A recorder? I won’t say anything dirty

A female journalist at work. Via Flickr user European Parliament.

A female journalist at work. Via Flickr user European Parliament.

During college, telling people I was majoring in journalism raised some eyebrows.

People inevitably warned me that I would end up barely making ends meet (which, thankfully, I haven’t found true so far).

Some people went further by giving me an intriguing reassurance: “It’s OK. Your husband will make a lot of money.”

Ah, yes, the implied notion that not only would I get married, but I had entered my career with the knowledge that if I didn’t make enough, I could just fall on the safety net of my money-making mate. Husbands are supposed to have higher salaries anyway.

Over and over throughout college, I heard this response. When I asked other female student journalists about it, they said they often received similar comments.

Now I’m graduated, and some sources I interview say strange remarks that I can’t help but think they wouldn’t say to a man.

Sources have complimented my appearance and told me I’m pretty. When I asked someone over the phone if I could record our conversation, the source said he would need to be careful not to say anything “dirty.” I’ve had men and women comment on how I’m just so young.

Would these sources say any of these comments to a male my age in my position?

Of course, this is nothing new for me. And I’m not alone. A Tumblr called Said to Lady Journos collects quotes that people say to female journalists, and the comments range from careless to appalling.

It gets even stranger that it isn’t just men who say sexist remarks. Women are just as guilty of this.

I wonder if people think about what they say — that I don’t want to hear about my looks like I’m at a bar, that I don’t want to tell them what I think because I’m trying to be professional, or that none of this is cute.

What do you think? Is this a problem? Why or why not? Should I respond to comments like these?

  1. Stuart Torgovnick said:

    Hi Adina,

    I just heard about a study which said that in four out of ten households with both a man and a woman, the woman is the sole or major “breadwinner.” You’ve come a long way, but there’s still work to do. You’re also lucky that your family has been supportive of your writing; if you love what you do, the money will probably follow. Would you really be better off in banking or advertising? Most fields are going through a revolution anyway, so who knows.


    Uncle Stu


    Uncle Stu

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