Misogyny is alive and well in 2023, and while we should be so far beyond it by now, there’s still a lot of progress to be made. Women are still objectified by men in the most horrifying ways, and it’s time we started calling out this behavior. That’s exactly what 28-year-old Whitney Sparpe, the VP of a recruiting and staffing company, is doing. She recently discovered a group of men discussing her appearance during a work video call and she confronted them about it. HERO!
When the chat during the call was accidentally displayed on the screen, Whitney saw the offensive discussion that was taking place between the men about her look. She shared the incident in a TikTok video she captioned: “When a vendor accidentally shares his group Teams chat, it’s all nasty things about me. It’s 2023, can this stop.”
Whitney Sharpe told TODAY that it all went down on January 24 when she was on a meeting with potential clients. Her job is all about identifying potential vendors who might be able to add value to her developmental business teams. The three men on the call were all employees of the clients, though she was gracious enough not to reveal the names of the companies.
It’s rough being a woman in a male dominated field 😬
“I was on a call about to do a demo, and that software vendor accidentally shared their group chat with me instead of sharing the demo that they were supposed to share,” she recalled. “The group chat said some pretty unkind things about me and it just kind of went on from there.”
One of the messages referred to Whitney as an “effing bombshell,” but she didn’t get into the content of the other messages.
“They realized (what happened), I would say, maybe 30 seconds to a minute into the conversation. Certainly enough time for me to be able to see it go back and forth.”
Whitney Sharpe realized she had to speak up and told the men that she wanted to speak with female representatives.
How not to apologize in corporate America 101 #hrnightmare
“My mind was going, ‘Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry, just get the words out.’ I just was focusing on breathing in, getting the words out clearly and calmly. I think as a woman in the workplace, we’re often labeled emotional. I really didn’t want them to be able to say that I was emotional in my response,” she recalled. “I definitely could have gone a lot harder on them. But if I did that, they would have been able to say that I was ‘too emotional’ and I was going to play into that, and I didn’t want that to be an excuse.”
She waited about 15 minutes before putting them in their place. “Okay, well, first of all, if we’re going to continue working together, I want to work with a woman sales representative because I don’t want to have to see locker room talk about myself when you’re sharing screens,” she told them.
The men did apologize, as did the VP and CEO of the company. However, Whitney believes it “didn’t feel genuine whatsoever” and that she declined to go further with those potential clients.
The saga continues. I can’t thank you all enough for the love and support. There’s so many bad ass women out there 💖