'Good Trouble': Mariana's Boss Is Literally The Worst Person, But His Actions Speak To A Larger Issue

Since the premiere of Good Trouble, we've seen Alex (Dustin Ingram)—Mariana’s (Cierra Ramirez) boss—be routinely terrible to her ever since her first day at Speckulate, and on this week's episode, "Imposter," things didn't get much better. 

Alex is the leader of the team and is in charge of all projects the team executes, but he's never allowed Mariana to quite feel like she's part of said team. Alex constantly talks down to Mariana, continues to mispronounce her name, condescendingly corrects her mistakes (sometimes very publicly), makes her feel like she’s not good enough, and dismisses all her ideas. Oh, except for that one time he actually STOLE her idea and passed it off as his own!

While Alex is bad on his own, he represents a whole culture that unfortunately runs rampant in the work force, especially in tech fields and start-up industries. Often referred to as “bro culture," this toxic way of thinking and behaving has a negative effect on work places across the country. Business Insider says it “tends to prioritize young men over all other employees, creating an environment that's ripe for toxic behaviors like excessive partying and systemic harassment of colleagues.” While many fields continue to be dominated by men, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) has been notorious for being a “boy’s club." It is very hard for women to get their foot in the door and work their way up. The underrepresentation of women in the field is what allows “bro culture” to thrive, and statistics prove the negative effects it results in. According to Catalyst, women made up less than one-quarter (24%) of those employed in STEM occupations in 2015. Work experiences also impact women’s decisions to leave those occupations. Isolation, hostile male-dominated work environments, ineffective executive feedback, and a lack of effective sponsors are factors pushing women to leave these jobs. Almost one-third of women in the United States (32%) intend to leave their science, engineering, & technology (SET) jobs within a year. 

One of the most upsetting parts about last night’s episode was seeing Mariana get so broken down by Alex and Speckulate, that she began to doubt herself. She seemed to suffer from Impostor Syndrome, which is when an individual doubts their accomplishments and capabilities, and starts to feel inadequate or fraudulent. This came shortly after Alex says her work is simply “passable," and that “B+ work” won’t cut it. Alex also refused to let her take on an assignment for the company’s new social network project, saying he won’t be able to “hold her hand” to work on it. EXCUSE ME?!

She expresses those feelings of self-doubt in the bathroom to her co-worker Casey. Casey is another woman of color working at Speckulate, and has been there longer than Mariana. Nevertheless, they still face the same discrimination, humiliation and disrespect from their male colleagues. The way they lean on each other for support throughout the show is so important to their success and survival at the company. Every woman needs another female ally at any place of employment!

Mariana is a bright, strong woman who deserves better at her workplace. The harassment and discrimination she faces every day would be enough to break most people, but she still manages to make it through—even when it seems like she's reaching her breaking point. Alex and the people at Speckulate are representations of the “bro culture” that needs to go away in offices across America, and the world. Women should not have to put up with what Mariana does at their jobs. We need to see vast and immediate change to make every industry more inclusive for all.

In conclusion...