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Dear Women & Girls

ashleemboyer profile image Ashlee (she/her) Originally published at ashleemboyer.com Updated on ・1 min read

Cover image alt: Header reading this blog post's title on a blank piece of paper sitting atop a desk with writing pens and ink.

Originally posted on my personal blog site.

Dear Women & Girls,

Take up space. You are smart and deserving. If a man or boy tries to make you feel otherwise, refer to this list of statements below. Thanks to @necessaryaf on Twitter for this list.

  1. You interrupted me, I’m not finished talking.
  2. No.
  3. That isn’t funny.
  4. That isn’t appropriate.
  5. I already know that.
  6. That won’t be necessary.
  7. Leave me alone.
  8. You're making me uncomfortable.
  9. Stop ignoring what I’m saying.
  10. You owe me an apology.
  11. You don't need to be that close to me.
  12. If you insist on speaking to me in this manner, I’m going to ask you to leave/I will not continue this conversation with you.

We're socially trained to soften our language, but we can change that.

Signed,

A Tired Woman in Tech


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Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

Discussion (45)

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Editor guide
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andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown 🇨🇦 • Edited

How a man can respond:

  1. I'm sorry, please continue.
  2. My apologies
  3. Sorry for describe the offence
  4. My apologies
  5. My apologies
  6. respect they don't need assistance
  7. walk away
  8. I'm sorry, What is it that is making you uncomfortable so I can correct this behaviour?
  9. I'm sorry, So to clarify you were saying * repeat back what they said to show you were listening, follow up with direct reply*
  10. I'm sorry for X
  11. step back
  12. My apologies, correct language

In Canada, offering apologies and correcting behaviour even if you think you have done nothing wrong is not seen as a weakness.

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ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her) Author • Edited

The point is that women aren't* (this previously said "are", which was a typo) treated with the same respect as men. Women are conditioned to behave differently than men. When we behave in the same ways as men in the professional world, we’re considered “bitchy”, “bossy”, or “intimidating” rather than “assertive”, “decisive”, or “intelligent”. Men have a lot of privilege in that they can behave almost however they want to without issue. It’s not the same story for women.

ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her) Author

Why did you ask a question you seemingly already know they answer to? I'm not interested in defending my lived experience. Please go.

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mateiadrielrafael profile image
Matei Adriel

I dont want to be rude, and u had a few points, but that comment makes me thing the person who wrote it is aggressive regardless of wheater it is or isnt a women... I dont think its true men can get away with that attitude, and unless you come with irl exaples it looks very hypocrite (ps: I hate typing on my phone so ignore the mistakes)

Thread Thread
ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her) Author

Matei, who are you replying to?

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

I think I can lend some sanity here, after reading the thread.

@franticcoder87 , the issue many of the others in the thread are having with this is that, often, when someone in a group experiencing discrimination points out that what is being done to the group is wrong, it is a common counter-point for someone, especially someone from the privileged group, to remind everyone "You should be nice to my group too!"

It's not okay, for two reasons:

1) It implies that <underprivileged group> is wanting inequality.

2) It shifts the focus back onto you and <privileged group>.

Of course everyone should be treated with respect, but this isn't about men and how they're treated. It's about women, and the crap they have to deal with regularly.

The author, and the majority of women in tech, are wanting equality. But that doesn't exist; women often don't get the respect that many men demand for themselves.

As to the content of the article, it is entirely justified. Read about the Paradox of Tolerance


I understand if you did not realize the impact of your words. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, it can be very difficult to put oneself in the shoes of another. You may well not have intended harm.

However, whether you meant to or not, you echoed a common "shutdown" statement frequently used against women and other underprivileged groups. The author and other people in the thread are not out of line to be angry. It is impossible to know your intent, especially when your actions are similar to those of many who intend harm.

In the future, when you find you've done this, accept the correction, apologize, and then stop responding to the thread. The more you try to defend yourself, the more you add fuel to the fire you started. Accidentally starting a fire can be easily forgiven; deliberately pouring gasoline on it is not so easily overlooked.

I hope this helps you understand the issue here, and that we can move on.

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mjsarfatti profile image
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jessekphillips profile image
Jesse Phillips

This is a good explanation for why the initial comment would/is a trigger.

In the future, when you find you've done this, accept the correction

I don't see a correction being made. I see the start of a discussion, then it was killed because an opinion existed.

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ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her) Author

I think it's very sad that this instigative comment is your first comment on this platform.

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jessekphillips profile image
Jesse Phillips

@Ashlee You mentioned that similar behavior across gender receives different labels (bitchy vs assertive). Why have you chosen to label this as 'instigative' instead of 'thought provoking' , 'contributing to a discussion' , or 'challenging my beliefs'?

I don't think women should try to be like men (he did it first is not a good moral compass), however it is important to emphasize standing up for yourself (which goes both ways), men shouldn't feel as though they can't inquire about things just because a woman has spoken from experience.

I had a previous conversation which was challenging to articulate in such a manner that wouldn't kill discussion. Your approach to responding was exactly my concern.

As I write this I don't have expectations of continued dialog, not because you are a women but because of the tactics I see you use to close down a conversation.

I don't think I understand how the articles out there wouldn't represent you.

Humans have a mantality to congregate into groups and generally that come with similarities.

psychologytoday.com/us/blog/close-...

"The less information we have about a person, the more actual similarity affects liking"

Now I wouldn't argue not to write, but don't you think it is interesting how we use race, sex, and appearances to establish similarity before we are aware of any actual similarity.



