gendered email sign-offs? {link/ranting}

Kisses and Hugs in the Office – Jessica Bennett and Rachel Simmons – The Atlantic.

This essay looks at the use of “xo” as an email sign-off in professional settings.  It starts by asking if it’s professional at all, and then slides into discussing the gender of who’s using it — because it’s mostly women, and of course that leads to a rant asking “Why, after all the strides we’ve made to be taken seriously at work, must we end our e?mails with the digital equivalent of a pink Gelly Roll pen?”

DAMN, the gender essentializing in this piece is irritating.  Apparently women have “tonal antennae, which pick up on even the smallest shifts” in office relationships.  Uh huh.

But what truly baffles me is this:  Who uses a sign-off in a work-related email?  Who needs one — that’s why i have a signature line!  I’ve only ever used a sign-off (“Sincerely”, for example) when i’m doing the email equivalent of cold calling.  Otherwise, once a relationship has been established, i strictly rely on my signature line as the closure to my email.

I’ve only ever used “xo” or some similar sign-off in personal emails.


9 thoughts on “gendered email sign-offs? {link/ranting}”

  1. I almost always close with:

    My First Name” and then my signature below that.

    I have never used xoxo in my entire life T B H.

  2. People in the offices I’ve worked in here tend to be way more formal than my experiences at home; most people use a sign-off no matter what. When I started this job, my new boss told me that she liked polite, well-written emails — citing a sign-off as one of the expected things. She’ll email me & use “best wishes” or whatever when she asks me to do something! I use “kind regards” for most ppl, b/c it seems least gross/most generic (I don’t wish the best for most ppl! Not that I wish them ill, I’m just not wishing them anything!).

    But yeah, I definitely had to train myself into it. & I do think that, of the ppl who use sign-offs (of the professional polite kind — not even talking hugs & kisses!), it tends to be more women, whereas the dudes seem happier to leave it off. :/ (Of course that corresponds in a lot of ways to who has the most prestigious jobs at work too / who is admin & who isn’t.)

    1. I wonder if it’s my lack of a sign-off (or using “dear” for that matter — i HATE “dear” in emails!) that goes toward my emails conveying a perceived maleness.

    2. Whenever pharma people use “kind regards,” I always assume it’s code for “I wish I could punch you in the face,” but I assume my interpretation of reality involves a lot more anger than actuality.

      1. I use it by default — I’ve never seen it in the US b/f! — but it’s true, sometimes when I use it, it’s more like KIND REGARDS MOTHERFUCKER.

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