Tag Archives: University

Lexie

I just graduated with my RN degree here in Canada. I’m studying for my licensing exam and came across something that really disturbed me. While reviewing reproductive systems Elsevier showed an animated video for female genitalia. Every part was labelled including where the pubic hair is SUPPOSED to be. Move on over to male genitalia and it’s a real life picture INCLUDING pubic hair and all. It seems so small but it really made me mad. Even in an educational resource a vagina was deemed to risque to display as is. Nursing is a profession. I am a professional. Over the last 4 years of completing my degree I have seen more privates (male and female) than an army general. So why is an official resource for Registered Nurses hiding female reproductive organs like they’re somehow shameful? Vaginas are not shameful

Anna

In my class a boy keeps talking about how its females faults for falling in love with someone that isn’t him. And its their fault for getting pregnant, and now he keeps touching my shoulder in a way that makes me uncomfortable. I have a boyfriend, and I’m scared to tell him cause I don’t want him to think I’m initiating it. I now wear sweatshirts and scarves to school constantly in hopes that he will leave me alone. My friend is currently being stalked by her exboyfriend and I’m terrified for her.

Anon

As a female I was told to “seek help” for “mental health issues” from “professionals”. So, as a result I was told a lot of platitudes by other women. One such unhelpful platitude was “Be strong” (told to me by a woman doctor who had qualified a medical school no less). When I asked her how exactly I should “be strong” she got annoyed and irritated with me, which was bizarre because as a woman I should be able to ask a female doctor questions about my own treatment. One large female therapist told me to “be strong” then she told me to “get fit and watch what you eat”. Ten minutes later she offered me buttered crumpets, cakes and sweeties. The whole charade confused me no end because she claimed that eating sugary and fatty treats would be good for my “self esteem”. She said that I should feel good in my body just because I was a unique person. She was into the whole “body positivity” thing. I politely declined the crumpets and the cakes, but she still kept trying to shove them in my face. I noticed that she ate many cakes and treats herself. I didn’t comment on this at the time because it would have been rude and my head was still spinning from the whole “be strong (cry into a tissue), eat healthy, have a buttered crumpet” cognitive dissonance that was swirling uncontrollably in my mind. So awkward on so many levels. There is a very sexist pattern that I have noticed in all of this supposedly “helpful” advice. Women and girls are told to “be strong” and are told to be strong emotionally. On the other had, men and boys are taught to be practically and physically strong. So in other words, women are told by society that to “be strong” is to sob uncontrollably into a box of tissues while men are told that “being strong” entails the discipline of “stop whining, man up and go to the gym”. On all honesty, as a woman, I have achieved very little by sobbing into a box of tissues and talking to older female therapists who admit that they don’t know how to send emails. No, talking about problems does not help, it makes them worse. Sometimes, forgetting and moving on and realising that life is a pain in the backside for many people, not just you is the best thing that one can do. What is making me physically strong right now is using resistance bands training and lifting small weights. Such strength training exercises are making me physically stronger, with a more upright posture and less out of breath when I do physical work. I don’t need to “talk about issues” or sob into a box of tissues now because I am too busy trying to tone my muscles with resistance bands and weights. Physically strength training exercises makes the body and mind feel better and even start to look better over time. I feel very angry about the amount of hours I wasted at therapy sessions crying and whining to female therapists/doctors who prescribed me brain damaging drugs, when I could have been improving my physical fitness and strength. The phrase “be strong” should really mean what it literally says on the tin “do physical strength training”. As someone who has studied primate footage on citizen science camera traps, I realise that humans are primates also. I see monkeys and apes playing in the trees and lifting rocks, then I realise what sadly physically inactive and navel gazing lives us humans lead. Female humans especially are encouraged by society not to be fit and strong, but instead write little “be strong” platitudes in curly writing on social networking sites. Remember, chimps don’t need to pop pills to be happy. They don’t need sappy “be strong” motivational posters. They just find the nearest low hanging branch and have a good old swing! It is sad indeed for females in our messed up society. I think that girls and women would be much better served in the long run by being educated on how to do strength training exercises safely, instead of sitting sedentary discussing “issues” in PSHE circle time or therapy. Exercises in proprioception and coordination such as devil sticks could also be used instead of PSHE. It is really hard to dwell on the rotten past, while you are trying to contact juggle. One cannot concentrate on juggling (not dropping the sticks, scarves or balls) and ruminate at the same time. It’s impossible, try it! This doesn’t of course stop doctors from getting teenage girls to pop happy pills when they are sad or send them to counselling. Send ’em to an outdoor gym or circus school I say! Again I am not a medical expert. I am not pretending to be. All that I know is that I felt a jolly sight better juggling or strength training than I ever did popping anti depressant pills or needlessly waffling on about my personal life. If I ever say this, I get censored by therapists and doctors because they think that I am lying, but I am not. Funny how I learned about juggling and basic physical strength training mainly from blokes on the Internet. Sadly very few women compared to men juggle or do strength training. Women are expected to be weak, faint if something is slightly heavy and cry… Are we still living in the Victorian Era or what?! I mean seriously, come on, why aren’t women girls told that they can be physically strong if they work hard enough? Sorry, but the whole “women should be crybabies so they can be strong” thing is really starting to tick me off as a woman. It is sad how many years I wasted following useless “professional” advice when I could have just juggled or improved my physical strength. Sometimes when things are really rough, sometimes it’s just best to forget and get a hobby!

