Ever since I was a young girl, my parents told me not to go out on my own because someone could steal me or a man could rape me. When I hankered after sweets and comics and asked if I could go to the corner shop on my own to spend my pocket money, I was told no because I could get run over by a car or kidnapped then raped by a male stranger. If I went out shopping anywhere, it was with my family, some of whom were disabled so shopping trips took hours. I had to constantly be supervised for “safety reasons”. I felt sad because lots of school children, especially the boys were allowed to go to the corner shop on their own to buy toys, sweets and comics. I envy young children in Japan who are sent on shopping errands by their parents and walk to school without their parents. In my country, kids get ferried about to school, other kids’ houses and sports activities by car, adding to the pollution. It’s so isolating. At least the kids in Japan learn to be streetwise and how to calculate shop change at a young age. Also they learn responsibility as they chat to their friends and wave to adults when on their way to school. Walking is fantastic exercise too! It isn’t perfect and there are dangers in that country, but at least kids there get to learn to look out for each other. In my country, every adult, especially men are viewed as guilty until proven innocent. Anyone could potentially be an awful stranger who kidnaps and rapes girls. I feel as though my growth and development has been stunted. Now I am a woman I feel terrified whenever I go out on my own or to the shops because I am worried that a man will attack, mug and rape me. This is why I don’t go out much. I was never invited out much on nights out with other young people anyway. They probably thought I was timid and weird. I have led a miserable life like a caged animal, terrified that my life will be ruined by a man. I have hardly any friends and no one cares about this at all. I feel sad, lonely and lied to. So many people said that I had my “whole life ahead” of me and that I’d gave a fun life as a young person. Their platitudes were so patronisingly wrong! I have been laughed at for looking and acting nervous in public, constantly checking around for any attackers. I have been shoved out of the way by a man in public while trying to help a disabled relative across a level crossing. I have been catcalled in the street when walking or on my bike. I have had men try and grope me without my permission. I have had a miserable life of captivity because I am terrified that I might be assaulted or harassed by a man. I feel like my youth has been cruelly stolen from me. It was no fun at all growing up. I felt like I was being raised in prison. I feel justifiably depressed because of my lack of freedom and social captivity, not because of a supposed “chemical imbalance” in my brain.
“maybe the dad should teach his child knitting or basket weaving to make you pussies happy…get a grip ya pansies..life isn’t all lollipops n rainbows..we are runnin out of real men in the world if ya haven’t noticed..” Comment supporting online video of dad teaching toddler how to fire a gun. My problem with this isn’t about gun control, it’s the fact that guns are seen as manly – therefore good, but knitting is womanly and therefore bad. The toddler is actually female and the commenter hasn’t even noticed. I’m more than aware that life isn’t all rainbows I’m also aware that male violence is epidemic. Would like to see a few more guys doing basket weaving. A useful skill that many fishermen made a living out of in the old days… what the hell is a “real man” ? not worried about the toddler, as a female she’s very unlikely to shoot anyone.
