A Gift From the Tumblrverse: “Said to Lady Journos”

featured image via Shutterstock

Ali’s Team Pick:

“I’m going to talk slowly so you get this right, honey.” – Small-town Arkansas mayor to a general assignment reporter writing about a new development project.

“But I’m sure your husband could explain all this to you.” – U.S. State Department official, to the Kabul bureau chief of an international news agency, discussing strategy at a military base in Helmand province.

“Cute little thing, but shouldn’t you be running a 7-Eleven or something?” – Cafe owner to a female Indian reporter.

What I want to do to all the people who said those demeaning, sexist, stupid things:


We’ve all experienced overt sexism. We’ve all been called “Honey” or “Sweetheart” while all the gentleman in the room were calling each other by their last names. We’ve all been continually assigned to get the coffee because our boss can’t think of what to do with us, despite our skill set. Are you a journalist too? Then you’ll appreciate these specific quotes and others, brought to you by sexism, ignorance, and the funny ladies who write them down at Said to Lady Journos. The purpose of this Tumblr is “to document what people say to female journalists.” Plain and simple. And, as you may have experienced first hand, that shit is often pretty dumb. So break out your tumblr accounts, people. And if you have some quotes to contribute, you can submit them! You will, of course, remain totally anonymous.

This tumblr strikes a chord with me – Autostraddle is, to date, the only place I’ve ever worked where I am assumed to know what I’m talking about when I open my mouth. It is the only place where people don’t ask me, “Are you sure you can do this, sweetheart?” So this is for all the journalists out there who are sick of hearing that – you are not alone, and look, people are terrible/ignorant/have no filters on their mouths. Basically I felt like I was getting a hug from the internet, a hug full of understanding and shared experience.

If you need to wash all the stupid sexism down with a dose of cute, here are News Cat Gifs (journalism + cats).


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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


      • Ditto. I’ll save both for a rainy day when I forget how much the world sucks outside my walls.

    • For me, the most disheartening entries there are the ones where women are mansplained to by their *own fathers*. Like their fathers are so entrenched in the idea that women are inferior that they will talk over or second-guess their own daughters.

  1. Two things I like about being a teacher: You’re mostly your own boss, and it’s a prodominantly female work environment.

  2. Grrrr… I get similar treatment sometimes as a bike mechanic, esp. “are you waiting for your boyfriend?”

  3. If some guy ever calls me ‘sweetheart’ while I’m doing my job, I’m just going to keep calling him ‘sugar pie’ until he stops.

  4. I had this exact thing happen to me when I was shooting this weekend. I have now submitted an entry! thanks for finding Awesome Things AS.

  5. Wow. I’m sure we can all relate to the familiar tone of those quotes. This reminds me of one instance in particular when I was in Home Depot or something trying to buy a drill and the salesperson kept trying to sell me on a piece of crap that was “a nice drill for a lady”.

  6. It’s not letting me log in… grr. Anyway.

    This was definitely necessary. While I haven’t experienced too much forthright discrimination or bizarre comments from actual people whose opinions I care about in my time so far as a Science/Journalism student, I remember my first ever journalism lecture in first year, the head of the school of journalism opened with a spiel about how “not everyone will be interested in political or war reporting, some of you are more interested in fashion journalism” (looking right at me). I dress a certain way and am often asked if I’m a fashion student, which makes me rage a little.

    I often have people jump to conclusions about me, and struggle to grasp what I study and what I want to do, but that okay. I can spend the rest of my career proving them wrong.

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