I was in class today and was half ranting about how I was never going to have kids. I was talking to my friends who were doing some future hand-reading game. “I’ll never want kids.” As I said that, I heard someone scoff so I looked over and saw a male class mate looking at me with an… angry? Stern? Confused? Face and he said, “You ARE going to have kids.” And then he went back to his work. He didn’t even pull one of the cliche lines like “Oh, you’ll come around.” Or “You’ll change your mind.” Just a cold stare and a condescending voice. Well, I calmed myself down because I knew he was wrong. I’m asexual, and I don’t want kids. Even in our family unit, where we learned how to raise a family and such, they noted that kids cost you money, your emotional health, and your physical health. Yea, sorry bud, but I don’t have any reason to have kids.
It happened on a school bus. I was a freshman in college and this older boy who was drunk sat next to me. He told me that I was hot but being gay, I had no sexual interest in him. However, I couldn’t vocalize my sexuality because I was deeply closeted. He started to touch me and get closer and I wanted him to stop. I just froze. I couldn’t speak, move, or do anything. Finally when the bus ride ended I ran off and my “friend” told me that I wanted it and that I should just get over it. My “friend” watched me get sexually assaulted and she told me that I wanted it. Today a new friend told me how she is friends with the man who assaulted me and asked me what I thought of him. I hate that even though this was two years ago it still makes me uneasy when his name is brought up. I don’t like the darkness he brought into my life even if he didn’t remember it.
A couple of years ago at college, I took a course in music technology to try and learn a little more about the career path I wanted to take. Here’s a few things that happened while I was there. By the way, this is all completely true, as unbelievable as it is. It still amazes me. I was the only female on a course of 32 guys. One of the only friends I made on my course was a guy called Jeff, who took a strong shine to me from the start, and looked after me. I fell head over heels for him and got with him, only to overhear that he’d won a bet by sleeping with me. I then overheard him go into crude detail of our night to his friends. We were put into groups of five or six, told to form a band together, and assign each person with a role (drummer, guitarist, producer, etc) so we could compose a song together, then write an essay on our roles. At the time, I only played keys, and my fellow group members wanted to make a heavy metal band. I was told by my group members that there was ‘no need for me’, as a keys player. They assigned me a role as a tea lady. Yes, a tea lady. I had to write an entire essay about making cups of tea for the band, and tidying up wires. The tutor took zero responsibility for the blatant shit I was experiencing. We had to do work experience at a local venue, micing up and setting equipment up, etc. I was repeatedly told by the staff working there that it’s ‘not a woman’s job’ (they actually said this to my face), and that it was ‘pointless me being here’ as everything was too heavy for me. At one point, while I was on my hands and knees setting a bass mic up, a band member approached me and asked if I was the ‘fluffer’, I ended up quitting the two year course after the first year. People treated it like I had wasted this amazing opportunity and heavily criticised me for it, even after I told them about the constant bullying and sexist abuse I was experiencing. To this day, I still hear about how I ‘dropped out of college, what a shame’ etc, even though it was five years ago. Oh and as for Jeff, well on my last day I entered the practice area on a break and emptied his entire bottle of lucozade all over his bag of coursework. I also took his ipod. Oh well
“IMPORTANT From today onwards The wardens have strictly prohibited short clothes. So please wear clothes at least till right above your knees or longer than that! Please do not walk outside GB in short clothes. You won’t be allowed to walk outside the gate, and you won’t be allowed to walk in at night, with short clothes.” This was the message circulated to undergraduate women of NITK. No such warnings/messages were issued/circulated to the undergraduate men.
I was in my college psychology class and my one professor liked to try and figure out what would bother his students the most. I purposely kept myself guarded around him. He took different approaches, but the one I remember the most is that I was asking questions about the material, digging pretty deep into the theories, and after I asked a question he let out a low whistle, looked at me, and replied with: “Wow. You’re going to be a downright terrible wife. Asking questions like that? No man in their right mind would ever want to put up with a woman like you.” Everyone laughed. Including me. I used this as a funny anecdote for years, but I now look back and realize that this was a horrifically sexist thing for him to say to me.
