Tag Archives: Media

Anon

My boyfriend who I really loved at the time had recently told me he was ashamed of me. Not long after I was at a movie on my own – I’ve forgotten what it was called but it was set in the USA in the 1950s and the central characters were three cool young 50s dudes. Then one gets a girlfriend which threatens to upset their dynamic, and then one night when they’re all four together, the two other guys started making dismissive comments about her expecting their mate to join in. Instead he says – “Look, this girl means everything to me, and if we’re gonna stay friends, you’re gonna have to get hip to that”. I’ll never forget how good that made me feel, so unexpected, I cried a bit. I wish I could remember the name of the film. I left that guy shortly afterwards.

Laura

I attended a prominent film school that was open about trying to admit an equal number of men and women into the program, hoping to promote women in a heavily male-dominated field. About halfway through my first year at the school I was having beers with some of the people – men and women – I’d gotten to know and work with over the last six months. One of the guys insisted that because less women apply, but that the school still admits 50% women, this means that the women at the school are objectively less talented and less qualified applicants than the men. His argument was that many men more deserving were overlooked in favor of women to satisfy the 50-50 representation at the school. This was someone who I thought was a decent person, who had gotten to know and work with women who were his peers in the program, casually stating that he believed the women were less talented and deserving, like he was remarking that the sky was blue.

Sarah Wood

My 9 year old daughter noticed today that most of the “safety footwear” in the Screwfix catalogue is in sizes 7 and upwards – generally men’s sizes. A minor thing that would pass most people by – I’m pleased she spotted it!

Michele

Dating websites and online chat rooms. Why is it deemed to be ok by men in there to send you naked penis photos etc? Why are you a stuck up princess if you want to have a normal conversation and tell them they are being disrespectful if they want to talk about your panties etc? I hope most men’s complete lack of respect for women improves by the time my daughter starts dating, the online dating world is soul destroying.

Ffs

“Female teacher who took part in an orgy with a sixth form girl banned from the classroom for life” Daily telegraph. Most teachers are female and she is clearly female from the photo so why feel the need to state gender here? Because abuse is normal if it’s male? Prurient interest? Highlighting a failed female story? Just say teacher. Really this shouldn’t be hard. Unless of course it’s deliberate.

Matti

Today my friend called me stressed and crying. She was in a cafĂ© and her parents had gone off to buy something and a man started taking pictures of her and her legs. He caught her looking and winked at her. Her parents said that he probably wasn’t because his family came after. As if having a family excuses such behaviour or dismisses the chance of it. My friend was only wearing a denim dress, not revealing but showing her legs on a warm day like everyone else. Why can’t we embrace and celebrate our unique bodies without getting harassed? My friend was distraught and she had no one and the worst part of it is that we are both 12.

Paul

I don’t really have a story that highlights sexism. I mean, I’m sure I’ve witnessed it or even unwittingly been guilty of it. Probably many, many times. I just don’t remember it being a factor in my life. I admit that as I’m an educated thirty-something white male with a well paid job, in an affluent country, I’m very lucky to be able to attach that description to myself. Really what I’m trying to say is sorry. Sorry that prejudices which blatantly DO exist aren’t noticed by a regular guy like myself (and I’m not just applying this to sexism but in this context I guess it’s the one that matters). It’s insidious and horrible that anyone might have been conditioned to the point that any inequality is simply unnoticed. But what I’m mostly sorry for is the reaction of males who fear relinquishing their traditional position of privilege. For all of the snarky, snide, condescending comments and the outright hatred and impotent rage that some of them display. For the cowardly threats hidden behind online personas. For the devaluing of a woman’s opinion just because some tool thinks he’s allowed to because he HAS a tool. For every time a guy thought he could just reach out and touch something or someone he wanted without that feeling being reciprocated, and what’s more, those actions invited. You don’t need my words to validate what you’re doing here, but please allow me to be proud of what you’re doing as a fellow human being, because you got me to think a little bit more today than I usually do. Today I noticed something I had not. Today, your actions changed who I am. Maybe just a little, but they changed me nonetheless. Thank you.