Was this harassment? While I was still a student, one afternoon I left Sixth Form College early because my last period was a free one and I wanted to go home. I rode the city bus into town to the bus station. From there it was just another bus ride home. It seemed that many students had the same idea that I had: they had free periods at the end of the day and wanted to get home early too, that’s why they were riding the city bus. I sat down in a free seat and stared out of the window. I felt very tired and sapped of energy. I closed my eyes to have a quick nap. The bus was soon in motion. The bus stopped again and I heard a young man’s voice. It woke me up with a start: “Hey!” shouted the young student man far too loudly: “Who out of these men do you find the most attractive?” “I beg your pardon? What is this all in aid of? Is it for charity?” I asked rather groggily. He had shoved my bag carelessly out of the way and was now occupying the seat next to me. His gaze met mine. He leaned over invading my personal space. He held a sheet with photos cut out of magazines of various men. I had no clue who any of them were. He grinned like an over eager game show host: “It’s in aid of my Psychology Coursework, I’m doing a survey. Please rate these handsome looking hunks from 1 to 10. Ten being the hottest and one being the least attractive.” “What a bizarre homework assignment,” I said baffled: “Isn’t it rather shallow to judge people based on appearance alone? What about their personalities or what they are like on the inside? For instance, someone may groom him or herself well, but be rotten to the core on the inside. Similarly, people who are wearing rags and are covered in dirt may be very decent people who have hit on hard times. Then again, there can be people with poor hygiene who act in obnoxious ways. Sometimes life is complicated and people are multifaceted. I can’t tell what hobbies these men have just by looking at them. Do they play chess? Do they cook? Do they knit? Do they volunteer at an animal sanctuary? What are they like? Do they rescue people? Do they help the elderly? Are they school teachers? Do they comfort children at the hospital? Are they brave? Are they funny? Have they shoplifted? Do they like riding on rollercoasters?” “Stop! You’re overthinking this!” he said in an irritated tone: “Just rate these men’s attractiveness from one to ten on the sheet.” “No thank you,” I said: “I judge people as whole beings with personality warts and all.” “But don’t you like any of them? Don’t you have any comments on any of them at all?” “I can’t tell if I like them because I have never met any of these men in my life. Also they could all just be smiling for the camera and some of them may be feeling secretly miserable inside. I will say one thing though, that chap there looks awfully cold without his shirt on.” “You mean hot right?” “No, he looks freezing. Anyway I don’t wish to participate in your survey thank you.” “But you have to write something!” “No I don’t. You cannot coerce me into doing a psychology survey. You have to have my consent first. I don’t wish to participate thank you. You can’t just force people to take your survey.” “Damn I forgot!” he said far too loudly so lots of people turned to look at us. It was very embarrassing. He muttered something under his breath about me being an “awkward bitch” and left me alone. I was rattled by the whole experience. It seemed to me that psychologists were wasting their talents by asking people silly, trivial and pointless questions. How about using their talents in psychological analysis to improve people’s quality of life by trying to solve world hunger, educating young women and ending poverty for example? FYI I am straight and sometimes asexual. I am attracted to men but life circumstances often prevent me from meeting men. I would like to try and look at men as whole three dimensional human beings with complex personalities, not just as 2D photos where I have to pick which bloke has most muscle or square jaw or whatever. That’s just silly. The male student kept approaching young women on the bus. He didn’t ask them for their consent before he shoved the survey in their faces. He also didn’t ask about what their sexuality preferences were in the survey. He just ticked the female box when he approached any young woman on the bus and shoved a “rate how hot these blokes are” survey in front of her face! He automatically assumed that if you were female you’d be attracted to men and that if you were male you’d be attracted to women. He seemed really disappointed when one young woman on the bus said no to him because she already had a girlfriend! Lesbian and bi women do exist. While not really my cup of tea, there is entertainment for young people based on lesbian romance: novels, films, comic books and even video games! Also, would bi people have had to rate both men and women photos in the survey? I’m confused. Wouldn’t it have been the polite thing to do to ask for someone’s permission before sitting next to the person and shoving a psychology survey in that person’s face? Actually Research Psychologists doing surveys have to ask for participants consent for legal reasons.
I was watching a comedy-related vid on YouTube just now, & when I finished watching it, a vid entitled ‘Top 10 most embarrassing moments’ appeared on screen as suggested viewing. It featured 2 newsreaders- one male & one female- & one of the newsreaders had their shirt open & a big red arrow pointing to their chest. Guess which one it was (clue: it wasn’t the man). I bet that if the man’s flies were open & his penis was on show, that wouldn’t have made it into the vid, but women’s breasts are perfectly OK, apparently.
