It isn’t just American presidents and possibly “mental” Congress party secretaries that can make sexist “compliments” and get away with it. Misguided compliments are everywhere; some better veiled than others. Earlier this year the creator of I Fucking Love Science, a phenomenally popular Facebook page, shared her personal Twitter account with over 4 million fans. Immediate responses included “what?!!? Gurlz don’t like science! LOL Totally thought you were a dude,” and “you mean you’re a girl, AND you’re beautiful? wow, i just liked science a lil bit more today ^^”. Among others. Many others.
Benevolent sexism is commonplace in the office, and can often leave you unsure of how to respond, since no one wants to be accused of being sensitive. Recently, The Finger asked women to tweet the vilest office “compliment” they’d ever received. The responses, although almost uniformly cringe-worthy, seemed to fit into four major categories.
You are excellent, you are a man!
These clueless compliments seem to be just that: clueless. You can tell that if you called him out on it, he’d be flabbergasted and wounded, possibly protest weakly that he respects all women and loves his wife. Because he meant it in a good way yaar.
— Eshita (@eshita_j) July 26, 2013
@theladiesfinger you don’t behave like a woman (you are argumentative, stubborn and speak your mind)
— Aakashvani (@aaliznat) July 26, 2013
@theladiesfinger “There is a man in you somewhere (because you are so competitive)” Cringe.
— Lily (@tetisheri) July 26, 2013
Please go home.
These seemed the most common. Single women don’t need to work, married women don’t need to work, women with fathers don’t need to work, women with children don’t need to work. So whoever you are, please go home. Go home, you’re single. Because you have nothing to work for, no bills to pay, and you’re wasting time here when you should be out finding yourself a husband.
@theladiesfinger they used to tell me you’re single girl and you live with your parents, you’ve no responsibilities and don’t need work.
— Reem Elmeleegy (@ReemElmeleegy) July 26, 2013
@theladiesfinger Oh! You’re nearing 30? You should get married soon. It is difficult for a woman without a man.
— amrita madhukalya (@visually_kei) July 26, 2013
Go home, you have kids.
At a recent job i/w, “Why’re you in a rush to get back to work? Your baby is small. These years will never come back.” @theladiesfinger
— Sooper Ma (@SooperMa) July 26, 2013
Go home, because you never need to work ever.
@theladiesfinger why do you need to work? There’s dad’s money and then husband’s..
— Mansi (@mansigrover) July 26, 2013
You’re in the office and I want to touch you. Then there are sleazebag compliments. The fact that you’re in a workplace does two things: it greatly reduces the likelihood of a scene, since most people want to avoid confrontations at work, and it gives the ‘complimenter’ some kind of credibility: of course he didn’t mean it like that, it was just friendly office banter.
@theladiesfinger “Tumhara perfume itna achcha hai k Mann krta hai yahin kaha rahun” while clinging on my chair. Ughhhhhh…
— Shalini… (@BasKuchBhi) July 26, 2013
@theladiesfinger “Ohhh i like how you shook my hand, brought me alive” just before a business meeting
— The Last Cookie (@Rrrrohini) July 26, 2013
Gotta love this:
@theladiesfinger Suggested wildlife art calendar at ex-workplace 4 merch. “What use is a calendar, unless they have pretty faces like yours?
— Sharada Annamaraju (@suitcaseindian) July 26, 2013
I’m a man, you’re a woman, but don’t worry, we’ll manage somehow.
Some of these compliments are often from people trying to be friendly, or even exclusively to make you feel special. Here’s a familiar example:
@theladiesfinger “To be honest I thought you’ll be dumb like the other girls”
— shravya (@Shravya_Jain) July 26, 2013
Others are willing to help you overcome the grave misfortune of your birth.
@theladiesfinger Most women make bad managers, I’ll teach you to be a good one.
— shradz (@shradz) July 26, 2013
Some are just completely insulting, like this two fisted hammer punch:
@theladiesfinger “I always thought PR chicks were supposed to be hot.”
— christina moniz (@colourmecrimson) July 26, 2013
Or creepy, like this gentleman who brings his fetishes into the office. Among others. Many others.
— Esha Shah (@eshasshah) July 26, 2013
My all-time favourite, however, is and always will be:
@theladiesfinger dnt show your feminism, activism or whatsoever here…..it won’t take you anywhere and won’t even get you married
— kuhika seth (@kuhikaseth) July 26, 2013