This seems minor but it has really annoyed me. In maths class, we were discussing how weight was different on the moon. The teacher then said, girls, if you want to lose weight go to the moon. He was implying that girls all want to be thin and lose weight which is not the case. Also, some boys may want to lose weight etc
Was never ever told about how to report sexism from teachers at school. We were told that we should report general bullying between students, but as students, we were never told what kind of procedures we would need to go through to report a teacher for gender prejudice. All genders of students: female, male and other, I feel should be able to safely report a teacher for sexist conduct. This could be sexual harassment or verbal remarks. I am not a young student any more and I strongly feel that young people coming up should be given clear guidance as to what is appropriate behaviour for teacher and what to do if a teacher or other member of staff engages in behaviour that the student is not comfortable with. This could include homophobia, biphobia, queer phobia or gender prejudiced remarks. This can be a thorny topic because some things that some people consider to be sexist or gender prejudiced others such as some teachers consider to be fact and “hard science” such as what women’s and men’s brains are supposedly hardwired to do. Some teachers may think that male and female students need to be taught in different styles according to gender (not accounting for individual differences or preferences). Some literature and debate contains sexism. I am not advocating for shielding people with “safe spaces” or squashing debate. It would just be nice if there was some respectful dialogue between people with regard to these issues. I also see some company training groups say that in order to promote gender equality, people should realise that men and women think differently, therefore need to be treated differently. Hence the “different, but equal” argument about how women are supposedly more empathic than men and how men can supposedly throw more accurately and read maps better. By the way, does it make me weird or “mentally disordered” if I as a shy woman would prefer to read a map or go on dead reckoning rather than ask people for directions? Would the psychologists and psychiatrists be circling me, like sharks after blood if I even mentioned this to anyone? I just don’t know what to think any more because men and women clearly have physical and hormonal differences, but what about hermaphrodites or other people who don’t fit into a neat little conceptual box? It’s hard work, but I think that people should be treated as individuals with their own histories, bodies and preferences rather than be shoved into gender stereotyped boxes. It is lazy thinking to assume that all people you put into one gender category look and behave exactly the same way. Nature is messier and more complicated than that. There could be outliers and exceptions to categories people graphically draw up.
I’m only 13 years old, yet I experience sexism almost every day. I recently bought a new Adidas jacket, from the men’s section. I needed some new shoes, so I said to my mum that I really wanted the Adidas gazelles, and she told me that I couldn’t have them because they would make me look like a chav. I asked why, and she told me that I would look like a boy, and I can’t do that cause I’m a girl. I then asked if my brother would have asked for the same pair of shoes, with the jacket I had bought and she told me that it was unfair to spring the sexism thing on her. The next day at school, a teacher was talking about how much footballers get paid, that it isnt fair that they get to lie and cheat, act like girls.Later this day, football was brought up in class, when i raised my hand to add to the discussion, the teacher expected me to know nothing. These incidents are just three examples of what happens on a day to day basis.
At school in PSHE and science, we were taught that sex was a risky, painful, messy, disease ridden chore that two adult people (a woman and a man) had to go through (after getting married to their special someone) in order to reproduce and have offspring that pooed,cried and drained your monetary resources. It was clinically presented as an boring, embarrassing and revolting task, similar to taking out the rubbish, unpleasant but a necessary evil for the running of the household and the continuation of the human race. We were told that make animals tricked the female animals into reproducing by displaying and singing. We were told in science class that male animals forced themselves into female animals to spread their genes. These classes made me deeply suspicious of men. I never went out partying or enjoying a drink because I was terrified that my drink would be spiked by a man who would then rape me after deceiving me, then the baby would mean that I couldn’t continue my education I would have to stay home and look after it but hardly be able to afford it. I thought that men could attack, drug or impregnate me at any time. This is why I had no fun when I was young and found it hard to trust men because I was told that men abuse women. I could never relax or enjoy myself when I was younger because I was terrified that I would be raped and get HIV or some other STD that was going. I am miserable and lonely now because of the advice I was given when I was younger. I am terrified, ashamed and embarrassed by sex. I feel ashamed when I am attracted to people. The teachers would scream and yell at us, then they would ironically state that healthy relationships are built on trust. Were they trying to teach us or poison us?
