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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

My husband is acting like I am making a fuss about nothing over the way he talks to women.

85 replies

ImTooHecsyForYourParty · 29/07/2013 09:20

I could do with some thoughts.

In the course of his business, he spends a lot of time skyping with people. I bring myself up to speed by reading back through the conversations (this is nothing unusual or covert!, they are business related and I need to know)

I am actually outraged to read him saying things like 'hello young girl, have you read X yet', or 'I know you're a busy young girl', or 'what do you think of x, young girl'.

It is wholly inappropriate and, frankly, makes him sound like a creepy old man.

he maintains that they are quite happy to be talked with like that Hmm

I maintain it's unprofessional and patronising, over familiar and flirtatious and that it is an inappropriate way to talk.

And I've yet to read anything along the lines of 'hi there young boy, do you have that report yet...' No, that would be 'hi Bob, have you got that report yet...'

He thinks I am jealous Hmm. I am not. I am annoyed that women are being talked down to like this.

Or am I over reacting?

His genuinely baffled and slightly amused reaction has pissed me right off.

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ParsingFancy · 29/07/2013 09:22

What does he say about why he doesn't call Bob "young boy"?

EatYourCrusts · 29/07/2013 09:22

Young girl is definitely a weird way to greet someone; it is rather patronising.
If he isn't using young boy then he should be able to reflect on why that is.

AnyFucker · 29/07/2013 09:23

If I was spoken to like that in a business capacity, I would take my business elsewhere

Have you raised the idea that he could be seriously putting off a chunk of potential contacts ?

Morgause · 29/07/2013 09:23


CinnabarRed · 29/07/2013 09:25

If I was spoken to like that in a business capacity, I would take my business elsewhere

As would I.

Onetwothreeoops · 29/07/2013 09:25

I would inwardly seethe if someone spoke to me like that but would take the high road and maintain a professional front. It would definitely affect my view of your business though.

Sheshelob · 29/07/2013 09:25

I agree with you. It sounds like what a farmer would call his cow. I'd be appalled if a superior called me that.

He needs to treat men and women the same and ditch the cutesy nicknames. It belies an awkwardness with taking women seriously and makes him seem patronising.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf · 29/07/2013 09:27

Does he actually say young girl - how bizarre. Yes, he is damaging his business and he is also a knob.

BitBewildered · 29/07/2013 09:27

Yes, it's patronising. I wouldn't like it if I were on the other end of the call. How does he know they are happy about it?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty · 29/07/2013 09:29

He had no clue, parsing. He simply doesn't. He couldn't say why. I honestly think it has never occurred to him Hmm

When I read out his messages but put them as though they were to one of his male contacts, he agreed it sounded ridiculous.

I think he actually thought it somehow comforting and friendly Hmm or something. God knows.

These aren't customers,they are fellow business people that we work with in developing and producing our product. If they were customers I fully expect they would have gone elsewhere!

Reading it gave me the heebie jeebies and I cannot understand why I don't seem to be able to get through to him that it is creepy! He's not a smiling old man patting the head of a child as they gaze up at him adoringly.

OP posts:
ParsingFancy · 29/07/2013 09:30

And yes, I'd smile politely and mark him down as a knobber, while wondering if I could take my business elsewhere.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty · 29/07/2013 09:30

I would inwardly seethe if someone spoke to me like that but would take the high road and maintain a professional front.

That is EXACTLY what I think is happening!

One example is him saying hello young girl, we are ready to move on X, how are you?

her reply?


What does that tell you?

He can't see it!

He thinks he's, nice, or something.

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ImTooHecsyForYourParty · 29/07/2013 09:32

That's also part of what makes me so angry.

It feels like he takes the women he deals with less seriously.

Bob is Bob. Max is Max (fake names) but Barbara is young girl.


Barbara is a professional and fully grown woman who is entitled to respect and professional courtesy.

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Branleuse · 29/07/2013 09:33

i really wouldnt like being called young girl. It would put me off and sounds creepy.

