The Five Words Women Should Never Use in Work Emails

“The Just Not Sorry extension, which is downloadable at the Chrome app store, underlines self-demeaning phrases like “I’m no expert” and qualifying words like “actually” in red in Gmail like they’re spelling errors.” –

You’re a woman. And you have to send emails at work. Presents a real problem, doesn’t it? I know. I know. There there. Shhhhh sh shh shhhhh…

Look, I can’t stop you from having to interact with the human world at your job, but I can give you some tips on words women commonly use in emails that undermine their authority and make people be like “Ew…a woman.”

  1. Wish: A wish is a dream your heart makes…or the other way around, but either way, using this word brings to mind someone who can’t make things happen on their own, like a beautiful but powerless fairy tale princess. If you don’t want Rick from Marketing to see you as a fairy tale princess (which, honestly, he probably still will because you do look a lot like Cinderella and he has a Disney princess fetish) then stop “wishing” and start “doing.” Oh…you work at Make-a-Wish? Huh, that’s gonna be tough. Have you considered “Make-a-Demand”? “Make-a-Yell”? Anyway, I’m sure you’ll figure it out, sweetie.
  1. Collaborate: Men don’t “collaborate,” they “do.” So stop being a little bitch and suggesting that teams of people “get together” to “go over their ideas” on a topic or project, and start aggressively forcing your personal belief regarding the right course of action on others. Will your singular point-of-view have a ton of unavoidable blind spots caused by your lack of all the information and perspectives and your own personal biases and context? Hell yeah it will! That’s. The. Point. So steamroll through that thread with some really non-cooperative language and make everyone forget you sometimes wear skirts and makeup and are hence never to be trusted.
  1. Your own name: Chances are, if you’re a lady, you have a lady-type name. Rachel, Melissa, the dreaded “Brittany.” To men, these names signal a potential for a sexual partner, a response that is biological and inalterable and 100% out of their control and not their fault. So since they can’t change, at all, in any way, you have to, by not using your name, or maybe even changing it to something less undermining of your skills and goals. Have you considered Kevin?
  1. Period: It seems so harmless, and yet every time you write the word “period” you’re reminding the reader that blood comes out of your dipsy doodle (or, if you’re a transwoman, that blood doesn’t come out of there, which will freak them out, too. Either way, they’re thinking about your parts, and you made them do that). Even using a period as punctuation can subconsciously remind men that women are gross because most of them are born with thousands of eggs in their body like in Alien or something, so write all your emails like you’re Emily Dickinson, who never used periods or left her home. Smart woman.
  1. Words: Did you know our ancestors wrote entirely in pictograms? (I’m asking because you’re a woman and women don’t always know things.) It’s true! Of course, in this modern workplace, it can be hard to get away with not using any words in your email correspondences, but if you keep in mind that any word you do use has the potential to out you as a female employee (or boss, but probably not let’s be honest) then you may find yourself using the least words possible to convey your meaning. “Meeting good” or “Client bad” can say so much more—and so much less damagingly to people’s perception of your gender—than a thoughtful paragraph on the topic that might contain “lady-isms” like “sorry,” “just” or “tits.”

Just remember: You’re barely holding on as a member of the workforce as it is. Why would you call attention to your femaleness in any way other than to use your feminine wiles to withhold sexual satisfaction from male higher-ups until they acquiesce to your demand for a raise? Now that’s an email I’d like to see!



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