Thread Thread
ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her) Author

See:

I think I can lend some sanity here, after reading the thread.

@franticcoder87 , the issue many of the others in the thread are having with this is that, often, when someone in a group experiencing discrimination points out that what is being done to the group is wrong, it is a common counter-point for someone, especially someone from the privileged group, to remind everyone "You should be nice to my group too!"

It's not okay, for two reasons:

1) It implies that <underprivileged group> is wanting inequality.

2) It shifts the focus back onto you and <privileged group>.

Of course everyone should be treated with respect, but this isn't about men and how they're treated. It's about women, and the crap they have to deal with regularly.

The author, and the majority of women in tech, are wanting equality. But that doesn't exist; women often don't get the respect that many men demand for themselves.

As to the content of the article, it is entirely justified. Read about the Paradox of Tolerance


I understand if you did not realize the impact of your words. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, it can be very difficult to put oneself in the shoes of another. You may well not have intended harm.

However, whether you meant to or not, you echoed a common "shutdown" statement frequently used against women and other underprivileged groups. The author and other people in the thread are not out of line to be angry. It is impossible to know your intent, especially when your actions are similar to those of many who intend harm.

In the future, when you find you've done this, accept the correction, apologize, and then stop responding to the thread. The more you try to defend yourself, the more you add fuel to the fire you started. Accidentally starting a fire can be easily forgiven; deliberately pouring gasoline on it is not so easily overlooked.

I hope this helps you understand the issue here, and that we can move on.

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mjsarfatti profile image
Manuele J Sarfatti

franticCoder, a piece of advice: when a woman speaks about her experience, and especially if it's an experience that has to do with men, the best thing to do is to shut up and listen.

Men and women are NOT treated the same. We can do a first step towards a more equal society by showing respect and listening. It's an easy first step :)

ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her) Author
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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald • Edited

Bravo! I concur.

Over the past two days, I've dealt with two bright-blazing sexists who insisted that their discriminatory and degrading speech somehow "wasn't" sexist. I used several of these phrases, especially including #10. (Not quite the same, since I'm not a woman, but yes, they work.)

When one of the twits complained I wasn't "being inclusive" of his views, a moderator friend of mine was kind enough to bring up the Paradox of Tolerance to the dweeb in question, and then explain that discriminatory attitudes are not eligible for "tolerance" or "inclusivity".

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axelledrouge profile image
AxelleDRouge

Indeed excellent list. Fortunately for me, I was NOT trained to soften my language. And men around me know that. We as women can and should have ambition, defend our view and debate and assert our right to voice our point of view.

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evieskinner18 profile image
Evie

Wow! Yes indeed ladies be assertive. You are inferior to no-one! Thank you so much for posting this and brightening up my day ❤️ When a man tries to interrupt me I tend to carry on talking and put my hand in a 'stop' gesture ✋ Works every time because they never see it coming!

ashleemboyer profile image
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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

This is great Ashlee!

syntaxseed profile image
SyntaxSeed (Sherri W)

"Like I said it was "never my intention" to attack you therefore any "impact" that you seem to have felt is irrelevant."

Imagine someone trying to hit a baseball, accidentally lets go of the bat & breaks your nose. I guess that because their intent wasn't to hurt you... your pain & broken nose is irrelevant. Please.

This right here. Gah. 🙄

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jessekphillips profile image
Jesse Phillips

My wife and I had a good discussion on why this comment is problematic.

Women have had a history where it was socially and expected behavior to mistreat women. In order to establish an equality of treatment women need to go beyond replicating the way they were/are treated. Allowing to establish the proper middle ground.

Let me explain this at a higher level view. If society has women who behave in the way they feel they and others are treated, it provides a means for society to reflect on how that behavior has been accepted in other situations and discuss.

This does not make that woman a good person, but it can be an important person to the larger progress of society.


What does this have to do with your comment being a problem? Nothing.

Let me know if I'm wrong, but I think the real question being asked is, "why is your advice only being directed to women and not everyone who is not feeling like they are being heard whether the be male, female, or null"

If I translated this well, aside from not directly asking this, it misses the social pressures which are placed on women (including within some families). These people may not be of the opinion that they aren't being heard or that there is anything wrong with the treatment they received (freedom exposed a lot of injustices in older society). However these people would classify themselves as women/girls. (I think I've answered my question of a previous article.)

ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her) Author

Stop replying to me. You claim you're not being instigative, but you're jumping in threads that have nothing to do with you just to disagree with me.

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katnel20 profile image
Katie Nelson

I luv that! Thanks Ashlee.

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helleworld_ profile image
Desiré 👩‍🎓👩‍🏫

Taking notes on this, thanks!

ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her) Author

I'm a woman. Don't call me "man".

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pachicodes profile image
Pachi 🪐 (she/her/ela)

Thank you Ashlee ♥️

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djangotn profile image
DjangoTN

Awsome

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iamksam profile image
ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her) Author

Your comment is literally indented under mine. You're still arguing. 😂

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amielucha profile image
Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community. View Code of Conduct
Sławek Amielucha

If you insist on speaking to me in this manner, I’m going to ask you to leave.

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amielucha profile image
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Sławek Amielucha

I think it's because some people are driven by a certain toxic ideology and they think that starting gender wars on tech websites will help them get more magic internet points. Don't feed the troll.

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ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her) Author

Saying women should stand up for themselves is "starting gender wars"? I guess so, if you think women should be walked over and accept whatever treatment they receive.

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p0oker profile image
Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community. View Code of Conduct
Pooria A

Is it a list of advice for first timers into nightlife? lol