5 Phrases We Need to STOP Saying to Female Students

5 Phrases We Need To STOP Saying To Female Students!


If you’re a strong woman in post-secondary education, you’ve probably been bombarded with long, wordy articles about patriarchal oppression, the ever-growing stigma against third-wave feminists and their fights for equal rights and representations. What we don’t always realize, however, is how demeaned women can feel or become by everyday terms used so often in and out of every classroom on campus. Here are some disgusting things I personally have heard in everyday language that we should strive to omit from the world FOREVER.

1.“Oh my God, she’s so bossy!”

Starting off a little more generally here… this one I find is more applicable to younger girls. I was a bit of an oddball child; I loved being called “bossy!” I never understood why it was such a negative thing. I always wanted to take charge in class projects, and was always shut down. Let’s stop calling little girls “bossy,” and start fuelling their confidence to want to grow into a great leader as they get older!

You could try: “Wow! She has really great leadership skills!”

2. “That one girl in my 19th Century Lit class is so pretentious.”

So I’m not sure if I’m living in a box over here but, in all my years of schooling, I have almost never heard the word “pretentious” associated with a man. Phrases like “teacher’s pet” and “kiss-up” may be outdated but, at least in the days of my youth, were always gendered. Ladies — don’t be afraid to flaunt your intelligence! Self-confidence is one of the sexiest things a girl can have.

You could try: intelligent, well-read, passionate in her field of study.

3. “She’s only here to get her M.R.S. Degree.”

You would not believe how many of my close friends have heard these exact words spat in their faces by family friends, neighbours, relatives, etcetera. To disempower a woman in her field of study and insinuate that she’s only pursuing higher education to find a man is disgustingly outdated. If anyone hasn’t noticed, it’s 2016. Women are stronger and more powerful than ever. We’re here, and we’re here to stay!

You could try: Never saying this, ever?

4. “You should have seen her in that meeting… Ugh, some women can be so pushy!”

Newsflash, world! If a woman is going after what she wants, whether that be a leadership position or the last asiago bagel at the Spoke, the last thing anyone should be trying to do is tear her down. Strangely enough, I’ve heard the word “pushy” uttered with reference to a female most often by other females that may feel threatened or overwhelmed. Ladies, we’re here on this planet to support one another, and we can’t do that with petty competition! Support and love your female friends! In my world, pushy can be satisfyingly complimentary.

You could try: bold, confident, assertive.

5. “I bet she only did well ‘cause she flirted with the TA.”

Or, “is your prof sexy enough to get you through midterm season?”

Or, “What do you mean she got a 90 on that paper?! It was the v-neck, wasn’t it?”

Or any. Variation. Of these phrases. Ever.

I always hear this one after assignments are handed back, and one girl does extremely well on an assignment that other people maybe didn’t do so well on. Her assets? Not her intelligence. Not her hard work. It must have been that good looking TA, or the Pretty-Little-Liars-esque “hot prof!” How about her? It was she who put herself there, and no one else.

You could try: STOPPING! FOREVER!

Language is everything, ladies. Once we can learn to marginalize terms that disempower our gender, we can begin building our community of estrogen-flaunters up and taking on all the world has to offer us as strong and beautiful collegiettes!