My housemate went to a quiz night, he’s just walked in and said – ” We won the quiz and we had a shit hot name – ‘Quiz on my face and tell me I’m pretty’. “
I work in a college and a senior tutor just referred to some girls as ‘tail’. I explained – diplomatically – how that would be seen as innapropriate and he laughed. I didn’t. Once upon a time I would, but no more.
I used to work in FE, in a customer service/admin-type role. One of the duties was assisting members of the public and/or enrolled students, who would drop in with enquiries. Another task of the department was to assess applicants’ levels of literacy and numeracy. Certain staff had much more interaction with the public front-line than others (who would be in a side office doing admin, or, lets be realistic,skiving). Over time, I became increasingly aware of some front line staff (usually male, but not exclusively) calling male colleagues from the side office area to come and deal with an ‘assessment’. I found this strange as it was not part of their duties to cover the assessments, but thought nothing more of it. Then, at a Christmas team lunch, one of the team had compiled a ‘fun’ quiz about the team/college. One of the questions was “what does assessment mean?”. I was shocked to learn that it was a code word used to call male staff to the public area, to gawp at / ogle younger female students & members of the public (who were deemed to be ‘fit’ or ‘hot’). Apparently this was an open secret and had gone on for some time. There were line managers and departmental managers (male and female) present at the lunch. No official action was taken! I tried to raise it, but was told I didn’t have any written proof and therefore that I was putting in false complaints against male colleagues. In addition, the ID numbers of ‘fit’ female students were emailed around male staff every so often, so they could check out the online ID photos and timetables, to see when the student/s were due in college. Certain male staff would then hang around the entrance to try and see the student arrive or leave. And all this took place in a publicly-funded FE college, supposedly a place of equality, learning and improving the mind. Shocking!
So we’re having a training session in Entrepreneurship a day Strategic Planning. I’m one of the consultations the University (in Jamaica) hired to facilitate the workshop. Just as I’m about to begin the session with my group (a group of about 5 persons from a community group) one of the men interrupts me. Him: Can I ask you favour? Me: Sure. (thinking it was related to the topic). Him: Can you fix me a cup of coffee? The rest of the group is either laughing from embarrassment or shaking their heads. So instead of just ignoring him or insulting him (like I would usually do to men who are so rude) I decided to ask him why he asked me that favour. I had expected him to say something reasonable or even lazy like ‘oh you’re closer to the table’ or ‘I don’t know how to make coffe’. But instead he says “Oh me like when woman make my coffee.” I was so irritated. Not only with the fact that he was wasting my time but the fact that he thought it was OK to interrupt my session to reduce me to his maid. I became further irritated when a group member told me to ignore him because was on the driver (ie – wasn’t even a part of the class). I was the most educated person in the room but he wanted to reduce me to a server all because ‘he liked when women made his coffe’. #GetOnMyLevel
I am a female full Professor with a Ph.D. at a research university in the United States. A “good old boy” colleague who schmoozed his way to full Professor many years ago despite low research productivity insists on speaking to me in a condescending manner: sometimes (especially after I’ve challenged “good old boy” privilege-taking) he talks to me as if I were an ingenue who needs explanations of the way in which a department in which I have worked for over ten years is run; at other times he issues direct orders, as if he were a supervisor (which he is not) and I were his subordinate (which I am not); when he is asked to negotiate with me as an equal over an issue of shared concern, he insists on making the decision and delivering it to me in writing. Sadly, this behavioral pattern is common at my institution (once, when I chaired a committee at the university-wide level, a colleague of equal rank tried to treat me like a secretary, and doubled down when I called him out on his conduct): and my university’s leadership wonders why there are so few female faculty, let alone full Professors!