what my trip to nyc taught me about self-respect

Photo Credit: Jon Flobrant

Photo Credit: Jon Flobrant

I know that this blog is supposed to be about money, but I also believe, in its own way, it’s a format to empower women – a way for us to be financially confident and independent so that we can have that same confidence and independence in other aspects of our lives.  And that end goal is the reason why I can’t help but write about an incident that happened to a co-worker of mine (let’s call her Zoe) this past week.  It really triggered something in me, and I knew that even though it has no financial bearing whatsoever, it was something that I couldn’t not address.

We were out in New York City over Super Bowl weekend, doing hospitality work for our company.  Cold? Yes. Awesome to be there?  Absolutely.  Not only were we there to ensure guests were set at their hotels and for their stay in NYC, but we also helped at the pre-game party our company was hosting on Super Bowl Sunday.  The event was held on a yacht in the Hudson Bay, transporting our guests from the New York side over to New Jersey, where the game was to be held.  Let me tell you, we had a fabulous time. 

We cruised past the Statue of Liberty, had Archie Manning and other NFL players on board to speak, and the food was to die for.  For the Broncos fans, it was probably the best part of their day.  Anyhoo, while we were working the event, Zoe was approached multiple times by the guest of one of the NFL players who spoke at the party, who kept insistently trying to give her his number.  Each time, Zoe (who, let me note, is engaged) politely turned him down and walked away, all the while receiving crude comments about certain”ass”ets of hers.  Because she was at a work event, she didn’t want to make a big scene and didn’t mention it to anyone.

After the party ended and the guests had been dropped off in NJ, we cruised back to NYC to get on buses to transport us back to the hotel.  Unfortunately, this same guy was still with us at that point, and as Zoe was attempting to get on the bus, he stepped in front of her and again tried to give her his number.  When she (for the third or fourth time) said she wasn’t interested, he concluded that mentioning the size of his <insert word for male genitalia here> and continuing to emphasize its stature multiple times would sway her.  Please note, as well, that this is being said in front of her AND her boss, who is standing only a few feet behind her, WHILE she is still at a work event. 

Trying to act as professionally as possible, she again states her disinterest and boards the bus.  He follows and continues to jeer her as he walks to the back of the bus, again in front of the entire staff.  At this point, she is visibly shaken up – not only was she personally disrespected but it was done while she was working.  And unfortunately, the rest of us had been clueless to the whole episode until we were on the bus; needless to say, we made sure there was no further contact between them for the rest of the trip, but regardless, it left its mark.  So what’s my point?

LADIES:  We need to stop allowing ourselves to be treated like a commodity.  Men are constantly hit with the message that we are easily bought, and it’s about time we reversed that opinion.  The saddest thing about the entire episode, in my mind, is that that line has more than likely worked on women before.  Why else would he use it?

We, as a gender, need to have more respect for ourselves than that, demand more respect for ourselves than that.  It’s a simple fact: men treat you the way that you allow them to treat you.  The guy who accosted Zoe came on to her like he did because the women before her had reacted positively to that.  Isn’t that pitiful?  And while Zoe acted in the best manner possible considering the context she was in, it still hit her in the core when she was approached that way.  We need to stop being wooed by money or fame or any of those qualities that, when you get right down to it, don’t matter.  You deserve better than that, and our gender deserves better than that.  When you allow a man to degrade you by thinking he can buy you with so little, it sets all of us women back a step.  So now is the time, ladies.  You need to get that self-respect in order.  You need to remind yourself that you are an amazing, fantastic woman who is full of worth.  No, maybe you don’t have it all together yet.  But who does?  You still hold the qualities of someone who deserves to be treated with respect.  I can honestly say there is no bigger compliment you will ever receive than having someone say they respect you.  It means they value you AND your mind, and we should hold out for nothing less.

Photo Credit: Dorothee Hubner

Photo Credit: Dorothee Hubner