The transition from in-person work to Zoom has been difficult for most. For 28-year-old office worker Alyssa, however, it’s been an excruciating fight for her identity.
“Every day I come into work, I feel as though my opinion doesn’t matter,” she exclaims, crying tears into her caramel macchiato.
“My responses are mostly met with blank faces, and sometimes my bosses just talk right over me. I am trying to share my ideas and input on the things happening in my department, and it’s like I’m screaming into a void… like no one can hear me. But then I realize, it’s because they literally cannot. I was put on mute.”
After pacing back and forth and taking deep breaths to gain her composure, Alyssa continues. “Do you know what it’s like to be successful in the workplace and to have those jealous of your success try and knock you down? Why was I silenced? Is it because I’m a woman with an opinion? I knew it was going to be hard in this male-dominated society to be respected, but I never knew they would result to using Zoom as a weapon of the patriarchy. “
Alyssa explains that, in what she calls a stroke of genius, she decided to take her protest to the chat section of the virtual meetings. “I begin typing every question I would have asked out loud if I wasn’t muted: Is this meeting going to take much longer? What time is lunch? Are casual Fridays ever going to make a comeback? You can really tell that my little impromptu protests are starting to make a stir with my sexist pig man bosses. One even had the nerve to passive aggressively ask us to use the ‘raise hand’ function if we had a question, and I was instantly filled with rage. Why would I raise my hand if it’s clear that you don’t want to hear what I have to contribute?”
“It takes a true revolutionary to stand alone with something she believes in, but it’s honestly pretty disappointing to see when no one joins me. Once, I even saw fellow female coworkers on my screen rolling their eyes whenever I hit ‘enter’ on a new question. Don’t they know that I’m out here fighting for all of us? Whether or not they know it, I’m trying to send a message that we will no longer be silenced!”
After reaching out to Alyssa’s workplace HR, a representative from the company confirmed that all members of the company were put on mute.