I was in a certain noodle fast-food restaurant ordering a small box of noodles with some slightly spicy flavoured sauce on top of it. The man who was serving me remarked, “Are you sure you’ll like it? It’s very hot.” I am quite sure if I were a man he wouldn’t have asked me that question. There’s a sort of cultural idea of gendered food; that men can eat huge bacon filled burgers and ribs with hot sauce and just really visibly enjoy eating it… there’s a cultural expectation that women, us poor, dainty little creatures simply cannot handle strong or spicy food, and that we also can’t eat our food gregariously or enjoyably. I don’t want to be underestimated or questioned on my food choices because of my gender. I just want to order my meal and eat it thanks.
I was travelling home from market. In the bus a decent looking man was touching his crotch to my shoulder. It started of as a slight touch and he started pressing it harder. I told him to stand properly but he didn’t listen & continued. Then I pushed him back, still nothing changed. After that I told an old woman sitting next to me. She looked at him and nothing happened for a while. But then again he started to press it on my shoulder & I shifted away & ignored him for a while. After which I again told another lady standing in front & he looked a bit taken aback. And didn’t bother me after that. I was afraid but I at least spoke about it so that gave me confidence to deal with such situations in the future.
I have short hair. I don’t wear pink or skirts or dresses. I wear running shoes and baseball caps. I am fairly skinny and flat chested. I like physical exercise and biking. So when I am confused for a boy, I’m not offended. I am disappointed and upset at society though. I don’t know why all of those things automatically make me a boy. I don’t like the term “tomboy” because it says that all of these things are boy traits, and I’m different for being a girl who does these things. I want to be classified as a woman because of my gentiles, not the way I look or act. However, that does not mean that as a woman, I only want to have value because of my body. If you want to start a relationship with me because of my personality or characteristics then go ahead, let’s chat, get to know each other. But if you think I’m pretty, I’m flattered, but I am much more.
Can I just say how sad it is that as a society, we don’t care what songs say anymore? If it’s catchy, and has no swearing, it’s appropriate. Even if that song is about how Ed Sheeran loves a girl because of her body and wants to have sex with her. When I heard the song “Shape of You” I was disgusted in not only Ed Sheeran, but to all the people who listened to it and thought it was fine. My school played it all the time, and I just sat there thinking, “Has anyone ever even listened to the lyrics?” I am disappointed that in 2017, we still haven’t gotten gender equality.
A school reunion meeting, my old English teacher who I remember really liking, got so horribly drunk and wasted, I made sure I avoided him all evening. That still didnt stop him slapping my ass when I walked close enough to him. I yelled at him in front of the whole pub but that still didnt stop him following me around trying to put his arm around me to ‘apologise’ until I had to threaten to call the police.
One day, I get a random number txt explaining that he was a mechanic in the garage where I had taken my car and did I want to go for a drink with him. He said he got my number from the diary in the garage. I found it slightly inappropriate that he had taken down my personal details but I politely declined and explained that I was married. I thought that was the end of it. It wasn’t… A couple of days later I get a text back saying THIS!!! “phone did it again! I wrote “your” not “you” I realised straight away but I thought you would delete my number and that would be the end of it! So no need to explain. Corin,x if your happy then I will leave you in peace. But I see something missing in you and I asked for a sign to help me take the next step.weirdly I sent a message to my daughter on what’s app and I noticed your profile picture. It is animated but it looks some what like you….you look,slightly sad? You should be made to feel special !! Loved !! If I’m wrong then delete my number but please still,use the garage.You won’t see me I’m in the background, keeping myself to myself at work,I only popped my ugly head up to see you! If you are truly happy then so am I. Trust me I’m not a stalker.plus you know where I work.but if your not happy then only you can change that.you told me that you couldn’t have a drink with me because your married. Marriage isn’t a ball and chain.i was married for 17 year’s and I wors hipped t he ground my wife walked on.you should be treated like an angel.so that’s my speech, rant over now.i will send this message now,then check what my phone sent lol.if you have any problems don’t hesitate to contact me.i really wish you a happy and eventful life.your husband should make you feel special.if he does them delete my number. By all means keep it if I can help in anyway with anything then, I’m here.x” WTF!!! I obviously told him he was being inappropriate and asked him to stop harassing me, I blocked his number and changed my settings on WHATSAPP so he would have no access to. It’s made my skin crawl! What’s made it worse, is that the garage where he works in, is practically facing my house. Now, when out in my street and even sat at home, I feel uncomfortable. I don’t even like going out to the corner shop and park my car out of the way during the hours the garage is open. All to avoid seeing him! This whole thing has made me feel completely creeped and uncomfortable. It’s has violated an important part of my wellbeing… to feel safe in your home. I’m so angry and upset that this has made me feel this way. I wrote an email to the garage explaining that their employee has taken my personal details in order to harass one of their customers but never heard back.
