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to hate being called a girl at work

(43 Posts)
everybodysang Wed 29-Mar-17 13:58:12

To give some context without outing myself: I'm a senior manager. I'm 37. I work in a very small team with an assistant who is in her early 20s and female. There are quite a lot of women in my department, probably about 60/40 woman/men ratio. We work directly with the sales department, which has a much heavier male to female ratio. This is all just for context, it's not really important.

My equivalent on the sales team, who I have to work quite closely with, often comes over and says "hello girls", before he starts speaking to us. I've pulled him up on that before. Yesterday he said "hello gorgeous*everybodysang*" which made me cringe terribly but as he launched straightaway into the business he'd come over to talk about I didn't really get a chance to say anything. But I wish I had.

This morning he came back over and boomed "morning girls" and I said, "women, or ladies if you must," and he said "but you are girls". He was so taken aback that I then said no (even though I've asked him not to call us girls before). He asked what was wrong, and I said it wasn't workplace-appropriate language. He apologised, not terribly graciously, and then got on with what he wanted to talk about.

He's now sulking a bit and, if his previous pattern is anything to go by, he now won't talk to me for a few days.

It drives me crackers, though. He does have a tendency to talk down to me, explaining quite basic elements of our industry to me, as if I'm not in a senior position. He's older then me, but not by much - I think he thinks I'm much younger than I am; not that that matters, really. I despise being called a girl. I think it's patronising and demeaning, and everyone else in the office - even the large quotient of rather typically 'laddish' sales staff - manage not to do it.

I'm also hyper aware of being an older woman among a lot of younger women - they can all hold their own, but I do want to make it clear that it's not acceptable.

Is this really such a big ask? I used to do the same position in an extremely male-dominated industry (to the extent that I was one of the only women in the world doing what I did) and again, those I worked with managed not to call me a bloody girl.

My six year old daughter is a girl. I'm a full grown woman in a professional position.

Anyone got any good comebacks? I'll probably stick to the 'please use professional language' line but I'd like to daydream at least...

Rubyslippers7780 Wed 29-Mar-17 14:00:43

It is institutionalised shite. Pull him up every time.
Why do some people not see work as a professional environment?

RainbowChasing Wed 29-Mar-17 14:05:09

I overheard my boss calling me a "stupid girl" because she didn't like something that I'd done. I was 32 at the time 🙄

MarklahMarklah Wed 29-Mar-17 14:08:37

You could start calling him 'boy'?
<realise this isn't helpful but it might make him realise how annoying and inappropriate his choice of wording is>

NeedMoreSleepOrSugar Wed 29-Mar-17 14:11:56

I don't like it either, but I have also caught myself more than once about to refer to some of my staff collectively as "the girls" or "the boys" blush Genuinely not meant in any derogatory way, but still not ok. I don't think I've ever actually said it out loud I hope

Meekonsandwich Wed 29-Mar-17 14:16:32

Good for you!! Loads of people wouldn't have had the balls to do what you did.

"Good girl" makes me see red.

It's always bloody older man that say it too.

Mrsmorton Wed 29-Mar-17 14:18:19

YANBU. I'm teetering on the edge of calling my boss out about this as it pisses me off so much. The "girls" he manages way out qualify him academically, socially and in just about every way you could
Measure. Yet he calls them girls and the male ones "surgeon" or "doctor". (That's their actual job title).

grannycake Wed 29-Mar-17 14:20:12

I had a recent boss (now gone) who referred to me (Quality Manager of a large FE college) and our administrative assistant as "his girls" I wanted to slap him - I was in my late 50s

Softkitty2 Wed 29-Mar-17 14:20:26

Even if he sulking do not apologise. If he does it again pull him up on it.

AngelsWithSilverWings Wed 29-Mar-17 14:20:29

Why is it so hard for him too just call you by your first name?

I used to work in a male dominated sector and , even though I was a management grade just like all of the men, one colleague insisted on calling me young lady. I was 34. When I told him I didn't like being addressed in that way it he got quite offended. He couldn't see how patronising it was. Darling is another one that gets on my nerves.

Rainydayspending Wed 29-Mar-17 14:20:46

Let him sulk. Give it exactly the attention a childish sulk deserves. Be perfectly civil and keep at it until he comes up to the level expected.

AngelsWithSilverWings Wed 29-Mar-17 14:21:14

To not too blush

Rainydayspending Wed 29-Mar-17 14:23:04

Also "thanks for bringing up those basics again (name), lets get back to the problem/ situation shall we". Stop that mansplaining bull.

user1476185294 Wed 29-Mar-17 14:26:38

I don't have a problem with it, tbh. But would also think nothing of saying good morning boys/fellas/chaps/whatever else.

But obviously you do have an issue with it and it's plain disrespectful for him to continue doing it. That would annoy me.

amprev Wed 29-Mar-17 14:34:39

I would have a problem with the use of girl but I wouldn't appreciate 'ladies' either. For me, women is factual whereas 'lady' has associations with certain types of behaviour. Children tend to call women 'ladies' which I don't find offensive but outside of this I find it a bit cringey. I think if a host of a show says 'ladies and gentlemen" that's ok too, but in a professional context then I don't like it. I wouldn't feel the need to say 'good morning women!' either, but nothing wrong with 'good morning all'. That said, his use of girls is probably just an example of everyday sexism on his part - presumably he doesn't mean to patronise.

VictoriaMcdade Wed 29-Mar-17 14:38:30

Tell him to watch this!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHH3lhYwqcY

shakeyospeare Wed 29-Mar-17 14:50:59

I used to get called the Marketing Bird. I was the Group Marketing Manager and reported directly to the CEO. I had to repeatedly remind this group of males that bird is not appropriate.
I'd like to say it stopped but unfortunately, it just incentivised them to carry on and HR was sleeping with one of them (so unprofessional!!) that it was no surprise nothing changed. I'm not there anymore.

GladysKnight Wed 29-Mar-17 14:53:39

Great video! Can't believe this still happens.

On a similar note a random bloke said "well done" to me while I was jogging. Aaaaargh! I asked "well done for what? it's not difficult", cue bluster about "getting out on a cold day". angry

VictoriaMcdade Wed 29-Mar-17 15:07:26

I got all fired up after watching that. She speaks a lot of sense.

littlefrog3 Wed 29-Mar-17 15:09:00

Yep call him BOY. Why shouldn't you?

slug Wed 29-Mar-17 15:11:17

The appropriate term for a group of women you work with is "colleagues".

FrenchJunebug Wed 29-Mar-17 15:24:56

call him boy and see if he likes it.

SuperPug Wed 29-Mar-17 15:24:57

I hate this as well. It's not recognizing your senior role as well, as you've mentioned. Hated it in my twenties, hate it now.
Pathetic that he sulks and can't offer a genuine apology. hmm

Feckitall Wed 29-Mar-17 15:27:24

I have been..'good girl' 'young feckit ' 'honey' 'sweetie ' I'm 50...
Some days it irritates the shit out of me others I let it wash...and it has always been female bosses not males...

IloveBanff Wed 29-Mar-17 15:36:54

I just watched the video. I wasn't expecting it to be Mayim Bialik. She looks so different as I'm used to seeing her as Amy on TBBT. Anyway she makes a good point.

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