Feminine gamification viewpoint: opportunist or plain stupid?
This blog post comes with a bit of a health warning, for some of you it may be too opinionated and one-sided, so if you are of the sensitive kind, please stop now and read something else.
As a female entrepreneur I network regularly and also take courses, coaching and mentoring to enhance my skills. On a regular basis you then have meaningful conversations with fellow what you assume are like-minded entrepreneurs. I tend not to differentiate my encouragement when talking to a man or a woman, when I feel that they are stopping themselves from going for something that I would see well within their reach. As an executive and business coach that was often the type of conversation I was even paid to have with them, now it happens occasionally when you have further conversations as a result of networking, courses etc.
What I find baffling beyond belief is that men (typically twice my age or at least 10-20 years senior to me) consider this as an open invitation to start feeling your hands, putting an arm around you, hands in inappropriate place and even in some more rare situations interpreting this as an open door to ask you for a bedroom endeavour. This used to happen to me on a regular basis as a coach in Ireland and just this week I had another encounter of the same variety. I blogged last week about a research study where Halo 3 players responded differently when they perceived their ability to better or lesser than that of a perceived female player. I have no research to back this week’s thoughts up, only personal experience.
My strategy in these situations has often been to not cause a scene and discretely pull away and remove hands where I don’t want them and obviously also decline all invitations that may put my safety in danger. I know from hard reality that discreet is not working, this week two gentlemen who clearly read the situation jumped in and sent the offender walking, who then at some point boomerang returned to say I hadn’t pulled away enough and therefore encouraged the situation (at which point I have to admit I got really angry and did say what was on my mind). Should you as a woman in these scenario’s just cause a scene to get through to the offender and potentially lose all credibility in front of other people? Or would a mirror game like simulating the same experience onto the other party in virtual reality be more effective?
I don’t have the answer to this question, but experiences like these raise questions about the motivations of these people. Is it scarcity of being encouraged, heard or more caring empathic behaviour? Is it opportunistic? Or is it like in the Halo 3 example a case of feeling inferior and needing to address the power balance? Or is it hunter, killer style behaviour? Or maybe even more primal than that?
In the multiplayer game called life, having protective tribe members can be a great source of rescue. It still leaves me feeling a bit uncertain, vulnerable when really I am sharing my skills and expertise, and I have to admit very apprehensive to spend another day in similar company. It is one of the reasons that at times I have withdrawn from social engagement, because it makes me feel very exposed to unsavoury behaviour. Without wanting to become the protagonist in a first person shooter game, who takes out all potential threats, in my mind there has to be a gamified way to deal with this stuff?
In one of my gamification workshops with HR managers, a suggestion was made to have electric shocks for late arrivers at work in a call centre, I said then it was probably a bit drastic as stick a approach, but is there such a device for networking purposed where you can have the same effect as barbed wire fencing? (Only joking!) To be perfectly honest, I find it frankly appalling that this keeps on happening, even when you let them know that you are in a happy relationship. Maybe that generation is in need of empathy and understanding, maybe the best thing for them to experience is to take part in an experiment like BeAnotherLab with a gender swap, which I blogged about a few months ago, but as a reminder here is the video of a reporter taking part again.
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What gamification strategies would you apply to these situations?