In the shops, there are dozens of children’s toys, books and games. Pop-up tents shaped like castles are on sale, with a different type apparently designed ‘for each gender’. Ordinary castle has a picture of a boy on it. Pink-ified castle has a picture of a girl on it. Same with books: storybook labelled ‘for boys’ has stories about pirates, dinosaurs and robots. Storybook labelled ‘for girls’ has stories about princesses, ballet and horses. Sticker books and colouring books are horrifyingly similar, while even a storybook with no gender labels shows on the cover a boy in a pirate hat and a girl with a pink crown.
I had an older boyfriend.. I knew he was a bum and I didn’t want to lose it to him Although i said no he persisted.. taking my flower. Months went by and he continuously forced me to have sex with him whether or not i said no.. whether or not i pushed him.. whether or not i tried running away. one instance i remember clearly is when he sat on top of my chest trapping my body and arms from moving as he held my mouth open and shoved his penis in my mouth.. that still scares me to this day but what made me realize what he’s doing is wrong is when he pulled me behind some trees and forced me to have sex with him. I thought I would never trust anyone again but my best friend (now boyfriend) helped me come to the conclusion that it is not my fault.
I’ve recently realised that an experience I went through in 2014 wasn’t just an embarrassing mistake. I’m saddened that I didn’t even realise that I had been sexually assaulted. I was so ashamed. Ending up in an alleyway having sex. I remember thinking ‘don’t get with that guy.’ I had normalised it and blamed myself for drinking too much and had put it down to making bad choices. But I couldn’t choose those events, I couldn’t make good or bad choices. I was beyond wasted. My memories go- At bar ‘dont get with this guy, I can tell he’s interested.’ Sat at sofa with him very close to me, strong and in control. On top of him in an alleyway. A kind of ‘waking up’ feeling where I became more conscious of where I was and what I was doing. Leaving the situation on my own. (Just thinking leave,leave,leave) Waking up having passed out on a wall. Trying to walk home and being so drunk and confused I couldn’t find my way despite it being a regular route for me. The fact I hadn’t realised that I was taken advantage of is the ‘everyday sexism’ bit for me. Rape culture created a space where I blamed myself for being so stupid. For taking those risks. For not being alert. For drinking too much… I can see now that I was incapacitated to consent.
I have just got back from an evening at the theatre. Whilst waiting at the bus stop a young man crossed the road and started trying to attract the attention of a woman waiting at the same. He was waving his hands around her and she took out her ear phones to hear what he was saying. She was looking very bemused and he eventually wandered off. I could see him approach another pair of women who were walking up the road and they swerved to avoid him. After a while he came back to the bus stop and started to stroke another woman’s hair. He then approached me from behind and I moved away to stand next to the first woman. He then came back to start bothering her again. Eventually I asked him what he thought he was doing. He looked at me and I asked him why he thought he had the right to harass people like this. He was clearly drunk and apologised. I told him that he needed to stop now and move away. But he just stood there and said that he didn’t mean it. That may be so, I replied, but you are harrassing people and you need to stop and move away. Still he didn’t move and apologised again. I asked him another two times to move on and he eventually did. The first young woman thanked me while the woman whose hair he had stroked said that she had rather enjoyed it! That is the second time I have had to ‘rescue’ a younger woman at that bus stop. When I got home my husband commented that I was lucky he didn’t have a knife. But I just couldn’t stand by and let him continue to think that that was an appropriate way to behave.