Woman Reports Male Classmates For ‘Pretty Privilege’ Joke After She Bested Them On Exams

Young woman studying

Women have historically been treated differently in male-dominated industries.

Redditor Maleficent-Day4476 is experiencing this at her university, but her male colleagues are labeling it as “pretty privilege.”

The Original Poster (OP) sought out subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) for feedback.

She asked,

“AITA for reporting my classmates for joking that I have pretty privilege?”

She went on to tell her story.

“Background: I’m [Female age 23] one of only a few female students in a male-dominated course.”

“Furthermore, I am at a highly prestigious university, and I haven’t really gotten along with the guys on my course.”

“They are all very competitive, and I just don’t really enjoy their company – everything turns into a pissing contest, and they definitely take me less seriously because I’m a woman.”

“I stopped interacting with them beyond the mere minimum and choose to hang out with other people.”

She explained how her recent success put her at odds with her male classmates.

“I did well in our recent exams (I topped two out of four exams we had so far). Our prof congratulated me during class (I wouldn’t have advertised this myself).”

“Ever since then, my interactions with a specific group of male classmates have gotten weird. They’re now outright rude and challenge me aggressively in class discussions.”

“We recently had some presentations and one of them chose to do theirs on, to put it simply, “pretty privilege” – they specifically pointed to two papers that suggested that pretty female students get overscored in assessments.”

“The other guys in the group snickered, and one even gave me a wink. Afterwards, I heard them in the hallway joking that ‘they had experience with that themselves.’”

“I’ve been seeing a PhD student within our department for a month. He has literally nothing to do with our course. Well, we ran into one of my course mates A, together.”

“The next day in class, his friend B asked me if “my boyfriend” helped me with exams. He said this intentionally loudly and in front of the professor, who heard this.”

“I replied that I don’t have a boyfriend (cause he’s not my bf), but then B pointed out that he had run into me with the PhD student, making a point to say his name (the prof knows him).”

“I just replied that we’re only friends.”

“They didn’t let up – I heard that they discussed this thing in two more classes, in earshot of the professors.”

“Both times, they suggested I got help for my exams (I wasn’t even seeing him then).”

“I didn’t confront them, but this has been causing me so much anxiety – even without the exam accusations, I worked hard to get here and I don’t want to be known among the faculty for my dating life.”

She sought out help from the administration.

“I raised this issue with my supervisor without the intention of taking it any further, but I wanted her advice as a woman in academia.”

“She convinced me to let her email their supervisors ‘to remind them of proper conduct’ and described their treatment of an ‘unnamed female student.’”

“She didn’t name me, but they figured it out. They confronted me after class and asked me why I would report their ‘silly joke.’” 

“Apparently, their supervisors are now very cold towards them and less interested in helping.”

“It’s not a formal complaint – only their supervisors know – but one of them, C, said his supervisor writes the reports for his financial aid/scholarship and it was my fault if he lost out on that.”

“I now feel a bit embarrassed, and this was compounded by a friend telling me I took it too far cause C shouldn’t lose out on his scholarship.”

“So, reddit – AITA?”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided:


“Any retaliation should also be reported. They’re angling for some big problems if they keep this up.” – thirdtryisthecharm

“This is sexual discrimination and harassment, and he should lose his scholarship if the school chooses.”

“They can pretend it was a joke, but you have several people who can verify they did this in other classes she wasn’t in.”

“They were trying to get her in trouble or expelled for doing better than them. That’s illegal harassment. NTA” – babcock27

NTA – they know what they’re doing because jokers like this have been doing it for years – undermine your accomplishments, question your abilities, and then act shocked when you stand up for yourself.”

“I’m happy (and somewhat surprised) that the faculty and administration are treating this as seriously as it deserves.”

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” – GreaterAmberjack


Tell them maybe people would be more motivated to help them if they smiled more.” – lordliv

If their “pretty privilege joke” made you lose out on a scholarship or caused you to be graded extra hard, they wouldn’t give it a crap.”

“They intentionally and repeatedly made this “silly joke” out loud in front of professors.”

