I Am NOT Your Barbie Doll

Most mornings before the day gets started, I go on Facebook to see what is going on with my friends. Imagine my surprise when I find my friend Ameena Falchetto talking about someone tweeting her post but also adding in a hashtag of #sexy in the tweet. She was shocked and offended, rightly so. She is a businesswoman. She is not on social media to hook up. Sexy is not a word that belongs in a tweet about her blog post.

This is beyond inappropriate.This kind of objectification is insane. It needs to stop. We need to teach men that this kind of treatment is not acceptable. Would you want your sister talked to like she was a piece of meat? Of course not. Then why perpetrate it? Even when you say you are “complimenting” us you diminish us by making it about our looks and not our brains.

Women have many roles in society – businesswomen, mothers, wives, girlfriends, but we are NOT your personal Barbie dolls. You want to praise us? Praise our smarts, our wit, our grace. Leave our looks out of it. Why should it matter if a woman is sexy or not? Would a man praise another man in this manner? Absolutely not. Why then is it okay to praise a woman that way?

If you would not say it to a woman’s face in an office setting, then you should not tweet it either. Would you call a female co-worker sexy? Of course not. She would at best tell the other workers that you make her uncomfortable. She could also go to her boss or to HR if she thinks you are a creep. For some reason, our common sense leaves us when we get online. We say things to others on a screen we would never say to their face.

We must remember that what we say online affects not only the person you say it to, but the people around them as well. This kind of commenting needs to stop. We are women, we are your equals and we are NOT your Barbie dolls.

What do you think? Do you call women you know are married or in a relationship sexy?

21 thoughts on “I Am NOT Your Barbie Doll

  1. Thanks Nancy – You know I agree with you. It’s NEVER ok to call a woman in a professional context sexy and not expect a slap. You’d get slapped with a harassment charge if you do it in an office so why should it be any different online. Fact is, it’s not.

    Obviously there are some industries that covet that hash tag but as a young solopreneur/mompreneur I am not striving for that type of recognition.

    I don’t think it matters if you are married/in a relationship – just because we are women doesn’t mean we can be objectified and belittled by crass comments.

    • You know I agree with you. I hate when someone comments on my looks first. If we were in an office at the very least you would get written up for talking like that to someone. We get brave and stupid behind a keyboard. Things that would not come out of our mouths fly off our fingertips before the brain can kick on.

      You are right about it not mattering if you are married or not. We do not need crass comment. People need to learn to keep their thoughts to themselves.

  2. I agree with you, too. Great post. I do think that whoever tagged her post with that hashtag was simply spamming or marking for her to be spammed. Possibly. Or being mindless and just writing. Neither of which are ok. I’m sorry, but Twitter is to me, about business. There are some on there who are not in it for business of some sort, but the vast majority are on Twitter for business. And others should remember that.

    • I think it was more mindlessness than marking her for spam. I know the person who sent the tweet, and i think that he simply thought he was “complimenting” her.

      Most of us are on Twitter for business indeed and we need to keep it professional even though we may also have fun sometimes. We need to also keep in mind that anything we say or do online can come back to bite us.

  3. You are absolutely right about the inappropriate nature of using the word “sexy” in talking about a woman’s blog post. As bad as injustice involving gender can be in person, say on the street or in the workplace, it often worsens online where perpetrators have less fear of consequences. I just reposted “I’m a Whore. I’m a Prude. – What Catcalls Teach Me About Myself” on my website, and your post caught my eye because of how upsetting it is that men often do not admit that what they name a compliment is really sexual harassment.

    • That is the truth. No one has any consequences online for saying something that is inappropriate. If more people, and more men in particular started telling others “hey don’t speak to her like that” then maybe, just maybe it would start sinking in. Street harassment is no picnic either, but online is worse in many ways.

      People get very brave and very stupid behind a keyboard. It really is sad.

  4. I’ll say here what I said on Facebook – I’ll say pretty much anything to anyone at any time however calling a woman “sexy” in any context can be viewed and taken (and rightly so) as demeaning.

    Now I’ve jokingly called my male friends sexy but never in public. The Internet is more public than public. And while some might say that calling a woman sexy in public is okay, I can’t see how it can be viewed as such.

    So in short I agree with you Nancy. And it’s sad that you even had to write that last sentence – it should be a given.

    • The internet is so very public and what kills me is that people still think that saying something like that on Twitter will be fine. It will stay forever since she took a screen shot of the tweet. We live much more publicly than we even realize.

      Why say something like that? I would never consider calling a co-worker “sexy” so why would I put it in a tweet?

      It makes me sad that we live in a world where I have to write that last sentence Robert. Thank you for being a man and for not condoning this type of behavior. You are awesome my friend.

  5. I think men have a lack of tact. We all think things but men are more likely to say things they shouldn’t. Especially of this type. And the worst part of it is there truly are pig males. And plenty of guys who aren’t but the occasionally do pig male things giving them guilt by association.

    When I was back in my days selling industrial parts I had all the Los Angeles Oil Refineries as customers. There is few women on the sites. And there was a past sales rep named Sonia. I never met her. She quit before I came on board in customer service. I went to outside sales 4 years after that! And I would have unattractive dudes in nomex suits saying ‘what ever happened to Sonia, not the best rep but man she had hot legs’. I was like WTF?

    And for customer lunches I would say where do you want to go for lunch? Hooters! Uhm what? We can go to a steakhouse and you want Hooters? BTW never took a customer to Hooters, or a strip club etc…but the stories I had heard especially when it was money coming from the business irked me to the Nth degree.

    So I have your back Nancy and Ameena!

    • We all think things. It is fine to think someone is sexy. It is quite another to tell them that. At my last job one of the bosses actually said he would spank me if my work was bad. He used to go on about how I am “such a feminine woman” Well, yes I am. I am a very feminine woman who will look nice and even smell pretty as she throws that left hook.

      I am so glad there are some men replying today who do not buy into such nonsense. You guys are real men in my eyes. I am glad some men have some decency and don’t objectify every female they meet.

      • I used to hear that expression a lot too Ameena. I could “take it” because I worked in the auto parts industry for a very long time. I couldn’t take it then and i still have no patience for it.

  6. Thanks for including the link to the original post so I could discern the issues.
    Some of us techno-nerds perennially use the term sexy and elegant to describe creative approaches to problems. But, having read the original post, I agree with the reaction.
    I just wanted to bring to the fore that there are terms that have been in use- such as these two- that are not meant to connote a sexist remark. This instance was not one of them.

  7. No, it is never ok to typify women like this, especially in the workplace. I will say that I have worked in places where someone’s looks – male or female – might be commented on or joked about, but I personally never saw it done in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. There’s a difference between viewing everyone you meet as a piece of meat, and having enough camaraderie/comfort with your co-workers that you can joke about it at, say, a happy hour or something.

    You might find this funny: those of you who haven’t met me IRL yet, I have reddish highlights in my hair. I was speaking at an event earlier this year and met a lot of people I’d previously only interacted with online, or not at all. I lost count of the men who came up to me swooning over my highlights – literally! I found it amusing as well as a little weird. I still don’t know what to make of that. And not a single woman at that event commented on them, by the way.

    • I bet the women were jealous. Men do love red hair! When I have my hair red, I swear more men pay attention to me.

      I do think it is fine to comment on someone’s looks as long as they don’t feel like a piece of meat. Noticing someone losing weight or doing their hair is normal, and part of working with other people. Or even joking at happy hour. :)

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