Young lady I don't mind as much, depending on the context. Not in a business context though

He needs to stop doing that. Its patronising at best

MurderOfGoths · 29/07/2013 09:34

I definitely would feel uncomfortable being spoke to like that. I'd be polite and even fake friendliness (I was trained well in retail) but I'd be deeply uncomfortable.

Twirlyhot · 29/07/2013 09:35

It's patronising and just creepy.

ChunkyPickle · 29/07/2013 09:36

If someone I was working with addressed me like that I certainly would form some very unfavourable impressions of them - especially if I'd seen that on conference conversations he didn't speak that way to men.

It would annoy me, I'd assume that he was sexist (and therefore prepare myself for being replaced by a bloke doing what I do), a bit creepy and out of touch.

ParsingFancy · 29/07/2013 09:39

Sounds like in his head he is a smiling old man patting the head of a child as they gaze up at him adoringly.

So of course he thinks he's being reassuring, because he's responding to the situation as his imagination paints it.

And of course everyone else sees what he's imagining. And understands it's patronising. He's placing himself in authority over them and pretending to an inappropriately close relationship.


chattychattyboomba · 29/07/2013 09:41

It is definitely patronising, and I am very surprised 'Barbara' has not indicated any disapproval to being referred to as such.
DH calls colleagues/associates 'my friend' or 'buddy' or repeats their name about 500 times (especially if it's an unusual name) like 'yes hi Mahendra, how are you Mahendra? I'm good thanks Mahendra...Mahendra I was just wondering if you received this letter Mahendra?' Etc... Which I don't think is patronising but a bit cringy.
If he started called women 'young girl' I would be mortified!

TalkativeJim · 29/07/2013 09:44

Oh dear.

'Fellow business people' - I think, then, that unfortunately your business will be bottom of the pile when it comes to prioritising work, in whatever capacity it is. I bet that the no-doubt effective and hardworking 'young girl' at the other end of that conversation wasn't half as 'busy' when it comes to engaging with her other colleagues, you know, the ones who give her due respect!

Xiaoxiong · 29/07/2013 09:48

Is he from another cultural context, of a certain age, or english not his first language?

The ONLY person I have ever had this from in a work context where it's even vaguely acceptable is a 98-year old Iranian man with extremely antiquated English who my partners and I (all women) met in connection with some business with his family. He called us "ladies" and called me "young lady" which in a usual business setting would get my back up, but in the context of his age and cultural background was ok. I think even if he had called me "young girl" I could have lived with it.

But that's pretty much the only scenario I can think of where it wouldn't be patronising at best, creepy and sexist at worst.

Earthworms · 29/07/2013 09:48

I encountered this a few years ago at work.

I responded by always calling the chap 'young sir' in a condescending manner. He is 5 yrs and 7 grades my senior.

It worked.

He took it in good spirit and we now joke about it - I refer to him as madam and he calls me sir.

I did tell another colleague he was being very creepy when he called someone a young girl. He looked a bit shocked and back pedalled, but I don't think he 'got' it. Creepy weirdo.


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LadyClariceCannockMonty · 29/07/2013 09:49

I'm often not so much these days though addressed by men as 'young lady'. It's mildly annoying but 'young girl' is much worse ? and is it even a 'proper' phrase, IYKWIM? It just doesn't sound like something people would say.

Anyway, it is totally inappropriate in a business context and while I can't say I hope you lose business (because presumably it's your living as well as his), if I was addressed like that by someone in a work context I'd take my business elsewhere.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty · 29/07/2013 09:50

Yeah, I bet she bloody wasn't!

I would hit the roof if someone talked down to me like that. I am really angry with him.

I am pleased that I have seen it though, because I will ensure that he does bloody get it, even if I have to beat it into him!

I cannot believe that anyone could think that an appropriate way to address a woman.

I can imagine them rolling their eyes and going oh god, it's him again. What a twat.

I am embarrassed that it is my husband who is doing this.

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ImTooHecsyForYourParty · 29/07/2013 09:52

Oh yes, it is 'young girl'. I should say though, that he is not british, english is his third language and he does come from a culture where I have seen some fairly crappy attitudes towards women!

This is no way is meant to excuse him! But just to explain why he is indeed using a term that reads as, frankly, totally bizarre.

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