I work in higher ed with lots of men and women in positions of authority and attend a lot of meetings. The men will often walk past me (and other women) to shake hands and greet the other men in the room. I’ve only gotten a handshake when I demand it and put my hand out to the men in the room deliberately. This has been going on for more than 15 years, I am a Manager, and am well-respected in my field.
I am only 12 and I sit near a boy in French at school who keeps on verbally harassing me. He says things like I’m going to rape you and I know where you live. I told my mum and she told my teacher and it has got a lot better now but now he says I can’t take a joke. At my school people often joke about rape and no one else ever says anything. The few of us which know this in wrong (which is only about 20 in a year group of 210) have just learnt to ignore it.
so this girl at my school is really mean to me and others and makes fun of like everyone and so apparently (behind my back) called me a sack of potatoes. I honestly am a sack of potatoes so thanks but other than that she is really mean .my friend is non binary but is still feminine and so she (the mean girl) asked me isn’t she a girl and i replied no they’re not. but she looks like a girl she said. I still said they prefer they them pronouns. its so annoying also as an added bonus the guys at my school constantly say are you on your period or oh is that a tampon. this one dude says the (fag) word a lot along with dude are you trans/gender fluid
I’m a 15 year old teenager in high school. One of my passions so far in life has been playing football which is seen as a predominantly male sport. When I talked to my councilor, he gave me a weird look as if I couldn’t play football. In my gym class, the ratio of boys to girls is 6:1 and there are 42 kids in the class. Today we were playing ultimate Frisbee, and we were covering person to person. The boy told his friend to pass to him while I was covering him because I was “just a girl” and I was “too short to do anything” and “probably couldn’t block in anyways.” I blocked the pass and recovered the disk for my team. Later, the same thing happened again. I was seen as an object, an obstacle that wasn’t too hard to get over. In their eyes, I was just useful for gathering equipment at the end of the class or going to retrieve a stray throw or pass. I kept my head down when they insulted me and I didn’t say anything because I thought it was normal. I’ve gone my whole life hearing that women are worth less than men, and that they’re only worth anything if they have a sizable bust and a round butt. They treat girls like objects and something to be conquered instead of something to be respected. Earlier in the year, I was called a lying b*tch because I said I was good at football and that I had played two years. The boys flip the female teacher off behind her back, make sexual gestures in her direction, and make fun of her for problems that they cause. I don’t know how to stand up to them. In 6th grade, I stole the ball in soccer from a boy and scored a goal. Later, his friends all made fun of him for being beat by a girl. Is it really that bad? Is it that bad in the workplace or in school when a girl does better? A trend I saw while looking through other posts is that girls aren’t allowed to make mistakes. They are supposed to be perfect, pretty, and smart. A girl that doesn’t wear makeup in high school is considered odd. Their GPA is supposed to be almost perfect. I hold back often from answering because I don’t want to be wrong. I don’t want to make mistakes because then others will think I don’t deserve their respect. I remember thinking when I was little that I didn’t want to be a girl. There were so many things to deal with. Sexual assault, pay inequality, a predisposition that made everyone feel like women were worth less. I didn’t understand what purpose I could possibly have. Boys aren’t allowed to express emotion. If they cry, they are weak. Anything that doesn’t fit the standard makes them odd. This leads to many boys thinking that they have to make sexual jokes to be masculine, or strong or have the perfect body. Sexism is a sword with no handle and cuts everyone, regardless of gender. Women have it worse, but men are not exempt from the harmful stereotypes and impossible standards that society lays out. I didn’t really start to think about all these experiences I’ve had until I saw the TedX talk on youtube. Now, I see that it is a massive problem that everyone needs to contribute to to fix.
A few months ago I was at the mall with my mom doing some morning shopping and as we where leaving the mall I had to go to the bathroom. I walked to the restrooms while my mom sat at a bench outside waiting for me. I went to the restroom, washed my hands, and then bent over to get a drink. Suddenly this guy was grabbing my butt, and hard. He squeezed and then worked his way down. The whole thing lasted for about 10 sec, but it still hurt. Physically and mentally. I’m 14 yes old (13 when it happened) and I was really scared and confused about the whole thing. I was paralyzed and terrified in the moment, and didn’t know what to do. I was used, touched, and violated. In that moment I became an object. I didn’t tell anyone till yesterday actually. As a project at my school we had to write TedTalk. I wrote and performed mine on sexism in the everyday life. As I was researching for my project I came across the TedTalk that this project came from, and it really opened my eyes. So I decided to share my story on here, and in my TedTalks. My opener to my speech was my story, and it was a great way to get things off my chest and spread a good message. It really helped me, and I’m really thankful of my teachers being really supportive during the whole thing. Everyday sexism is real. It a problem. And it needs to be fixed.
