Skip To Content

    Women Are Sharing The Offensive And Inappropriate Things They've Been Told By Male Coworkers And Bosses, And These Are All Seriously Messed Up

    "He pulled me into his office and told me that I was a distraction to the male workers."

    Recently, we asked women of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the infuriatingly sexist things they were told or asked at work. Here are some of the worst things they were told by bosses and coworkers.

    1. "I work in financial services and was denied new clients by my male boss because I was pregnant and would be 'distracted by maternity and the "breastfeeding"' (yes he used the air quotes)."

    —Anonymous

    2. "On the ground outside setting up tie-dye for 60 kids, working fast because my coworker is watching my kids so I can set up: male coworker walks up and says, 'I love the sight of a woman on her knees.' I taught third grade at the time."

    "It wasn’t until I told the story at a teacher happy hour a year later that it smacked me in that face that it was sexual harassment."

    —Anonymous

    3. "The first real job I ever had, they didn't care about tattoos and piercings, and I am heavy on both. My old boss said that I would 'never get a husband looking the way I do, because no man wants someone looking trashy.' I told HR, they did nothing because he was a 'valued employee.'"

    "I couldn't help but bust out in a huge smug smile when I handed him a wedding invite. He declined. Asshole."

    witchyribbon84

    4. "I'm a vegetarian, and throughout the year I worked in this company, I was single. My manager told me in front of everyone that I don't have a boyfriend because vegetarians don't put 'meat' inside the mouth."

    "This joke was repeated at least a couple of times during my employment there and when I didn't laugh it off, I was considered too serious, wouldn't fit well, or wouldn't be successful in the company. I was 26 and he was a married man in his 50s...who I later heard was having an affair with at least two of my coworkers."

    cynthiaangelinaa

    Mr. Chow laughing then saying "fuck you" in the hangover

    5. "[A] management spot opened in our department. We were five women and one man. He was sure he would get that spot and commented to my other coworker that she would never get the job 'because women are bad bosses because they are emotional and irrational, especially during their periods.'"

    "Of course, she got the job, and he was fired six months after because he was always half-assing his job, but was always so sure that he was the best, most competent person ever. Oh, the confidence of an average white male."

    luthy_one

    6. "I worked in IT for a well-known brokerage firm. When I announced my first pregnancy, I was told by male managers that it was a bad career move and I should consider abortion if I ever expected to advance."

    thanata

    7. "I was a server at a sports bar and grill. I was often tasked with shift leading, which came with a free meal, which led to some weight gain. I took some measures and started losing the weight. One day, my manager came up behind me and whispered in my ear, 'You need to stop losing weight because you're losing your butt and your boobs.'"

    valleypineapples

    8. "‘You’re a woman, you can sew these labels onto the guys' (on the team) clothing.’ This was said by my director."

    "My boss, the director of the company, told me to 'grow a pair' when I spoke to him in confidence about the way I had been spoken to by other male colleagues in a derogative manner. I was also told ‘Jump up and down so we can see your boobs jiggle’ by a male colleague at work, and ‘When you walked in for the interview, we all had thumbs up behind your back,’ implying I only got the job because of my looks. Oh, and when both myself and a male colleague were off sick (on separate occasions, but around a similar time), I had to follow a completely different ‘back to work process’ and had my pay docked for the day, whilst my male colleague didn’t, even though we were on similar job levels and the same contract. This was all ONE workplace."

    —Anonymous

    in harry potter, ron says "hermione, you're a girl" and hermione says "well spotted"

    9. "A colleague called me out of the classroom and when I returned, he followed me to the door, sniggered, and told my class not to worry because he'd brought me back 'safe and sound and fully satisfied.'"

    —Anonymous

    10. "My coworker overheard the VP of our department refer to her as 'just another baby maker.'”

    —Anonymous

    11. "Headmaster at private school: '(Male coworker promoted over me) is more sociable.' (Translation: they drink together.)"

    —Anonymous

    12. "There were two: 'Why don't you marry someone and leave your job to a man' said to me by the director of a world-famous cultural institution at the end of the 1990s (he is still a bigwig in that industry today), and 'it's not very feminine to demand money' in response to my asking several times over a few months for the fee I was contractually owed after finishing a freelance job (that guy is now out of that same industry today, after hitting a woman on camera)."

    —Anonymous

    Mia's father tells her to get married and make babies because she looks so old in my big fat greek wedding

    13. "I used to work in a very male-dominated industry. I ran a meeting once a week where my coworkers (all men) would routinely show up late, dick around, or not show up at all. After months of dealing with their disrespectful behavior, I sat down with our boss (also a man) to bring it to his attention and get his advice for how to navigate this problem. He told me the guys might be more inclined to come to the meeting if I brought treats."

    "Ummm, what? No one else was asked to bring treats to the meetings they ran. Would he have asked me that if I were a man?"

    popcultured

    14. "Art director here. The previous guy (whose job I took over due to his incompetence) announced to the heads of the company that they should 'hire a man above me' because I had recently given birth to twins and 'she really should spend time taking care of her children. She can’t handle her job and motherhood!'"

