The Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced on a day to day basis. They might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalised that you don’t even feel able to protest. Say as much or as little as you like, use your real name or a pseudonym – it’s up to you. By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss.
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Two days ago, my sister and I accompanied our mother to a doctor appointment. For context, I’m 21, I hate that I have to specify but I was wearing shorts and a tank top. We were already a bit late, mom wasn’t feeling great so she was a bit slower than usual, and we were holding her arms for support. We were out for a solid 10 minutes when a guy (probably in his late 30s-40) slowed his car next to us and praised us for taking care of her. He clearly wanted to start a conversation, and she is always really nice to people so she replied politely. The guy’s first red flag comment was: “when can I marry your daughter”, looking down at my uncovered legs. We just walked, and instead of dropping the subject, he actually parked his car nearby and approached us. He positioned himself in front of us, (maybe not so) subtely blocking the path. He only adressed my mom, asked where the family was from (mom side’s from Algeria, as he guessed). My sister and I let the conversation between them go for a minute or two before reminding my mom that we had to speed up (I’ll spare you the misoginistic view he shared about women “back home”, who should always tell their husbands where they are going, and if my mom still had a husband… stuff like that). Last thing he says to my mom when we press her to go: “yeah, okay, call me up when you want me to marry her”, looking down at my body like it was his, with a fucking disgusting laugh. My mom didn’t really understand, so she just smiled. I frowned and told him a simple “no”. He still smiled. We walked away. She was completely oblivious to the behaviour of this stranger, and actually thought he was quite nice, and I am worried because she gave him our last name. My sister was cursing under her breath, and when we got further away from the guy, she started ranting about how she wanted to insult him to his face because of the way he looked at me, etc. She gets angry easily, but to be honest, she never makes a fuss in front of the people she talks about. I’m guessing she’s nervous or scared to do so, just like me.
I felt so powerless because I didn’t really stood up for myself ; I felt angry. I shut down in silence and it took a few hours for me to calm down. I’m angry at my mom, for being too easily trustful in complete strangers, and mostly at this fucking asshole who just so clearly wanted to bargain for me with her like I am some fucking object for his use. I hate it. I hate him. I curse him for being so comfortable in women’s oppression. I’m not a fucking piece of meat you gawk on, I wear shorts and tank tops because it’s fucking hot outside. And I shouldn’t have to explain myself. I shouldn’t have to cover up because disguting people that are fucking twice older than me enjoy making me uneased by their gaze. I’m angry. And I wanted to share this encounter so that, if you recognize yourself in these words, you can feel seen and heard and understood, like I want to feel seen and heard and understood.
You’re never alone, sister, and hopefully, this will happen less and less until it never happens again. We may take small steps towards change, but we take steps nonetheless.
I’m 65. I’ve always had my own opinions and interests. I’m smart and motivated in whatever I decide to take on. I’ve never been interested in being girlish or pretty. But, I identify fully as a sexual, creative, adventurous, and outspoken woman. My entire life I’ve been repressed, judged, put down, mocked, competed with, accused, marginalized, subtly invalidated, body-shamed by the men I’ve loved. Dad, Granddad, boyfriends, lovers, male co-workers, bosses, husband’s, and male friends. I’m convinced that men, even the caring men are damaged by a legacy of imbedded insecurity in their selves. An insecurity that revolves around male identity. They treat each other according to these norms of one-upping and macho competition. When a woman comes on the scene they seem to find her a convenient object of their projections: the bitch, witch, destroyer, or ridiculous ditz. I’m writing this now because the loving partner I live with has been exhibiting the same pattern. Now I’m old enough to not to internalize it or feel I need to correct myself or apologize or weep. I’m just so done.
When I was 15 I was sitting at the beach with some friends playing guitar and singing with a group of older boys (18is) not far away, when two of them came running over, giggling and completely naked. He stood in front of me and told me to play a song again and proceeded to keep insisting until I complied and played it again even though I was extremely uncomfortable. I only played it because I wanted him to go away and didn’t want him to get angry or come too close to me or my friends. The other guy filmed the whole thing without our consent. After that they ran off laughing like it was the funniest prank they had ever pulled.
