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Office Affairs = a Matter of Power Imbalance?

The scandals between a male boss and his personal secretary have been told countless times that they cease to be scandals and start to smell stale. What about affairs between an older lady boss and her subordinate?

Older men prefer younger, pretty girls. That is out of the question. Older women prefer younger, cute boys. That seems to be the trend in Singapore and perhaps anywhere else that practices gender equality.  It doesn’t technically violate society’s standards until these preferences invade the work space.

A huge proportionate of managers and directors in Singapore are female. It’s great news to aspiring female leaders or career-oriented young women. Sadly, with the reversal of power, same sins are committed behind the office walls – that is if you deem them inappropriate. We witness similar patterns of office affairs where certain female bosses would leer at their male assistants, give preferential treatment, and eventually take action based on mutual consent. Female superiors most likely have a better shot than their male counterparts at obtaining this mutual consent. After all, most young male assistants wouldn’t hesitate to jump at ready-at-hand opportunities like this one.

However, different mindsets buttress the same type of “sins”.

Whereas female assistants fall for male superiors in pursuit of power and money, male assistants are more interested in exploring the mature beauty of their female superiors. Their thirst exactly feeds the female superiors’ vanity. Taking pride in their ability to “charm” young boys, they believe that youth and beauty are still on their side. Furthermore, with not much of a real life they tend to seek excitement in the unusual or the forbidden, which is why everyone in the world is bored enough to have extramarital affairs. On the contrary, those who keep personal love affairs out of the office sphere tend to have more access to stimulation in other forms – such as traveling.

Like businessmen in China who embark on business trips involving nightclubs and making new encounters,  some female superiors also like to dabble in office affairs. Perhaps this is their only break from stress at work. Work is their life and their way of fulfilling their life. Where else do you expect these busy folks to mitigate the stress when the amount of leisure available is dangerously deficient?

Irregardless of their newfound financial and emotional independence as they rise to power in their career, many of them still can’t break free of their own vanity and their role as sex objects. Or maybe they don’t want to break free. It’s deeply ingrained and it is natural for women to desire sexual attention. That is why Princeton, Cornell, Yale kids have repeatedly appeared on ANTM (American Next Top Model) and Harvard-educated Sonia Dara chose to pose for the cover of Sports Illustrated. She rose to fame not because of her intelligence, but because of her external beauty. Most people in the world are blind enough to confuse the two that they start applauding “Wow a beauty with brains! How rare!”

Human nature will never change no matter how hard we try, and thus we’ll never be able to achieve absolute gender equality – as in assigning same values to men and women – unless we first change how we fundamentally perceive ourselves.

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