My name is Lady vonLady.
I, too, am victim to the sexist air conditioning conspiracy.
As I sat down to write this on my lunch break, I find myself cuddling a Dunkin’ Donuts cup of piping hot coffee. The purpose of this, you see, is to thaw out my fingers so they’re not as stiff and sore when I type. The cup is thin and ineffective at conserving heat. This meets my needs perfectly, though it means that my coffee is cold within the hour.
My coffee is yet another victim of the patriarchy.
My husband’s thick, heather grey hoodie is zipped up over my t-shirt. It isn’t enough – in addition, a fuzzy blanket bearing the image of the lavender-shaded pony Twilight Sparkle is draped over my shoulders. I’m wearing long jeans, despite the 75 F temperatures and bright sun outside of my building. Still…
…still, I’m cold.
All down my row, hoodies hang from coat hooks outside of each cubicle. The woman directly across from me is wearing a sweatshirt, another hoodie hung on the back of her chair. The woman a row over is wearing an Old Navy fleece. She wore it into work this morning due to the cold she knew would be waiting for her, despite the temperature. She told me this herself.
So, who’s to blame for our discomfort?
On July 23rd, The Washington Post published an article named ‘Frigid offices, freezing women, oblivious men: An air-conditioning investigation’. Air quotes are more effective than normal quotes, but lets do this anyway.
To be fair, I’m not convinced that The Washington Post’s article isn’t some brilliant form of trolling feminists. Given this is the internet, though; let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, The Telegraph took it seriously enough.
According to Petula Dvorak in her Post article,
I found a trio, two women — shoulders bare — and a man, in handsome navy twill pants and a smart, checkered, button-down shirt, eating lunch together.
They all work together at a company that deals with international education issues. How’s the weather inside while they’re working on educating the globe?
You know I don’t have to tell you who said what.
I won’t quote the rest of the article. It really isn’t necessary, because if this is what passes for journalism, I’m just going to point out observations of my experience. Perhaps I’ll get a job!
The article’s gist is that women are cold in office buildings and men seem to be comfortable. It made a firm point to show that the women saying they were cold had bare shoulders and sundresses. This is the reason I’m confused as to the purpose of this article. I get the feeling that Dvorak pointed out the way women dress for a reason and the way she mentions sexism has me wavering on her opinion as to the situation.
I don’t have the same dilemma regarding Radhika Sanghani’s article.
The Telegraph, the following day on July 24th, published their own article based on this item from The Post entitled “Air conditioning in your office is sexist. True story.” (It was reposted recently. I have no idea why.)
To quote the article:
The Washington Post recently highlighted this in a piece that made all my female colleagues and I fist pump the air with joy.
Finally someone is acknowledging that AC hell is not a figment of our imaginations, but is actually a form of sexism. Men toil in their dream temperatures, while women are left to shiver. Or in my case, wrap themselves in a weird grey poncho/blanket/scarf.
It’s really about time we had this conversation. There must be thousands – dare I say millions – of women out there having these exact AC office wars. I asked women on Twitter how they felt and within five minutes, I had these responses:
Clearly, this is a problem, and it’s one that’s backed up by scientific research. In 1998, researchers at the University of Utah found that though women had higher core temperatures than men (97.8 °F vs. 97.4 °F) their hands were consistently colder. While men registered an average hand temperature of 90 °F, the mean hand temperature for women was just 87.2 °F.
Okay. This is an opinion piece, so I’m not going to bother to refute the articles she references. I am an ice box myself! My husband can attest to the frigidity of my feet and hands, even on the hottest of days.
That’s the problem with stating that this is sexist, though. People seem to really mean it. Let me give an example:
I live in an area of the world where the temperatures in the winter can be in the negatives for weeks at a time. During the winter, which is about 7 months long, this isn’t uncommon. We are constantly cold. So when summer rolls around, air conditioning is snapped on relatively quickly. 70 F is a warm temperature. A lot of us don’t have a real resistance to the heat.
Maybe that’s why no one I know complains beyond the standard “Wow, it’s cold in here today!” Or perhaps it’s just because these feminists are so desperate for any degree of war to fight that they are actually trying to use body temperature to make people they don’t like uncomfortable.
How about you just keep a sweater at your desk and not act like an entitled, prissy prima donna? The only person that needs to change in this situation is the one who can’t handle the comfort being afforded to her. I encourage you, in this case, to come to work wearing flannels and chopper mittens. If you do that, not ONLY will your statement be made but you’ll be warm too.
Excuse me while I thaw my hands out and blame the fact that there’s bright sun outside and I have poor circulation.