Janet Walkow Christine Jacobs

Let Me Call You Sweetheart


This week when NJ Governor Christie did not like a question put to him by a woman at a Romney rally he responded:  You know, something may go down tonight, but it ain’t going to be jobs, sweetheart.  He followed up with a clear cogent comment, but why make a snotty gender-focused comment first? Call the protestor out for rudeness or give her facts but do not make it a gender issue.

Did She Really Say That?

I had time zone issues last week and watched CNN’s very early morning show. This time, anchor Ashleigh Banfield was guilty of making equally gender focused comments at another woman. One example occurred when a newsperson was using a series of maps and charts and proclaimed that she felt like CNN anchor and technical guru, John King. Banfield proclaimed:  Yes, but you are way hotter.

What?  Why would she think that this was appropriate?

CNN Turn Off

from nscblog

Two days later in another fit of insomnia I was watching the show again when a journalist enthusiastically said that she was excited that the jobs numbers were coming out and it always was good data for an economist. Banfield proclaimed:  Look how cute you are when you are excited. Never again, CNN.  BBC is now my fallback early station.

Flash Back Time

In my working career, I heard this comment often.  Yes, I get enthusiastic like someone of the female gender but when you get the “You are so cute to get excited” comment, you instantly feel your gender.  You feel like the “other “ as though there are real engineers or real managers and then there are female, or cute engineers/managers. You have been separated out from the group.

There were so many other expressions that were consciously or unconsciously used to separate me from the norm.  I detest the expression Young Lady as used by many men.  “May I help you Young Lady?”  Or “thanks for the comment, Young Lady”.  These same men would never say Young Man or Young Gentleman. No woman should be called Young Lady unless she is under 12.  It is condescending and just not appropriate.

Be A Woman

I do not use the Little Girls room.  I use the Ladies’ room or the bathroom. Compliment me if you like my look on a given day, but do not say I look cute or sweet.  These are condescending ingratiating words that only work if I know you well and like you.

What are the condescending expressions that make your skin crawl?  Let’s call them out.

Christine Jacobs is an experienced corporate executive and a co-founder of Leading Women. Read her full bio.


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