I just ended a five month employment contract at a large wireless telecom company. The commute was simply awful (on a motorcycle, no less) but the corporate environment was simply awesome. The headquarters employed several hundred people in one, single-storey building. The absolute best part of that contract employment was the competitive nature of the women who worked there and it’s not what you think.
It was a Latin-American company.
For those of you unfamiliar with Latin culture (I mean Central and South America in this case), the women compete ruthlessly with each other. Unlike in female gringa workplace culture where women compete with each other to be more masculine, latinas compete with each other to be more feminine, even in the workplace. They compete to look more feminine.
It was an amazing and a splendor to behold.
I’m not going to speak to words and attitudes expressed by my recent Latina peers, I will only comment on the visual impressions. This is because I don’t speak or understand much Spanish. The whole experience was quite visual in that the women truly made an effort to look feminine without looking too provocative. For the most part, they succeeded. There was wonderfully feminine appearance that rarely, if ever, crossed the line into slutty tackiness. The cafeteria at lunch was wonderful.
As I was in the Information Technology department, it was mostly male oriented. The eight or nine women in my department were girl-geeks, always an interested sub-group. But these were girl geeks of a determinedly different order. They didn’t lose their femininity. While at work, their hair was done well, their clothes didn’t hide their figures, their heels were more than 1 inch tall. It was quite remarkable.
The guys didn’t gawk, they didn’t leer, they treated their feminine peers with respect. Never once did I hear an overtly sexual comment, even when it was all just guys talking. Thankfully, English was the common language in my department because of all my Indian colleagues. I could hear the conversations across the cubicles.
This all harkens back to my Woman Up! trifecta of blogs. Women should be feminine. I am not stupid and I know that the workplace attitude must be more masculine. But that doesn’t mean a losing a feminine appearance. Sadly, I am about to take a job in a more anglo-saxon, North Americanized work environment. It won’t be pretty like my previous gig.
Let’s all say it again – the feminine attracts the masculine.