Skip To Content

    Because Women Can't Have Anything, Here Are 26 Times Bosses Were Casually Sexist Towards Their Employees

    "My male boss frequently tells me that 'red isn’t my color.'"

    We asked the women of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about a time they experienced subtle sexism. Here are just 26 of the responses in which sexism came from the woman's boss.

    1. "While mansplaining something to me, my boss said, 'Listen, baby.'"

    Cece from "New Girl" screaming
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    2. "My male boss frequently tells me that 'red isn't my color.' Sometimes he says, 'Wow, I actually approve of your outfit today.' I dress professionally appropriate every day. Once I wore a dress with heeled sandals and he looked me up and down and made me walk in front of him down the hallway."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking horrified
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    3. "My boss and his son refer to any job they find too easy or boring as 'good work for the ladies to do,' because they don't want to do it themselves."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking shocked
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    4. "My former boss used to refer to me and my younger female colleagues as 'girls.' Also, if we ever disagreed with anything he said, no matter how reasonably or calmly, we were told 'you need to stop whining' — or worse, 'stop bitching' if we were more persistent."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking very annoyed
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "It got to the point where I honestly believed my voice had an unpleasant character to it and I was constantly trying to modulate my voice, until a more senior female colleague told me that he did that to all the women in our department because he knew we would immediately stop arguing."

    makovach

    5. "I worked room service at a hotel in college. We kept all the alcohol in a locked closet that only the managers had keys to. One male manager refused to give the keys to female employees."

    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "He would either walk back with us or give the keys to a male coworker to escort us. We even had male employees escorting us on their first day because he somehow felt only men could be responsible not to steal anything."

    jaimec42dc87938

    6. "I was basically an executive assistant for a small company, where I was one of three women. My male boss tasked me with helping find a particular new car for the office. I came back with a list of a dozen cars matching what he wanted, and he looked at it and went, 'Wow, I'm surprised you actually knew how to look this up!' Like, what?"

    Cece from "New Girl" looking amused and annoyed
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    7. "A male superior walked in on a conversation I was having with my female colleague and thought he heard me mention something about having kids. He tapped his watch and said, 'Well, you're not getting any younger!'"

    Cece from "New Girl" looking very annoyed
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "I was 27. Oh, and best part? We all worked in HR."

    kirstylm

    8. "I'm a supervisor at a healthcare company. I had to meet with my boss, another supervisor, and his boss, to discuss why I had denied something. I was firm, but not aggressive. I laid out the facts with no emotion. My boss called me later to tell me that I had been too mean and that I needed to apologize. I told her right away that we wouldn't be having this conversation if I were a man."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking frustrated but not surprised
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    9. "I walked into my boss's office and offhandedly mentioned that it was cold. He proceeded to explain to me that 75% of women have some medical problem where their blood doesn't circulate properly."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking very confused
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    10. "I came to find out my boss offered me the job because he was so impressed that I could handle being a mom and a full-time teacher without 'falling apart' (his words) while my husband was deployed. It had nothing to do with my actual accomplishments in the classroom."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking angry and hurt
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    11. "I accidentally rolled my office chair into, not over, my boss's foot, so I apologized. He responded with, 'Oh it's okay, I'm always cautious when women are driving.'"

    Cece from "New Girl" looking furious
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    12. "I was exchanging emails with my older male boss — he’s in his mid-40s and I’m in my mid-30s. His latest email included a pun, so in my response I included a pun of my own. In his follow-up, he said that I was 'too young and too female' to be making jokes like that."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking very confused
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "Thankfully he works in another office across the country, so he never noticed that I likely didn't blink for the next six hours after receiving his response."

    lrob3727

    13. "I used to work a job where we made breakfast. One day, my coworkers and I had a meeting with the owner about needing to make sure that we dumped our bacon grease into the big bucket and not into the sink. He looked directly at me and said, 'Your husband is not going to enjoy cleaning out the sink drain because you didn't feel like dumping the grease out.'"

