Why do I need feminism? I am thirteen years old. I have always had a fiery passion for feminism and people’s rights. I read ‘Girl Up’ and heard about this online project. I thought that this would be a great place to share a story which really changed me. I was walking home from a school theatre rehearsal, in full costume, when I walked past a male builder, maybe late thirties? He gave me a strange look. I’d had that before and it annoyed me, but I kept walking. Then he stopped and I heard his voice- ‘nice legs you got there. just saying. they’re gorgeous,’ . I was shocked. No one had ever said anything like that to me, I did all I could at the moment, which was keep walking forwards, tears streaming down my face. When I got home and lay sobbing into my pillow, my feelings turned from fear to pure anger. Anger at him, anger at myself. Why had I gotten so upset? People were going through so much worse every minute of every day. Did I even deserve to be affected? Also angry at myself because I hadn’t spoken out. Why not? Why had I been so terrified? Why are girls like me scared to stand up for ourselves in front of sleazy men in the streets? I know the answers to those questions, and THAT is why I need feminism.
I am 13 years old, and absolutely love playing video games with my friends, and being in the team voice channel when I play competitive games. I always found it fun to meet new (nice and supportive) people while I’m playing, until I would run into the inevitable accounts of sexism. I have only once met another girl playing this game (Overwatch), or at least another girl who uses a mic to speak to their teammates. When the people I’m playing with hear my voice, and realize I am female, I either get instant friend requests (which happens almost every game), nothing happens, or someone makes a joke about how I can’t play. Someone once said, “Hey, girl. Bring that ass over here.” Another time it was “Get off your boyfriend’s computer.” The thing that bothers me the most about these comments is that I am discouraged from doing one of my favorite things, which is meeting new people and having fun playing Overwatch. I’m scared to use my mike because I’ve heard the comments that other women get. While watching female YouTubers playing Overwatch, they get constant sexist remarks and have to report people all of the time. All of my friends who play this game are male, and I have no one to relate to or talk to this about, because they don’t understand, or try to change the subject.
my older brother’s friend (4 years older than me) came over our house frequently. he has fingered me, exposed himself to me, he has locked me in the bathroom so i can’t escape from him, he has dragged me across the carpet in my living room till i have rug burn all over my body, and he has routinely walked into my bedroom while i’m sleeping and i wake up to him having intervourse with me. these occurances have happened multiple times since i was in 7th grade, so frequent that i have lost count and they have all happened without my consent. i feel like there is nothing i can do because i can never forget the images. i’m now 16 and i’ve never revealed this to anyone because i’m ashamed and do not want anyone to pity me or to feel as though they could have done something to stop this.
So this year something happened to me at school that I never thought could or would happen. I am 14 and through out my school year, my butt would randomly get smacked whenever I was walking in the hallways. I haven’t told anyone this simply because I was and still am scared about what else the people who did this sort of horrible thing could do to me. I am sharing this because it is a big deal, it is sexual harassment and because I want the nightmares to stop.
Last year, I was going back home on foot. I passed several men who had no problem cat-calling and calling me beautiful. I moved on. It was about 1 pm (lunch time) and I was almost home when a car passed by me so close my arm hit one of the side mirrors. The driver smacked my butt. He hadn’t even slowed down! I stopped walking and stared at the guy that was driving away, his hand still out the window, giving me the thumbs up. I’m 17 now.
So today I decided to not listen to music on the way home from school and got comments on my body from about 5 boys from a local school. I know it happens everyday because I watch them look me up and down as I walk past them; my hands clenched in fists. A couple of boys stepped in front of me right as I was passing them to try and make me jump. I know it’s not right but I don’t ever feel as though I can stand up to them. I often think, ‘what would happen if I punched him for self defence?’ and then I realise that he could and would do much worse things back. Just the other day, I realised, my brother referred to a group of girls at his youth group as “goes” and it made me so uncomfortable. But even in my own house, I didn’t feel able to say anything to him. It makes me so angry that so many people like me have to experience this, and that even I, aged only 14, feel worried walking past a group of teenage boys younger than me because I know they might try and trip me up or whistle at me. I never know what to do, and what any of us can do unless something is said to the boys? Because I know at the moment that nobody is confident enough to say anything to that school because everyone considers it normal behaviour.