Once when I was 16 and with my dad at the doctor’s office and in line to check-in, an older man in a wheelchair got in line with his wife. It didn’t take long for the man to solicit my attention, and he then told me I could sit on his lap. My dad was standing directly next to me, and the man’s wife was directly next to him. Nobody said anything about it. When I was 18, I was walking through the parking lot of a grocery store when I passed by two older men. As I passed, one of the men said aloud to me, “Beautiful day! Don’t you just love summer?” I cheerfully affirmed as I went by. Not more than two steps away and I hear the man turn to his friend and say, “You get to see all the pretty young girls out in shorts.” I’ve lost many male friends because the feelings they had for me weren’t mutual; that’s fair enough. However, the few who have been turned down and have stayed, have persisted: -One casually called me his girlfriend and became defensive when I later reiterated that we were just friends (“Don’t think so highly of yourself”). -With another, I made a point to explain flat-out when he made obvious advances that we were just friends, and I eventually had to resort to giving him the cold shoulder because he wouldn’t respect my space. I later reinstated my friendliness with him, and over the course of two years (and all the reiteration that were were friends and he my “brother”) he constantly hovered, and he put his hands on me whenever I’d been drinking (when I’m cognizant, I’m uncomfortable in the moment; after nights I’ve been less than aware, I’ve been angry from stories I’ve been told). His boundaries were so lacking that a distant acquaintance once pulled him aside and asked him permission to speak to me. He later told our mutual friend that he thought he “still had a chance.” His behavior didn’t stop until I mentioned I was seeing someone– as is often the case (as I’ve seen in some of the stories on this site) some men do not (consciously or unconsciously) respect us enough to respect our personal decisions and what we have to say, but they will respect another man.
Back at my old primary school, every year there was an event called the “Western zones”; essentially a multi-day sport contest between the eldest two years of kids from primary schools in the area, the winners of which would go on to represent the region in our city-wide games. In this, instead of track & field events, we all had to choose two sports to play in from a list of four. There was football (soccer), rugby, netball and volleyball. Now, I’ve never been an athletic person. I’m fat. I always have been. But, that’s a different can of worms. My first year, I chose football and netball. I’d never so much as stepped on a netball court during a casual lunchtime game, so I had no clue what was going on. The one time the ball actually came my way, I did manage to pass it correctly to my teammate, so I guess that went ok. But when it came to the football, I actually kinda kicked ass. I had chosen football because I genuinely enjoyed it (despite how rarely I played), and netball because I thought I “should”. It’s always been presented as a girls’ game, right? And yet, I was bored stiff during that game. In the football match, I was shooting and passing and shadowing like nobody’s business. Even this one boy, who’d been my “arch enemy” since year 2, commented on how well I was playing (this kid was English, so he was pretty much treated as an authority on the sport). And he sounded surprised. I know, it was most likely because I’d never once showed any enthusiasm for sport before this at school. But part of me always suspected it was also because I was a girl. Don’t get me wrong, that little bit of encouragement really boosted my confidence for a good while. He’d just sounded a little too amazed, if that makes sense. Either way, next year I opted for volleyball instead of netball. Would’ve made Sakura Avalon proud.
In Structural Geology Class at A Level, the male teacher started the lesson by saying that men were naturally better than women at visualising and rotating 3D objects in their heads. He said “science has proven that women’s brains can’t…” to back up his argument. He gave us some maps and outcrop cross sections to analyse and draw viewed from different angles. When a male student made a mistake on a task he said: “No that’s not right, you can’t be that stupid.” When a female student such as myself made careless mistakes on a task, instead of calmly talking through where I went wrong, he’d rant in a stressed out way, grab his red pen, invade the my personal space and draw all over my work. He’d say: “You’re a woman so you’re bound to make mistakes like this because of how your brain is wired. See this is how you draw it. You are really bad at these tasks aren’t you? It’s quite hopeless me trying to teach you because it doesn’t go in.” This comment really hurt me. He didn’t explain how I got the problems wrong. He told me that it was pointless for him to explain why I went wrong with the task because I was a woman and my female brain was according to him incapable of understanding. This made me feel depressed. I used to be enthusiastic about Geological Science up to this point. I had been told by many female Maths teachers that “girls can do anything they set their minds to”. These women challenged students to draw connecting cubes from different angles and even explained the enantiomer (left and right “handed” pair of mirror image 3D objects) principle. Now I had heard my male Geology teacher say that women couldn’t read maps or draw accurate 3D cross sections because their brains were more “verbal”. I felt sad, helpless and ashamed. Who was right? My female Maths teachers or my male Geology teacher? My male Geology teacher would often begin sentences with “women can’t do…because…” Then he would throw in some evolutionary psychology about how all women without exception could not do some things as well as men because they had different roles in the savanna and cave women had to look after children while cave men hunted with spears. So men had to think in 3D to throw a spear or something like that. He said it was science and had been tested. He said that was why (according to him and “science” women couldn’t throw accurately also. Is any of this true? What about variations of spatial ability between women? Do women like my female Maths teachers who can rotate 3D objects in their minds really have “male brains”? Can spatial abilities improve with tuition, practice and using 3D computer modelling programs? Are spatial abilities hard wired and innate? What do standard deviations of the statistical distributions look like? Thoughts and help please? Btw my Sixth Form College got given an “Investors in People” leadership award. The prospectus said that it promoted gender equality in A Levels. Ironic when you think about it really. We had speakers come and talk about male brains, female brains and “mental disorders” all the time. Depressing demotivational stuff.
