Kate

So this goes back a long way, and I’m sure there are more recent examples I could think up but this one bubbled up. I was in Standard Five, friends of our family were round for dinner. There son was in my class he took me around the corner and kissed me, didn’t ask if he could it was just a mouth invasion. Not terrible, but I am still not much of a kisser. I was sweet and naive and many of my girlfriends were hooking up with first boyfriends, so when I got to school the next day I told one of them that he had kissed me. That night my family were outside swimming and the phone rang. I dashed in to answer it. It was the kisser, he yelled at me: “How could you tell anyone what I did you’re ugly and I would never kiss you or hold your hand in public”. When I went back outside my dad asked me who had been on the phone. “Wrong number,” I said. The worst thing of it all was that I thought I had done something wrong. I’d like a few minutes with him some 40 or so years later.

lillian

I started an organization a few years after leaving college. It was called ‘juicy’ and it was a new condom organization. However many men refused to wear the ‘juicy’s’ during sex just because a women had made them.

Inertia

So I got offered a really cool job in another city a few months ago. I’ve just gotten engaged though, so, even though he made a big fuss about how I didn’t have to do this – I really factored my fiance into the decision. He got offered a placement abroad … and said yes immediately. He just assumed that I would support him because it was a great career move for him. And … I did. This is kind of insidious, and I kind of hate myself for it. No one is asking me to put the wedding and family and home first .. I just do it. And now that I’ve seen what he’s done … I’m like … waaaait: I just did this to myself. 🙁

Megan

i was walking in Johannesburg CBD and a man walked up to me and he was whispering things in a language i had not understood and the next best thing the man decided to grab my breast.i told him to “get lost” and gestured aggressively. People have the right to fight back!

Jacqui

My Colleague told me yesterday that when women wear shot skirts they do it for the males…Never been so angry…what nonsense is that?

CSvW

I cannot believe that I’ve felt uncomfortable speaking out against sexist comments by supposed friends (against myself and others) for so long. Having experienced offensive comments and untoward touching myself, I’ve always been terribly upset, not understanding how and why someone would act that way. Finding this project and what it stands for has just made me realise that I shouldn’t condone even the smallest offensive remark and rather stand up against it all, even if that makes my friends uncomfortable.

name

My two best friends started dating, and then broke up after a month. She told him that it was because her parents didn’t want her dating. Later, she revealed that he had pressured her into sexual activity that she was very uncomfortable doing and that she couldn’t handle it anymore, that even when she said no 10 times, he would simply ask her an 11th time. She said she always consented eventually because she was scared that if she didn’t, he might try “do something to her instead” and so if she “kept him happy” it hopefully wouldn’t come to that. She never told him this, and though they don’t talk anymore, they are both still my two best friends.

High Achiever

I have too many stories. It is too hard to settle on one. As this blog’s title implies; everyday I am reminded that I am a woman and what that means in our society. As I have grown older the sexism I have experienced has been less targeted at my body, because I am becoming ‘invisible’ – and though I am very successful and well-known in my field I am somehow made to feel like I have ‘lost’ my value because my body is aging. A successful woman has to look good too. She must also have children to prove her worth to society and is made to feel like she is not a woman if she lives up to that end of the deal.

Sarah Brigs Basson

Headline on article in the Natal Mercury this morning (18th March 2014): “Claws out in catfight to be mayor of Paris”! This is a hum-drum non-story about two mayoral candidates for Paris, which is something I can’t imagine many Durbanites care about at all; BUT because the election is between two female candidates, it must of course be reported as a derogatory “catfight” in which the cats use their “claws”, instead of a story about two political campaigns run by two women who both appear to be very competent, vie for the position of Mayor in one of the world’s largest cities (this, of course, being remarkable since everyone knows that women are generally dizzy and incompetent and to therefore attempt to be mayor is remarkable in itself, but of course these two women don’t confirm to the “incompetent” stereotype and so another stereotype of “catty” must be invoked).

Tamsyn

I work in an IT hardware environment – a “Man’s World”, typically. I am an account manager and have to be very client facing. It so happens that I also deal with customers from the Mining and Engineering sector; yet another typically masculine environment. Recently, I hosted a strategy session with very important clients from a prominent mining firm. Several of our management team were included in the meeting. One of the senior members passed this half joking comment to the client: “If Tamsyn needs to wear more short skirts, just let us know and we will make it happen.” This was in reference to our improving our service delivery to the customer. I felt tiny, objectified and no longer seen as a competent and capable account manager, but rather as a decorative piece. It was as if my “customer service” comprised of dressing to please the customer and no more. I no longer feel comfortable around the customer and am constantly hyper aware of how I present myself rather than the solutions I can offer.