How To Shut Down A Coworker Who’s Being Sexist (Without Bringing Up The ‘S’ Word At All)


I was peacefully working at my desk when out of the blue, I received this message from my superior, pointing out the way I dress. He told me, and again out of the blue, how he noticed I’d been wearing jeans a lot lately, adding that dresses and skirts suit you better, and man was I annoyed. Trying to contain myself as I was seriously pissed off with such unsolicited, and mind you, sexist remark, I chose to call him out in the subtlest way, burning him and his ego with a kickass comeback, “My apologies, sir. I didn’t know pleasing you with the way I dress is part of my job description.” He never tried to pull off anything sexist on me since then, I guess sarcasm did work on him. I was relieved I didn’t have to drop the ‘S’ word in order for him to understand that he was being such a sexist douchebag. I felt a different kind of power that moment, and I realized how women have been dealing with gender discrimination and sexist remarks even at their workplace. And whether it is obvious or really discreet, it’s important we call them out and we actually can, even without boldly telling them, “dude, you’re being sexist.”


A little sarcasm on a discreetly sexist coworker might work but this can be quite tricky. You have to be very careful as some might take it literally and get to think you’re enjoying the attention. They can really be that stupid, so choose who you’re gonna be sarcastic with.

Pull off your most wicked RBF.

Resting Bitch Face has been quite popular these days. Urban dictionary defines this as a person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean or, well, bitchy when her face is expressionless, without meaning to. Pull off that RBF, but this time, mean it. We all have that, and one RBF as a response to a sexist joke will hopefully get your co-workers to understand that their joke is not at all funny. Just don’t laugh at the joke, look at the douche straight-faced giving him that hint he’s being sexist.

Resist pet names by insisting your name.

Do not allow your co-workers to give you pet names that make you feel uncomfortable. Insist on calling you by your name. Not only will they realize they’re being sexist about it, but they will also find you professional enough not to be messed with or not to be degraded.

Ask Why and Say No.

If you’re given tasks you believe are inappropriate to your job description or you believe you are given just because you are a woman, simply ask why. And when you find it unreasonable, say no. That will make them realize that you’re not there to be bullied for being a woman.

Turn tables.

When someone starts making such sexist jokes or remarks on you, respond by asking them if they’d tell that to a dude; or when someone is being sexist on the way you dress up or how you look, take it as an opportunity to make comments on how they look too. It makes them feel uncomfortable, and it kind of helps them realize how uncomfortable it really is to be called out for how you carry yourself at work. They’d stop. Trust me, they won’t bother you with subtle insults and unsolicited comments after you give them a taste of their own medicine.

Work and work damn hard.

Do your job and be very good at it. I believe going beyond what is expected from you will get them to think you’re not just a woman because hell, we all aren’t just women. It’s about time people see us more than just that. We all have the same abilities and capabilities. We all have been educated enough to be able to do tasks that are more than just making coffee, or taking down notes on a meeting. We’ve all gone through the same process when we applied for that job, and we should not tolerate such sexist co-workers, superiors, and environment.

Don’t just sit there. Toughen up.

Speak up, woman. Get your thoughts heard. Don’t just sit there quietly wishing for the day to end so as you can get home and get through yet another rough day at work just because of your sexist co-workers. Be bold and aggressive if you have to. Let them know you’re not one to be messed with, and that’ll surely scare these fuck-ups away. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

a happy-go-lucky ray of fuckin sunshine.

Keep up with Jill on Instagram

More From Thought Catalog