{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Got called “catty” at work today because when another staff level wanted to mansplain to me what a VLookup was I told him “thanks but no thanks.” Seems super sexist but not sure how to broach it", "post_id": "5b7c704b4d90aa0018bc9f0f", "reply_count": 170, "vote_count": 122, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting", "feed_type": "crowd" }

Got called “catty” at work today because when another staff level wanted to mansplain to me what a VLookup was I told him “thanks but no thanks.” Seems super sexist but not sure how to broach it

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I’m not sure how many of these responses were helpful. I also am not sure if my response will be helpful.

At the end of the day, what this man said to you was offensive, but how you handle the situation will not only determine how you want this next project to be but also how you want to define your career at E&Y. As a previous poster said, inaction is not the right response. I would suggest talking to him directly, explain why you were frustrated with his comments, and then be open to his response. If you go into the conversation being defensive, you’re not going to get anywhere. Hurling insults at him or losing your cool won’t improve the situation. However, it’s also important to stand your ground and communicate that his comments will not be tolerated if you continue working with him.

I think we live in a divided culture (as shown from these comments) where one side is encouraging for us to be a victim and be offended and the other side is trying to silence injustice. My challenge to you is to not fall to either extreme, as some of these posters have encouraged you to do. Stand up where you have been wronged, but act professionally and gracefully if you don’t get the response that you’re looking for. That is what makes a successful, respected leader!


OP, I'm not sure if you are still following this thread (I wouldn't); but in case you are, here goes my advice and deconstruction of the interaction you had (others, feel free to come along for the ride). Male 🐠 here, who does occasionally find himself having to mediate or address similar situations:

1. Many people have asked/assumed about your initial statement (telling colleague that you didn't need help), and have even implied that maybe you were rude or condescending. IMHO, it does NOT matter what you said, or how you said it; no statement (however rude or otherwise) should be met with a response like "You don't seem to be the type of...". This statement by itself would land someone in trouble with me (as a leader), and would probably result in HR getting involved if it happened more than once. The reason is stereotyping (the type of/the kind of); we cannot group people in categories or stereotypes, period.
Score: OP:0 Colleague: -1 (Negative one)

2. Now we come to OP's characterization of said colleague's attempts to explain Excel to her as "mansplaining". If I understand correctly, OP used this term ONLY in this post on FB, and NOT while talking to that colleague. (OP please confirm). If this is true, then the whole matter of whether the usage was warranted or not, is irrelevant to the original post or the advice OP was looking for. For people who have a problem with the term, please start a separate thread and discuss till the end of time.
Score: OP:0 Colleague: -1 FishBowl responders: -1

3. OP's reaction to colleague's statement ("...you don't seem like the type of person..."). Again, we can debate whether OP's response was appropriate or not, but according to me, the colleague's statement was so egregious, so out of line, that any response is difficult, especially when you might have been taken aback by the statement. Many readers have suggested a variation of "What is that supposed to mean?", which is good, as long as you were able to calmly think of it. OP's response ("That was an incorrect assumption") doesn't seem to be rude/condescending, especially when you compare it with other, also appropriate responses. The only feedback for OP here is that by not questioning him on the spot about his remark, you might have missed a "teaching moment". Also, if and when you recount this exchange (to said colleague, or to Lead/HR), this missed opportunity could give him the chance to claim that it didn't happen this way.(OP didn't say if there were other witnesses present)
Score: OP:0 Colleague: -1

4. The final remark by the colleague ("....catty..."). Again, NOT justified in any civil discourse, no matter the circumstances. This is another statement which would land them in trouble with the Lead/HR, if it can be corroborated.
Colleague gets another -1

Final Score: OP:0 Colleague: -2 (Negative 2).

Advice to OP:
A. Do you have witnesses? If yes, please check with them if their recollection is the same as yours, and send them a written account of the incident. Request them to respond, confirming that they agree with your account. You might not need it, but just in case (see #D below)
B. Talk to your colleague, one on one. Deconstruct the conversation (similar to above) and ask them why they chose those words and phrases. Important: Do not get aggravated or agitated if the behavior is repeated, maintain your composure and note it down too.
C. If #B fails, then think about what you want to do. Do you want to just ignore this $&$@$ and get on with your life/work, or do you want accountability/closure? If your answer is the latter, then see #D below.
D. Go to your Project Lead, Partner, HR; whoever is appropriate and get it addressed. Use the documentation gathered in #A as needed.