I’ve been sitting on this for a few weeks now just trying to come to terms with what happened. I belong to an online running group and posted on it about an incident which happened at a local park run. I was running along jeffing (run,walk, run again) with headphones on in a wooded part of the route when up behind me comes a young man who places his whole hand on the small of my back (very low down on it) and starts to push me along. Obviously i got shocked and indignant that anyone would even think about doing this to me. He then kept saying while pushing that if i couldn’t run then i should jog. I was in shock but told him i was fine and that i didn’t need to run i was jeffing. He didn’t get it but eventually moved off and left me in peace. I was annoyed and indignant over the event but as we do in these circumstances down play them. Later on i posted on the running group what had happened and that it had annoyed me. I could not believe the reaction my post recieved men and women telling me that i was over reacting and that he had been offering me support. Support i can take if its maybe a light touch on the shoulder but not a full blown hand on my body which stays there far too long. Very few people defended me and those that did actually came off worse than me. I eventually closed the post and hoped this was the end of it but no it wasn’t. The next day a woman who had been running in front of me opened up the whole debate again as after me the man had done the same to her and she couldn’t understand why i was so upset. The debate about it became even worse and again i was an over reactor to what had happened to me. It was mentioned that my original post had been put up because it was controversial. That had not been my aim or intention. The admin of the group was more concerned with her reputation rather than if i was ok. It occured to me that this was everday sexism at its simplest and potentially worse because it wasn’t just men but women supporting an ingrained vision that its ok to touch a woman but not ok for her to say it wasn’t ok. It enforces victim blaming and through this shuts women up. I know that there will be plenty of women who now will no longer tell people what happened to them for fear of the reprisals. Like i say it’s taken me a few weeks to sort this out in my head and i am actually very angry about the whole incident from start to finish. Trust of those who i though would support me has completly disappeared.
when listening to our free Spotify commercials, I’ve noticed that my husband’s are about consoles, games, movies and finances. Mine, in turn: washing clothes, nappies for babies and low-cal snacks!
I have experienced sexism so many times that I have stopped counting, but there have been a few incidents that have stuck with me over the years. The first time I can remember actually realising that sexism existed, was when I was walking home from practice after school on a hot summer day. I was wearing a pair of sport shorts and a tank top and a group of guys who must have been at least three or four years older than me, slowed down their car and started to whistle and shout inappropriate comments at me. I was only fourteen and didn’t have a clue how to react to this situation, so I kept my head down and continued walking as if nothing had happened. Another incident I can clearly remember is when a drunk man who was at least in his late fifties (I was around the age of 18 or 19) sat down next to me on a full bus and started to verbally harass me and didn’t stop until I called my best friend in a desperate attempt to get rid of him. I looked at other people on the bus for help, but everyone looked away and no one helped me or said something, I was too uncomfortable to stay any longer on the bus with the man getting closer to me with every second, so I got off the bus two stops earlier and walked home with my best friend supporting me on the phone. Throughout school, but even more at university, I noticed how difficult it can be to voice your opinion in a group discussion. Women are brought up to believe that we must never make any mistakes and to be ‘perfect’ all the time, which keeps us from speaking up during class and discussions. I don’t know how many times I have held back a correct answer, simply because I was too afraid to make a mistake and I have noticed that a lot of my female classmates have done the same thing over the years. However, I have hardly ever been in a class or group discussion where the majority of the men kept their mouths shut (yet there is the prevailing stereotype that women talk more than men). And even if I want to voice my opinion, I often have to interrupt or speak over a man to get a chance to say something at all. I can’t remember how many times I have gotten interrupted during discussion and then decided to give up, but the number will be very high. Every day sexism exists. It exists in the beauty industry which is mainly aimed at the female part of the population and the in the media who make us believe that women have to look flawless and young all the time. It exists in the fear that I have to walk around alone after dawn and the thoughts I put into my choice of outfit when I go out, to stop men from seeing me as a potential victim for sexual assault. It exists in the low number of women in leadership positions and the prejudices that keep them from attaining one. It exists in the fact that many men’s main argument to change their disrespectful behaviour towards women lies in the words “I don’t do that anymore because I have a little sister or because I have a daughter”. It exists in the way that society still teaches women that they are worth more when they are in a relationship with a man or that they should have the natural desire to want children. It exists in the fact that most still frown upon little boys playing with barbie dolls and little girls getting themselves dirty outside in the mud. It exists in our society and it exists in our heads. But if we decide to speak up, if we decide to make a change and stop accepting it, we may be be able to stop everyday sexism one day.
