Why you Mad, Men?: A Modern Woman in a Traditional Workplace


Thoughts on Liberty’s honored to welcome its first guest author who would prefer to remain anonymous. Rest assured our writer today is both woman and libertarian, and she has some interesting insights to share! If you would like to submit a guest post to TOL, please email the editor at libertythoughts@gmail.com

I work in an office with very traditional values, which is wonderful in nearly every aspect. I thoroughly appreciate knowing that I walk through the doors every day into an environment where I will be respected, expression of my faith is encouraged, and the personal integrity of every employee is equally as important as the quality of their work product.

That being said, there is something about the environment of my office that gives me pause: I am an attractive young woman, it is 2012, and some of the “old guard” are hesitant to accept the fact that girls who work are no longer “working girls.” I’m literally the second female under the age of 30 they’ve ever hired, and the only one currently employed.

My immediate supervisor is 30ish, worked in DC for several years, is married, has two children, and has no qualms about taking me to lunch to discuss our work. This is not something that our two bosses appreciate. Our vice president asked my supervisor not to be alone with me anymore, especially in public, because it may give our donors and others the wrong impression.

I was completely taken aback by this, as I never assume that two people who are in business formal attire eating lunch in a crowded restaurant, (good-naturedly) yelling at one another over political beliefs are participating in any romantic liaison. If anything, it puts my mind to rest that my supervisor feels comfortable enough to meet with me in a public place. How could anyone reasonably think that a lunch meeting could be anything illicit?

The AMC show Mad Men has given me a glimpse into why my bosses take issue with this—one of them is literally old enough to have lived in Mad Men’s era. If the show is as accurate as my own mother—who was a young girl during this time of chain-smoking and office-boozery—leads me to believe, I can completely understand why someone of that era would be uneasy seeing interactions between the younger men and women in their office.

Pros: men in three-piece suits, women in pencil skirts;

Cons: rampant sexism.

What has changed? I’d argue that it has actually been the social, and sexual, liberation of women in the last 40-50 years. Because both men and women are more socially open, work has become a place, well, of work. Particularly because women (hopefully) no longer feel the need to use sex as a means of obtaining and retaining employment.

While I do wish I could go on a business lunch with my supervisor without rousing the suspicion, the attitude of the “old guard” doesn’t offend me; it amuses me. However, I am glad we don’t have to live in that kind of environment anymore. Let’s face it—the pencil skirts were the best part, and damn if I can’t rock a pencil skirt.

What do all of you think about my situation? How should I show my bosses that work and sex are now no longer related?