    Cece from "New Girl" looking disgusted
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    bc13

    14. "When I worked as a meat cutter, most of the team were men, including my boss. He suggested that I should wear just a T-shirt and put my hair up in pigtails for NFL Spirit Day. Ugh!!!"

    Cece from "New Girl" looking annoyed
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    15. "My boss strictly divides work by sex; if you're female, you work mornings/early afternoons and cook and clean, if you're male, you work afternoon/evenings, lift boxes (no more than 25 lbs), change trash, and do 'outside maintenance.'"

    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "Add on that my boss pays her favorites more money — including two young men who are routinely at least 20 minutes late, one of whom she even calls when he has to work at NOON because alarm clocks 'don't work for him'. She also pays the guys more on average even though many are on their phone constantly and aren't very good at customer service."

    scifi1203

    16. "I had a new boss actually come out and ask, 'What are you and your husband's plans for the next few years? Kids? I just need to plan how this campaign will work and if you'll be around,' implying that if I had kids, I would mess up his work plan."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking very angry
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    17. "I always call out bad behavior at work. Racist comments, sexual harassment that isn't being addressed, you name it. If I bring up these issues with my boss, he usually agrees with me, but he ALWAYS responds first by saying 'calm down.'"

    Cece from "New Girl" looking annoyed
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "This might be appropriate to say if I were screaming and breaking things, but I could be whispering and he would still say 'calm down.' I have never seen the same thing happen when a man brings up an issue they have at work."

    dobbyandkreacher

    18. "I had a manager once who treated me like such an idiot because I was a young female. He constantly belittled me in front of customers and gaslighted me when we were out of something, claiming that we had it and I just couldn’t find it, until he couldn't find it himself. Once he asked me to sweep at closing, then he held the broom and asked if I had 'ever used one of these things before.' Then he said, 'Oh, of course you have' before handing it to me."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking shocked and hurt
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "The final straw was the day that he called me 'slow' because I was 'from the South' (this was in Maryland and I'm from Virginia). It's the only job I’ve ever quit without giving notice and my only regret is that I didn't quit sooner."

    laniebeth11

    19. "My sister used to be a waiter and her BOSS, who was a woman, told her and the other female waiters to be all smiley and give all the attention to the man at the table because he's paying and they'd get bigger tips."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking very frustrated
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    20. "One of our 'silent' partners was going over the dress code, which only included skirts. I feel more comfortable wearing pants because I have to move around a lot, so I asked if women were allowed to wear pants — to be a little petty — and he had to ASK HIS WIFE if women own black dress pants."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking annoyed
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    21. "As a host, I was sexually harassed by male customers and I felt unsafe, so I reported it to my manager. He told me I was 'overreacting' and that the customers were all regular and treated every female staff member like that. I didn't stay on much longer after that."

    Cece from "New Girl" screaming
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    22. "The GM of the bar I worked at decided that only men could bartend."

    Cece from "New Girl" rolling her eyes
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    bionica

    23. "My male district manager and my female manager chided me over equal pay for equal work laws and told me it was 'illegal' to discuss wages with coworkers — it's legal under federal and state law, and it's fine under company policy. Then they chastised me like I was an embarrassingly stupid toddler for over 20 minutes for writing HR about this issue."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking surprised and annoyed
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    24. "I was the manager at a Fortune 500 company and my general manager told me that he would like my help organizing an area of the workplace, because it needed a 'woman's touch.'"

    Cece from "New Girl" looking confused
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    25. "My old boss would only take advice and suggestions from males. It was subtle because he would nod and smile as you made the suggestion, but he would only follow through with things my male colleagues said."

    Cece from "New Girl" looking frustrated
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    "Also, one time when I was upset about something that didn't go right, he asked me what my GPAs in college and high school were. When I told him I got mostly As, he said he thought so and that I should get used to not doing well. I don't think he would have said this to one of my male coworkers."

    bethanymeyer89

    26. And finally, "When I told my employer I had decided to go back to school to get a master's in divinity (i.e. become a pastor), he said, 'Well, the men must be failing if God is raising up women.'"

    Cece from "New Girl" looking shocked
    Elizabeth Meriwether Pictures / 20th Century Fox Television

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.