Women Are Sharing The Most Offensive Thing A Man Has Said To Them Professionally, And It’s Giving Me More Agita Than I Can Stand

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Women Are Sharing The Most Offensive Thing A Man Has Said To Them Professionally, And It’s Giving Me More Agita Than I Can Stand

If you’re a woman who has worked any job — and, let’s be real, even if you haven’t — you’re most definitely aware of the misogyny we often face in the workplace. And the worst part? It’s so normalized that men either 1) don’t recognize it happening or 2) have absolutely no shame behaving in condescending and inappropriate ways toward their female colleagues.

To platform just how prevalent this is, we asked women of the BuzzFeed Community to share the most misogynistic, aggravating, or straight-up worst thing a male colleague has said to them in a professional context. More than 300 women shared their stories. Here are 29:

1.

“For context: This was a training job, and it wasn’t directly said to me but to another man while I was in the same room. A man in his 50s shouted, ‘See, women can’t do anything here!’ in a building where several women volunteered. In fact, I, a 19-year-old trainee, was the one who had to help him figure out several programs, including Microsoft Excel.”

2.

“At the first digital agency that I worked for out of university, my boss would brag that his favorite hobby was taking up-skirt photos in clubs and bars. He was in his mid-to-late 40s and one of the owners of the company. The following two years working for him proved that he was, indeed, a prize-A douche.”

—Anonymous, United Kingdom, 36

3.

“After I explained, for the third time, that I had a lot to do, that his task was not at the top of my list, and that I’d get to it by end of day (and that it’d take longer if he kept asking), he replied, ‘Oh, wow, have you maybe forgotten to take your woman’s pill today or something?'”

“I was 22; he was 54.” —Anonymous, United Kingdom, 31

4.

“When I was 18, my 45-year-old boss told me that I need to ‘not talk so much’ because my voice was the reason for his stress and headache.”

—Anonymous, Utah, 22

5.

“When I was 30, I expressed displeasure that I was training a male new hire who was being paid more than me. The vice president of the company, who was in his 50s, replied that, being a woman, I was lucky to even have my job. My trainee not only had no experience (at all) but also had a limited grasp of English for a job that was in customer service and required intense interaction.”

—Anonymous, Nevada, 69

6.

“When I was a 29-year-old PhD candidate in gender studies, I went to a social mixer and got bailed up by an older bloke. He talked about himself for at least an hour, and I couldn’t get away. When he finally deigned to ask me what my thesis was about, he ended up telling me, ‘Don’t be too feminist.’ During my thesis dissertation, the panel was made up of all-male, all-science examiners. Their critique was that my defense contained the ‘wrong’ theoretical terminology, and so they couldn’t understand it. In the end, my ‘too feminist, incomprehensible’ thesis won the top university prize that year.”

7.

“I was asked during an interview at a law firm whether I planned to marry or get pregnant. I told them I didn’t think it was professional to ask such a question. When I was offered the position, I declined it.”

“I was 24, and the men interviewing me were in their 30s. The lawyer asked why I declined, and I told him straight out why I wasn’t interested.” —Anonymous, Massachusetts, 66

8.

“I said I didn’t mind working outside normal hours because my career was important to me. He said, ‘You have a career?'”

—Anonymous, 30

9.

“I was at my job for less than a week when my 60-year-old coworker told me that women should never be in a management position because we ‘don’t know how to control our emotions.’ He went on to rant that he wished women still stayed at home, while the good ol’ boys brought home the paycheck. What he doesn’t know yet is that I am about to be promoted and will be his boss.”

—Anonymous, Wisconsin, 44

10.

“After the announcement of a new, female SVP at our Fortune 500 company, my director told us, his three-woman leadership team, that he is disappointed by these ‘publicity stunts’ to put women in leadership. We all looked at each other like, ‘Did he really just say that out loud to us?'”

“I was 45, and my director was 48 at the time.” —Anonymous, Minnesota, 50

11.

“He said, ‘Ah, a woman on her knees,’ while I was kneeling to file some documents in the bottom drawer of a file cabinet.”

12.

“I was 32 and had just been appointed as a key account manager for our largest customer. The 50-year-old IT manager didn’t say this to me directly but told my boss that there was no way he was going to work with ‘a female my age.’ Luckily, my boss supported me.”

“He left the company two years later.” —Anonymous, Minnesota, 50

13.

“‘Your expressions in the storyboard meeting were concerning and not conducive to creative collaboration,’ aka, he was commenting on my ‘resting bitch face.'”

—Anonymous, Australia, 28

14.

“A coworker at an automotive tire chain store — decades older than me — told me he thought I would be a good fit for the live nude, strip joint downtown. I was fit, an A-cup, and awkwardly shy.”

—Anonymous, California, 36

15.

“I was working as a research scientist for a large institute, and he told me that women don’t have a place in science. Instead, I should think of of writing romance novels.”

“He was 60.” —Anonymous, Virginia, 28

16.

“I was in a leadership meeting with our largest customer and the only woman in the room. We were discussing marketing options, and one of the executives turned to me and asked if I had a coupon in my purse that they could use as an example. I told him I don’t carry a purse.”

17.