“NTA. Maybe they should have thought about treating you with respect and professionalism BEFORE it had to come from a place of authority.” – anyoldname7

“Bigots have been excusing misogyny and harassment by saying it was “just a joke” since time immemorial.”

“It was NOT just a joke, and this comment is exactly on point: they tried to torpedo OP on purpose, in front of multiple professors.”

“OP, do not let these “jokers” or your frankly terrible friend make you second guess yourself or your integrity. You are doing great.”

“NTA.” – glitterymayhem

“NTA, if misogynists want to be awarded scholarships, then they should be quieter 🙂” – ncndsvlleTA

“You’re NTA, and it wasn’t a “silly joke.” It was repeated harassment and constant implications that you’re not worthy of your grades and haven’t earned your way to where you are.”

“You don’t deserve that, and it should have been reported. It’s a shame those guys are so insecure and jealous of your accomplishments, but any consequences that befall them are well earned.” – Dittoheadforever


“These men can’t stand having a competent woman around. I have worked in a male-dominated field for over a decade, and I want to commend you on standing up for yourself.”

“This is bullsh*t you shouldn’t have to put up with, and I’d start documenting everything.”

“I’d also go talk to that first professor 1:1 and ask them not to announce your grades publicly again. I had to do that in my undergrad, and it helped immensely.”

“Good luck OP, don’t let these immature a**hats chase you away from something you love.” – Ok_General_6940

Agree completely with you!”

“Been working in a male-dominated field for almost my whole career, and I still get ‘you don’t know what it’s like on site’ and ‘those aren’t the regulations’ even when I can point to the exact part of the legislation where it says that they are wrong/incompetent.”

“I’ve been asked if I slept my way into jobs, if my dad has anything to do with my career (he’s a retired pub owner), and been asked if I was ‘grumpy’ because I was pregnant.”

“No, I’m telling you to stop doing what you are doing because you are putting people in literal danger and need to stop it right now, I am more qualified than you.”

“I could go on for hours with the bullsh*t weak men have tried to pull on me over the years.”

“There are good ones who don’t take it and stand up for me, ones that would never treat me that way but the bad ones are LOUD.”

“The only way to deal with misogyny is to shut it right down. This behaviour is not acceptable, and won’t be tolerated in the workplace of any reputable company, their clients, or customers.”

“Definitely document anything, and report to your professor that they confronted you about it and are blaming you for their actions (and reasonable consequences) now too, and it is creating a hostile environment.”

“NTA” – FiFi2789

“NTA. I am an old woman and had no resources back when I was in college and experienced this same thing.”

“but I am so glad you do. I would report them again. and again and again. until they keep their remarks and their interactions to themselves.”

“you won’t change their minds. but you might be able to make them shut up about it. that guy deserves to lose his financial aid.”

“do we want that kind of misogynist to profit from that attitude? or even despite it?”

“my dad said something once – and he said it sadly and with obvious sarcasm – ‘there’s only one thing worse than an intelligent woman, and that’s an intelligent woman who is also beautiful.’”

“he was trying to explain the attitude of my peers. of course, not all men feel this way. my dad didn’t, and he comes from the WWII generation. but there are always men who do.” – SevereSwim7756

“NTA. They did this to themselves. Guys like that are the exact reason many women avoid certain fields. Keep fighting the good fight.” – Vertigobee

NTA – if making a “silly joke” is enough to lose him his scholarship, then perhaps he should think about whether it’s so “silly” after all.”

“They know they’re harassing you. They’re expecting to get away with it.”

“And they’re really being dealt with very gently here: in a lot of places that kind of behaviour, especially with it being done in front of staff, would get them suspended from their studies pending an investigation.”

“The guy who might lose his scholarship is trying to guilt trip you into changing your report instead of thinking about what he did and the consequences (to himself, if he can’t manage to think what it does to you and your wellbeing) and amending his behaviour accordingly.”

“So he’s indicating that he and his friends don’t feel any responsibility for their actions.”

“That being the case, you should feel no responsibility for the consequences of showing others how they are behaving.” – redcore4

Best wishes to the OP on her education and upcoming transition into the job market.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)