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15 Common Remarks About Women That Are Actually Problematic

15 Common Remarks About Women That Are Actually Problematic

Sexism is prevalent throughout our society, and it is difficult to argue against this fact when you consider that many people still claim that women who dress a certain way are “asking for it.” This type of overt sexism is very obvious, but there are numerous other commonly stated phrases that are often said by people who truly believe that their stereotypical view of women is not problematic. Each of the following remarks help highlight the many forms of sexism that women face on a daily basis, and they also help explain why we definitely still need feminism.

1. Women Are Bad Drivers

It is almost as easy to find a joke about women being bad drivers as it is to locate a McDonald’s. The problem with these jokes is that they are not only insensitive but are also extremely inaccurate. According to Insurance Panda, female drivers are actually much more responsible and have a lower risk of getting into an accident. Women are also 10 percent less likely to get a moving violation, and their DUI rate is a whopping 50 percent less than men.

The next time someone starts spouting off with the sexist nonsense that women are bad drivers make sure that you are armed with these statistics. You may or may not change their mind, but at least you will have proof that being a woman does not mean that you are an inherently bad driver.

2. The Wage Gap Doesn’t Exist

No matter how much evidence is published that proves there is a wage gap in the U.S., there are still naysayers who insist that the entire thing is a myth. One of the most disheartening things about this particular common phrase is that there are actually some women who have bought into it. Yes, there are some companies that pay all of their employees fairly. Additionally, some fields do tend to pay women higher wages than their male colleagues. Overall, though, women are paid an average of .78 for every dollar that their comparable male co-workers make.

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Being armed with this knowledge will make it easier to fight against ignorant comments regarding the wage gap. But beware; most people who argue against this point online do not appear to have any interest in learning the truth. Apparently, admitting that there is a wage gap would also force them to acknowledge that there is a need for feminism, and this is just too real for some people.

3. Women Who Have One-Night Stands Are Immoral

Men are given a free pass when it comes to sex, but women who have one-night stands or sleep with several people are branded as immoral or, even worse, slutty. The reality is that all humans are sexual beings, and there should not be any type of line drawn in the sand regarding who can enjoy sex. Sadly, shaming women about their sex lives can lead to unhappiness. In fact, statistics indicate that women average 50 percent fewer sexual partners than men. Instead of giving into this form of societal pressure, women can and should hold their heads up high and have just as much, or as little, sex as they choose.

4. Women Are Happiest When They Have Children

Many women choose to have children, but let’s face it: being a mother can be a thankless job, and it is not right for everyone. The U.S. birth rate is also falling, and 47.6 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have a child in 2014. The erroneous idea that women need a child to be happy is untrue and very sexist. After all, people do not equate a man’s happiness with whether or not he has children. Whether you choose to become a parent or to remain childless, your happiness is not defined by your ability to give birth.

5. Housework is a Woman’s Job

More than 80 percent of married women have a job, and many of them are balancing full-time work with their family obligations. Although the dynamic of the American family has drastically changed during the past few decades, many people still believe that housework is only a woman’s job.  Everyone who uses dishes or wears clothes has the ability to wash them, and households with two working partners need to share the workload more evenly.

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6. Women Who Don’t Respond Positively to Catcalling Are Stuck Up

Women are faced with a dilemma on a regular basis: pretend they are okay with being catcalled or potentially become the target of a stream of obscenities. For whatever reason, many men believe that women enjoy being catcalled. Some of them even believe that a woman who does not respond in a positive way must be stuck up or rude. It is reality check time, guys: women are simply walking to their destination, and they do not want to be whistled at.

7. Women Are “Too Pretty to Be Smart”

Attractive women are often told that they are “too pretty to be smart.” On the flip side, women who are not viewed as conventionally attractive due to society’s flawed beauty standards are often told horrible things such as “at least you are smarter than pretty girls.” Any person who repeats these stereotypes is obviously unaware that it is ridiculous to equate intelligence with a person’s physical appearance. The next time this happens, be prepared to prove just how wrong the negative assertion is by displaying your high IQ through a witty comeback.

