"How likely is it that a recommendation you make will be acted upon?"

One of the responses is: "I am the man" [I am the head honcho]

Maybe I'm the woman making decisions?

  • 8
    I like the informal way those answers are worded, and I find "sexism" a gross exaggeration, but it's hard to deny the OP has a point.
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 12:07
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    "Sexism" is a gross exaggeration? | sex·ism [sek-siz-uhm] –noun 1. attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles. | If assuming the boss is a "man" isn't sexism, I don't know what is.
    – rxmnnxfpvg
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 12:14
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    @Sijae I agree it should be changed. But "I am the man" / "You're the man" are established sayings with no implicit sexist meaning, and I'm pretty sure nothing malicious was intended. Which is why I find the label a bit too strong.
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 13:32
  • I find it weird that the survey doesn't include "Server programmer" which is probably in the top.. I'm sure there are many many more server programmers than kernel driver developers. Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 14:12
  • @Kop yeah and (I think you were the one who pointed that out in the chat?) Java is missing in the list of languages. Yay!
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 14:28
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    @Pekka: When's the last time you said "You're the man" to a woman? I know a few women who would take great offense, regardless of how you meant that.
    – GreenMatt
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 14:52
  • @Pekka: it wasn't me =p Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 15:25
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    @GreenMatt to repeat: I agree it should be changed because it excludes women. I just don't agree with the OP's harsh classification.
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 15:59
  • Anyway, what we need is an alternative that is as cool as "I'm the man!" Any suggestions?
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 16:11
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    I know a couple of women who say "I'm the man." when things they had to fight for go the way they claimed. It's idomatic. Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 17:29
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    IMHO this is just PC overkill - If the intent wasn't discrimination/insult/derogation, why take offence?
    – Basic
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 21:53
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    @Pekka, perhaps the OP could've phrased it differently. I interpreted Sijae's title as "this phrase is sexist", not that Jeff/the survey's author/SO in general is sexist. Regardless, for those of us who consider ourselves feminists, it's often difficult to separate these issues because we may frequently encounter men who are quite progressive, excepting in cases where women are involved.
    – jwiscarson
    Commented Dec 19, 2010 at 1:50
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    It's a figure of speech, that like a lot of generic speech in English applies either way. Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 16:11
  • @Pekka: That's mighty white of you to take such a balanced line in this comment thread, but not all established sayings are free of prejudice. Commented Dec 21, 2010 at 8:19
  • @Charles your point being? That people need to be reprimanded for using "I'm the man!"?
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 21, 2010 at 10:28

4 Answers 4


Alternative suggestions:

  • I am the boss

  • My word is law

  • I call the shots

  • What I say gets done

  • I run this place

  • My vote for I call the shots, also might add I run this place Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 17:04
  • @Goran nice! Added
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 17:06
  • 2
    I vote for "I'm the bowess"
    – waffles
    Commented Dec 19, 2010 at 3:54
  • Who is the walrus?
    – user150068
    Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 16:41
  • Above being the boss: I'm the baws. Needs to happen now.
    – MPelletier
    Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 17:05

Thanks everyone for your feedback. As the writer of the survey, I apologize if the response in question was seen as androcentric - this was certainly not my intent.

I've taken the suggestions seriously and made the appropriate changes to the survey. I chose to change this response to "I run this place". I also added "Java" as a language choice and "Server Programmer" as an occupation choice.

  • 18
    +1 for the updates, and I hope no one takes offense, but I can't help pointing out the irony wherein one woman raised issue with what she felt was sexist wording in a survey written by another woman. =D Commented Dec 20, 2010 at 16:21

I agree with you on that it should be changed.

But then, should we change all already established phrases? If "I'm the man" implies that the boss should be male, then doesn't it mean that "No man's land" belongs to women... Well, I'd like to see confused faces of all these cowboys :)

Unfortunately, in many languages words "man" and "human" are treated like synonyms, and English is no exception.

Anyway, calling it sexist is correct. But, I don't think anyone meant it to be offensive.. These are just leftovers from history.


No, it shouldn't be changed.

It's a colloquial expression. That's no more sexist than to hear,

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

What, men can't have fury? They can't be scorned?

  • 4
    The fact that some jobs/phrases/etc assume that the person is a woman doesn't make it right; wrong + wrong != right. Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 14:09
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    This just shows the extent of the sexism in yourself and our culture. It is sexist and the fact that you hear it a lot does not make it less so.
    – Hogan
    Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 16:30
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    There are many, many phrases with racist/sexist/xenophobic origins, whose origins most people have long since forgotten about. No need to make George our whipping boy for suggesting that realizing current speakers mean no offense and moving on might be more practical than attempting to rewrite the English language. Suggesting changing the wording is fine, but no need to accuse the survey writers of bigotry.
    – Brad Mace
    Commented Dec 19, 2010 at 1:34

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