Sunday, June 17, 2018

Naked misogyny...

Yesterday, I happened to read an article posted by the Navy Times about a toxic leader.  The Navy's inspector general is currently investigating its top enlisted sailor, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Steve Giordano, because there are allegations that he had created a "toxic work environment" inside his small Pentagon based staff.

Apparently, some guys in the military know more about this stuff than I do...

I was interested in the article because my husband, Bill, went to Iraq with a toxic boss.  He spent six months in a war zone with a man who took great delight in micromanaging his staff.  The colonel who was Bill's boss would insist that Bill eat meals with him, learn the basics of playing golf, and put up with his constant insults and threats without saying a word.  The guy would refuse to give Bill any peace.  I knew things were bad when Bill called me from Iraq and told me he felt like he was back with his ex wife.  I was pretty livid, since being in a war zone is stressful enough without having an asshole boss who gets his thrills terrorizing his staff members.

A few years later, Bill was gratified to find out that his former boss had been very publicly fired.  Once again, he'd gone to Iraq, this time with a brigade.  He abused people within the brigade, particularly the women.  The whole thing was reported in the Army Times.  This guy, who had been slated to become a general, was basically kicked out of the Army six weeks before he would have come home to the States and pinned on his new rank.  I must admit, it felt good seeing him get his richly deserved just desserts.

It sounds like this guy, Giordano, is similarly abusive.  People who have worked with him claim that he's verbally abusive, has a "ferocious temper", and a bullying leadership style.  He is also accused of being "passive aggressive", which doesn't seem to jibe with also having a "ferocious temper".  Maybe he's passive aggressive until he finally loses his shit and explodes.

Giordano allegedly thinks of himself as akin to a three-star admiral and has reportedly tried to get the same privileges of someone at that rank.  For instance, he supposedly demanded that his staff ask the Navy to issue him his own fine china for when he hosts formal dinners in his home.  Many sailors have either voluntarily left or been fired by Giordano, simply because he allegedly makes the work environment so unpleasant.  Working for him has been compared to "working for a pop star or a Hollywood diva".

I have read a few stories about people in the military with this particular leadership style.  Recently, I read about a high ranking female officer at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia who wanted to fudge the results of her "tape test".  A tape test, for those who don't know, is an alternative way, other than measuring BMI, to determine if a servicemember is too fat.  If a servicemember is, say, unusually short or stocky, the BMI might not be the best way to determine his or her fitness.  Colonel Glenda Lock, known for being an "abrasive" leader, supposedly demanded that she be held to different body composition standards and measurement procedures.  She was fired from her prestigious job as commander of McDonald Army Health Center (a place where I spent many hours as a kid, getting routine medical care-- it was still an inpatient hospital in those days).

Abusive and/or toxic leadership is a topic that I find intriguing, so I usually read the articles about asshole bosses, especially when they are in a military uniform.  But what always bewilders me are the comments.  I almost don't dare to comment on any article by a military publication because I've found that a lot of people, particularly male servicemembers, can't stand it when a civilian, particularly a female civilian, voices an opinion.  However, I couldn't resist yesterday when I read the comments posted below.

The first guy basically insults anyone who has a complaint about abusive leaders by implying that they're weak and need "Vagisil dispensers".  I have to wonder what such a big strong man who doesn't cry knows about Vagisil.  That's like a guy knowing a lot about maxi pads or tampons.  On the other hand, Bill knows which brands I prefer and doesn't mind buying them for me.  That makes him a *real man* in my eyes.

I was bewildered by the guy's comment on so many levels.  First off, what the hell does he know about Vagisil?  It's not a product marketed to men, which leads me to believe this dude either watches a lot of commercials on television-- and Vagisil ads would typically air on a female centric channel like Lifetime, Oxygen, or We-- or he has a mother, wife, sister, or daughter who has used it.  If the latter is true, I wonder if he treats them with disdain for being female.  And if he has, has it ever occurred to him how much tougher a female's genitalia is than a male's?  Sheng Wang says it best...

People often attribute this to Betty White, but actually Sheng Wang said it...  I suppose it's funnier if it seems to have come from Betty White, but she has publicly said she didn't say this.

And Sheng Wang supposedly got his routine from one by Hal Sparks, who also notes that vaginas are much tougher than dicks and balls are...

Anyway, enough with the fact checking.  The point is, there are a lot of misogynistic creeps out there, especially in the military.  And I maintain that guys who make misogynistic remarks are pretty fucking stupid.  I want to ask that man if he has any women in his life that he cares about.  And if he does, would he like it if some random guy made nasty comments about them simply due to their gender?  Why is it okay for men to refer to "weak" males as "pussies", "bitches", or "girls", or sneeringly refer to feminine hygiene products being used by men as a statement of their strength, or lack thereof?  Seems to me, most straight men would love to have free access to the parts of a woman that make her female.  Maybe the fact that they don't is the reason why these frustrated male types feel the need to make such disgusting comments about all things feminine.

I mostly don't mind the military culture.  I've been around it my whole life.  However, I have to admit to getting tired of dumb comments made by guys who don't do a lot of thinking.  Especially when these same guys feel emboldened to continue spouting off their bullshit to women, most of whom would quickly bury them in a battle of wits.  I don't usually engage with those types of people because it's a waste of time.  But I did feel compelled to ask the guy what he knows about Vagisil.  If he's so "manly", why is such a female centric product even on his radar?  

I would also love to see how the guy would hold up if someone pitted him against a woman in a crotchkicking contest.  Hit a man and a woman in the same spot between the legs.  Which one do you think would be bent over, howling in agony?  Not the woman.  Think about it.


  1. Some males, POTUS included, seem a bit disproportionately obsessed with the functions of the female body. That is all fine except that I would prefer that they keep their obsessions to themselves. I don't need to know the specifics of their fantasies.


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