When I was young, PSHE lessons on “how to navigate intimate relationships” always confused me. They confused me because my parents didn’t follow any of the social “rules” we were taught in class. If anything, my parents, family members and even my friends parents seemed to be defiantly doing the exact opposite of what we were taught in PSHE class! We were taught in PSHE that love was based on partner’s mutual respect for each other. At home, I soon quickly discovered that my parents did not respect each other at all and that this state of affairs was normal in our house. My Dad would shout: “Oh shut up you old cow, all mothers are interfering, miserable old biddies. I want a divorce so I can talk to younger women who aren’t ugly, aren’t boring and don’t moan.” My mother would yell: “You are so useless and a very stupid man. You’d lose your own head if it wasn’t screwed onto your own body. You lose everything. You lose your glasses and keys. You couldn’t find your way out of a wet paper bag.” I once rang up some relatives of mine on the telephone. All I could hear was arguing in the background and the words “Oh shut up!”. I wondered if other families were like this. Some of them were. Some of them were even worse. I went round a friend’s house once for tea. When my friend and I were chatting in the other room, I could hear the exasperated tones of her father and mother. The father was trying to calm the mother down, but the mother kept saying that things “weren’t working” and she’d “have to leave”. The altercation went on for several minutes. She accused him of various things like not tidying up, then he became sad and quiet. Several months later, I learned that my friend was now living with her father and that her mother had moved out and was having children with another man. This is how I learned about what step parents, step brothers and step sisters were. This pattern repeated itself with other friends of mine. My friends were upset that their parents had split up. About half of my friends eventually had parents that split up so this was very common indeed. I often wondered why my own parents were still together given how frequently my Dad talked about wanting a divorce. So instead of mutual respect, relationships seemed to be based on mutual sexism in repeated misery inducing Punch and Judy style altercations, each sex claiming that the other one was no good. This is why the Babar stories and cartoons baffled me as a child. Not only did the male and female elephant love each other, but they respected each other. So much so in fact that the male elephant named a city after the female elephant. My Dad never dedicated anything to my Mum. When I suggested that he did, he looked at me like I was insane because he said: “Oh get lost. Your mother is lazy, ugly and ungrateful. She doesn’t deserve anything.” Now that I’m older, I appreciate that relationships between cartoon elephants are somewhat idealised because they don’t constantly scream at each other and they actually practice amicable conflict resolution techniques. The myth being that a male animal and a female animal had to love each other before they could start a family. Or maybe it was a French thing because stereotypically the French are meant to be more polite and such, but then I realised that this wasn’t quite true also given all of the stories of domestic violence and sexual harassment coming from France. Oh well, sigh. However, all of this animosity between the sexes doesn’t explain why I’d often hear love songs on the radio that such and such a couple requested were “happily married” for however many years. They would gush about how “wonderful” the other partner was. When I asked my Dad about this he laughed hollowly and said: “They’re just lying to get attention. All men and women secretly hate each other and argue at home.” This is pretty much the same response I got from other family members too. It was so depressing. All I ever heard at home was sarcasm, bickering and swearing between men and women. When I asked my Dad why there were couples smiling and holding hands on the beach, he said: “They aren’t really happy at all. They are just posing to look as though they are happy, when deep down, they hate and can’t stand each other. They aren’t honest, they put on an act for the tourists so they can brag then get divorced later. That man really thinks that his wife is a miserable old bag and he is pretending that he likes her by holding her hand for the crowds. She is holding his hand so that she can steal all of his money. Yuk. It’s utterly stupid.” I have cried after this because maybe all feelings and relationships are just lies? Maybe every is just acting as though they like each other so that society won’t reject them? I have never had a long term relationship with anyone of the opposite sex growing up, in fact my parents forbade this, so I’d have to see a