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Dear Culturalist: Girl Power in the Cannabis Community

By Onya Ganja on May 7, 2019

Dear Culturalist:
I am a woman working in a cannabis company where, at times, it feels a bit too much like a boys' club. What is the best way to promote a more gender-friendly atmosphere in the cannabis workplace without seeming like a PC zealot?

Sorry, is “PC zealot” an insult? I have been taking it as a compliment this whole time. 

It seems to me like you do not want to make men uncomfortable, but honestly, why should any woman consider making men feel comfortable at her job? Or are you worried that the women you work with will think of you as a PC zealot? I highly doubt it.

Honestly, who gives a fuck if someone thinks you are a zealot? People like to use that word to shun activists. Most name calling is about control. The larger and much more valid concern is how you can make change happen. That is, how can you address super deep-seated power imbalances all around you without getting burnt out? You have a frustrating battle ahead of you, and maintaining your mental health is a crucial part of the fight.

Wondering how you can fight for equality without ruffling some feathers is akin to asking how one can take ice cream from a toddler without making them cry. In your situation, male coworkers are the toddlers and the ice cream is their male privilege. 

No need to come in screaming and lighting things on fire (or maybe there is), but speak your piece with love in your heart. If they get angry about your goals, assume they are afraid. They might just not know it yet. Male privilege is so delicate that those who enjoy it sometimes feel like a mere conversation can take it away from them, despite the fact that most are totally unaware of this. 

From the time they are newborns till the day they die, men are pretty much babies of various sizes that may or may not become violent or learn how to wear suits. So really the key to success with them is spoon-feeding them sweet baby food and not pushing them to take more than baby steps. When you can. Clearly some situations call for you to heckle a man in public. We’ve all been there, right?

Before we go any further, let us take a moment to address a fact: Doesn’t life in general feel like a bit too much of a boys’ club? Yes, it does. If it doesn’t feel that way to you, please tell me what world you are living in. I think adjusting this reality needs a similar approach both within and outside the workplace, though I would be quicker to heckle outside vocational environments.

Best advice I could ever give to anyone writing to me for any reason is to just simply ignore men every chance you get. Look at them blankly and then turn your head. Spend your time supporting, mentoring and lifting up all the women around you instead of paying men any attention. Not just in the workplace, but in your life too. 

Seeing other women succeed can help with feeling as though life is more than just one big bag of dicks. Helping women be their best selves will feed your soul and benefit us all. Note: this approach also does not require you saying anything to men so there’ll be a little-to-no risk of them calling you a zealot.

Alternatively, you could spend your time tricking the men into thinking that making a change is their idea. With most men, fooling them into believing something is their own idea and giving them the credit is the very best way to get them to buy-in. Many of us learned this from the men in our lives while growing up.

Show them how change will benefit them. Try to avoid using language over their heads that is alienating and does not help anyone but your ego. Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. Never put a pin near their inflated egos or they might just burst from the thought of it. Tell them they are good boys in the same way you would tell a dog! Giving them a biscuit might help, too.

Or... you could learn the art of sleep suggestion. Then, if you catch them sleeping in their offices, you can brainwash them, all your dude coworkers, one by one, into resigning. Repeat this until women in your office no longer feel like outsiders on any level, and the few remaining men who never fell asleep in the workplace huddle together in a corner with fear in their eyes.

Men trying to cling to their privilege can piss right off while enjoying the luxury of standing up. Do I sound like a zealot? Yes. Also note: I do not care. Even a little. So do you want change? Or do you want to keep the men around you comfortable?

Lifting up the women around you is my best advice, but if all else fails, you could put acid in their man lunches. (After consulting a lawyer, of course.) I would like to think there is only so much acid a man can consume before he realizes the universe does not desire boys’ clubs to thrive and we are all just part of one giant never-ending soul.


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