Tag Archives: Sexism

Christine

I grew up in Cyprus and sexism is extremely common there. Cases of sexual harassment often go unnoticed, and even if reported, not much will be done. My boss is a top architect in the country and he would blow kisses at me when I was leaving the office, call me darling and ask me to pick up his kids from school. I’m a qualified architect. His wife said I look like a “russian” (Cypriot for slut) and said I make easy money. In such a sexist environment you see, women often target women, since the man is never to blame.

Sarah

I wrote in earlier today my experience of sexism but I have something I would like to add that is relevant and quite important. A lot of stories I’ve reading on here are not actually falling under the definition of sexism. I think as a result of firstly people not fully understanding what sexism is and secondly jumping on the bandwagon of victimization and blame shaming. Many of the stories here are actually fall under sexual harassment NOT sexism. Sexism is defined as the following: 1. prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially discrimination against women. 2. behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. To clarify, getting catcalled, hit on or any other inappropriate sexual behavior is sexual harassment NOT sexism. I’m not saying its not wrong, i’m just saying its not sexism. I’m clarifying this not because I dont support the cause of changing views on sexism, but because I DO. The only way we will achieve this is by being focused and logical. Pointing the finger at every wrong doing and shouting sexism will only make the problem worse. Most sexism is subtle and people may not even realize they are doing it because it is so ingrained. It is your dad jokingly saying you shouldn’t play football because your a girl, a job which pays slightly less because you are a woman or that bloke in the office who needs to show you how to do the most basic things because deep down inside, unconsciously, they think women are inferior. I dont think anger will deal with this kind of sexism. Showing people when it happens in a non-aggressive and confrontational way will. They dont even know they are doing it. An example on how to deal with this sort of sexism: I lived in India for a year where sexism is rife. An Indian man who worked FOR me as a translator whilst I conducted research there prized himself on being very progressive and respectful of women. He spoke of it often and spoke against sexism. Yet, on many occasion he would take something out of my hands that I was doing and tell me he would show me how to do it. Once it was in regards to folding a piece of paper. He did not realize what he was doing but he was treating me as Indian men treat women, as if they cannot do anything for themselves because they are weak or stupid. Once when alone, I started by saying that sexism was so ingrained in their culture many men did not even realize they were doing it. I gave him as an example and he was aghast at his own behavior. He had not even realized he was doing that. Safe to say he was extremely apologetic and spent a good deal of time after that thinking about what his actions meant. It was a friendly conversation, no voices were raised, it was a discussion we both learnt from. Sorry for the long post but I thought it was important to share.

Di

Good friend of mine works as a hostess where they’re required to wear all black for their uniform. When she working on St Patrick’s Day the customer’s took her uniform as permission to pinch her on her ass because she wasn’t “wearing any green.” So many issues with this 1) it was annoying in grade school and everyone hated that stupid tradition why do it now? Oh right because they’re pervs 2) why the hell were they touching someone in a sexual manner without consent? 3) my friend told me all the men that did that to her were old enough to be her dad. Men in their 40+ -some of whom probably had kids- looked at my 19 year old friend and thought, “yeah let me touch her ass that’s appropriate” I’m so sick of hearing stories about how men interact with her and making working difficult. She’s not there for you, she’s there for a paycheck. You mean nothing to her and you certainly aren’t “obligated” to get her number or her attention outside her role as a hostess.

Lane

Not long after arriving for an 8 hour shift at work yesterday, my manager told me to go home and change clothes because I was wearing a dress that fell slightly above my knees. I was wearing black leggings underneath, and I wasn’t showing any skin from the neck down besides my hands (both details she apparently considered to be irrelevant). I was deeply disappointed to be reminded that my workplace still implements a reductive dress code that values a woman’s appearance over her work ethic or professionalism. Perhaps I was doubly disappointed because I work at a public library, which is a place that has such great potential to promote egalitarian values. In this instance, however, library personnel decided that the energy I put forth toward my work was not important, and that my time would be better spent taking close to hour off from work to drive home, change clothes, and then drive back to work. When my manager told me to go home and change clothes I was shocked, angry, and disappointed. I mulled over what I should do for a while, unable to focus on my work because of the troubling thought that the policing of women’s appearances was happening all around me, enforced by other women no less. I finally decided that the only thing I could do was to try to stand up for myself, so I ventured to my manager’s office to try to explain the harm of the library’s dress code policy. I was pretty upset and didn’t explain myself very eloquently, but I did manage to convince my manager to let me finish my shift without going home. What a strange world where you have to convince your employer to let you work, or where doing so successfully would be considered a victory. I don’t feel victorious, but I feel lucky. Countless women everyday are no doubt prevented from doing their jobs because someone, somewhere might be offended by their choice in clothing. I wonder how many of us there are. I was able to discuss my concerns with my manager, but I know other women in similar fields might not be so fortunate, and might even be fired for doing so. Workplace dress codes seem like such a small thing, but they comprise no small number of daily inequalities that women around the world face, apparently regardless of the field they work in. I’m posting this in solidarity with all of the women who have and who will be discriminated against for their clothing. If we can, let’s #leanout and speak up about workplace inequality.

Cranky Feminist Academic

I’m a female full professor at a research university in the United States. Two of my male colleagues routinely act as if they are above our process for determining the agendas for meetings, and hijack them at their pleasure. The process is that our support staff sends out a call for agenda items and then the department chair forms them into an agenda. Despite receiving the agenda in writing, these two choose to ignore it and introduce new items without obtaining the consent of their colleagues. When female faculty members whose items (buried at the bottom of the agenda) complain about the situation, the chair brushes them off and won’t use even the most diplomatic of strategies to make sure that everyone is treated fairly, even when the complaining professors outrank the chair. This strikes me as unconscious sexism. Unsurprisingly, the upper administration uses the same marginalizing scripts as the chair when confronted with various complaints from female faculty from across campus. And they wonder why they can’t remain women faculty!

Sofia

Someone I know told me that a young male friend of hers claimed that, “if a lot of keys can unlock a lock, it means that that lock is a rubbish one but if a key is able to unlock many locks, it is a master key.” By this analogy, he meant a lock to be a woman’s vagina and a key being a man’s penis. As if a woman’s body and what she chooses to do with it is something to be condemned but a man’s body and what he chooses to do with it is a sign of ultimate power? Just, no.

Reem Numan

I’m only 12 and I’ve already realized my family is incredibly sexist, especially my brother. He says I’m an emotional little bitch when I’m menstruating. When he asks me to do something for him, I tell him I’m in pain and I don’t want to do it, since my cramps get so bad sometimes I can’t even move because the pain is so terrible. He tells me to “stop being little baby and do the fucking job”, since he “knows other girls on their periods who get their shit done” and tells me “if they can do it you have no excuse.” Keep in mind he’s talking about 16/17/18 year old girls at his highschool. I’m literally only 12, so he has no right to say that to me. I had to skip school twice because my cramps were so bad, and he dare calls me an emotional little bitch. I hate him so much and have no idea how to deal with his sexist nonsense. I juat wish he could experience the pain I have while menstruating. Maybe that would teach him to shut up. When I try to address the situation with my mother, she tells me that boys aren’t supposed to understand the pain us girls go through. She tells me that they choose whether to be ignorant about the topic or not. If they want to be ignorant, then screw’em. Just don’t care. They’ll never truly understand our pain because they don’t have a possibly way of experiencing it.

Tom

Why do women feel its ok to come up to random men and ask them about their dicksize and if they are circumcised or not? Its very intrusive. Also as a gay guy I really don’t appreciate it.