AS

My life and career are plagued by people that simply cannot see past the female stereotype that society perpetuates. It is apparently a shock that as a woman I own power tools and can complete my own DIY projects without the help of a man. When using power tools around men it is beyond obvious that they are watching and judging, waiting for me to mess it up somehow so they can say “you should have left it to the men”. It’s also a shock to men that as a women I am equally as competent as a man with technology. In fact my husband will gladly tell anyone that I’m a million times more competent than he is. But others talk to me like I am a complete idiot and then become angry when I tell them that I’m perfectly capable of managing the task they think is beyond me. As an administrator I found myself regularly put down by male members of staff. It was assumed that I would either do all of their dirty work that they couldn’t be bothered to, or that I was lazy and stupid. I was regularly told o was wrong and rarely celebrated for the things I did well. I am at the tail end of a degree in graphic design, an arena that I know is very typically male dominated. Thankfully I am old enough and wise enough now to fight back against sexism and to prove that I am an equal. But we shouldn’t have to fight to be seen as equals, we are equals! I am raising my son to know that women are just as strong and powerful as men, but even he has fallen into the traps of societal expectations of women at times and I’ve had to reprimand him for it and talk to him about why he was wrong to say those things. It feels like an endless fight to get the recognition we deserve, but I won’t stop fighting for equality.

Sarah

I wrote in earlier today my experience of sexism but I have something I would like to add that is relevant and quite important. A lot of stories I’ve reading on here are not actually falling under the definition of sexism. I think as a result of firstly people not fully understanding what sexism is and secondly jumping on the bandwagon of victimization and blame shaming. Many of the stories here are actually fall under sexual harassment NOT sexism. Sexism is defined as the following: 1. prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially discrimination against women. 2. behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. To clarify, getting catcalled, hit on or any other inappropriate sexual behavior is sexual harassment NOT sexism. I’m not saying its not wrong, i’m just saying its not sexism. I’m clarifying this not because I dont support the cause of changing views on sexism, but because I DO. The only way we will achieve this is by being focused and logical. Pointing the finger at every wrong doing and shouting sexism will only make the problem worse. Most sexism is subtle and people may not even realize they are doing it because it is so ingrained. It is your dad jokingly saying you shouldn’t play football because your a girl, a job which pays slightly less because you are a woman or that bloke in the office who needs to show you how to do the most basic things because deep down inside, unconsciously, they think women are inferior. I dont think anger will deal with this kind of sexism. Showing people when it happens in a non-aggressive and confrontational way will. They dont even know they are doing it. An example on how to deal with this sort of sexism: I lived in India for a year where sexism is rife. An Indian man who worked FOR me as a translator whilst I conducted research there prized himself on being very progressive and respectful of women. He spoke of it often and spoke against sexism. Yet, on many occasion he would take something out of my hands that I was doing and tell me he would show me how to do it. Once it was in regards to folding a piece of paper. He did not realize what he was doing but he was treating me as Indian men treat women, as if they cannot do anything for themselves because they are weak or stupid. Once when alone, I started by saying that sexism was so ingrained in their culture many men did not even realize they were doing it. I gave him as an example and he was aghast at his own behavior. He had not even realized he was doing that. Safe to say he was extremely apologetic and spent a good deal of time after that thinking about what his actions meant. It was a friendly conversation, no voices were raised, it was a discussion we both learnt from. Sorry for the long post but I thought it was important to share.