    "He was always salty when I used words he deemed 'too big' and it made him feel small so he jumped at any opportunity to put me down, regardless of how well I was doing."

    —Anonymous

    15. "Working at a local, but very well known, news agency, I complained to my male boss of other males in the office making sexual comments to me. Things like my legs looking good, looking up my skirt when going up the stairs, touching me a lot, etc. His response was, 'Well, what do you expect when you look so good?'"

    "He proceeded to tell me I look 'too good' because I always have my hair and makeup done, wear nice clothes, and just overall look put together. I was barely 22 at the time and fresh out of college so I had no idea how to handle that. So I just endured until I found another job. Now, I tell those men where to go (rhymes with bell)."

    —Anonymous

    16. "Working as a construction engineer in field...Me: 21, wearing v-neck t-shirt from Old Navy. Supervisor (60?): 'How about you keep that top button buttoned so the guys don’t drive into a ditch.' Bitch, it doesn’t even have buttons."

    grimchbettahavemymoney

    Maddy saying "Bitch, you better be joking" on Euphoria

    17. "At a (mandatory) workplace social function, several people, both men and women, were discussing a recent win by the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. The partner in charge of the office announced, apropos of nothing, that no women’s team could ever beat any men’s team, in any sport. Because he could have fired any of us on the spot, no one pointed out the blatant sexism (and stupidity) of that comment. This was at a law firm that touts its place on Fortune’s Best Workplaces for Women list, 'for the seventh year in a row, ranking #29.'”

    —Anonymous

    18. "'Okay, I’m getting a lot of aggression coming off you right now.' I (25 F) was explaining to [a] more senior manager (50-something, M) why his team had been written up after failing their work on my project because they didn’t have the time to do it, because he gave them way too much work. I had followed all the proper procedures and been sympathetic to the poor team members who literally cried that they had too much to do. I checked with the other person in the room when I was aggressive, they said I absolutely was not."

    —Anonymous

    19. "[I was] 16 at my first job ever. The male manager on duty pulled out his pants pockets and pointed toward his crotch and told me to 'Kiss The Bunny.' Nothing happened to him."

    —Anonymous

    20. "In response to my question about 401(k) matching: 'If you get a second job dancing on a pole, I’ll come down and match your 40(k) in dollar bills.'”

    —Anonymous

    In Hustlers, Ramona says "This city, this whole country, is a strip club. You've got people tossing the money, and people doing the dance"

    21. "I was a mid-level employee working retail just starting to work towards a promotion. A manager for a different department (also a woman) told me not to worry too much or work too hard because, in the end, I’d get promoted eventually so the company could 'keep their diversity numbers up.' She told me that it worked for her, and I could always flirt to get what I wanted."

    —Anonymous

    22. "A few years back, I was tasked with heading a committee at work (I work in administration for a state university). The committee was mostly male and had some pretty important male faculty and administrators on it as well. I entered the meeting room and saw that most of them were there. One of the younger male staffers who is also in a low entry position, turned to look at me and said, 'Oh great, they gave us someone to take minutes.'"

    "He hadn't met me before but a few others in the room had and a look of discomfort on their faces. I said thanks for volunteering and called the meeting to order. He turned the brightest shade of red and didn't say a peep. Oh, it was also a joy to tell him his minutes sucked and he needed to work on getting better at them since our committee would run for the academic year and he would take ALL the minutes!"

    —Anonymous

    23. "I was working as an operations manager, and a man I had hired a few days earlier came by with a payroll issue. After we figured everything out, he said, 'Thanks so much! You're the most helpful secretary I've ever met!' Again, I had hired him only a few days prior! I shut him right down and said I was absolutely not a secretary and was, in fact, his boss. He went bright red and mumbled an apology while bolting out of the room. He did his best to avoid me after that."

    madelin2

    Charles asks Gina to photocopy warrant requests for him, and she says she isn't his secretary

    24. "At my first ever office job age 22: the day after International Women's Day, our male CEO posted on our internal internet 'Happy Get Over It Day.' At that same place, I went to do some admin for a client who called me 'hot' and asked my manager if he agreed, in front of me."

    —Anonymous

    25. "I could write a book on all the things I’ve heard when I worked as a receptionist at a multinational telco company. Some comments are eyebrow raisers while some are downright inappropriate. One of the comments I received was from the facilities manager who said, 'When you work for a male-dominated industry and you have someone who looks like you, men can’t help themselves.'"

    adajetish

    26. "I got upset at my manager because he gave one of my biggest projects to my male counterpart. A day after I called him on it, he took me to a meeting room to tell me he thought I had let my feelings get out of hand. A year later my male counterpart flipped out on me and pretty much threw a chair at my desk because I 'make everything personal and am impossible to work with.' He got no reprimand...I got told it was best not to make a big deal out of it because it was nothing serious."

