Tag Archives: Public space

Bec

I’d recently gotten an extremely overgrown allotment which I’d been working hard to clear of the years of neglected grass and weeds with the only tools I had available – a hedge trimmer and a rake. Progress was slow as you can imagine. So I was quite pleased when an old strimmer came up on a free site and I was selected to receive it. I was told to get it in the evening. I don’t have a car, but it was within walking distance so I was happy to make the journey. As it had gotten dark I chose the main road to walk back on – being well lit and with plenty of other pedestrians and cars about I felt I’d be less vulnerable to any potential attacks (because being female and in a city you have to think of these things). As I was walking back a guy who was waiting to pull out of a side road stopped me and called me over – expecting him to be lost and needing directions I walked back to see if I could help. Rather than needing my help it was that he’d decided I could have no good reason for being out after dark with a power tool and had decided to interrogate me about it. I wasn’t up for being disrespected in this manner so quite curtly told him I had no car – hence having to walk with it – and that it was really none of his business, and walked off whilst he continued calling after me. I was acutely aware that should he be of the more psychotic variety I’d opened myself up to him then following me with the car and the situation escalating. So I was left feeling quite vulnerable and exposed for the rest of my walk. But the question I wonder is – would he still have stopped me if I was some big, burly guy? I bet not.

Enough

Anyone reading the news item that features the woman in London being catcalled on camera by men in a transit van, filmed by the man behind her, don’t read the comments section if you want to stay sane. The men called her a dog and on her period but according to half of the commenters it’s still not sexism. That’s the polite version of the comments section for you. Props to the man who recorded it!

Miss friendly frigid

Re George’s comment ” I’ve found that if I’m too loud, too passionate, too outspoken, they will write me off as ‘too emotional’, in no small part due to the fact that I am a woman” Amazingly they (both sexes) do the opposite to me, I’m female and was constantly hassled for being too quiet, “trying to be logical” and not crying which means emotionally blocked if you’re female. Silently judging was another one when I didn’t agree with someone but chose not to say, since it’s their life. Doormat when I didn’t react to a verbal bully. Too nice was another. I choose not to react to others timescales. I have no interest in histrionics. I prefer listening to others opinions than stating my own. In a man that’s admired. Apparently in a woman it’s weird and a weakness. Silence is bitchy was another. Thanks, man I hardly know! This is despite my saying polite and friendly (I’ve also been told off for being too friendly, so wow frigid and friendly, you’ve got to admit that’s an odd combination) And of course, toooo clever. Gobsmacking isn’t it?

Alice

So I live in the most equal city in the world (Probably), Stockholm, Sweden. I have never experienced sexism as bad as I did one year ago, when I was 16. Once, when I was on my way to work, at maybe 8 or 8.30 in the morning. I was at the Stockholm City Central, walking from the train to the metro. A man, who I had seen on the train, made his way up to me, he stoped me(he grabbed my arm, not hard or anything, just a like “Hey, excuse me”). He asked me about the time, I answered, he asked me about my name, I didn’t. He then got this threatening look on his face and kind of pushed me up the wall. I didn’t know what to do, so I just froze. An old lady who saw me pushed him away and grabbed me and walked me to the metro and made sure he didn’t follow us. I have no idea what his intentions were, but I am 100% sure, that I do not want to know.

Anonymous

When I was 13, a young man (about 20 years old) regularly followed me in his car as I was walking home from school. My step dad told me I should be flattered, and the best way to solve it was to start going out with him. I did well at school, but wasn’t allowed to go to uni as step dad felt it was more important for me to learn to help my mother. I did get a job after a-levels, and my employers paid for my training. I eventually became a qualified accountant. I was a bit stressed leading up to my final exams (who wouldn’t be?). Dad’s solution: stop studying, don’t take the exams, after all, I was engaged to be married. I’m now a chief finance officer, still married, and a proud mum. And the sexist parent still asks me how much more a man would get paid to do my job. (I work in the public sector, so jobs are evaluated, not the gender of the employee. ) Don’t let old fashioned attitudes hold you back.

Anonymous

Nearly died at home and abroad from violence, phone messed about by men & women. Women can be just as if not more sexist/misogynistic. Recently have been harassed at home, text etc. if go out hugged, grabbed etc. Past sexual abuse & violence here and abroad. Have to be strong in this life. Workplace lots of mobbing, bullying. Police, social services, unis, NHS, you name it. Hate crimes, disability, misogyny, religion, racism. Brexit and Trump obj inflamed the situation.

