I'm sure this has been done before but I can't find the thread. On a postgrad course, mostly female students but are a few men, mostly 40+ (doesn't seem to be an issue with younger men on course) who insist on referring to us as "girls". I don't think they mean to be patronising - but it's really starting to grate on me. What is a firm but polite way of saying "please don't call us that" ?! I find it even more infuriating given that plenty of the women on the course are a hell of a lot less arrogant and much more knowledgeable but the (few) men seem to feel they can talk over them freely. I've been fairly oblivious to it all until now I'm ashamed to say but the past few days have really got me thinking. Anyone else had similar - how have you dealt with it?
If they are not meaning to be condescending could you perhaps lightly say 'I've thankfully outgrown puberty, and all woman thanks'
I find directness best though. 'I know you're not meaning to be rude, but please stop calling me a girl'
It might be awkward if they are sensitive but I find keeping the conversation as light as possible helps.
Failing that, have some more wine before your lecture might help?
What is a firm but polite way of saying "please don't call us that" ?!
Please don't call us that, we're not children.
If they continue to call you infantilising names, ignore them.
Please don't call us girls
Then start calling them toddlers if they continue
Thank you all. Need to be more assertive. I'm going to go for "you probably don't mean to be rude but please don't call us girls - we are not children"
I can feel my heart pounding a bit at the thought of saying it - the men are all a fair bit older and seem so much more confident but it needs to be said !!
What about laughing and saying "Girls??How old do you think we are??"
Could be worse. At least they aren't referring to you as 'fillies'. but I do get your point and it is annoying.
The face-saving way to object to men calling us girls is to call them boys right back! It works amazingly well. An unfortunate effect of masculine socialization (I'm from the US, but I think the US and UK are fairly similar in this) is that grown men really really aren't usually comfortable being referred to as boys.
"Sure, us girls might go for tea. What are you and the other boys planning to do?" "I think most of the girls would like to go for a drink after the final session, probably, yes. Why? Did you boys not want to go?"
You blink your eyes innocently and don't act annoyed, but carry on calling them boys right back. If they don't like being referred to in the diminutive and say so, they've practically begged you to explain why "girls" is just as offensive.
If they don't like the diminutive being applied to them, but also understand why "girls" was offensive, you give them the opportunity to correct their behavior without having to risk burning the professional/collegial bridges that a direct confrontation might risk. (Obviously, that risk shouldn't be there in principle, but it's the kind of thing that in the context of a postgrad course, someone might realistically need to take account of.)
An unfortunate effect of masculine socialization (I'm from the US, but I think the US and UK are fairly similar in this) is that grown men really really aren't usually comfortable being referred to as boys.
I disagree that this is really a thing with men in the UK at all. The nebulus idea that manhood is somehow 'earned' seems to hold significantly more sway socially in the US (which I suspect is partly why the US Govt can still get away with things like selective military service for males). Calling a bunch of UK men "boys" will probably just be taken as teasing/banter. Its unlikely to cause them to re-think their use of "girls".
As PalmerViolet wrote, tell them once, then ignore whatever they say if it starts with "you girls" or something similar.
If they interrupt a woman who is talking, do not acknowledge what they said, instead ask the woman who was talking to continue. If (or when) they act offended, just say that you aren't able to listen to two people at once, and to please only start talking when the other person has finished. (Actually, this is true. You cannot listen to two people at once. I have tried this with recordings. It is very annoying, as half of what people say is lost if they keep interrupting each other.)
I think the fact they are calling you girls is very rude and doesn't suggest much in their favour. I think I'd prefer to use the direct approach, there is no need to feel awkward at all it's their behaviour that is making things awkward
Thank you everyone for your support. It's one of those things I didn't think much of at the time - and then afterwards it dawned on me how rude / patronising it actually is (just to put into context if is a group of women aged between roughly 25-45!!)
Something else I've been musing on is how the men very much seem to dominate group / class conversation. There were 20 of us in class yesterday and I counted 6 men who were all very very vocal, talked over several of the women and even the female lecturer. They have no qualms about putting their views forward, talking extensively about their own experiences etc etc whereas the majority of the women (me included) are much quieter. It's started to make me feel very angry now...!!
I would repeat the word girl in a louder voice with a startled/puzzled expression.
Then let it hang in the air.
If the man/men continue to refer to you as s girl ignore whatever it is they have said and then tell him you are not a girl, you are an adult. Not s child.
I do the same whenever a man refers to a woman as a bird( My pet hate).
They have always corrected their vocabulary.
You could bring that up with the lecturer - just an email or a chat. She should be managing this and getting everyone to contribute
I really wish I had done that now emily God that would have been satisfying ! Good idea bigkids I didn't think of that. Hopefully she's noticed it too !
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