I have always been quite an outspoken person,voicing my opinions (being called a bitch or bossy because of it) but when i was 13 years old I was sat in the my schools library reading quietly in the corner when a guy i took a class with walked over to me and asked me to explain the homework that had been set the day before (i know doesn’t sound like sexism bear with me) i said i would be happy to help and he sat next to m, too closely he was taking over half of my chair and when i pointed this out he said “i need to sit this close to you so i can hear you” (we were in a library so it was already quiet and there was abut 3 other students in there with us) i expressed that i was uncomfortable with him so close and if he could sit solely on his own chair he got angry saying that i should be offended and should be happy that a guy wanted to be so close to me. I simply said please move onto your own chair or i wont help you with your homework, he (reluctantly) moved over and i started to explain the homework and helped him answer the questions, this went on for about 15 mins when i realized he was was moving closer to me again and had is hand about one inch from my leg, so naively thinking that he was interested in my help i moved my leg and didn’t say anything but i realized that he was deliberately moving his hand closer to my leg and when i said that had to move his hand he suddenly pushed his hand into my underwear (girls had to wear kilts and because it a hot day i was wearing knee high socks) and stuck a finger inside of me at first it took a moment for me to register what had happened and in that moment i was so shocked that anyone would dare to violate me in such a way that i temporarily lost my ability to speak. taking my silence as an invitation he shoved another finger inside me and started to finger me and was whispering “if you scream i will tell everyone that you forced my hand into your underwear and proceeded to grab my hand and shove it onto his cock (which was out of his trousers and covered by his blazer) and forcibly kept my hand there and made me toss him off. now this guy was huge even for a 13 year old and i was terrified but i was never one to back down from a fight and with my free hand proceeded to punch him as hard as i could which forced him to remove his hand from my body and release my hand and give him a bloody nose, he proceeded to say in menacing voice that he was “gonna get me for that” and that i “should sleep with one eye open” because if he ever found me alone again he would rape me. Naturally i ran away and burst into the headmasters office down the hall and crying. he calmed me down and asked me what was going on so i explained and afterwards he said that i should just ignore it as boys just had urges at this age, my infamous temper flared up and i explained to him that either sorted this out or i would call the police explain what happened and tell them that my incompetent headmaster did nothing to help me. he panic at this not wanting the bad press or a scandal (it was a private school) and so promised to look into it. the boy never got expelled and only got a verbal warning (despite similar claims from other girls in my year and the year below) and i was told to stop bitching about it and i should have just enjoyed it. i would like to mention i got suspended for giving him a bloody nose. needless to say i was gone by the end of the year. he keeps trying to follow me on all of my social media accounts but i block him every time. At the time i couldn’t express my outrage, horror and disgust at what had happened to me and at my schools willingness to cover up what he did to me. It was the first time i found i couldn’t find the words to stop what was happening to me and those around me but i made sure as hell it was the last time someone robbed me of my ability to speak out and stop someone putting their hands on me or someone around me without explicit permission.
idk if any of this counts or is as sexist as i think but; men tell me to smile so often that i just can’t handle it anymore. a male teacher told me that, and i wanted to ask ‘how many times do you say that to a male student?’ i don’t like that i cant give my favorite teacher a friendly hug at the end of the year because he is male, and i am female when i was in 8th grade a man stared at me for a good ten minutes until i boarded my school bus, never saw him in the neighborhood again “you’ll never find a man.” “study less, go get a boyfriend.” this has been said to me about a million times a man followed me around a dollar store when i was five until my mom caught up and yelled at him freshman year, senior boys would tell me to smile and would ridicule me. my hand was close to a sophmores hand, not on purpose, we were just sitting close in class. he accidently brushed my hand and yelled ‘ew!’ very loud an older boy put a cone on my head in gym, the teacher did nothing and everyone just laughed don’t know if these are valid but they haunt me a lot
Last year, in 5TH GRADE, there was this kid who sexually harassed me. I mean, we were only 10 years old, but he used to pin me against tables in a kind of sexual way when I was not suspecting it, and he slapped my butt whenever he walked by. I cannot count the times I told him to stop. I eventually grew sick of it and hit him where it hurts the most, but I am really sickened by how he could get away with this. We’re still so young, and yet our peers are already sexually harassing us, and people brush it off. They say “Oh, really? Are you sure he’s sexually harassing you? Maybe you’re just taking it the wrong way.” They avoid confronting this problem, and they set false expectations for females, girls and women alike. They stereotype us, about how girls are supposed to be pretty, perfect, etc. AND at school, boys make sexist and racist comments, and I notice how they are never directed toward other males, just females. It makes me sick to my stomach, seeing that people fake that males and females are now equal when in truth, sexism still exists, and it happens many times a day and is considered a regular part of life.