Comedian Fern Brady has prepared a selection of ready-made comebacks for everyday sexism in the workplace – get ready to laugh.
It’s probably one of the greatest mysteries of human history that, although mankind has managed to climb mount Everest and land on the moon, there are still men who believe “get back in the kitchen” is a good insult.
In 2019, we’ve come a long way in the fight against everyday sexism. Society has widely grown to understand that women are just as capable as men. But in industries still largely-dominated by men, there are still women dealing with the daily touts and insults of their colleagues; and it’s important we don’t forget that.
New research by tech recruiter CWJobs has revealed the startling levels of everyday sexism women in the tech industry face on a day to day basis. The survey of over 2,500 women working in tech or other STEM industries revealed that 66% have been told their work is “Not bad for a girl,” with 46% having been told “You probably got the job because you’re female”.
Other common situations women in the tech industry experienced were being called a bitch (60%), being told that “female brains just aren’t as technical” (54%) and overhearing or being directly asked whether their mood was “related to the time of the month” (58%).
It’s surprising to hear that these levels of sexism still exist, but the tech sector isn’t the only industry affected. According to comedian Fern Brady, her sector still has a long way to go, too.
“I’d like to think things are better now, but I think the truth is, as doormen still can’t believe I’m at the club to perform – and not just as a support act – there are working environments across the whole spectrum where women are considered lesser than their male colleagues,” Brady says.
“The first female comics had to fight tooth and nail to be taken seriously, and sadly there’s still a way to go,” she continues. “There have been numerous times that I’ve been reminded of the gender imbalance in comedy and it’s an issue that resonates with girlfriends across too many industries.”
While everyday sexism is certainly not a laughing matter, Brady thinks comedy is a great way to respond to this most frustrating of subjects – and she’s created a toolbox of comebacks for you to do the same.
For when they insist on perpetuating 1950’s stereotypes
Sexist: “Shouldn’t you be getting your nails done?”
Response: “You’re absolutely right, thanks to the insane patriarchal beauty standards women have to live up to we’re discriminated against for not being pretty enough. I will of course expect paid leave for this necessary maintenance work.”
For when they rewrite the rules of biology
Sexist: “Female brains just aren’t as technical.”
Response: “But on the upside we live longer than you so I’ve got time to learn.”
For when they go straight to where it hurts – the hair colour
Sexist: “You are such a dumb blonde.”
Response: “I like that you organise your sexism into neat categories, so many men don’t.”
For when they suddenly assume you’re their personal barista
Sexist: *looks at only woman in the room* “Where’s the coffee?”
Response: “No idea but when you find it I take mine black one sugar.”
For when they bring out the big ones
Sexist: “You’re such a bitch.”
Response: “Am I a bitch? Or am I in fact an adult who happens to be female who is telling you the truth?”
For when they’re suddenly concerned about your mood
Sexist: “You need to be more outgoing and bubbly.”
Response: “Ok, let’s make a deal. You stop patronising me, and I’ll resume being happy.”
For when they think your anatomy is their business
Sexist: “Why are you so moody? Is it your time of the month?”
Response: “I am, actually!” (then go into a detailed explanation of flow, texture of discharge, bloating complaints, show him your period app etc – until he leaves).
For when you’re just tired of it
Sexist: “Not bad for a girl.”
Response: “And you, my friend, are unbelievable for an imbecile.”
Images: Provided by Fern Brady