Everyday Sexism

M

Twice now I have had food delivered to me where the delivery guy then proceeded to add me on Facebook. The first time it was after a ten second interaction where he handed me the food and I gave him the money, and there was the usual “cheers, thanks, bye”. A few minutes later I get a friend request on Facebook and recognize him from the picture. I didn’t do anything other than tell a friend about it. The second time was weirder, the guy started giving out to me because my address was apparently too hard to find, and he kept giving out to me and I felt like I couldn’t leave but eventually I just said “okay bye” and closed the door on him. About an hour later he sends me a facebook request. This time I complained to the delivery company, who replied after two weeks saying that they informed the restaurant but that the restaurant wanted me to call them. They also gave me a voucher I haven’t used and probably won’t. I mentioned the delivery guy’s name in my original complaint but I was too scared to contact the restaurant in case they fired the guy – I was worried he’d be pissed at me and would come to where I lived. Both times what freaked me out the most was knowing that these guys knew where I lived. The second time was ages ago, I’ve ordered food once since but only for my boyfriend who I promised I would after he paid for one of my meals and I thought it would be a nice gesture. I don’t think I’m gonna order food again ever.

Ramya

During a presentation today, my Male Colleague was introduced as Mr. X, while I was addresses as just Ramya.

Yara

A few months ago I (16) was sexually assaulted while walking in a park. As a girl I was always warned for being alone in the city when it’s dark, but this wasn’t in the city, it wasn’t dark and I wasn’t even wearing tight or revealing clothes. It had just finished raining, so there were no other people when the man (40-45) approached me. First he tried to get me into his car, but i put up resistance, so he just took me to a more isolated area in the park. I didn’t try to fight or run and didn’t even try to stop him apart from pushing him away softly and turning my head when he tried to kiss me. I was scared for what would happen if he found out he already went to far. Eventually I managed to get away and immediately started crying and called my boyfriend, who I’d see later that day. When I was there I called my parents. Luckily they (and my boyfriend and his parents) were very understanding and helped me deal with it. Later I filed a report against him and the case is still going on. This wasn’t even the first time I was sexually assaulted, but it defenitely was the worst time. The other times I just dealt with it myself, not realising something had to be done.

E

Friend was out for a run and had two incidents of being wanked at – one by a man in a car, and one by a group of teenagers about two weeks later. In the same time period, I got stopped by a couple of lads in a car and asked where “Titty Lane” was – and I felt pretty unsafe because it’s the part of the walk I do without any houses around. Friends and younger sisters have also encountered gross comments outside the shop in the last couple of months. It’s weird because up until now our village has felt like a safe haven away from this much overt harassment. Not anymore.

Your Daughter

Don’t get me wrong, my dad is a wonderful man. I’m thirteen, and my father has a ‘man cave.’ I don’t feel welcome in there, not because of the name, but because he keeps erotic images of women on the wall. I remember, one is of a girl in a tight Peter Pan outfit with a bow, another of a woman with a cat tattooed along her back, and the third of a woman splayed out on the hood of a blue-print like car. I would pretend not to see these images when I was in there with them, or even stand in the doorway if I could to avoid them altogether. It was normal for my father, a married man with a daughter, to have these things, he was a man after all! That’s what I told myself, until I realized I was normalizing the sexualization and dehumanization of women. Her body was the same as mine at its core, and if my father couldn’t respect her, then how could he respect me? I decided to talk to him about it. It came up rather suddenly, I just asked, ‘Why do you have pictures of women like that?’ And he laughed it off, ‘They’re album covers,’ he said. I couldn’t help but notice only one of them seemed the right size and shape for that, and that there weren’t any others that didn’t depict partially naked women, so I asked, ‘would you want a guy I was talking to to have pictures of women like that in his room?’ He said no, and chuckled again, joking that it was a double standard. I left, and shed a few tears on the way to my room. I thought he would take me seriously, or be embarrassed, but for some reason I was the one who was ashamed. But I quickly realized that i shouldn’t be. I refused to normalize this, to pass over it and say ‘boys will be boys,’ because men should be men. I didn’t think he was going to change anything the way he treated it, but I knew that speaking up and saying something meant that I was part of a solution that could benefit my daughters one day. It felt good to be part of a change. I walked in that ‘man cave’ the next day and the images were gone. Who knows where he put them, but my father, a cisgendered, 56 year old white man was able to admit that he did something wrong to a thirteen year old girl. Neither one of us said anything about their disappearance, so I’ll say it here. I just wanted to share that it is possible for ANYONE to make something change by bringing it to the light, and explaining that it shouldn’t be normal. No young girl should feel unwelcome anywhere in their home, or worry about the sexualization of women by their own family. Because maybe looking at women in this way isn’t harmful. But does that change if it’s your mother? How about your sister? What if it’s your very own daughter? Perhaps this problem isn’t nearly as urgent as others discussed on this website, but I just want to say that it is possible, for any woman out there, to change something sexist if you just have the courage to say something, whether you’re 13 or 30.

