The worst experience of sexism I have ever experienced was last May when 2 friends and I were walking back to our college campus after having gone out to dinner. This car came down a perpendicular alley and had 2 or 3 young men screaming profanity at us, calling us awful names for simply walking down the sidewalk wearing shorts. I was so terrified, I was shaking.
This occurance has hurt, confused and embarrassed me for years. Second year of uni went out for someones birthday dressed as Disney characters. I did a punk Alice (Malice) in Wonderland. Felt great. Went to a bar with an offer of ‘buy a drink, get your hand stamped, get reduced entry to (local club)’ offer. My friends (all in pretty fancy dress) has no issue getting served. I got looked at directly, appraised and passed over, and when the guy behind the bar finally did serve me, he was very stand offish and rude and purposefully didn’t give me the necessary stamp for the offer. I tried to get his attention by tapping the bar as he ignored my talking, but was sarcastically just tapped back at. So I got the stamp off a different bar man and walked away to speak with my friends. Next thing I know the original barman in infront of me, telling me to put down my drink. Confused, I asked ‘what? Why?` He proceeded to take the drink from me, drag me outside, and then shout in my face (in front of the bouncers and other patrons) that I had sworn at him, and so wasn’t welcome there and that I could fuck off. I cannot honestly say that I didn’t swear at the situation but I certainly never swore at him (and even if I had, irony much? Plus can he really say he didn’t deserve it if I had?). So he left me there, a 19 year old girl, separated from her friends, surrounded by drunk people. My friends did quickly come out and we moved on, but he ruined my night, and the only reason any of us can think that he initially took against me was how I looked (my costume was meant to be pretty). I left early, and walked home alone, in tears. When I emailed and wrote to report it (noone answered the phone) I got no response.
One of the ironic sexist thing in India is the idea of Girls college, where admission is allowed only for girls and also a course in graduation named Home Science, which is limited to females.
My freshman year at college, during the first week of school, there was a party hosted by a fraternity at a local club. It was 18+ that night so everyone could go, and it was one of the first times I had ever really gotten drunk. I was in a skirt and it was incredibly crowded, the kind of crowd you have to squeeze through. There was a bouncer who grabbed my crotch as I walked by, and the first time it happened I thought, “he didn’t really mean to do that, it’s just crowded.” And when I happened by him again he grabbed me twice and kept his hand there. I was so shocked and confused, I didn’t really know what had happened. I was always told to be weary of fraternities, but people who’s job it is to watch out for things like that at those events – like bouncers – are also in positions of power that make it easy to target women, and I think they often go unnoticed. I told 2 friends I had just met (it was the first week) when we walked home and they were both just shocked. I felt really vulnerable at the time, having just moved away from my friends and family, and we didn’t really know each other well enough for them to be of much support. Things like this happen all of the time, and one thing that has given me some solace is in sexual violence advocacy, and supporting projects like this. I hope anyone who reads this will find some peace, solidarity, and courage to never doubt themselves.
Majoring in Chinese Medicine, this is the most common comment I’ve got: good choice for you as a girl. You’ll have more time for housework and kids.
Talking about Domestic Violence at Uni yesterday, I was the only man in the class and found myself having to voice the fact that 40% of domestic violence has a male victim and trying to get the conversation away from a perception that only woman are victims and all men are perpetrators. The other students found this funny and one even said that “the men probably deserved it” another said that “it’s not the same, they are men and can defend themselves”. I was shocked and tried to explain that male victims can’t defend themselves otherwise they would be the ones arrested for domestic violence. I was shouted down, then when the tutor intervened instead of defending what I was saying she moved the conversation back to a gender biased approach where only woman are victims. I was disgusted, along with writing this on here I am also writing a letter to the Dean – a letter which I know will probably just be ignored. When 1 in 4 men suffer domestic violence and 1 in 3 woman – why do people only care about the woman?
Our CEO just posted an article he’s written on issues of gender diversity and what he’s doing to tackle it, on LinkedIn. He plagiarised parts from not one but three articles (2 journals, 1 report) all written by women. We’re an academic Institute. I’d kick my students out if they did that and he has PhD.
