Trashy tv sometimes leads to good reflections.

Yesterday, I had the apartment to myself, which meant…

Binge-watching The Royals, consuming everything in sight… and a dash of Sex and the City thrown in for good measure.

As I watched a Sex and the City episode I have watched more times than there are days in a workweek, I reflected on why exactly this show resonated with such a great audience. The girls on the show were discussing a very real phenomenon: women at work.

You may remember this scene from The Devil Wears Prada, where Andy complains to her boyfriend about her boss.

tumblr_lqo3xs6vQs1qcb58yo1_500

[caption: She’s not happy unless everyone around her is panicked, nauseous, or suicidal.]

How is it that women at work, years past Sex and the City, years past a show that celebrated women’s rights to have the same sexual playing field as men, we still experience the same phenomenon that they speak of in the workplace? I know this is a topic that recently has garnered some attention with Lean In, and other such resources, but as a twenty-something woman, I still feel there are inherent rules we have to play by that only make sense to other women.

The commandments of women at work:

1. Don’t cry.

2. EVER.

3. If you do, you’ll be (as Charlotte points out in the episode), always the target of “watch out, she may cry.”

4. Be nice, be collaborative, use words like “we,” include everyone.

(Because if they see you’re excluding someone, it comes across like:

)

5. Volunteer for everything.

6. Negotiate your salary, but not too heavy-handed, or you will be looked at as greedy.

My friends and I came up with some solutions.

1. If you must cry, cry when you are alone and in your own office.

2. Actually, just don’t cry at work unless you have makeup handy.

3. See above.

4. Be nice if you must, but manterrupt if you must, too.

5. Set your own boundaries. (Again, as a South Asian, the guilt can come naturally.)

6. Negotiate negotiate negotiate.

Women who can and choose to work, I am proud of you. If you choose not to work or you cannot, I am proud of you too. Let’s make the workplace a woman’s world.

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9 thoughts on “Trashy tv sometimes leads to good reflections.

  1. I loved this! So, it’s been about a month since we moved and I’ve been doing what I like to call domestic management right now. Although not a typical job, it’s just as important as a typical office job. I really appreciate the post because i don’t think non-traditional jobs get enough credit!

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    1. I completely agree that they don’t. I still remember when I was very young, someone made a comment about how my mother was a housewife and that’s “all” she did, while my father was (and is) a surgeon. Without thinking, I immediately replied, “I don’t know if that’s ‘all’! That’s a lot more work than you realize.”…At least I hope that was an out-loud comment, because little me would be a real bad-ass. Anyway, you’re absolutely right! Non-traditional jobs are just as important and keep us all functioning!

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  2. I agree. I think this falls in line with the timeless question, “does life imitate art, or does art imitate life?” I actually think they influence each other actually, While TV and movies may exaggerate the issues we women face at work, they hit home because we can relate. We’ve all been there.

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    1. I definitely agree. How many people experience a phenomenon, though, before it is incorporated into art? Or is it just the ‘right people’ experiencing it, and therefore becomes a part of art?

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      1. I would say the latter because a lot of people can experience the same thing but only a few will think to express it via an art form.

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  3. Aw I love Sex and the City and the Royals! Definitely agree with you about trashy tv leading to good reflections- at least that’s what I told myself when binge watching Merlin last night! Although I’m pretty sure I can’t follow any of those commandments, which may be why I don’t have a job… 🙂

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