My best friend met a guy at my birthday party, which I held with a guy friend of mine who had brought some of his Uni friends along and that guy was one of them. He was nice at first and texted me the next day to ask if I could give him my best friends number. She was fine with it so I did. They started texting and ended up going to a concert together since my friend wanted to go but didn’t know anyone else who liked the band except this guy. He slept over at her place and told her he liked her, but she didn’t like him back, so she told him in the most kind way possible that she thought he was a great guy, but that she just did not see him that way and she saw him as a friend but not more.
Over the course of the next few months he increasingly spammed her with text messages to a point where she was completely overwhelmed and stressed and he did that even after she had told him several times to stop texting her as much and that she was not interested.
Unfortunately, she had agreed to go to another concert with him right after the first one and they had already bought the tickets and she felt like it would be “mean” if she cancelled on him now. Fast forward another few months and I am visitin her for a long weekend which happens to be the weekend the concert with the guy is. He asked her if he could sleep over after the concert and since *again* she felt like it would be “mean” to say no and he lived a long way from the location she said yes. He then proceeds to not text her about any of the logistics and whether he needs to bring anything (this is important later) and shows up unnecessarily 3 hours before the concert starts. We meet him together at a restaurant and have dinner with him and he is already pissed that I am there even though my friend had told him I was visiting her and I was even so nice as to offer to take his stuff home with me so that he didnt have to take it to the concert. After they return he awkardly stands in the hallway between the guest bedroom and my friends bedroom and my friend asks him if he needs anything. Turns out he hadn’t brought a sleeping bag or anything like that and that while not knowing my friend had a guest room. So that dude basically assumed he would obviously just hook up with my friend and sleep in their bed with them and that after her telling him no 200 times! She was super relieved I was there because he kept asking if she was sure she did not want to sleep in the guest room with him -.-
The next day he reveals that his parents would be able to pick him up on the next day because they would return from their vacation and he asks if it would be ok if he stayed another night……My friend is now pissed, but still too nice to say no. However, we had plans for the weekend to go hiking and that is *our* thing. So when he asked if he could come we said no -with all due respect, you did not mention you wanted to stay longer and this is the one weekend we can see eachother so we had planned stuff. He is angry about it, but oh well we leave for the day. In the evening we make dinner with all her roommates, he does not lift a finger. Before we go to bed he again corners my friend and asks her if she is very sure she does not want to sleep over in his room and presses on like he has some sort of right to it. She of course doesnt.
The next day he leaves in the morning and then texts her that he felt like we treated him poorly and it was not cool that i was there blablabla. My friend tells him our point of view, that he disrupted our planned weekend, that it was only planned that he stayed for one night and that he was rude and overstepped etc. A day later he writes an endless apology to her and texts me basically sorry i came across as rude. We dont reply and he still kept texting her as if nothing had happened and everything was fine.
Two months into that behaviour I finally convinced my friend to block his number. Again she felt like it would be *mean* to do that. But after I pointed out that he very clearly did not respect the boundaries she set and that he would probably keep doing this she realized there probably was no way around it and finally blocked him. She feels so much better now!
Even though no non-consensual touching happened here, it is very disturbing to see a young man, who seems perfectly nice and liberal and even feminist at first glance, in our own extended friendship circle, displaying this sort of not taking no for an answer behaviour and constantly overstepping boundary after boundary. It really showed me that that attitude of “when women say no, they actually mean yes” is still very much alive and thriving today. in addition to that, after I told the friend I had my birthday party with about that guys behaviour he just kind of laughed it off and said yeah that guy just is a bit weird sometimes… Excuse me?!
I was dating a guy I met online, he is from North America and I’m orginally from South America. He had ways of approaching that at times were sexists and inappropriate, but always covered by some sort of “dark humor”, so I didn’t pay much attention to it, also since they were almost always within certain sexual or flirtatious context I convince myself to don’t take them so seriously.
But now we stopped seeing each other about 6 months ago, occasionally chatting over internet, and last night in the middle of a normal conversation over internet, he said to me “you’d look hot with a dress showing off that full latina bum”.
