Yesterday I was asked something that would be considered (I believe) quite outrageous in any Western company. For some reason, I just laughed it off and didn't even think about it being strange and inappropriate, which was alarming because it's means I'm also getting used to the "not so-ok stuff" going on.
Due to a project with a very tight budget, I was requested to ask our providers for a discount, which is quite common in the business world as anyone will tell you. That is okay. Until yesterday, where I was asked to request said discount in a "feminine, sweet way" because "guys are intimidated by strong-sounding women".
If there had been any, and I mean any, other reason, I would have shrugged it off. You're still quite new, you haven't known them for long, you're trying to appeal to their soft spot (still dodgy?) but because "guys are intimidated"? Really?
I was dealing with an American provider, therefore I used the straightforward-approach. Say what you want in a polite manner, but without any leaks or possible misunderstandings. With Japanese providers it's different because it's cultural, not... sexual. Men are polite to men, as women to women and men to women and vice-versa. Everyone's polite to everyone, full stop.
But this? This was the first time I have felt singled out as a woman (he probably meant well, I know he did, but nope).
The more I think about it, the more shocked I feel.