“I was 28 and newly divorced with three children between the ages of 1–10. I was working in an office as an assistant to a male real estate/appraiser. In front of three other male associates, he asked me, ‘What do you call a newly divorced woman?’ I didn’t respond and just looked up from the copies I was making. He said, ‘A renewed cocksucker,’ and they all laughed. They were all at least in their 50s. I needed the job, so I just shook my head and went back to work. That was over 25 years ago, and it still makes me sick to my stomach.”

“I stayed until I was offered another job with a different company.” —Anonymous, Minnesota, 55

18.

“From our human resources manager: ‘We have someone who checks to see what you’re wearing each day. While you are within the dress code, we’d like you to dress a bit more conservatively because you’ve become a distraction to the men in the IT department, and the manager there is having a hard time getting his staff to focus.”

“I was 20.” —Anonymous, Florida, 55

19.

“I was in sales, and a customer told me that he’d give me the business, but we had to discuss it in his hot tub.”

“I was 28 at the time, and he was probably in his 50s (he was definitely old and gross to a 28-year-old).” —Anonymous, 61

20.

“It was my first corporate job, and I was 22. I couldn’t have been there for more than a few weeks when my 40-year-old, male manager told me to go over to another male colleague for help. Except, he phrased it, ‘Go sit on Uncle X’s knee.’ The male colleague then pushed his chair out and slapped his knees to encourage me, all while they both laughed at their hilarity. Suffice to say, I didn’t. However, both of these men are successful and have continued to climb the ladder in their respective fields.”

—Anonymous, United Kingdom, 31

21.

“At the end of a taxi ride, he ‘jokingly’ told the driver that he didn’t have any money, but that ‘this young lady will take care of you, if you know what I mean.’ A man who could have been my dad offered me up to blow a taxi driver.”

22.

“I had a boss who didn’t think I did anything right. When (in his eyes) I did, he looked at me, patted me on the head, and said, ‘Good girl.’ When I sarcastically told him that I could also play fetch and roll over, he told me to drop the attitude.”

“We were both in our 30s.” —Anonymous, New Jersey 42

23.

“I was about seven months pregnant with my first child, and she was a big baby, so my stomach was huge. I was at the photocopier, and this creepy guy in his mid-50s (who I usually avoided) came up to me and said, ‘Wow, you haven’t calved yet?’ I was confused and asked, ‘Pardon me?’ He then said, ‘Calved, you know, like a cow having a baby.’ I was stunned and laughed nervously, but now that I’m a bit older — I was 28 then — and more confident, I wish I had told him off for comparing a pregnant woman to a cow.”

—Anonymous, Ontario, 39

24.

“I was finishing up my PhD in molecular biology and searching for a suitable postdoctoral position. When I expressed my concern about finding a good position because the job market wasn’t that great, my graduate advisor told me just to get married.”

“At the time, I was 30, and he was 38.” —Anonymous, Virginia, 62

25.

“I was interviewing for a part-time bartending job and was asked why I hadn’t worked in the industry in the past year. I explained that I’d just moved back to the area after living in Germany for 12 months. The next question he asked was if I had permission from my husband to do bar work, as it isn’t the kind of work that military wives usually do. I explained I wasn’t married, and I have nothing to do with the military. He said I shouldn’t lie in interviews and that the only reason any women go to Germany is to go with their husbands on deployment.”

—Anonymous, United Kingdom, 35

26.

“I was working in local government as a senior level manager. A man working for another department — also in senior management — was attending a meeting in my office. He then walked up to me at a drinking fountain and asked if I was wearing underwear.”

27.

“I’m currently 23 and pregnant. I asked another female coworker to please not touch me. (She’s an older woman who apologized quickly.) Our male coworker, who’s in his mid- to late 40s, then busts out with, ‘Yeah, she doesn’t like to be touched, but somehow, she got married, and somehow, she got pregnant.'”

—Anonymous, Texas, 23

28.

“I had a 35-year-old, male coworker literally spin around in his chair, look me up and down, and whistle as I walked past his desk one day. He then commented on how good I looked in a dress. I told him that it wasn’t cool, that I don’t make wardrobe choices, especially when coming to work, to be whistled at or sexualized by anyone, and that what he did was very unprofessional. He responded with, ‘Sorry, you’d think a compliment would be appreciated at your age.’ I was 37. He later went on to sexually harass — crossing the line much more severely — five other female coworkers, including the boss’s daughter, with only so much as slap on the wrist. All incidents were reported to the general manager, his manager, and HR but went absolutely nowhere.”

“Instead, the entire staff had to watch an online class on how sexual harassment in the workplace was not tolerated. LOL, clearly.” —Anonymous, Michigan, 40 

29.

“When pitching a change in system to an internal team, a colleague from a different department interrupted me to say, ‘You keep saying “cloud computing.” It is such an ignorant thing to say. You know it isn’t in an actual cloud, right? It’s on other computers somewhere?’ I work in IT. This had nothing to do with the proposal. He had already told me earlier in the conversation that I wasn’t qualified for my job, so apparently, he was trying to highlight that for everyone else at the table. As if I thought there was a literal cloud that stored information…what the fuck.”

“He was 38, and I was 40 at the time.” —Anonymous, Minnesota, 47

My theory is that if women are as “emotional” as men claim them to be, it’s only because we have to deal with this every day. But seriously, how would you have responded in these situations? Or have you been in a similar situation? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below.

Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.