Working Asa human resources manager in a male dominated engineering consulting firm. I was the only female manager the firm had every had in their 35 year history. I was purposely excluded from meetings, was provided with incomplete information, was marganilized regularly, talked down to, told I was stupid, it was regularly implied that my human resources based skill set was less valuable the the predominantly male technical skill set. I was regularly subjected to bullying, sexual harassment, sexually jokes and innuindo. I watched the firm go from 27% female technical staff to 2% female technical staff at the hands of a single executive who appeared to want to wipe women out from the company – every time he laid off staff the “hit list” was predominantly female designers or engineers. These same women were paid less, recieved less promotion, and were kept on mundane entry level tasks far longer than any male counter part was. In the end, I was also fired and replaced by a man. Engineering has to be one of the worst industries for women to work in. I now work in a female dominated environment and I’m loving it.
This happened when I was 13 and in 7th grade. I was eating lunch alone (I can’t remember why, I usually ate with the same people everyday) and about 6 or so boys came up to me, sat down on the other side of the table and started saying rude, inappropriate, and vulgar things to me. I didn’t even know what the words they were saying meant, I don’t even know if I knew what sex was but I was scared. Another boy, who was friends with the others tried to get them to stop and even told one of the lunch monitors. But she was absolutely zero help and said “Oh they probably just like her.” I will never forget it. Finally, the school social worker who was on lunch duty say the situation and put the boys in lunch detention. That bullying had happened on and off throughout 7th grade but that was worst. Looking back all that bullying was really sexual harassment. Another related incident happened around the same time, I think after the first one, when one of the boys who was in my health class leaned over and told me that he was going to kiss me on the last day of school and I was very freaked out by this. I ended up telling the health teacher and she moved him and gave him detention.
When I was at secondary school, around 13-14, there was a group of boys who used to tease me in class by telling me that I was beautiful, making kissing gestures and noises, and even went so far as to write a song about me and get it played on local radio (thanks, DJ). I understood that this was because I was so disgusting to them as to be funny. One time, they waited for me after school, grabbed me, and took it in terms to rub themselves against me, while singing the song they had written. I told nobody, because, as I say, I’d internalised the blame (but I did land some punches). Something reminded me of this the other day, and I Googled the one name that I remember. Turns out he’s been put on the UK sex offenders register. So much for “just a bit of fun”.
I am disappointed in the country’s choice of a new president, and ever since the election, I am outspoken about it. Without resorting to false information, memes, and name-calling, I make intelligent researched arguments on the topic. However, posting on social media draws a host of men who attack me as a woman to knock me off course or attempt to upset me with creepy comments. One man told me he wanted to “collect my tears and drink them,” or perhaps he could just “lick my face.” Another man, in an attempt to be derogatory, said, “you must be one of those feminists,” and that he “should have known there would be alligators in the water.” His fiend told him to stop attacking me because I am “super hot.” Since the election, I have heard every kind of screwed up opinion on reproductive rights. I spoke out to someone on this, and he told me, “because I like you, we’ll deport you last.” I am angry that women’s voices are dismissed repeatedly as unimportant, whiny, or irrelevant, and the only way for a woman to merit respect is to be “super hot.”
My friend has recently experienced cyber bullying over “what’s app” by a group of boys from our year. They have been calling her horrid names like slag, little shit, cunt and bitch. One boy even went as far as changing the group chat name to “I want to fuck Mazie*” (which I am pretty sure is a rape threat) all because she had her hair cut to a pixie cut. We are planning to tell our feminist humanities and law teacher (who is awesome) about it. But what worries me is the fact that these boys think they can say this to a 13 YEAR OLD girl! I bet their mums don’t know they are saying these disgusting things. I hate how girls like Masie have to deal with this on a more or less daily basis and I am going to do something about it. *Mazie isn’t her real name.
At school, a boy pinched my ass. He felt that I was wearing a sanitary towel, and, not knowing what it was, told everyone in the class loudly that I was wearing a diaper. Nobody asked him how he knew that. Nobody challenged his ignorance. Nobody asked why he was touching my butt at all. I got sexually assaulted, then insulted for weeks with baby/diaper jokes. I’m coming out as being a trans man now. As a teen, I found my periods really harrowing, and difficult to deal with mentally. I also had very conflicting feelings about being sexually attractive to men. This whole incident was practically my worst nightmare made real.
When I was in college in an almost all female class there was this women who would constantly berate and demean me for being male. She would scoff at everything I did and then smile at me in this really nasty way that made it clear she was bullying me. None of the other women ever stepped in to help me. Typical example: I would be helping someone with their work in the studio and she would make strings of nasty scoffing comments about how a man could not possibly help put up a backdrop better than a woman. On one occasion I was removing a spider from the class at someone’s request when she moved in close to my way out and said “if you bring that thing close to me I’ll punch you”. Nobody seemed to think there was anything wrong with this.