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Counter by explaining index match and why it’s better, thereby proving your dominance


100x this. I stoped using VLookup in the mid 2000s and look down on everyone who does. It’s a volatile Excel function also. Way inefficient .


I replied “thanks I’m very familiar with excel don’t need you to walk me through it” and he replied “well you seem like the type that wouldn’t” and I was like “that’s a poor assumption” and then he said “you’re being kind of catty” I just looked at him and left the team room after that


WTF. Is everybody just skipping over the fact that he said “you seem like the type who wouldn’t know how to do that” about a very basic formula, especially given what OP was brought on this project to do? Damn. If some guy ever said that to me, I guarantee I would be way more “catty” than that jackass thought OP was


It seemed like he wanted to say “bitchy” but knew he couldn’t


Was it “mansplaining” or just regular splaining?



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Yeah I mean it sounds like you were being kind of “catty” regardless of how mansplain-y he was being...


I mean, if I was a man and said that would it be an issue? Or would he had even said something like “you seem like you wouldn’t know” had I been a man?


Exactly ... why don’t I seem like someone understand ... because I am a girl

OP don’t listen to the others here. He made a poor assumption and you were right in pointing it out. His reaction was completely inappropriate and using the word “type” for ANYTHING is never a good idea. Even if this were a female it would not be okay but he clearly had a bruised ego because he was a man and had to have the last word.
I don’t think you should apologize or accept this behavior. This just sends the message that you are strong and will not stand for this type of bullshit.


You did good, OP. Don’t let the people obviously projecting tell you otherwise. Some seem to have a particularly visceral reaction to you ... and imma guess it’s not bc of your specific situation.

For those launching uneducated opinions on what mansplaining is, go Google, listen and learn, and don’t make the big boys and girls do your homework.

No mansplaining is not “Any Man explaining”. Yes women condescend but it is nowhere near as systematic or reinforced or assumed as by men. This is not about individuals but about systems of power. It absolutely matters that she is a woman, a minority, and had her authority undermined.




OP - I think you’re completely in line. F 🐠 here for perspective. Obviously your tone of voice could imply something, but we weren’t there to hear it. Next time don’t walk out, perhaps ask him why he has that assumption and see where he’s coming from, rather than just saying it’s a poor assumption (which it is!).


The “you seem like you wouldnt know” would piss me off more than anything & i can understand why youd have had an attitude in your response to that. You used the right words to respond to him, i think - just with attitude attached. Doesn’t make him right for what he said though. If you want to make things right with him if you work together often, maybe explain to him that you apologize if you had an attitude, but that him saying you seemed like you wouldnt know excel struck a nerve & made it seem to you that he wasnt genuinely trying to help you learn something etc


What’s mansplain? This is a thing?


Yea, it is a thing. Bear in mind, catty is sexist. Mansplain however is fine. 😉


Mansplaining is a sexist term. I would prefer you stop using it. It erodes the basis of your argument.


It is a sexist term. Just because a man explains something to you does not mean that it is in a negative fashion. Just from your posts do seem very aggressive and prone to assuming victim status. Maybe there is a reason he doesn’t like you.


“Prone to assuming victim status” you gathered that from eight posts? He doesn’t know me, and I don’t know him this is the first week we’ve ever interacted. I just don’t think that being called a “type” of anything is okay, and I’m not sure you would be either. But hey, maybe you’re fine with people being condescending to you in the workplace


Is seriously everyone more upset at her saying “that’s a poor assumption “ then him saying “you seem like the type that wouldn’t”? Really?


Like she was well within her right to be extremely rude to the guy given that extremely unfair judgement. Honestly “that’s a poor assumption” is pretty polite all things considering. What was she supposed to do, just smile and nod when somebody is putting her in a box before they even know her?


I can’t believe the people here with this opinion. How would you handle a situation where someone is condescending to you about something and makes a generalization about your “type”?


Nope. I was brought on as an analytics resource because of my excel and sql experience


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