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"Lovely ladies" xxx in school newsletter

(33 Posts)
Choughed Sun 17-Jan-16 23:15:50

So my DD's school has just received excellent results in a particular audit. The team that delivered the project was all female. The news was included in the school newsletter to parents with the final line "Thank you so much lovely ladies - you make all the difference in the world xxx"

WIBU to send this email to the head of school?

Dear Head

I hope you are well.  Perhaps you could pass this to the appropriate person.

It was great to read that the school received excellent results in the recent audit but was it necessary to finish the news piece with "lovely ladies" and "xxx"? It comes across as sexist and patronising. I doubt that if the project was completed by a team of men they would have been referred to as "handsome gents" with triple kisses as a sign off.  I'm sure that the staff would prefer to be recognised for their professional skills rather than their charming demeanour.

It's a small point but children notice these things, and we shouldn't be reinforcing the notion that women need to be "lovely" to be successful.

Kind regards,

Choughed

Bloodybridget Sun 17-Jan-16 23:22:36

That sounds good to me, Choughed.

Akire Sun 17-Jan-16 23:25:07

Sounds good OP. Lovely ladies sounds like how you would thank the PTA latest raffle attempt not a group of paid professional career women!

Choughed Mon 18-Jan-16 07:08:49

Ah, well. The PTA is run by a man, so there's no place for loveliness their either wink

Custard314 Mon 18-Jan-16 07:17:43

Id drae things like that to my kids' attention and i often do but i wouldnt send that letter in to the school.

ShesGotLionsInHerHeart Mon 18-Jan-16 07:21:10

Well, see the thing is they said 'lovely' which is not the equivalent of handsome. I seriously doubt they meant 'well done hotties'.

Although in general I agree with you, this time I think you're a tiny wee bit off the mark.

Choughed Mon 18-Jan-16 07:38:51

I couldn't really think of the male equivalent of lovely. Maybe it's just "lovely" as well. Anyway, that's not the main point I was making. Does no one think it was worth addressing?

It's sent by the way, sorry for not making that clear. Just awaiting a reply...

ShesGotLionsInHerHeart Mon 18-Jan-16 08:08:09

But, see, there's nothing in the newsletter that refers to their 'demeanour' that's just you adding that filter!

Lovely seems to be refer to their personalities. Maybe they are in, in fact, lovely. confused

Choughed Mon 18-Jan-16 08:14:38

I'm sure they are lovely, but what's that got to do with their professional performance? They could be utter bastards, but what matters is that they satisfy the auditors.

ShesGotLionsInHerHeart Mon 18-Jan-16 08:18:35

Yes, I agree it's patronising, especially with the kisses at the end. But it really doesn't refer to their appearance at all, so your response is off the mark, is my point.

VikingVolva Mon 18-Jan-16 08:22:51

I think it's patronising too, and if the newsletter is read by children it is a poor model of what is valued.

It takes no more effort to write thanks to those who generously gave up their time, brought valuable skills, or whatever actual qualities made the project a success.

Because you can be lovely and totally incompetent, and I'm guessing that it's actually their competency that brought about the success.

I hope they are more careful in what they say to the girls in the school.

Choughed Mon 18-Jan-16 08:25:35

Thank you Viking, I may have used a clumsy analogy but that's totally the point. I think the school is probably like most, unconscious to the sexism it perpetuates. Certainly there's nothing overt that I've seen.

OhShutUpThomas Mon 18-Jan-16 08:30:17

I think it's good letter

ShesGotLionsInHerHeart Mon 18-Jan-16 08:35:24

It actually seems like a conflict of personal styles to me.

So the person writing it may be more casual, less formal, quite personal. But if you're the opposite to that, as the reader you experience it as unprofessional, patronising, etc.

To me this isn't the most overt example of sexism.

Purplecan4 Mon 18-Jan-16 09:00:34

I agree with Lions. It's more a question of casual/formal and style.

The casual equivalent for men would be something like: cheers dudes and the kisses could still be attached.

Due to the fact that primary education is very female dominated, it's unlikely there'd be a team like the one you refer to that was composed solely of men.

I don't think you should send the letter. Women are naturally more affectionate with each other and often send kisses. Eg thanks hun xxx - a man might write to a man eg cheers mate

ShesGotLionsInHerHeart Mon 18-Jan-16 09:04:16

YY Purple I couldn't think of a 'male' equivalent but you've done it.

vestandknickers Mon 18-Jan-16 09:09:34

As others have said, I think it is casual and affectionate rather than sexist. I also think the team these comments are addressed to are the ones who should complain if they feel patronised. As you say, they are professional women perfectly capable of fighting their own battles.

PalmerViolet Mon 18-Jan-16 14:47:01

If it wouldn't be used to describe men, then it's sexist as a general rule of thumb.

Your email is good, if it were me, I'd send it OP

vestandknickers Mon 18-Jan-16 14:53:19

But if it had been a group of male teachers and it had been signed off "thanks lads" would that be sexist?

You may not like the over-familiar tone, but that doesn't make it sexist.

PalmerViolet Mon 18-Jan-16 15:02:28

Not sexist, but infantilising. And deeply unprofessional.

This however, is sexist. You might be cool with that, but it's still sexist.

vestandknickers Mon 18-Jan-16 15:10:18

We can agree to disagree.

Choughed Mon 18-Jan-16 16:15:48

Well, I sent it last night. It's different from the tone of the rest of the newsletter which is chatty and upbeat (children do read it, there's stuff about how the sports teams get on etc.) but I just think the sex of the audit team is irrelevant.

I'm not particularly expecting a reply.

partialderivative Mon 18-Jan-16 17:57:20

I wouldn't take too much notice of what I write, as I apparently am a 'known' contributor.

I can't help but think that the reply that you propose is also patronising and infantilising. Nothing in your message acknowledges the hard work put in by that team.

You infer that they are too weak to fight their own battles. Do they need you?

angryangryyoungwoman Mon 18-Jan-16 18:06:06

I agree that it is patronising and you were right to raise it IF the writers don't usually refer to groups of men that way.
It is an interesting and important issue, hidden sexism, but the best way to prove the intent is to have some evidence that shows that men and women are referred to differently by the sender. Otherwise you risk accusing someone who has an informal tone to both men and women (which is arguably unprofessional but not sexism.) and not being able to back up your argument.
Are there any examples of male or mixed teams being referred to like this anywhere else?
Just my thoughts and I agree with what you did, in case that's not clear smile

Choughed Mon 18-Jan-16 18:43:15

I think this is genuinely the first time there's ever been anything in the newsletter with this tone. That's why it stood out.

I don't think I've patronised the audit team by emailing. They are still perfectly capable of raising the same point. It's not like I did it in a meeting in front of them.

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