Women have a new word for that annoying thing your male colleague does

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Helen Booth
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Have you ever shared an idea in a meeting or social situation and been ignored, only to later hear a man repeat the same suggestion and receive all the praise? Now there’s a word for that. Nicole Gugliucci, an astronomer, professor and social justice advocate, suggests that we call it being ‘hepeated’.

She followed up with a couple of helpful usage guidelines, too: “Ugh, I got hepeated in that meeting again.’ Or, ‘He totally hepeated me!’”

Many Twitter users could relate – Gugliucci’s tweet has since received over 200,000 likes and 65,000 retweets, plus some brilliant replies.

Others cautioned that people of colour often experience the same disregard for their ideas, and advised that female staffers in Barack Obama’s White House administration had a special trick for avoiding this workplace pitfall – a strategy known as ‘amplification’. The technique went as follows: when a woman made a good point in a meeting, another woman would repeat it while giving credit to the originator. This strategy made the idea harder to ignore or steal.

Thinking along the same lines, one of Gugliucci’s followers, Josh Witten, suggested that men could focus on ‘heinforcing’ ideas instead of hepeating them.

Anticipating some backlash following her suggestion, Gugliucci took steps to shut down any follow-up arguments: “If anyone tries mansplaining why that's "not a big deal," you will be publicly shamed. Just warning you. Anyway, enjoy your new word!”

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Gugliucci said of her idea: “You never know what random thing is going to go viral. I think it’s interesting women and people of color are recognizing these things, and it’s great they have a tool like Twitter to share their stories.”

Image: iStock


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Helen Booth

Helen Booth is a London-based writer, digital editor and part-time maker who loves interiors, crafts and keeping tabs on trends. She also co-founded the weekly newsletter Lunch Hour Links.