I finished reading Bossypants a week ago and have been totally book-depressed ever since. It was everything I could ever want in a book - interesting, hysterical, inspirational, etc. Just 275 pages of awesome.
Here's one story (slightly abbreviated) that I thought was particularly awesome:
Amy Poehler was new to SNL and we were all crowded into the seventeenth-floor writers' room, waiting for the Wednesday read-through to start. There were always a lot of noisy "comedy bits" going on in that room. Amy was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can't remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and "unladylike."
Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said, "Stop that! It's not cute! I don't like it."
Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. "I don't fucking care if you like it." Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit.
With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn't there to be cute. She wasn't there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys' scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care of you like it.
I think of this whenever someone says to me, "Jerry Lewis says women aren't funny," or Christopher Hitchens says women aren't funny...Do you have anything to say about that?"
Yes. We don't fucking care if you like it.
...My hat goes off to them. It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don't like something, it is empirically not good. I don't like Chinese food, but I don't write articles trying to prove it doesn't exist.
So my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or ever really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: "Is this person in between me and what I want to do?" If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you're in charge, don't hire the people who were jerky to you.
If the answer is yes, you have a more difficult road ahead of you. I suggest you model your strategy after the old Sesame Street film piece "Over! Under! Through!"
...If your boss is a jerk, try to find someone above or around your boss who is not a jerk. If you're lucky, your workplace will have a neutral proving ground - like the rifle range or the car sales total board or the SNL read-through. If so, focus on that.
Again, don't waste your energy trying to educate or change opinion. Go "Over! Under! Through!" and opinions will change organically when you're the boss. Or they won't. Who cares.
Do your thing and don't care if they like it.