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Coping with chauvinism

(76 Posts)
QuirkySand Fri 09-Sep-16 01:46:27

I just wonder how other mature ladies cope with chauvinism please? I am in a team of five and the only female. Three men are over 60 and 1 is 50. I am coming up against what I think is blatant chauvinism. So far I have not really responded, just tried to let it go over my head. However, today I was asked to take a photo of the team to go into the local paper which meant I was, not for the first time, excluded. Is this only insulting if I let be? I took the photo and turned the situation into a joke, but actually I felt rather hurt. Part of me says "walk away" but the other part says " like hell". I am interested in how you ladies would respond. Thanks.

Lisalou Fri 09-Sep-16 06:03:13

I presume the team you are speaking of is at work, (really early in the morning, brain not entirely engaged). If that is the case, I can see how it would upset you (at least the example you give would upset me) and you can hardly get a strop on about not being in the picture.
It would appear to me that you have two options, either look for another job, or speak to your manager about how you feel.

flowers, I am sorry you are going through this

PamelaJ1 Fri 09-Sep-16 06:03:20

Is this a job or voluntary work?

BlueBelle Fri 09-Sep-16 06:33:49

Well I don't think you should have accepted taking the photo I would just say well I can't take it as then I won't be on it giggle giggle I think you are certainly not being treated as an equal or even part of the team so you are right to be annoyed I would be, but there's no point in being annoyed unless you are prepared to do something about it Good luck

thatbags Fri 09-Sep-16 07:15:47

What bluebelle said. If you are part of the team and they are excluding you in such ways, object. Tell them straight out that it excludes you so "No, get someone else to take the photo". Their behaviour won't change if they are not challenged. It might not change if they are challenged but it certainly won't if they aren't.

Alternatively, use a camera on a tripod or other prop, with a delayed shutter release mechanism (or remote control) and get yourself in the photo despite their best efforts to keep you out. Outwit the jerks.

Anya Fri 09-Sep-16 07:24:44

I'm presuming you took the photo as you were caught off balance? If it hasn't happened yet then do as bags suggested or suggest the local paper sends their photographer. Or you could of course do it and cut off their heads just for fun grin.

While it might be hard being the only woman I suggest you collect a variety of answers to situations like this from 'You must be joking' to 'Are you taking the piss?' to 'No way!'

I'm sure you can think up others for yourself. Practise saying them in your head and then it'll be easier when a situation arises again.

Wobblybits Fri 09-Sep-16 08:07:01

Not sure that this is really chauvinism, simply ignorance and lack of thought. I was the lone male in a team of seven, I was left out of some things, but it never bothered me. I did however get a lot of sexist banter, although most of the time I could give as good as I got. We were a great team, fun to work with.

Iam64 Fri 09-Sep-16 08:09:59

I don't think you understand the word chauvinism Wobblybits.

Wobblybits Fri 09-Sep-16 08:14:31

1 : excessive or blind patriotism — compare jingoism.
2 : undue partiality or attachment to a group or place to which one belongs or has belonged.
3 : an attitude of superiority toward members of the opposite sex; also : behavior expressive of such an attitude.

Stansgran Fri 09-Sep-16 08:18:03

I never knew chauvinism was number three meaning. I always thought it was number one meaning and totally French after Chauvin.

carerof123 Fri 09-Sep-16 08:21:02

this sounds like exclusion to me.

Wobblybits Fri 09-Sep-16 08:23:42

MY lady workmates took quite a while to accept that a man could do the job and never trusted me with some jobs. But they did eventually accept that I had social skills that worked best from a man. (Worked in an old peoples day care center)

Wobblybits Fri 09-Sep-16 08:26:33

It is exclusion, but is it deliberate or as a result of ignorance or thoughtlessness.

I think something should have been said at the time.

cornergran Fri 09-Sep-16 08:37:02

Exclusion in a team is never acceptable. From quirkysand's description this behaviour is discrimination based on gender (male) behaviour, so I would call it chauvinism. That's unless the one female is the expert photographer, but then she would be easily able to us a time delay function and include herself, or indeed cut off all the male heads [.grin]. Not sure what the situation is, whether voluntary or paid it is unacceptable and I would hope the organisation would be supportive if necessary to take it further. If this is an example of a long term attitude then it's going to be difficult to change without support. It's sadly easy to be manouevered into gender stereotypical roles, for men and women, but oh so difficult to change entrenched patterns. Love the thought of a selection of appropriate responses that make a stance clear without being rude, humour usually helps if you can muster some. If you want to stay there (and right now why would you?) I hope you can be brave and make this different, lots of little undermining behaviours can easily dent confidence, good luck with it, it's a horrid situation.

Alishka Fri 09-Sep-16 08:39:32

stansgran the no.3 meaning is certainly most commonly thought of where I live. The term 'chauvinist pig' springs to mind and is used exclusively for men who believe they are superior to women purely because of their sex.

ninathenana Fri 09-Sep-16 08:42:02

Stansgran funny world isn't it. I'm the opposite I didn't know number 1. It's always meant number 3 to me.
I would have been miffed at the ops situation but then I'm the sort of person who would have said something at the time.

