I’ve worked in a male dominated business for the better part of 2 decades; 17 years and 356 days to be more exact. I’ve dealt with a whole lot of “I’ll just wait to talk to one of the guys sweetheart. They’ll know what I need.” I’m more than happy to let these people wait for one of the guys to tell them exactly what I would have told them 20 minutes sooner. I figure their wasted time is just a little bit of karma.
The other day, I was talking to a friend who gets to deal with this kind of crap on a daily basis in her job. She’s more qualified, more educated, and simply better at her job than any of her male counterparts, but she STILL gets second guessed or outright ignored by men she has to work with outside of her office to get her job done. She was venting to me about this, and wondering what to do, so of course I had to share my foolproof way of shutting down sexism. I mean, it’ll probably get you a nice forced visit with HR, but it’s worth every second of it.
One day, several years ago, when dealing with a particularly ridiculous case of “I’ll just wait to talk to one of the boys” followed by this person getting more and more upset because “the boys who know what they’re talking about” were not there, but still refusing to let me take care of their issue, I looked at the “gentleman” and said something that shut him down completely.
“I’m sorry that you don’t feel like I can possibly know what I’m talking about. Would it help if I had a penis? Because I can go get one and bring it back. Maybe then you’ll consider the fact that I might just know what I’m doing. Fair warning though, it’s probably going to be bigger than yours, and I hear that is a problem too.”
After spitting and sputtering for a second before he eventually gained his composure, I helped him with what he needed, and sent him on his merry way. Several times I’ve been tempted to use that line again, three more times I have. It works like a charm every single time, in every single situation. Every. Single. Time.