I am a thirteen year old girl attending public school in the North West of England. After watching Laura Bates’ TED talk on Everyday sexism, I was inspired to share my story, so here I am. I feel like for people my age, there are many expectations for females and there is a certain role that a woman should fit, but many people don’t realise they hold these standards for us. There is so much pressure on girls to be funny, be hardworking, be confident, but at the same time you must be beautiful, have an arse, have nice boobs. I used to get so overwhelmed and I used to try and become like one of those perfect girls that everyone seems to idolise and adore. I have been teased by both girls and boys about the size of my bust, my skinniness, my lack of a bum, and frankly it is tiring. I wish I could say I have become a confident person who doesn’t care about these things, but I get very depressed about myself and sometimes I wonder; if I was like one of those girls, maybe my life would be a lot easier. Over-sexualisation of young girls is ever-present at my school. I have been sent images of boys’ penises and one boy even sent me screenshots from a porn video he was watching. Both of these were unsolicited. There is no escape. In school, boys have invented a game in which one boy says “1,2,3” to another boy and that person has to slap a girl’s behind. My friends have all been targeted in this game, and many girls pretend not to mind this assault, but when I have privately asked one, she admitted it was quite painful and not pleasant. Many people have reported this to the school with their only reply basically being “Boys will be boys”. Many boys in my year have described how they have ‘wanked over my pictures’ and frequently discuss what types of porn they masturbate to. Obviously this makes me extremely uncomfortable, but I honestly don’t know what to do about it. Also, it is extremely taboo for a girl to masturbate, and nobody would ever dream of admitting it. My friends were having a conversation the other day about how they didn’t really know what masturbation meant for a girl but it ‘sounded painful and weird’. I am very fortunate to have a liberal mother with whom I can discuss issues like this with, and so I am educated on my own body and what everything is. I felt like if I told them what a clitoris was, though, they would think I was strange. It sounds stupid, I know. I used to be extremely ambitious, but I think it has been a gradual thing where the gender stereotypes and gender roles of a woman have slowly changed me to become less so. I have found myself dumbing myself down to others, particularly boys, in order to seem less intelligent. I don’t exactly know why. I also changed my career path from being a firefighter to being a teacher a couple of years ago because I was told by a group of boys that it wasn’t a job for a woman, and I specifically remember it being said with a tangible disdain. I used to profess myself as a proud feminist, until I found out that feminists were labelled as radical, unnecessary beings who were stereotyped as either lesbian or delusional. ‘Feminist’ went alongside ‘idiot’, because apparently women are equal to men. I literally have grown to have a hatred for the male species BECAUSE of this ludicrous idea that all men seem to agree on. Of course we aren’t equal!! Not until you stop sexualising my body! Not until you stop acting like women are things and not people! Not until you stop sending me pictures of your dick! Not until you stop holding impossible double standards for women! Not until you stop female sexuality being taboo! I don’t really have much of a ‘story’ , but I thought it would be good for myself to tell somebody about what is really been going on with young people, about the extreme sexualisation of everything, the effects that media has on girls and the utter shame that goes along with the word ‘feminism’. Note: I am, in fact, now a proud feminist once again. ‘Girl Up’ was given to me by an auntie, and this gave me validation that the things going on around me were wrong. Thank you for giving my post your time to read :).
I recently am reading the book Everyday Sexism. 5 years on, I thought that some things might have changed, but only yesterday I was catcalled walking alone in the afternoon in modest clothing, and my childhood was still influenced by gender roles. I’m a 17 year old girl, but I definitely realise the importance and impact of change.
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.
I have experienced patronizing and intimidating language such as have a ‘good day darling’ at the corner shop, Subway and the tube station. I don’t know any of these men personally so I feel so uncomfortable when they say this to me. I would have preferred it they said ma’m or miss as it is more formal,as i would feel comfortable for them.