Female teachers (or anyone) -- how would you have reacted?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by ms.irene, Jan 9, 2015.

  1. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Jan 9, 2015

    The other day I was in the library talking to our librarian after school about a project I want to do. He is male, I am female, and we are around the same age (early 30's -- I'm guessing for him). An older (50-60?) male teacher came over and said to the librarian, "Talking to the pretty girls, like always!" I know he was joking and didn't mean anything, but it made me feel awkward and on the spot. So, trying to be funny also, I said, "I know, right?" Afterwards I felt like my response just made it more weird and awkward. What do you think? How would you have responded? Do you have co-workers who joke around like this, or is this considered inappropriate at your school?


    I am probably over-thinking this, but it keeps coming back to me and I wanted to hear what others think.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The comment was borderline out of line, and I'm not surprised you felt uncomfortable. I like having an arsenal of from-the-hip phrases ("That's an interesting assumption" comes to mind) in times like that, but sometimes, total silence with the right expression says everything.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    For me it wouldn't be a big deal. It's innocent, it's flattering, it's non-suggestive and not harassing. I would have probably made a comment like you, my go to is laughing and saying 'wow' as in pointing out that I'm shocked that he said that, shocked at being called pretty (modest, right?) but moreso to break up any awkwardness if there is.

    I think you're overreacting to this. If it was a superior, like administrator, it'd be different.
     
  5. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Jan 9, 2015

    ICAM.
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I'd definitely say nothing to add to or encourage that comment. I'd pretend like I didn't hear it.
     
  7. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Ugh, I find those situations so annoying and awkward. I want to say, you know you don't always have to have a comment...if you have nothing productive or mature to say, just shut it. But of course, THAT is not socially acceptable, while harassing women is.

    I'm with cat, I think a blank stare would have been perfect.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jan 9, 2015

    I'd say that particular comment was harassing the male colleague more than the female.
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I would have to respectfully disagree. I don't think it's innocent or flattering at all. Addressing women by calling them "pretty" is enforcing the idea that the most important trait she possesses is her looks. Blech.

    Why didn't this person say to the OP "hey, always hanging out with the hot dudes?" Because that's not socially acceptable. It is acceptable to call out women based on their looks, but start commenting on a man's appearance and you're weird, or gay, or both. Probably both.

    I know what you mean by innocent-actually it is fairly innocent, in that this is how society has become. But just because it happens all the time doesn't make it right, or any less awkward for anyone.
     
  10. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    You're right-it is, I totally agree. We don't know if the man here is married, or attached, or straight, or anything...so how awkward for that guy to have to be "caught" with a woman. Even more evidence that these kinds of greetings should just be buried.
     
  11. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Had it been a 50-something woman instead of a man, the comment probably would have been something to the effect of "always hanging around with these handsome men." That does happen.
     
  12. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Very good point.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 9, 2015

    The comment "Talking to the pretty girls, like always!" cuts against both of the younger people: she's marginalized by being discussed in the third person in her presence (as adults do with children), and he's marginalized by the implicit claim that he's neglecting his job, again (viz. the tag "like always"). A message does not inhere solely in what the speaker intends. Now it's possible that the speaker's remark was a verbal lapse that he noticed but from which he couldn't figure out how to recover, so he just barrelled on. If it's a one-off incident, I'd chalk it up to that. If it's a pattern, given his age, it may be that he genuinely doesn't get how it comes across (because some part of his brain is convinced that it's appropriate for men to pronounce on the attractiveness of "girls" in this way and that he is entitled to dispense judgment on a younger person's workplace habits). Whether or not he intends to disparage his colleagues, he nevertheless bears some responsibility for the message he sent, and it would be a kindness were someone to take him aside and tell him so - though it would pretty much have to be a male who ranks him.

    The fifty-ish woman who utters the same remark is much likelier to be aware of the messages it sends.
     
  14. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Jan 9, 2015

    I think the appropriate reply would have been 'you should be so lucky'.
     
  15. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Jan 9, 2015

    LOL!!!

    I think it really depends on the relationship (friendship or whatever) with both parties. While embarrassing for both you & the younger man...the older man may have been like dad/gpa saying this.
     
  16. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Agreed. Seems like it was just an old man trying to be funny.... I'm sure he didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable.
     
  17. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I guess you might be within your rights if you feel offended. For me personally, I can absolutely say that I would assume it was meant as a compliment and not be offended in the least.

    I really feel we are all way too offended these days and it bothers me to think we all have to walk on eggshells and dissect every word before it exits our mouths to ensure we don't offend anyone. Sorry, that's just how I feel.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 9, 2015

    Ditto.
    Move on.
     
  19. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    As a male that has been the subject of more than one "handsome man" comment from women older than my mother, I am honestly confused what you mean by that final sentence.
     
  20. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Call me old fashioned but I wouldn't be offended. Why would I be? So someone called me pretty?? OMG....the horror! I understand feeling uncomfortable given the situation, but certainly wouldn't think twice about it. I am sorry you were made to feel uncomfortable. I'd say move on and take it for what it is. I am sure he meant no disrespect.
     
  21. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Jan 9, 2015

    I'd be incredibly uncomfortable in this situation. Yuck. You're coworkers, not potential dating partners! (in rare instances, sure...but for the purpose of this thread...)
     

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