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“He’s not a Sexist. He’s an A$$ to Everyone.”

Written By: Lauren Howard

“He’s not a sexist. He’s an a$$ to everyone.”

Then we all laughed about it like it was just a funny, relatable quirk like needing his desk straight or not wanting his chicken to touch his broccoli.

Yeah. I actually said that once in defense of a boss who had a bad habit of getting aggressive with women who had good ideas or who noticed problems.

Then, to make it even better, he would come back a day or so later with the same idea that he JUST HAD about how we could fix the problem we were discussing.

And me, in the headspace that this couldn’t possibly be about gender because he just wasn’t LIKE that (and also in the headspace where this was a FAMILY and FAMILY SUPPORTS FAMILY… GAGGGGGGG) actually said those words.

There are not a lot of moments in my life when I want to go back and shake the crud out of my younger self, but man, this is one of them.

What a way to sweep bad behavior under the rug. AND I DID IT.


But I had a ways to go before the glass was really broken and I could see things for what they were.

So, for a while, I was part of the problem even when I tried to be part of the solution.

First off, if you’re an a$$ to every woman on your team, you’re a misogynist. You think it’s okay to act that way because it affects everyone at some point. You don’t get off the hook because you are also an a$$ to men some of the time.

SECOND, bad behavior is not to be excused or written off as “just a personality quirk” or “just something we all have to endure.” If your leadership naturally leans toward making environments hostile and toxic, then they shouldn’t be leadership. Full stop.

If you are in one of these environments that enables grown people to have tantrums at the expense of the emotional and intellectual safety of employees, I see you. You are NOT crazy or the problem. They are prioritizing toxicity and the safety of one person over the safety of everyone.

It feels crazy because it is crazy. It’s also incredibly common.

You’re "taking one for the team" to make room for a brilliant visionary who just happens to lack social skills. They’re allowing a grown adult to act like a toddler because it’s easier to make you feel crazy than it is to deal with a bad actor who already has a history of being hostile.

That is not a good trade.

You're not crazy or irrational for feeling affected by it. They're not protecting you from it. That's on them.


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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1 Comment

Amber Hammes
Amber Hammes
Aug 22, 2023


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