On downtrodden women

WORKING WOMAN

July 12, 1992|By Niki Scott | Niki Scott,Universal Press Syndicate

Many of your letters this month have been about a man who got equal time here when he wrote to ask, "Where do you find these pitiful, downtrodden women?" They've also been about finding time for a social life, bosses who are Queen Bees and middle managers who feel stuck in the middle.

In a recent column, the New Orleans man who asked, "Where do you find these pitiful, downtrodden women?" also said, "Not a single woman I know fits this description!

"Women today are all too strong, assertive, outspoken, ready for an argument, eager for a fight. Their husbands, on the other hand, are all too anxious, apologetic and eager to please."

To which a faithful Richmond, Va., reader replied, "I haven't written to you in a long time, but I must respond to this column!

"Although I do not necessarily agree with everything [this man] has to say, . . . women, indeed, have learned to defend their boundaries and territories quite well!"

But a Dallas reader wrote: "To answer this man's question, I find downtrodden women everywhere I look -- teaching in our schools, baby-sitting for their bosses' children behind their secretarial desks, working on assembly lines, checking groceries and stuck in middle management positions where they are prevented by men from moving further.

"Please do not be thrown off by this man's response to your column," she added. "You are dead on target!"

After a column about simpler ways for busy working couples to entertain, a Charlotte, N.C., reader wrote: "As soon as I finished -- reading it, I picked up the phone and invited all the friends we've been too busy to see over for a potluck supper. We had the best time."

But a 60-year-old reader in Cumberland, Pa., was horrified. "Madam: I just read your ideas on 'Simpler Ways To Entertain,' and I am angry," she wrote.

"Paper plates and other disposable items are OK for out-in-the-woods picnics or for eating while traveling, but why would you offer your friends food on paper? Having reared seven children, I still take time to use real dishes and flatware because (1) I have them, and (2) my friends are worth the best I can offer them!"

A column about Queen Bee bosses brought letters filled with your own horror stories, on the other hand. "You must know my boss -- your whole column was about her," began a typical letter from an Orlando, Fla., reader.

And a Harrisburg, Pa., reader wrote, "After reading your column, I've decided that I shall not try to out-wait my Queen Bee boss because she's 45 and will be here forever. I will start job hunting immediately, instead.

"And when I land a fine new job and start again on my path to success, I will not follow my ex-boss's terrible example, but will reach out to other women who are struggling to be successful."

Your letters after a column about middle managers spoke eloquently about the frustration of being caught in the middle between unsympathetic bosses and resentful workers.

Wrote a Kansas City, Kan., man: "My workers hate my guts. My boss hides behind me and makes me do all the dirty work, sets me up to be the fall guy, then refuses to back me up when I need him. Welcome to middle management!"

But a middle manager in Norfolk, Va., took a different tack. "The stress of being unable to please your boss or your workers is just horrendous," she wrote.

"Your down-to-earth advice will help, I think. If it doesn't, I'm going to quit this no-good job and stay home for a while with my much less stress-producing three children, three dogs, two cats, three ponies and a falling-down old house!"

Questions and comments for Niki Scott should be addressed Working Woman, Features Department, The Sun, Baltimore 21278.

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