The Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced on a day to day basis. They might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalised that you don’t even feel able to protest. Say as much or as little as you like, use your real name or a pseudonym – it’s up to you. By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss.
If you prefer to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I can upload your story for you instead. Follow us on Twitter (and submit entries by tweet) at @EverydaySexism.
I was walking along the road the other day at dusk. It was quiet with no one else around. I realised a man was walking on the footpath behind me and I looked around. He crossed the road to walk the other side and overtook me so I didn’t have to worry. I was so grateful that he was so considerate.
I have been sexually assaulted to varying degrees a number of times in my lifetime and I now find that often, when I am in a situation that I perceive as making me vulnerable, such as walking down the street alone, I often play out the possible scenarios of bad things that could happen and how I would respond.
I also often wonder as I pass men in the street, ‘should I look them in the face or not?’ ‘Which would make me more safe?’ ‘I don’t want to look at them and for them to think I’m interested and therefore have an excuse to assault me but I don’t want to not look at them and for them to think I am weak and an easy target.’
A technician position opened up at my job. Our bosses offered the position to the only male operator in our office. When the rest of us asked why we weren’t made aware of the position they said “We figured you wouldn’t want it. It’s kind of a guy’s job anyway. It requires a different kind of thinking.”
I have had numerous displeasant encounters with sexism, only a few had made me cry. The first of these experiences ocured when I was about 13, there was a dancing presentation in which i had me to wear a skirt. Everything went well until recess came, I used to sit alone, this time about seven guys aproached me and said really awful things to me they were groping my legs and trying to dance close to me in a sexual maner, wile I was still sitting! I tryed to defend myself, nobody cared until I started crying hard. It went that way for a wile. When it was over only a girl cared and tryed to confort me . Everything happened in less than five meters of the pincipals’ officce. The guys were never punished and I was ashamed to talk to my mother. At that time I didn’t understand any of it. why did I feel so powerless? Why they didn’t take my threat seriusly? and why was I forced to wear something so uncomfortable in a semy-public space? but, over all, why every one pretended like there was nothing happening?
I work for a large multi-national IT organisation. Despite fine words about supporting diversity, in practice there continues to be a strong bias in favour of men doing the clearly technical stuff and women with equivalent or greater skills being given or directed towards less technical roles, with a strong focus on supportive records management,policy and compliance roles, and often isolating or clustering women together, away from the more high profile and high status strategic, decision-making technical roles.
Women also continue to have to justify and prove themselves to different staff at different levels, where there remains a tendency for men’s skills and competence to be assumed as satisfactory without question, from the outset.
Once in high school, a boy pinned me to the wall so he could pull up my trouser leg and laugh at how hairy I was.
“You’d be prettier if you smiled?”
Why do I have to be pretty?
I was walking to a bus stop today and I saw two men eyeing me up. I just decided to walk on and think they would just carry on with their day (they ere waiting at the same bus stop I was waiting at) but I was definitely wrong. One of the guys stopped looking and went on his phone which I was quite happy with but the other guy was persistent and followed my every move. He said to me hey how are you. As he said that he eyed up my butt. I said to him in 14 and he still carried on. I know this story is not much but I am 14 abd this was the first time it happened to me. I was scared and didnt know what to do.
I have a couple more stories to share. They are about me and girls I know from middle school and high school. Some of the harassment was from boys I know and some were from men who were just looking for cute girls to have sex with. My friend in grade 8 had recently got Instagram and she told me that some freshman boys in my class were asking her and her friends to send them nudes. This wasn’t all as they were sending fake nudes saying that these girls owed them. Of course this was a prank but this kind of “prank” should not even be seen as such. Wouldn’t you know it, the same boys came after my best friend with the same act and admitted it was a joke.
There was also an instance when I was running the mile at my school when 2 boys started saying how they wanted to have sex with me and how they were going to beat up my boyfriend. In a way they were making fun of me being “not sexually desirable” because them and their friends would make fun of me for being crazy, but they were also insulting the choice of who I was dating because of him being too big as if it were some type of problem. More disturbing to me is that other boys will insult me by saying that I am dating a guy who “jerks off in class”. I know this is not true, but the fact that boys will say this junk to try and drive me away from a guy who makes me happy is just petty. There are also instances where my best friend, who is 15, is cat called by men when she is walking down the sidewalk. Men have even pulled up to her in their cars to compliment her appearance as if it isn’t weird or uncomfortable in any way.
I have also found it disturbing how old men will wink at me as I’m walking down a side walk minding my own business. My friend and I have even had grown men flirt with us on Instagram asking if we were single because they wanted to “wife’ us. Sometimes we would do experiments and pretend we were 9 or ten and some of these men would still ask for nudes and ask us if we wanted to have sex. I find it very disturbing how some men would go after 9 year old girls on Instagram just to get a nude photo of a girl. Even once when I was 11, an old man stated on one of my photos that he desired to fuck me and mistook me for 16 and even then that would still be illegal. My last sexist experience I’m going to mention, that I personally deal with is that I am not recognized by my own name. Boys at my school literally just refer to me as my boyfriend’s girlfriend. They will actually shout at me saying “Hey *name’s* girlfriend” and then laugh at me when I respond because they don’t know my actual name. My boyfriend is fine but these boys treat me as if I’m his property. It is honestly really degrading that I am only known as someones girlfriend and not as a person.
I have anxiety and about a year ago I fell into a place of lonliness and lack of motivation to do anything. Some morning I could barely bring myself to wake up in the morning let alone leave the house. My dad was saying that I couldn’t stay like this forever. Then he said something I never imagined someone like him would say. He told me I am lucky that I am his daughter and not his son because otherwise he would make me leave the house and would pressure me to do things because these are skills a man needs for when he leaves home to get a job as ‘men are the bread winners’.
I didn’t think much of it at the time but now I often ask myself when looking back at it “Why do you think I am less worthy of a job or of social skills because I am a woman?” or “Why would you treat me differently if I was a boy because of a social construct from 60 years ago?”
I know this isn’t anything serious but this is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of sexism. I was 14 when this happened. I was 14 when I was told I don’t need to experience the outside world because I’m not a man. I was 14 when I was lead to believe that a housewife is all I’ll ever be.
I was out for a walk and about to buy a cold drink when suddenly a man on his came up to me and said “hey lady”, “what’s your name” and I don’t remember what happened afterwards. He might have said something like “I wanna come to you”. I said “Get away from me”.