My earliest memory of everyday sexism is from when I was 11 years old. A boy two years above me in school, who was a complete stranger to me, started wolf-whistling at me and saying “hey sexy” every time he saw me. The fact that I would blush and look away nervously every time didn’t stop him. I ended up getting my head of year involved and luckily it stopped after that. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had my boobs or bum groped in a club – even in my local pharmacy on one occasion – or been wolf-whistled at by men far too old to be even looking at me. One time I was in a bar, and a man, who I thought was my friend, let his friend put his arm around me, and state over and over, “I want her” – without having even met me right up until that very moment. My father, in an attempt to cheer me up because I was feeling down about my appearance, once offered to pay for me to go on a beauty course, so that I could learn to “make the most of myself”. An attempt to reassure me of my natural beauty would have gone down a lot better… He honestly thinks that reminding his wife, my step-mum, to put on some make-up for an occasion, is showing his care for her. My step-mum is beautiful by the way. I have lost count of the times he has upset myself, my sister or my mother by criticising our body shape, pointing out zits, telling us to lose weight (even though we didn’t need to) and generally totally failing to even try to instil a sense of self-esteem and confidence in our natural beauty and appearance. He thinks it is appropriate to comment on my girlfriends’ appearances, in my presence, and even to them directly, especially when he finds them attractive. I have tried telling him this is not appropriate and makes me uncomfortable but he doesn’t listen. I can see the effects of this in his eldest son too, who has turned out even more superficial and critical of women who don’t conform to his idea of what a woman should look like. I am well aware that my experiences pale in comparison to what too many women have to go through. However they have still had their affect on me: I have suffered horribly since puberty from low self-esteem, largely as a result of my father’s actions and words, and constantly reinforced by the countless other instances throughout my life. Sexism is everywhere, and can spring on you at any moment.
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.
I also noticed the tendency of female students to be quiet in group discussions, despite being very able individuals who have a lot to contribute (see post below by Summer, April 15.) Even at University many of them seem afraid to speak up or answer questions in class despite knowing the answer. I believe that the fear of being seen as overly pushy or a know-all is stopping them from speaking up, or perhaps they are more afraid of getting the answer wrong than the young men in the class? I recently read an article about the phenomenon of girls losing their “voice” at around age 12-13 and becoming less likely to speak up in class, less confident and more afraid of being judged, compared to their male peers who don’t experience so much of a loss of voice but can be affected in other ways. I do think the expectation by some adults and peers for girls to be quiet, modest about their ability and to put other people first affects girls from a young age, and the fear of being seen as overly pushy or a know-all can stop girls from being noticed in class at all. I wonder just how much young women take this into adulthood with them.
My whole family, and everyone (quite literally everyone) that I ever talk to about feminism, has the whole definition wrong and make me feel bad for being a feminist. According to these people, we think that we are better than men and all we want to do is put men down. But that’s how we are treated 90% of the time so why are they so offended and repulsed by the (fabricated) thought of it being reversed ??? Even my own sister says that there’s no point and that it’ll never effect her. I get so beaten down for having an opinion and I know that my story is nothing compared to the courageous women that go through pure evil and are somehow still smiling. We women are going to change the world.
My own mother told me not to bother with teaching as I’d never make headteacher due to the fact it’s much harder for a woman to become headteacher than a man. I will encourage my own children to follow whatever path they choose regardless of whether their gender is a hindrance or not. I am also constantly told to watch myself around older men when I am wearing a short skirt as I may receive inappropriate comments or worse, yet my brother, who is 16 and is the same age I was when my mother started telling me to watch what I wore, has never been told not to act inappropriately towards women. At our sixthform, we had no uniform, except boys were not allowed to wear shorts, even in the summer months, yet girls were allowed to wear skirts and shorts with no tights, when a boy took a stance and came in in a skirt, he was sent home.