, Glenville: ‘It gets patronizing very quickly’
- What to do if you think you’re being sexually harassed at the office