My brother was practically ignored by his college when he became depressed and had severe anxiety about his coursework, even being called “lazy” when he had a panic attack and had to leave his classroom. Tutors and others had the attitude that he wasn’t trying hard enough when it was obvious to me that he was unwell. Eventually he was diagnosed with severe depression, he eventually recovered but he never went back to that college. I am really angry with the college, and can’t help but wonder if he’d have been treated differently and recieved more support if he was a girl. There is a huge problem with untreated depression and other mental health conditions in young men which can have tragic consequences, places like this college are not helping.
On a night out with the guy I’m seeing. He’s held behind a group of people so I look alone. As I walk past a guy he grabs my shoulder and puts his hand on my face leaning in for a kiss. I’ve never met him or seen him before in my life. I push away and he says ‘oh do you have a boyfriend’. I reply ‘why does that matter’. I repeat this as his laughs and grabs my neck kissing my face until I manage to push him away. by the time my friend gets to me and realises whats happening he’s already walking away laughing at his twisted little victory.
So many things have happened lately. In no particular order: I returned to my university city to attend a wedding of a good friend lately. I am in a very serious relationship with a man I adore, but he did not accompany to this wedding. I often spoke about my boyfriend during the wedding and reception. Still, I had a creep who KNEW about him constantly hanging around me, wanting to taking photos with just me, wanting to dance with just me etc. I mean, as soon as I was away from him, catching up with other people, he would appear and try to monopolize my time. I didn’t get a moment of peace, but I remained polite. However, my politeness ended when he tried to con me into taking him into my hotel room! If this guy had actually stopped and tried to get to know me for 10 minutes, he would have learned that I went to university and lived for 7 years in this city in which he was born and lived his entire 26 or so years. And if he had known that, he would have known how stupid and transparent his lie of “To be honest, I’ll be sleeping on the street unless I can stay in your hotel room with you” sounded to me before he had even said it. The city in question is TINY. wherever he lived would not have been more than a 10-15 taxi drive away but it was probably much closer than that. When he used that line, my face dropped. I stared at him hard for a few seconds, as if studying him, and I gave him a very blunt “no” and walked away. I found out later that no long before he tried this with me, he asked a long time friend of his to be his girlfriend. It’s really had an affect on her, he apparently thinks he’s messing with her head. Creep with a capital “C”. Yesterday, I was at work and a man about 15 years my senior came in. We spoke mostly in English but I tried French when he asked if I spoke it. I’m no great shakes at French; I speak enough of it to get by, depending on the conversation, and it’s by no means perfect. Non the less, creep number 2 proceeded to tell me how sexy he found me to be. I immediately felt threatened and sick. He went on to pry as to whether I was married or not. Recently, I’ve taken to wearing an engagement style ring for these exact situations (yes stuff like this happens THAT often) so immediately said “No, engaged!”, hoping this would make him stop. It didn’t make him stop. He asked me my boyfriends name, proceeded to tell me that my boyfriends name “makes him sound like a Muslim? Is he?? Is he mixed race?”. I said “No… he’s not”. It got awkward and he soon left but I realised a little time after that the man himself was probably Muslim and mixed-race and he was trying to gauge if I’m “into that”. Lastly, off the top of my head, there is the creep who thinks we’re BFFs, He was in at my work a few months ago and I was nice to him because a) I’m a nice person anyway and b) it’s my job. NOW, whenever he’s in the city, he literally comes in to chat (as if I’m not busy, y’know, working) and gaze adoringly at me. Seriously, he will kind of hang off my desk and just stare at me while he’s i love with me and call me things like “babe” and tell me things like “if you ever get bored of your boyfriend, I’ll take you to Ibiza, I love to travel! Maybe we can get married there!”. He actually took off one of his tacky rings and made me try it on to see if it would fit and I could keep it as an engagement ring! And I CANNOT tell him to stop etc. because he’s a regular and I’ll be the one to pay for it if I do! He makes my skin crawl. I have to smile and laugh along while he tells me how I should leave the love of my life for him (he’s so BASIC in addition to being a creep) and I have to make conversation because if I don’t, he won’t say anything; he’s content to just stare at me adoringly in silence. I dread the next time he comes in on a slow day because, without other customers who require my attention, he will literally stay and put me through this for hours.