Subtle Sass: Top 7 Best Responses to Sexist Questions and Comments You Will Almost Certainly Hear on a Film Set

By Kassi Gardner and Lerrin Trufant

Taking the advice of Cinematographer Ellen Kuras, this is a humorous approach to dealing with the sexism women deal with in the film industry. In a September 2015 article in The Guardian, Kuras stated, “I try to resist the impulse to react defensively. It’s much more effective to use humor or irony. When guys make inappropriate comments, I see these as a sign of their ignorance or insecurity.”

  1. Can I help you with that?

You wore a ponytail to work. Rookie mistake. Ponytails are a dead give away you have a vagina and cannot lift that C-stand (or open it) on your own. Even though your initial response might be to yell “Points!” and strategically shove that C-stand someplace special, remember this can cause extra paperwork for the UPM (accident reports are no bueno).


What you should say: “No, thank you. I’ve got it.”

  1. Shhhhh…there’s a lady present.

The f-bomb is the leading cause of cancer in women who work in film.


What you should say: “Where?”

  1. Oh, so you’re Costume Designer?

 This one is fun if you’re actually the Cinematographer.


What you should say: “No, he’s actually over there.”

  1. Do you have any lotion, hand sanitizer, or fill in the blank?

First, take a quick glance down to make sure no one dummy tagged you with a name tag that says “PA”.


Then say: “Sorry! No purse today.”

  1. Are you sure that’s right?

 This one is tough. Within a millisecond, you’ve already castrated and murdered this person in your mind. Not the best course of action (the UPM will cut you).


What you should say: “Yes I’m sure, but thank you for giving me another opportunity to say ‘I’m right!’.”

  1. How does it feel to have a “man’s job”?


What you should say: “It’s a struggle because I have to act dumber than I actually am, but you know–I’m hanging in there.”

  1. I thought you were going to be a guy.

You could have uploaded a photo to your iMDB page, but where’s the fun in that? Make starting your new film job more interesting with a little surprise factor.


What you should say: “I thought you were going to be a chick.”


Here are some good articles on sexism in the film industry:


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