To not want to be referred to as 'The girls'

(29 Posts)
Pollyputthekettle Tue 18-Feb-14 08:53:36

I work in a team of women where we all do the same job and have to work together. There are 4 of us in this team. Then there are 7 other people (men and women) who are part of the overall team but not a team within themselves.

My boss (male) keeps referring to us (the 4 that work together) as 'The girls' in team meetings etc. It makes my teeth itch. I want to ask him to stop as I find it patronising.

AIBU?

VelvetStrider Tue 18-Feb-14 08:59:11

I had to explain this to my boss once too - he kept calling us 'the girlies'. We explained (tactfully) that using 'girls' was fine in situations where a group of men could be referred to as 'boys', but where 'men' would be more suitable, 'women' should be used. 'Ladies' should be reserved for more formal occasions where the term 'gentlemen' would be used. It's not difficult really, but do bring it up, he probably doesn't realise how patronising it is. Do your colleagues feel the same?

YANBU. Drives me nuts, so belittling.

You could do the professional thing and just ask him to stop "please stop referring to us as the girls, it's very patronising". But you could start calling him 'dear' or 'lovey' or 'sweetheart' or something.

chippers1 Tue 18-Feb-14 09:00:25

Is it that bad ? -

Pollyputthekettle Tue 18-Feb-14 09:01:02

And to put it into context. There is no reason he needs to group us together in group meetings. He will close meetings by going round the table asking if they have issues. For example, he will ask the other 7 people by their name "Sue, any issues?" but when he gets to us he groups us together and says "Girls, any issues?" Then other times he will say to someone else in the team "ask the girls".

I have one of these darn team meetings later today. Grrrrr.

Daykin Tue 18-Feb-14 09:02:24

YANBU. I don't mind 'girls night out' but it's not appropriate at work.

Pollyputthekettle Tue 18-Feb-14 09:04:11

Yes Chippersit's that bad. It just drives me nuts. But I am not sure if I am getting too het up over it hence why I am here. I guess it wouldn't annoy you but it bugs me. I don't know why it bugs me so much but it does.

I haven't asked my colleagues. The boss is relatively new so I don't want to talk about it behind his back (other than here grin.

Good idea LadyGardener.

SuburbanRhonda Tue 18-Feb-14 09:06:02

chippers - just imagine sports commentators describing a men's football team as "the boys".

That might help you realise that, yes it is that bad.

Tbh, OP, the fact that he does not consider you as individuals is just as bad, IMO.

You could be me.
I work in a team of 12, 3 are women. We are regularly referred to as "the girls" - I actually had had enough last week and said (after the 20th time he said it in one meeting) "I'm nearly 42 & a mother, please don't refer to me as a girl"

It wasn't said nastily and my Manager said I was absolutely right.

LucyLasticBand Tue 18-Feb-14 09:06:24

i hate it too, one of my female colleagues refers to us like that.

SuburbanRhonda Tue 18-Feb-14 09:08:32

The head teacher at my previous school used to call me "lovey".

She was 15 years younger than me - and barking mad, I should add grin

MardyBra Tue 18-Feb-14 09:08:56

YANBU. It's infantilising grown women. Even if it's not deliberately marginalising the women in the team, it has the effect of demoting them to a childlike role with the men having a higher status.

OwlinaTree Tue 18-Feb-14 09:11:10

I hate this too. Went to breast feeding class last week, midwife kept refering to us as girls... Grrrrr

FunnyBird Tue 18-Feb-14 09:11:14

YANBU
I just pointed out to my male colleagues last week tgat referring to the Secretaries as girls was patronising. they said they didn't mean it to be patronising, so there was no harm in it. hmm

MardyBra Tue 18-Feb-14 09:16:17

Has anyone noticed how it's usually used for admin or routine jobs,

I picked Dh up recently for saying "the girl on reception" at a hotel. I've seen "the girl on the checkout" often enough on MN. Nobody says " the girl who is my accountant", "the girl in charge" or "the girl who represented me in court". If a woman has a position with some power, she's usually conferred a more adult status.

MardyBra Tue 18-Feb-14 09:17:07

Funnybird, have you started referring to them as boys to see how they like it?

IWantToSCRRREAM Tue 18-Feb-14 09:17:57

YANBU if it bothers you. Wouldn't bother me though. I'm sure he doesn't mean anything by it.

MardyBra Tue 18-Feb-14 09:19:54

Oh and Boots and fuck right off with their patronising "Here come the girls" adverts.

Can you tell this is a bugbear of mine?

divisionbyzero Tue 18-Feb-14 09:23:41

"I'm nearly 42 & a mother, please don't refer to me as a girl"

Perfect.

FunnyBird Tue 18-Feb-14 09:40:19

Mardy, perhaps I should try that. But I think the older ones might be flattered (?).

falulahthecat Tue 18-Feb-14 09:45:36

Next time he says "Ask the girls"
Pipe up with "Which one? Or don't you know our names? - haha. ha."

MardyBra Tue 18-Feb-14 09:49:07

Or maybe next time he says "ask the girls", you could say: "I didn't know we had any children working for the organisation."

MardyBra Tue 18-Feb-14 09:50:02

"Mardy, perhaps I should try that. But I think the older ones might be flattered (?)."

Hmm. Maybe another strategy then.

NotBrittaPieHonest Tue 18-Feb-14 09:59:33

OOH, I hate this SO MUCH.

I was once locked up on a mental ward. We had to ask for the most basic things, we were told off for not eating our tea or staying up too late, we had snotty cow nurses bursting in on us at random (I know it is their job, but it didn't feel like it at the time), we were at really vulnerable points in our lives. We really needed those little gestures that show that we were still respected adults even though we didn't have many of the privileges associated with that.

And they kept calling us "girls"

I mean, seriously, who thinks that is ok?

NotBrittaPieHonest Tue 18-Feb-14 10:02:27

The only times I think it is ok is a) "girls night out" or other such jokey informal times when the whole idea is to be a bit immature. b) cards addressed to Mr and Mrs Pie "and the girls" when that includes five of us, three of whom have names that ALWAYS get spelled wrong.

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