BlueBelle Fri 09-Sep-16 09:01:35

I dont think it makes a scrap of difference whether its paid or voluntary work if you are in a team you are part of the team and need treating as a full member.

Wobblybits I don't think there is any need to wonder if its deliberate or ignorance the outcome is the same the 'victim' feels alienated and an outsider. The answer would be the same don't accept but educate by your reaction to the situation

Quirkysand I can totally understand you were taken by surprise by the moment but now you have realised how bad it makes you feel be forewarned and forearmed as to how you will react next time you are pushed out and dont want to over but I always find doing things in a fairly lighthearted way gets more results (with men) than a dictatorial way so in answer to their 'xx can take the picture' a 'well i cant as I need to be in it, shall I stand in the middle of all you heartthrobs' or even a more practical reply 'how about asking so and so as they not part of the team' will probably work better than a stand off lecture about their chauvinistic attitude

gillybob Fri 09-Sep-16 09:12:07

I have worked as the only female in an all male environment for over 30 years.

I have learned to give as good as I get and have perfected "the look" that tells them they have overstepped the mark. If I were you QuirkySand I would have said something like "what is the point of me taking the photo? As the most important member of the team I need to be in it".

I tend to get gems like;

"make my visitor a cup of coffee will you?
"Plenty cups to wash Gilly"
"any chance you could give the floor a once over around my desk where I spilled my tea" (you can imagine my response).

I tend to let it all go over my head. They are a decent load of guys really and with men you don't get the bitchiness that goes with working in a group of all women.

Wobblybits Fri 09-Sep-16 09:27:29

I think the difference between deliberate exclusion and thoughtlessness is that a word to the wise would sort thoughtlessness. I agree the effect is the same either way, but thoughtlessness can be sorted.

Wobblybits Fri 09-Sep-16 09:33:35

At the end of the day, speak up, don't put up, it's unacceptable.

Eloethan Fri 09-Sep-16 09:43:44

I worked for the senior litigation partner in a firm of solicitors. She never asked me to make a drink but said to only make it if I was making one for myself. And sometimes, if I was really busy, she would make me a drink and do urgent photocopying.

After the birth of my first grandchild, I went part-time for a while and worked as a "float" in various departments of the same firm. When I was working in the conveyancing department, the young male legal executive for whom I worked would expect me to make drinks on a regular basis. He would say plaintively that I hadn't made a drink for ages and he was "gasping". I kick myself for not challenging him and asking him why if he was so desperate for a drink he didn't make it himself, given that I was really busy.

I think a lot of women of my generation were brought up to be non-challenging and polite, whatever the circumstances, and find it difficult to stick up for themselves.

I do think the situation Quirkysand describes is an example of this sort of attitude and that she should have said something straight away. But I can understand her feelings of embarrassment and powerlessness and not knowing how to tackle the situation.

I don't agree that it is customary for women to be bitchy. I have worked in offices with women all my working life and I can think of very few examples of women bitching about each other. In the main, I found them friendly and supportive. (and men can be extremely "bitchy" to each other, in the guise of "joking").

Swanny Fri 09-Sep-16 09:47:58

I would not have been able to stop saying something at the time, along the lines of 'Good idea, then everyone can see what living dinosaurs look like' grin If I stopped to think about it the moment would have gone and I'd beat myself up for letting them get away with it.

Their age has nothing to do with their combined attitude unless they've had their heads in the sand for the last 50 years! If a few humourous retorts don't make them realise the effect of their behaviour then gently point out the error of their ways, make a note of the instances and take it higher. You are not alone ((hugs)) smile

Elegran Fri 09-Sep-16 10:01:27

A friend (female) was the senior scientist working on some research into pain pathways, with several young men as juniors. The BBC filmed them demonstrating their work. Friend's arm was chosen for attaching the equipoment to and filming the work, as it was the best-looking one on view (!). Cameraman focussed in on arm, presenter did his spiel, asked questions of the young assistant wielding the equipment, and shooting finished. Young assistants were taken off by presenter and cameraman for liquid refreshments, friend was left to the female makeup girls to entertain. Over a cuppa they asked "What is it like working for those gorgeous blokes?"


Linsco56 Fri 09-Sep-16 10:09:10

I don't know enough about the structure of the team and the reason for the photograph being placed in the newspaper.

Do you have a different role within the team? Do the men form the Sales Team? Was the photograph intended as part of an advertisement, perhaps with the caption "meet our Sales Team"?

Of course it is possible the were indeed being chauvinistic, in which case my response would have been "don't be absurd".

If you are having to deal with these attitudes on a regular basis you need to learn to bite back even if it goes against your nature.

trisher Fri 09-Sep-16 10:10:06

QuirkySand You need to say and do something. You may consider yourself 'part of the team' but those men obviously don't. Imagine if your GC brought a picture of their class home from school and they weren't in it because they had taken it. You would be asking "Where's the one with you in?" You need to raise the matter and ask them if they really consider you as a valuable part of the team or if they actually imagine you are some sort of underling just helping them out.