Sharon

At the airport. Was tired because my layover had been 5 hours long. I had taken an hour to find a seat in the airport. Finally found one. Fell asleep. Almost missed my flight so when the last call was called out, I freaked out. Luckily there was a flight attendant looking for people on that flight potentially stuck in the long security queues and bumping them up the line. She walked me all the way to the front of a 50 person line. I politely excused myself to the man she placed me in front of and said thank you. He civilly said “Wouldn’t want you to miss your flight m’aam. That’s alright.” I smiled. So I took off my shoes, earrings and jacket, placed them with my handbag on a tray and walked through the security check. I was waiting on the other end for my stuff. And previously polite man walked up behind me and placed his hands on my waist as he walked around me. PS my bare waist cuz I was wearing a crop top. Why did he touch me? Also. My skin. He put his hands on my bare skin. A man I do not know. A man I only shared pleasantries with. Being polite is an invitation to touch my body now? All I wanted to do was clear security and make it to my flight. I would like to do that without men feeling they can touch me because security demands I take off certain pieces of clothing when I walk through the scanners. I was visibly tired. Late for my flight. Travelling alone. So my thanks for being polite to a stranger in an obviously stressful situation is to get grabbed at the waist? Why a grown man would think he should squeeze someone from behind at the waist is beyond me. I unfortunately didn’t have time to confront the situation because I was rushing to catch my flight. But three days later still bothered by this violation of my personal space and inappropriate touching of my body.

anonymous

I recently went to a supermarket with my mum, there was a man selling poppies and I went to buy one. he insisted on putting it on me himself despite my insistence that I was fine to do it myself. he chose a place right on my breast and took ages to fasten it and kept pretending like he was accidently touching me

Alex

I recently went clubbing with a male friend of mine and one of his friends. I met him at university about a year ago when we were on the same course, and since the course ended I’ve met up with him maybe three or four times outside of the classroom. I have not given him any reason to think that I’m interested in anything other than friendship with him. Nonetheless, when I was dancing he kept putting his arm around my shoulders and my waist. I have been sexually assaulted and raped on a number of different occasions, by different men and boys, starting from the age of 5, and I struggle with symptoms of PTSD. Sometimes in situations such as this one, I become paralysed in fear and panic and don’t react to protect myself. This friend had never done anything that I felt uncomfortable with before; I try to stay well away from men who make me feel uncomfortable because of the reaction that I tend to have in these kinds of situations. The next day I told a (female) friend about what had happened and she told me that what I had to realise was that he didn’t do anything wrong and that it affected me so much only because of my past experiences. But doesn’t it say something that what he was doing to me was reminiscent of past experiences that were traumatising? Doesn’t that in itself suggest that something wasn’t right? To me it seems clear that it was wrong of him. I think that if I had a boyfriend, my friend might have agreed that it was wrong. It’s a thought that saddens me because it implies that I’m just an object for all men to use as they please unless I’m the property of a particular man in which case other men should respect him by respecting his property. An object itself doesn’t demand any respect. But I’m not an object, I’m human.

anonymous

I’ve had so many sexist things happen to me in the past and just thinking about them makes me so upset. A couple months ago I was dancing at a party. JUST dancing. I was literally not doing anything else, I was just on the dance floor having fun when a guy I sort of know and sort of consider a friend called me a “fucking slut.” This is not okay to say to anyone, in any circumstance, but I was just dancing. It ruined so many parties to come for me. Last year, I moved schools and it was a really small school. I felt really uncomfortable when I first came. I was sitting on a couch, reading, and two guys sat really close to me on either side. Like they were both touching my thighs. It made me so uncomfortable and when I asked them to move they just grinned at each other. At the same school, they would constantly make blowjob jokes at me, and a couple times I called them assholes and they said I was over-reacting. They would also dare each other to unzip the skirt I was wearing, and when we had gym they would all slow down to run behind me and stare at my butt, they were obvious about it too! A couple weeks ago in Theology class a guy in the class literally said that we didn’t need girls, and that a man could do everything. A girl shouted back at him; “That’s not true! Who would do your laundry, cooking, take care of the children, and clean for you!” Last year I ran into a gas station real quick to get a drink and two creepy fifty year olds approached me and started saying things like “hey baby” I was scared out of my mind and ran out of the gas station! These are just couple examples and I could probably type for hours about all the sexist things that have happened.