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AIBU to detest that my CEO calls me 'young girl', 'little one' and other derogatory terms?

(26 Posts)
vikihayden101 Wed 10-Jun-15 17:03:50

I'm 25 years old and have been in work for 9 years. I am experienced in my field and consider myself to be professional and good at my job. However, I started a new job in January this year and my female CEO has taken up the habit of referring to me as 'little one', 'young girl', 'teen pop', 'young one' and other derogatory pet names.

I accept that perhaps she doesn't realise that I find this uncomfortable and she probably thinks she is being friendly but to me I am an adult in the workplace and if I were a man this would not be happening. So my question is, am I being unreasonable to detest that my CEO calls me 'young girl', 'little one' and other derogatory terms?

woowoo22 Wed 10-Jun-15 17:15:36


WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Wed 10-Jun-15 17:20:36

That would piss me off too.

chocolateyay Wed 10-Jun-15 17:23:36

I suppose calling her 'old bag' wouldn't go down well?

pookamoo Wed 10-Jun-15 17:24:51

What are you going to do about it?

DoTheDuckFace Wed 10-Jun-15 17:26:15

I always get called young one. When I started at 18, there were two of us with the same name and I was referred to as young x. It has never really bothered me but I think in the circumstances you describe it would feel quite condescending so yanbu .

avocadotoast Wed 10-Jun-15 17:26:36

"Teen pop"? confused

YANBU at all. That would drive me nuts.

HopeandLuck Wed 10-Jun-15 17:29:33

Erm...."Yes big mama?" <eyebrow arched>

Softer than old hag, but hopefully will get message across.

PoppyBlossom Wed 10-Jun-15 17:34:31

Is there a hr department?

WellWoman Wed 10-Jun-15 17:37:10

As a senior executive with lots of years under my belt I feel very aggrieved and angry for you that a senior woman is behaving like such a twat.

YANBU - but what now?

I suggest asking her for a short private discussion about your personal development. While talking about your options in the business, and reiterating your commitment and enthusiasm about it, ask her if she has any advice for the times when more senior people patronise you by calling you be-litting nicknames? Give her examples of what "people" call you and how it undermines your status. Hopefully the penny will drop - if not you may have to have call her on it if she does it again after your conversation, pointing out that this is the sort of thing you were talking about when you asked her for advice.

Good luck, you sound like a very professional and high potential person!

WellWoman Wed 10-Jun-15 17:37:58

Gah - belittling, not belitting

Bettercallsaul1 Wed 10-Jun-15 18:15:11

No - You are definitely not being unreasonable in objecting to these terms of address, which have the effect of diminishing your professional standing at work - especially if used in front of others. By referring to you continually as "young", "little" and a "teen", she is implying that you occupy a junior, inexperienced position in the company which is clearly not the case. These terms undervalue you and your contribution and are undermining to your dignity and confidence.

There are a range of possible motivations for this - it may be that she is deliberately or subconsciously "keeping you in your place" in order to boost her own status or, less. serriously, may just not remember your name and is using these terms when she has to refer to you as you are the youngest person in the room. (It is, of course, not complimentary either not to know your name.) In either case, I would take action as soon as she does it. Any time she refers to you as anyyhing other than your name, just say clearly and matter-of-factly : "It's Kathy" or whatever. If you do this consistently, it will be her who looks like an idiot for having to be reminded every time. She will not like this act of (completely justified) criticism in front of other staff and will hopefully stop without you having to take any further action.

Fauxlivia Wed 10-Jun-15 19:10:01

How is she treating you generally? Do you feel your work is valued and rewarded? Do you believe you have been treated fairly when it comes to promotion and training opportunities? The answer to these questions would determine how much of an issue I made of this if I was in your shoes.

That said yanbu to dislike it but I would choose my battles and if I felt her view had hindered my career I would see HR, but not if she was meaning no offense and was a good boss in all other ways

MoreBeta Wed 10-Jun-15 19:23:24

She is doing it deliberately. Some women in professional situations undermine other women around them who they see as a potential future rival. You are younger and she may feel threatened that you will draw attention away from her in an otherwise all male environment/industry.

MoreBeta Wed 10-Jun-15 19:24:41

No point in complaining to HR and if you complain to her it will cause an 'atmosphere'.

Talismania Wed 10-Jun-15 20:36:51

Depends on the relationship I think. I have someone who calls me similar and its affectionate not demeaning. But in most cases I think it's most likely to be demeaning.

sashh Wed 10-Jun-15 20:54:54

I suppose calling her 'old bag' wouldn't go down well?

How about grandma? Or laugh and say, "next time you call me little I'm going to call you big/grandma/old lady (depending on what you think you can get away with)"

SylvaniansAtEase Wed 10-Jun-15 21:00:08

Next time she does it, give a broad, genuine smile and say

'Oh, don't say that! You're not that old!'

A way to 'hit back' which she cannot possibly take offence at... it's a compliment

but you will have got across a point which I think she will realise she doesn't actually want to make.

Might sort it!

feckitall Wed 10-Jun-15 21:04:46

What is the relationship like Op? Do you think a response will be acknowledged?
My manager has been known to refer to me as 'little feckit' and 'young feck' ...we are both the same age! late 40s confused hmm
she generally speaks to everyone as a dim 10yr old anyway..
I have been known to reply 'yes mum!'

vikihayden101 Wed 10-Jun-15 22:55:56

Thanks for all of your comments, which have been really helpful. On the whole we have a good relationship and I do feel valued, however it is a small organisation and the CEO tends to handle most HR issues. I just find it makes it difficult to be taken seriously, especially when the majority of my office are older than me. It makes me uncomfortable but I also don't want to cause an atmosphere as I love my job. All this advice on responses has definitely given me some food for thought! Thank you x

vikihayden101 Wed 10-Jun-15 22:57:37

grin haha I doubt it would!

Fatmomma99 Wed 10-Jun-15 23:40:54

There's some really good advice here.

The only thing I would add is making some notes (dates, times, who was present) (a) you might start to notice a pattern and (b) if things escalate it will be useful to you if you have a history you can fall back on and quote if necessary.

But with so much good advice, hopefully won't need to.

Good luck

onemorerose Wed 10-Jun-15 23:53:31

I love well womans and bettercallsauls advice and they put it much better than I could. YANBU.

WanderWomble Thu 11-Jun-15 00:15:51

Have you asked her not to call you these things?

If she's not doing it in a nasty way and you haven't said anything, she might nor realise it bothers you. Try asking her firmly but politely to stop.

"CEO, the nicknames are upsetting me. Please could you stop using them?"

(I spent a month calling a trainee 'kid' because he was ten years younger than me. He told me he didn't like it and I felt awful- it was just a habit I'd gotten into and didn't realise it bothered him.)

TheMaddHugger Thu 11-Jun-15 03:02:19

? sorry and Hugs

You were how old when you started ?

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