Rosanne

As a 30 year old female who has travelled a lot and and who has led a very out-going and social life, I have experienced sexism literally, a thousand times or more: – I have been drugged at a concert once by the group (Wu-Tang Killa Beez) giving the concert. Young and naive as I was, I thought being invited back-stage was super cool. Luckily, nothing happened as as soon as I realized something was up and that I felt really weird, I left and went home (acting all kinds of crazy when I got home); – I’ve been followed home in the dark twice. I live in Amsterdam, so I cycle home. Once a man came and cycled next to me, staring at me, not answering my demands of what he wanted. Just cycling next to me and staring. Very intimidating. I stopped at the first night shop that was open and called a friend. The man waited on the corner for ten minutes, looking at me. He finally left. I cycled home in terror. Another time, I was picking up a bike at a station with a friend. It was dusk. The fastest way back to town was via some Industrial areas. We were followed by a pack of howling boys, getting closer and closer. Scared the shit out of me. Luckily we were back on the main road before they caught up to us. – My latest employer said to me ‘You were wearing this coat when you walked in for your interview. I was so surprised, you look like someone who should be on the arm of a millionaire at a fair, not like an archaeologist’; – During university and fieldwork, professors have said about me (multiple times): no, she doesn”t look like the typical archaeology student, kind of smothering a smile; – Female students/professors have asked me why I put on mascara for fieldwork – since when do I have to justify myself because, as opposed to many other female archaeologists, I DO choose to shave my legs and armpits and put on mascara? I’m not judging, totally down for whatever, why are you putting me down?’; – When I was 17 and at a party (I worked in a restaurant), the elderly bosses’ son (the son was almost 40), got very drunk and incessantly followed me and kept on groping my ass and breasts. A colleague of mine, a gay man, kept on protecting me and pushing him away. I finally just decided to leave as he wouldn’t stop; – Once again at field work, the professor saw a cockroach and looked to see my reaction (I was the first to arrive). I didn’t blink an eye. His response: ‘Oh, I thought you’re the type to have made a fuss’; – My ex’s dad once told me: You’re looking worse than normal at the moment, you should wear more make-up; – In a club, my friend and I were dancing next to what was apparently the VIP area. A guy leaned out of the area towards us and said: My friend here is an investment banker’. Thanks man, cool, I totally want to fuck you now, we women can’t earn our own money of course; – My ex boyfriend blamed me for being groped in the ass. The tram was very full, some guy kept pushing his dick against my butt. I kept on moving place, but as the tram was very busy there wasn’t much room to move. He kept on moving also, so that he could keep pressing up against me. Later that day, I told my boyfriend this, fuming. He said yeah, but you can see the outline of your butt through that sweater so it’s provocative. I was wearing flowery leggings, flats and a baggy sweater that reached to my knees, how provocative. And even if I had been wearing hotpants and a tank top, that guy wouldnt have the right to touch me; – this same ex also told me that I walked like a hooker when I wore heals, so that the catcalling was my own fault; – yet another ex told me that I was attention-horny, that it was my fault when men looked at me. A friend of his once tried to rub his dick (recurring theme, ladies?) against me and this was also my fault as I had been egging him on? Until it had happened, I handn’t the slightest clue there was anything going on as we were standing in a jostling, busy queue. – Luckily my boyfriend now is incredibly supportive and notices that I frequently look down to avoid eye contact. He notices that as soon as I walk down another aisle in a supermarket (without him), men will give me dirty looks. He noticed the guy that,last week at a bar, had his hand on his girlfriends’ back, but turned around and practically undressed me with his eyes. My first reaction was to immediatly put my arm around my boyfriends’ shoulders and give him a kiss, also because I was scared that my boyfriend would blame me. He doesn’t. He notices the sexism and objectivication that I’m subjected to on nearly a daily basis and he thinks it’s terrible. Unlike my previous two boyrfriends who somehow couldn’t deal with the totally unwanted objectivication and who would then proceeded to blame me, also sexist; – A guy I once slept with (I so wish I hadn’t as the memory horrifies me, I was 18, he was 33), told me 7 years down the line, looking me up and down very appreciatively: ‘Wow, you dried up well.’ Which means that at the time it happened, he knew damned well that I was still a little girl in his eyes; – My brother once told me, after not having seen him for a while: ‘Shit, I forgot how big your biceps are for a girl’. – I have felt like a piece of meat so, so, so, so often. I’m blond and blue-eyed and have been to Italy, Greece and Turkey alone several times and just felt like I constantly had to look down at the ground. I have mutilated male genitals in my head hundreds of, fuming, feeling so unfairly treated, yet being forced to go inside because the grossly overtly sexual looks just make you feel so cheap; _ -I have had numerous facebook messages that were completely sketchy, disgusting and gross and very inappropriate from men I didn’t know; – I have been approached by some old seedy guy at the beach, asking what kind of cream I rub on my body’; I could continue. I’m getting worked up writing this, especially as, prior to reading an article on the gaurdian that discussed this platform, I read the many comments saying that a) Women should stop complaining about trivia and focus on helping women out in other countries, like Saodi Arabia, as they have it way worse; b) women should stop complaining, it’s so much better thatn 30 years ago c) The hundreds of thousands of experiences on this site are just that, experiences, which don’t say anything about the actual frequency that women are subject to sexism as the data is not controlled; d) that men, too, are subject to abuse, and so feminism is unfair. All these responses only serve to paint women as hysterious toddlers fighting for a cause that is already won. The cause is not won. We need to fight for women’s rights all over the world. We also need to make sure that we do not accept any form of feminism, how slight it might seem. Because that only works to embellish and strengthen the still unequal role of women, everywhere. It doesn’t mean that men have no right to address issues in which they feel discriminated, only that their discrimination doesn’t make femism unvalid.