    "The reason my counterpart was upset? He undermined my relationship with an advertiser, the research I put into the work and my design decisions behind my back, and tried to erase all the work I'd done just because he didn't agree with what I'd chosen to do, and I told him it was a rude thing to do and wouldn't be changing the design."

    —Anonymous

    27. "After working on a project for our Executive Board with my boss, a coworker came into my office and said, 'I assumed you were pregnant because you were having so many one on one's with [boss's name].'"

    —Anonymous

    in two weeks notice, george congratulates an employee on her new baby, and she says "what baby?"

    28. "Me: working as a manager of project managers who track/oversee contract work for the government. Him: A contractor for the government. After a field meeting about my expectations with a certain contract (timeline, work performed, etc.) He says he'd like to hire me as his secretary. I tell him that I'm the boss at my job so no. He says, 'Well, you can be the boss secretary.' Some men just can't handle women having any kind of power over them at all."

    uncalum

    29. "I worked in the consumer products division for a very famous brand. As a project manager, I was responsible for making sure projects were on budget and on time. After reviewing a proposed design with one of our (male) designers, I let him know in no uncertain terms that the design was too complex for our budget. ... Later, I overheard this designer telling another (male) designer that they would be keeping the over-complicated design. ... As I began to explain to the second designer why the design needed to be modified, the first designer interrupted me with a shushing gesture and said, 'Excuse me, the men are talking.'"

    "I was so shocked that I didn’t say anything and just walked away. If I could go back in time, I would have said, 'If you found me some real men, I might be more inclined to listen.' Alas…"

    popcultured

    30. "At the age of 25, I was in an acting role for a few months that usually has someone far older and more senior. I really struggled to feel like I could earn any respect from the men I worked with. They all looked at me like I was either a piece of meat or like I was actively trying to ruin their marriages. I remembered how much confidence an old pixie cut had given me, so I went for it again. One man took it upon himself to come into my office to yell at me for cutting my hair. Asking how I could do that to him. He said it jokingly, but still, wtf — I was NOT close to this man at all. No idea why he thought that was appropriate."

    "That moment actually made me more happy I did it though. I even added an undercut later to frustrate more men in my office."

    stringofrandomnumbers

    felicity shows off her new pixie cut on felicity and her friend says guys are going to hate it, and then a guy friend walks up and says "oh god"

    31. "I worked a summer job at the mine my dad worked at. I was the only girl working in the shop. My bosses alternated seven days on, seven days off. One supervisor definitely did not like me working there. So I only did 'girl jobs' like clean the shop and office. Then one day after being sent on a parts run he pulled me into his office and told me that I was a distraction to the male workers and that women should not work underground."

    "There was a lot more, but 18-year-old me blanked out and felt like I was at fault. Let's not even talk about the creepy guys that worked there, too."

    kristind4370ba748

    32. "[I] worked for a very small company as both a receptionist and assistant to the president. One day the president asked me to help look for a new company vehicle and to get him some options because he wasn't having any luck. So I spent the next couple hours getting about a dozen great options ready for him and when I presented said options, he made me go through how I found the vehicles, step by step, because I 'didn't seem like the type who would know how to find a vehicle on my own.'"

    "It's been five years and I'm still mad about it."

    insertsomethingwittyhere

    33. "Back in ~2016 I was in the military, serving as enlisted. I had been in for almost a decade and was selected for a prestigious duty. One day, I was waiting in the conference room with my boss's boss after arranging a meeting for two high level agency leaders. I was so proud of myself and nervous at the same time. He totally broke that moment for me by saying, 'Why are you doing this job? Girls like you should be off modeling.'"

    "It was so demeaning to all of the work that I had put in to get there."

    stringofrandomnumbers

    guy on Love Island tells another guy "you don't model, dude? You could easily model." The other guy replies "I...I work at a grocery store"

    34. "I work in a government org, a male dominated field, so sadly I’m used to the 'you should smile more,' 'why don’t you have kids yet,' 'can I talk to a man' BS…However I was surprised by the audacity of my coworkers on a recent business trip. I was the only woman in our group of seven. Around 5 a.m. they all knocked on my hotel door. Honestly, I thought there was some emergency….nope! They all wanted me to iron their clothes before our 8 a.m. meeting…I said no, and they said, 'Well, if you were a real woman you would know how to iron clothes.'"

    "I responded with, 'First off, what the f does that mean!? Secondly, I do know how iron clothes, I’m just not going to iron your clothes.' I got reported to my boss, who then proceeded to talk to me about being a team player. Now I’m being labeled difficult to work with. I didn’t go to graduate school to deal with this BS. I’m currently searching for a new job."

    jlynn636

    35. And finally..."I’m a waitress/bartender. One time, the 50L keg was empty, so I asked a female coworker to help me grab a new one. The two of us carried it inside together and replaced the empty one, without any issues. Then, our male boss comes up to us and tells us that next time, we should ask ‘one of the strong guys’ to help."

    moorlehs

    What's the most sexist thing a boss asked you to do on the job that he definitely wouldn't have asked of a man? Let us know in the comments below!

    Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.