If you ask me, being a woman is hard on its own; having to wear those blasted entrapments called bras for most part of our days, bleeding for days straight every month and let’s not forget those period cramps that can curl us up in unimaginable positions. Oh and giving birth! Don’t get me started on that one.
Despite all these personal plights, we still have to go through a great deal of (excuse my profanity) bullshit from our male counterparts and disappointingly female colleagues. I’m already coming down with a migraine just thinking about it. For this article though, we’ll be focusing on our male counterparts, to be more precise the sexist things they need to stop saying at work.
The word “sexism” is often isolated from sexual harassment which should not be so, because sexual harassment is a form of sexism.
Sexism isn’t just limited to ‘innocent’ jokes or ill-thought-out comments, it also occurs in forms of unfair treatment due to one’s gender and sexual assault. Although men do experience sexism, research has shown that it primarily affects women and girls.
So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I present to you 10 sexist things men need to stop saying at work.
- “For a woman you shouldn’t…” or “As a woman you shouldn’t”
This is what I call a classic sexist statement, we can trace this fella all the way back to the 90’s. You men aren’t even being creative about it anymore, you’re just recycling the same old shit from the good ole days, shame on you!
Jokes apart, this statement always ushers in the most offensive and narrow-minded opinions. For example, “for a woman you shouldn’t talk so much” or “as a woman you shouldn’t be so vocal.”
I can talk as much as I want regardless of my gender, you brute!
- “Can you handle that?” or “Are you lost?”
Now you don’t want to go off like a short fuse when you hear this particular statement, because in some cases it isn’t made to come off as sexist. You may have looked hopelessly confused or overwhelmed and a well to do gentleman must have thought to offer his input to rescue the ‘damsel in distress’ you must have appeared to be.
Some men actually believe that women can’t handle most things in a work environment and turn us into permanent ‘damsels in distress’ which can be so provoking.
- “It’s because you don’t have a man in your life…”
This has to be, by far the most annoying.
Excuse you, my life is just fine with and without a man, thank you.
I kid you not, some men actually think women can’t have order in their lives because they don’ t have a man running the show. We hate to break it to you guys, but most of the time you’re the ones that turn our lives upside down and leave everything in disarray.
- “A woman shouldn’t earn as much as a man.”
I don’t know which is more thought provoking, that some men actually believe this or that some establishments actually implement this.
Just tell me why should anyone believe this!?
We practically have the same expenses; rent, in some cases school fees, transport fare, tax and so on.
If you want to be this cruel then women should be the ones with a higher pay, I mean we’re high maintenance, how much do you think these wigs cost? Let’s not forget our clothes, shoes and the lot.
- Can you cook?
This one deserves a gold sticker for being the most subtle and guileful sexist statement.
Some men ask this to measure your worth to them as a woman or to measure to what extent you’re a ‘wife material’. While some just innocently want to know.
If I were asked this, I think my line of response would go like this:
“First of all, if I’m not working under a catering company or food business, I don’t see the relevance of this question in any work setting unrelated to the aforementioned types of businesses.”
To be more evading:
“Is my cooking ability job related? If no, then I think your question is unprofessional.”
- “Your husband or boyfriend must be really spoiling you.”
Some men use this statement to shoot their shot but what they have actually done is suggest that as a woman you can’t look good or be spoilt without a man’s input.
I mean, my man wasn’t the one who fixed my nails or picked out my outfit or styled my hair, so I can clearly look good without him.
In the case of spoiling, where do you think part of my salary goes?
- “A man is more____ than a woman.”
There’s an exception to this course of statement and that’s when obvious facts are being stated. For example, A man is most likely to have more facial hair than a woman.
If you’ve never strayed from this exception as a man, then fantabulous, you’re doing well!
Due to the fact that obvious facts are seldom stated when this course of statement is initiated, this line is my least favorite. It’s usually used as an unjust and ill-thought-out defense.
For instance, if a very hardworking woman is turned down for a leadership role in a firm and asks why? Then she very likely will get this as a response:
“Because a man is more practical than a woman.”
“Because you all, are sexist asses!”
Yup, that sounds just about right to me.
- “Dress well next time” or “You should dress more decently so that you don’t become a distraction.”
Someone I know has had her sexual harassment complaint at work turned down with this line; “dress well next time.”
I mean, this is sexism at its peak. For the fact that the inappropriate behavior of this employee who harassed her wasn’t even addressed, shows us just how far discrimination or prejudice has gone in most Nigerian work settings.
The most outrageous part of it all, is that following office dress codes to the final letter isn’t even guaranteed in ensuring ‘decorum’ at work. Some women are still getting sent home because their outfits accentuated their curves or the sight of their shoulders in an off-shoulder top was way too much of a provocation.
- “She is probably wearing her wig or doing makeup”
If I wasn’t fortunate enough to be in an office when male colleagues made this statement or joke in the absence of their female worker, then this line wouldn’t have made it to the list.
Unfortunately, I’ve heard this line not once but twice.
So, when a woman is running late it’s because she’s not done making up but when a man is running late it’s because he ran into traffic, makes perfect sense!
- “You’re too ambitious” or “It’s not good for a woman to be too successful.”
The last but not the least. Most of the time, this is a man’s subtle way of telling you you’re too fast for him and that he can’t keep up.
Should you slow down? Hell no!
This is absolutely my favorite sexist statement because it shows that I’m stirring up some intimidation.
Whether at work, in the supermarket or in the gym, men please keep your sexist statements to yourself. Also, sexism isn’t just something men need to tackle but women too. Some women think that if they dress with all the modesty there is in this world and ‘respect themselves’ then they can never be victims. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but that isn’t true, the best way to tackle sexism as a woman is by being vocal about it and standing by other women to spread awareness, fight for equality and equal gender rights.