Practicing your feminist values at work is a balancing act of staying true to your beliefs without getting fired. Like Cirque du Soleil performances, this act takes coordination and enough Spandex so that you can back handspring out of the office whenever anyone accuses you of “disruption of our collaborative work environment,” (a policy that your all-male leadership team came up with over beers at Hooters).
Fortunately, you don’t have to master mid-air splits to distract your co-workers and bosses from your real agenda – defeating The Man!
Here are 10 simple ways to insert the Feminist Agenda on the job:
If you’re ever asked to take meeting notes, immediately accept this menial and often gendered task. Taking notes means that no matter what was said in the meeting, you have full control of how it is documented! Accept your newfound power and run with it! If the group agrees to install new accounting software, but you hear “implement free daycare,” who’s going to argue when it’s on the record?
Behave as if you’re everyone’s mother. If Ted gets mouthy and interrupts you during a meeting, rise from the table and shout “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it!” Notice I did not say nurturing mother archetype. Think less Carol Brady and more Mommy Dearest.
Support coworkers when they become parents. When Tina wants to bond with her newborn baby, but is denied her Leave Without Pay request, this is the opportune time to procure dolls that simulate infant cries. Your neighborhood high school has dozens. Gather at least six fake babies, turn up the volume to Maximum Cry, and then super-glue said babies to the desk of the Human Resources Director. After three minutes of robotic infant wails, surely Tina will be granted six months of Leave With Pay.
When introducing yourself, state “Hello, my name is _____ and I’m a feminist.” Request that your name plaque and email address be changed to include “a feminist” at the end. This works to normalize the word “feminist” since the F-word continues to make some folks queasy and uncomfortable. With frequency comes acceptance.
If your workplace refuses to change your name plaque and email address, consider changing your legal last name to “a feminist.” Why wait for the occasion of marriage and/or divorce and/or boredom to change your name?
When starting a new job, be aware that after initial introductions, coworkers will attempt to “get to know you” by asking questions about your marital and parental status. This is when you should unleash the “You Don’t Know Me” Master Plan. This requires you to frame photos of random children acquired from magazines, only to toss the pictures mournfully into the garbage can three weeks later.
Also, acquire several fake engagement rings. Wear a ring for a few weeks, no ring the next few days, then show up with two gaudy engagement rings. Coworkers will assume your life is as chaotic as an episode of The Bachelor and will leave you to work within the comfort of your own solitude. Ah, finally, some peace!
When purchasing a $10 burrito for lunch, hand the cashier $7 and walk away while saying, “I have a 30% gender discount.” Feminist acts are best practiced with a dash of male entitlement.
Add an endearment at the end of all sentences. For example, rather than saying “You’re full of shit, Ted!” swap that out for “You’re full of shit, Love!” Endearments throw off potential troublemakers, especially those of the toxic-masculinity variety.
Be an equal-opportunist when it comes to endearments. Call both Ted and Tina “Love” because you don’t want Ted getting the idea that you’re romantically interested in him and his strange pleated khaki pants. Besides, why shouldn’t Tina get some of your love?
Remember that sexual harassment is horrible and very un-feminist. When testing the waters of flirtation, hand a prospective love interest a note that says “Do you like like me? Select yes or no.” This shows your confidence as well as your respect for their boundaries. Also, Human Resources can’t reprimand you for a proposition inspired by grade school activities. You won’t lose your job in pursuit of love!
Though overthrowing a sexist regime at work may seem like an impossible mission, remember, you are more powerful (and look better in tights) than you think. The very fact that you’re considering inserting the Feminist Agenda at work means that you’ve already escaped the mental confines of sexism!
Stay strong. Stay true to the mission.
And please bring those amazing gluten-free muffins to the next Feminists Anonymous meeting – it’s now on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Church’s basement.