person in secret until my parents found out, then all hell would break lose. Anyone who claimed that they “loved” me, would accuse me of “pushing them away”, which was even more baffling given that I was trying to be as polite to them as possible and trying to listen to them by paying full attention. I was also very honest with my feelings and clearly voiced my worries. Since nobody would ever calmly explain what I was supposedly doing “wrong” in a sensible and coherent manner, I couldn’t “correct” this, then that person would complain, then desert me. It leaves me baffled to this day. Given how aloofly and sometimes angrily my parents act towards each other, it is a miracle that I was even born. That I was even born at all is a perplexing puzzle in and of itself. This is why PSHE and Psychological counselling have been utterly useless to me. One counselling session, I even said that my parents hate each other and I was accused of lying by the therapist then! How could they hate each other if they’re both married? How dare I say such horrible things about my parents! This is why I truly give up. If anyone claims that “a problem shared is a problem halved” or “talking issues through with a counsellor helps”, then I have to conclude that these people occupy a completely different parallel dimension to the one that my family and myself occupy. Sadly, in the dimension I inhabit, a problem shared is a problem doubled and talking about problems only escalates the situation. In all honesty, I have found brick walls to be more responsive than teachers in PSHE and counsellors. They don’t understand me or my family. At least the brick walls echoes reflect my situation accurately and aren’t idealised fantasy. One can have a productive discussion with a brick wall that is far more enlightening than any PSHE lesson. In fact my mother often said that talking to my father was about as much use as talking to a brick wall, that’s why she reads and does solitary activities a lot. When I hear statements such as “PSHE empowers students to have quality relationships”, it makes about as much logical and ideological sense to me as the fairytale statement: “That prince will turn into a frog if you kiss him.” It does also seem rather disingenuous that teachers would try and preach the values of “mutual respect” and “trust” in relationships, only to yell, scream and use sarcasm on us later. The main things I learned from school teachers were: hypocrisy, sarcastic guilt tripping, how to scream loudly, how to lose control and how to be stressed. Sorry, but this is what I learned from most teachers at school. I can count using the fingers on one hand the number of teachers I had who were calm, respectful and kind. Given how high divorce statistics are, one thing is painfully clear, how we relate to each other and the institutions that encourage prohibitively expensive ceremonies to unite people aren’t working. One thing I have learned is that loneliness is a constant companion and that the sexes despise each other. This is why I wonder if I could perhaps imagine someone kind and supportive talking to me might ease the pain? A sort of imaginary confidante. It would be a lot less messy and having an imaginary family would not interfere with my career prospects or put me at a disadvantage. It is sad that I have to do this, but I don’t see another alternative. I sadly certainly won’t be allowed to see anyone who is alive and real while my parents are still on earth. In conclusion, life does seem to be a miserable, futile battle between men and women. Anti depressants, PSHE and talk therapy can never ever ease the loneliness and stress of the modern world. Sorry.
I have been bullied by all the boys in my yeargroup for just over a year now – they yell things like “HEEEYY THERE, YOU! Wanna go out with me” or “Dammmnn” Why? I’m not a commodity or a piece of meat? I’m TWELVE, for god’s sake, and they are 13! Also, I’ve been noticing a lot of pop up ads on my favourite app are for a specific app (think it’s called “Girls” but really not sure – closed it down before I could remember), and the ad is about a well endowed manga teen having her BREASTS GRABBED – I mean, come on – my 6 year old brother plays this game – I don’t want him seeing this! Apparently, this app is meant to be a “realistic representation of high school” when I looked at the descriptor on App Store. Disgusting.
I’ve now seen three females from Harry Potter who have been photoshopped to look sleazy (usually massive fake breasts added so it looks like they are hanging out of their bras) because unlike most famous females they aren’t half naked all the time. Truly exposure is the western veil . Not seen a single Harry Potter male with a photoshopped bottom hanging out or a photoshopped erection. Suppose it might make them look stupid. Keep protecting male modesty and stripping women, you tube! /sarcasm