Hepeating Might Be Even More Annoying Than Mansplaining, and It Happens to Us All | Working Mother

Hepeating Might Be Even More Annoying Than Mansplaining, and It Happens to Us All

There's a new term to describe something that often comes up during discussions with male colleagues.

Woman Upset by Hepeating

A man repeating the same thing you said, but getting credit for it? We've all been there.

Photo: iStock

Professional women know this situation too well: In the middle of a group discussion, they suggest an idea, but no one seems to pay much attention to it. All of a sudden, when a male colleague brings up the exact same idea, he's praised. What the hell is happening?

There's finally a name for it: hepeating.

Astronomer and physics professor Nicole Gugliucci introduced the term on Twitter just last month, writing, "My friends coined a word: hepeated. For when a woman suggests an idea and it's ignored, but then a guy says same thing and everyone loves it."

For example: "Mark was totally hepeating when he re-worded my original idea to the team, and then got all the credit for it."

The term caught on very fast, with Nicole's tweet receiving almost 69,000 retweets and over 209,000 likes. One user wrote, "I can't count how many times in my career I said, 'But didn't I just say that?'" Another commenter said the term fit into her research on gendered silencing practices and asked if she could use the term in her dissertation.

On the origins of the world, Nicole tells CNBC Make It, "[My friends] are women who work in various industries like tech, gaming and science, and we were discussing the phenomenon lately. One of my friends came up with 'hepeated,' and we thought it was pretty funny."

According to Harvard public policy professor and behavioral economist Iris Bohnet, the author of What Works: Gender Equality by Design, who spoke with CNBC Make It, hepeating is a type of micro-aggression—a subtle, prejudiced comment or action against a person or group, often made subconsciously. In this case, the hepeating is done by men against women. To combat hepeating, Iris suggests micro-sponsorship, or getting some coworkers to support you when a male colleague has gotten credit for your idea.

Hepeating joins mansplaining as another relatively new term to describe unpleasant interactions women have with men. Mansplaining occurs when a man attempts to explain something to a woman in a condescending way, even though the woman is probably more well-versed in the subject than he is. (E.g., "Larry tried to mansplain feminism to the women on his team.")

In an ideal world, terms like hepeating and mansplaining wouldn't exist because these instances wouldn't take place. Until that time comes, women have a convenient way of summing up a couple of annoying types of interactions they often have with men.


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