The Media usually claims it’s men who repress women in the workplace. But seriously? It’s so much more complex than that. Women are being repressed by both men and women, usually with the latter doing the better job of it. How can women ever move forward when they’re being held back by ingrained behaviours from the people who are meant to support them most? If you’ve ever taken a successful step forward in your career, you’ve probably came across at least one of these assailants, used to unhinge and deride your success. Similarly, you might be guilty of committing them. Whether you’re a man or woman, boss or subordinate, want to support women? Then you need to stop using, or enabling, these 7 assaults:


Is this woman actually mentally ill? Chances are, she’s not and you probably shouldn’t say so. Since the 19th century, people have been labelling women as ‘hysterical’ – now’s the time to stop. Being passionate about your job – completely acceptable behaviour. Pushing your own insecurities onto someone else’s mental health – that’s the type of behaviour I’d call unhinged.


‘Bitch boss’ is perhaps the most common term used to shame women into being less assertive. Yawn. The other B word ‘bossy’, has similar connotations. It’s boring and unimaginative and yet people still use it as the quickest form of attack. You wouldn’t label your assertive male superior as a ‘Bossy Bitch’, so don’t label your female one that, either.


What does this even mean? Half the people using it don’t even know. You should absolutely be a slut. If slutty behaviour means the same to you as it does to me – doning sweatpants and eating macaroni cheese out of the dish infront of a Gossip Girl marathon each time you’re home alone. Oh you meant the other kind. Too long has ‘slutty’ been used to give negative, sexual connotations to the way a woman dresses, feels or acts. Unless she’s having sex on your desk while you’re trying to do the invoicing, let’s save the slutty talk for the bedroom.


If all else fails and the person in question is too competent, lovely and good at their job to be reputably labelled anything else, then Sponger works just as well. Because there’s no way a woman could quite possibly earn her way to the top. She must have a rich husband or father who helped her to buy her way in. It’s like Destiny’s Child never happened.


‘It’s like she just wants to be me’. A classic green-eyed monster tactic – if you can’t beat them, pretend they only got that way by being you. This is one of those passive-aggressive tactics used to derail woman and is pretty rubbish to be on the receiving end of. Yes she might have the same skirt as you, or wear her parting on the same side – but don’t flatter yourself. At best this is an unconscious effort to ‘fit in’ and at worst, it’s a compliment! Use it to give yourself a feel-good moment about how great your style/hair/work ethic is; not to call someone out and undermine their sense of originality.


‘Suck-Up’ is meaner than ‘Bitch’ and yet somewhat harder to defend. When you’re at school, being a Teacher’s Pet is bad, when you’re at work and you have a great relationship with the person who pays your wages.. surely it’s just good logic? The two shouldn’t, in any way, be mutually exclusive but if it came down to a choice between getting on with my colleagues or getting on with my boss – I know which one I’d go for.


It’s unfortunate that moving in cliques isn’t a formation we leave behind at school. Even as adults, women still flock to this tactic at the slightest sign of a threat. I get it, I really do. It’s an ingrained, evolutionary tactic to stick to ‘the pack’ to increase chances of safety. Apart from the fact, no one’s attacking here. And that showing how unlikeable they are is not going to make you more likeable by default.


If you’re someone who has fallen prey to the comments above, I feel for you. These assaults are as old as time itself and yet no less poignant. If you’ve been guilty of committing these attacks on women – now’s the time to stop. We’ve all been guilty of it at one point or another, whether consciously or subconsciously, but you can honestly be the person who helps to turn things around. Strong, happy, successful women build each other up – they don’t tear each other down. Make it your priority to be one of the strong ones.


Image via WeHeartIt

Beth Gladstone

Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.

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