Sharon

Probably commonplace, but nonetheless infuriating experiences. Upon leaving a job to move to the city where my partner lived, a male colleague asked me after he had become exasperated with all my opinions (in a meeting in front of external partners): ‘Where are you going to anyway…off to have babies?’. I responded by asking him if he would ask the same question of me, if I were male. I was once asked by a colleague to provide a profile picture of myself to use for a project website. I provided the only one that I had of myself at the time. It was of me speaking into a microphone at an event. Upon seeing it, my older male colleague started squirming and unable to control his amusement, suggested that it might be inappropriately suggestive. I notice these incidents increasing as I become more senior/qualified.

L

Scene: A university Freshers event- IN PUBLIC! People: Me, a 2nd year (with red wine stain on my boob) Him, a 1st year, wouldn’t stop touching this red wine stain on my chest. Me: “Hey, stop touching my boob, that’s not ok” Him (continues to grope me) “Is that red wine?” Me: “Seriously, no, stop it” Him (still continuing to grope me): “I thought University was all about pushing boundaries”

R

I was a social work student on placement in child protection. I worked with a mother who was the victim of domestic violence from her previous relationships. I’ll call her ‘Kate’ for anonymity. Kate was supported to end an abusive marriage, in which she experienced physical and emotional abuse. Kate was pregnant at the time and developed mental health issues, much like post-traumatic stress, as a result of her most recent traumas. Kate had a baby but her deteriorating mental health meant that social workers became involved. The social worker allocated to her was an older man with years of experience. He did not believe that she was the victim of domestic violence, and went out of his way to track down the father – in order to bring him into the equation. He is a strong advocate for paternal rights. When I raised concerns about this social worker’s denial of Kate’s domestic violence reporting, I was not listened to. This led to a series of meetings where my own mental health and domestic violence experiences were used to deflect blame from the social worker. My university tutor even told me in private “this mother may, after receiving some mental health support, realise that she is not a victim of domestic violence”. This advice comes from a university tutor who presented herself as a feminist and member of the LGBT+ community. I have found a Women’s Aid campaign that calls for no assumption that perpetrators of domestic violence should have contact with their children. But, this starts with getting rid of victim blaming and the everyday sexism that goes unchallenged in social work. I urge anyone reading this to support the Women’s Aid campaign: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/no-assumption-child-contact-perpetrators-domestic-abuse

Maria

I’m a woman who is 21 years old and I constantly face sexism from my own gender. I’ve had countless friendships in my life and one more had just ended today because of sexism in society. I’m sure most of you are aware of the double standard of men being labelled as ” players ” and women as ” sluts ” when it comes to casual sex and flirting. All I did was kiss three strange men in the space of 4 months and my ” friend ” chose to label me as ” easy ” and ” desperate “. The thing that annoys me most is that women are the first ones to gossip and police their own genders behaviour. I have a friend who has had a lot of casual sex and my other friends constantly say her attitude to sex is disgusting ….. I feel it’s time women wake up and realise they have full autonomy of their bodies and only unity of our gender will empower us and our future.

Gwen

Me and my girlfriend were on our way back from our Burlesque social, high on life and full of fun. 3 white men in a Nissan Corsa wound down their window and screamed “Nice legs, girls!”. We kept our composure, held our heads high. But when we got back to our halls, I broke down in tears. How is this still happening?