Are all patronising comments created equal?

During a recent business discussion a female colleague was told by another more senior (in both position and age) female “don’t you worry your pretty little head about that”.

It immediately rankled, and rankled badly.

I have had that same phrase said to me on a number of occasions, but all by men.  Having it come from the mouth of a self-proclaimed feminist just had the red mist descending over my eyes I am afraid.

Why resort to being so patronising just because there is a difference of opinions? And is it worse when it comes from another female or is all condescension the same?

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  1. To me, the comment seems sexist and condescending when coming from a man. Coming from a woman as described above, it strikes me as condescension particularly to wield power, and maybe mean-spirited as well.

    ~ Lily

  2. So often we do what we learn. Women don’t support each other near enough and I would find this so very insulting. I would confront her on it, and ask her way she has to resort to this low level.

  3. Yuk. The other day when I went to get a coffee order one of the baristas called me girly as in “hey girly here’s your coffee” it really got under my skin, but I pretended I didn’t hear it and just moved on with coffee in hand… I wasn’t quite sure what he was referring to the fact that I was a girl or that I was wearing a dress…but what difference does it make, the rudness wasn’t just in calling me girly it was in the tone as though he was saying “oooh look at you all dressed up and no where to go…”
    If a woman had made this comment to me – I almost would have found it worse, because it just means that men then feel the right to do so.
    Like if there were male colleagues around and listening to what was happening – next time they see you they might then think it was ok to say something like that to you…
    Women need to be on each others side – otherwise we could easily just as well take a step backwards and I’m not just talking about manners.
    It’s condescending regardless of who says it but I think it sounds worse coming from another woman…
    Gosh – my repsonse to this blog is almost another blog post within itself…

  4. Women do need to be on each others side. There is a lot of improvement needed in this area if we are going to see this change in our life time. We need to engage as many women as possible in this conversation. Spread the word!

  5. That is a blatant insult. This older woman (maybe jealous) is turning her co-workers attributes (youth and perhaps beauty) against her. The older woman insinuates that because her peer is younger, she is incapable. If she had just said I don’t think you can handle this issue by yourself…or I don’t want to see you get in over your head, please let me help you. It would have spared the younger woman integrity. The OLDER woman should have been embarrassed of her own behavior and she made a fool of herself instead. I hope that it was addressed. A man would have been “called out” on such a comment and this woman is not above any other standards that a man is held to.


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