8. Women Who Get Promoted Are Sleeping Their Way to the Top

Whether it is jealousy or the false belief that women are not as smart as their male coworkers, it is all too prevalent for people to claim that successful businesswomen are sleeping their way to the top. Meanwhile, the same type of comments are almost never made about men. Women are actually 2.9 percent less likely to get promoted than men, and this clearly would not be the case if sexual favors were being exchanged.

If you are accused of sleeping your way to the top, you can silence your detractors by showcasing your strong business skills. Alternatively, let the HR department know about the comments, and they can show people how harmful it is to their career to make sexist remarks in the workplace.

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9. Women Are Overly Emotional and Irrational

Anytime a woman displays her emotions, she is at risk of being labeled as irrational, overly emotional or PMSing. In reality, there is less than a 3 percent gap between the genders and their probability of suffering from depression. Men are also four times more likely to commit suicide, which makes it clear that both genders are susceptible to emotions and mental illness. Keep in mind that men usually label someone as irrational when they do not like the woman’s words or actions. By refusing to retort to these comments in a negative way, you can defuse their perceived ammunition against you.

10. Women Aren’t As Strong as Men

There are physical differences between the genders, but it is preposterous to base the definition of strength merely around a person’s physicality. When a man claims he is stronger than a woman, he is basically attempting to assert a dominant position. Meanwhile, the woman may be stronger emotionally, more able to tolerate physical pain or simply more skilled at completing important tasks. Regularly showcasing your strengths can help prove that muscles are not the only way to be strong, nor are they the only thing that should matter.

11. Women Are Bad at Sports

There always seems to be at least one guy in every crowd who stubbornly holds on to the belief that women are bad at sports. The next time someone says that you throw or kick like a girl, tell them that it is a compliment to be compared to women such as Mo’ne Davis and the U.S. Women’s Soccer team. After all, Davis dominated the 2014 Little League World Series, and the Women’s Soccer Team won the World Cup. Women have also been clocked throwing a softball or baseball above 80 MPH, and some experts believe it is only a matter of time until a Major League Baseball team signs a female pitcher.

12. Women Belong in the Kitchen

Phrases such as “get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich” can be said in jest, but there are also many people who believe that it is perfectly acceptable to say this to a woman. This particular common but problematic remark goes beyond the housework category and falls into a strange area where some men seem to honestly believe they should not have to cook in the kitchen. Oddly, many men also claim the grill as their territory and believe that guys are the best chefs. One way to break this sexism down in your relationship is by showing your grill prowess and making it clear that you will not cook every meal.

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13. It is Obvious Who Wears the Pants in That Relationship

This phrase is sexist on two levels because it seeks to demean both women and men. Not only are people who make comments such as “who wears the pants in your relationship” implying that men should be in charge but they are also completely ignoring the fact that women actually wear real pants on a regular basis. It is no longer 1952, and women are free to wear whatever they would like. Additionally, there is no shame in sharing relationship roles, nor should anyone be content to let another person make all of their decisions for them.

14. “Let the Men Do the Work”

Also known as “men are working here,” this dismissive phrase is often aimed at women by men who have a superiority complex. Phrases of this nature are very demeaning because they strongly imply that only men are capable of actually getting the job done. Any man who dismisses a woman in this manner is clearly being sexist, and it is not a bad idea to call them out on this type of behavior. If you are in a situation where you cannot safely correct the men in question, you can make a point by completing your portion of the project in an accurate and efficient manner. Bonus points if you turn it into the perpetrator while saying, “Oh, are the men still working? The woman is already done.”

15. Inappropriate Terms of Endearment

Does a guy at your office insist on calling women sweetheart while referring to his male coworkers by their first name? This creates a work space where men are taken more seriously and receive more respect. To help curb this problem, you can first try saying “thank you, [insert coworker’s name]. My name is…” If this does not work, you could always flip the script by addressing every man at work with a common term that is not their name. This can help call attention to how inappropriate it is to use terms of endearment at work, whether they are used condescendingly or genuinely.

The world needs feminism for many reasons, including all of the previously mentioned sexist remarks. Although some people insist on twisting the message of feminism and acting like it is a four-letter word, feminists throughout history have done very important work such as helping women earn the right to vote. Women and men can help change the world for the better by embracing feminist ideas and treating each other with more respect.

Featured photo credit: Image by Bailey Weaver, via Flickr via flic.kr

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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