I felt so small, so insignificant, just reduced to a stereotype that does not belong to me. Such a small phrase made me rethink and review the months we were together. I’ve fight against the macho culture, all my life. But I never felt objectify by someone I was actually dating. And now I feel guilty and as it is my fault for allowing him to treat me that way from the very begging.
Was playing a card game with a group of friends where everyone writes jokes anonymously and then everyone votes on it. The women in the group kept getting their jokes voted as the funniest and a couple guys in the group started getting agitated. Eventually we (women) we accused of conspiring with each other other and voting for each others jokes even tho everything was done anonymously and there was no way to know whose joke we were voting for.
We jokingly brushed them off as sore losers and then were guilt tripped by some of the other members of the group for teasing them about their overreaction.
I was coming home after seeing a play with a friend. For those interested, I was wearing jeans, a full sleeve top, a coat (it was November) a massive scarf. I got on the train and eventually there was no one on the carriage but for me and these two young teenage boys, clearly drunk. I automatically felt so panicky – drunk teenagers. One of the boys and went sat ahead and then faced me and started saying some very sexual things and it got very awkward. He stared and made comments the whole 25 min journey. I called my boyfriend to say can you pick me up and stayed on the phone to him but I was literally panicking the whole time. I was so scared he would do something – realistically I am strong enough to defend myself and I knew they were drunk and being stupid but the fear just crept in and I felt like I couldn’t move. He just wouldn’t stop!
I kept ignoring him, with all the knife crime going on, that’s all I could think about, if I moved he would stab me (sounds ridiculous lol). We all got off at the same stop, and they were walking in front of me, stopping but the other guy apologised and said he’s drunk, go ahead so I ran up the stairs and I was so panicky I couldn’t find the exit and was just running like a madwoman until I found the exit and then I thought to tell the tube attendant but just couldn’t stop myself from running out. My boyfriend was thankfully outside the station so I ran into his car and just cried. I thought about reporting it but didn’t, what’s the point I thought?
I thought I’m so stupid to be scared of some little boys, I could have gotten off earlier or change carriage or told them off but didn’t do anything. I felt so shit for weeks after because they were ‘boys/men’ and felt ‘put back into my place’. I wanted to go to the boys house and tell his mother but I didn’t do anything because what’s the point…what will that change? Why aren’t we teaching the men in our family about the crap we deal with?
I’m not sure if this is an instance of sexism but it really affected me and made me feel very unhappy and excluded. I went to the pharmacist in a supermarket with my mum and asked to speak privately. I needed the morning after pill. After some quick research I found out I could get one there and then despite my age. But the man I spoke to rolled his eyes when I told him the situation and that I was worried and so was my mum. He refused to give the morning after pill to me. I then went to a local chemist and did the same. This time I spoke to a lady and she told me he should’ve given me the morning after pill and that I was lucky I went to see her when I did. The way that man treated me, the way he rolled his eyes and just sighed constantly and barely listened to me when I was in need of help just made me feel so lost and hopeless because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get the help I needed. I reported him to the manager of the supermarket and no action was taken. No girl or woman should ever be made to feel this way. I needed help and he disregarded that. I do not want any other women going through what I did.
Went camping with my boyfriend and his friends. We had a nice time but on the last night we had a campfire chat about politics, science, truth, algorithms etc. We were discussing feminism, and I had a great debate with this MRA (but he had an open mind) where he changed his mind at the end (woo!). But this other guy just wasn’t open to my ideas. He said “it’s just you who thinks this” and minimised and dismissed everything I said. Exasperated, I said “I was told this at university!!” – meaning that lots of people learn this and these theories were well established, but he interpreted it as “you ignorant tradie” and swore at me. I was getting pretty upset at this point because I was so angry that he wasn’t listening. I hate when you feel like crying because it makes me feel weak even though crying isn’t weak, it’s just an expression of frustration.
This conversation taught me not to engage in a discussion with anyone who isn’t open-minded. Feminist theory should be taught in school.
My boyfriend used to talk all the time about how much he respects women and then one day he would take some drugs and rape me and would never talk about it again because it “hurts him”.