Trinidad Rojo

Last year was the worst year so far in my life. It all started when one guy asked if I had a boyfriend. I said yes. He started talking about how I must send him nudes and do dirty stuff with him. The next couple of days, he started from saying things like those to picking on the boys that would sit around me and telling them to take off their shirts and show it off to me. Making jokes about how I should suck his friend’s dick. Then, he started watching porn in class, somehow the teacher didn’t notice. Then another boy, well, a female to male transgender boy, started showing me porn in front of the whole class, the ones sitting beside him looked uncomfortable but didn’t do a thing. I didn’t either. Then on P. E. He gropped my ass while acting like he was tying his shoe laces. The first boy then started sending me dick pics, and at that point I told my parents who sued his, and he finally stopped. Then I decided to rant in the middle of a class about everything that had been going on. You should have seen their faces. The second boy started to cry and his friends said that was just the way he was, trying to defend him. All of this went down in the span of 4 months. While all of this was going down, my boyfriend started threatening that he would kill me and then himself if I dared leave him. When I did, the next boyfriend I had asked for nudes every day until I gave up and sent them. I am glad to say I no longer have to see them and the first at least apologized. But the damage is done.

Varnika

I was hardly 12 or 13 when I went to punjab with my parents for a trip. We all were returning from somewhere and we all sat well in a bus. a think man with red check shirt of black strips sat two seat next. Mom and dar and my lil brother went to sleep. I was awake, never a fan of sleeping in vehicles. There was this mirror at the top head some centimetres near to that man and he smiled. So did I, kind gesture. Afterwards he kept smiling and staring at me through the mirror. I was terrified and I didn’t want to wake anyone up, so I ignored. We got off the bus and took our luggage out at the station. The man stood somewhere near and kept smiling and staring. I shouted, “mom, he is staring at me” and mom told dad. Dar who was busy taking out our luggage felt frustrated and spoke out curses to the person and then we left. I mean it was strange, weirdly strange. I felt helpless, what I really wanted was to drill his skull with those point eyes along with it. I wanted to be strong and the moment when I needed to be, I wasn’t. I didn’t talk about it and still don’t after it happened, but it stays somewhere and makes me go crazy and mad.

Isabel

I was in 8th grade and i got an anonymous note in my locker telling me to kill myself. My locker was right in front of the cameras. I went to the school’s dean of conduct who is in charge of the cameras to see who sent it to me. I went there and he told me that i was overreacting and that it was probably a boy who liked me and wanted to get my attention. Long story short i never found out who it was.

K

My friends dad (who I had known since 4th grade) rubbed my back the way you rub a spouses back and combed his fingers through my hair the way you would with a spouse. Months later he tried to get me to go into a gas station with him alone. Whenever I went to my friends house he wanted a hug or something physically, not just with me but with all the girls that came over. He would go from yelling at his youngest to smiling and laughing when he saw me watching. Not too long ago me and my friend where in a library and we noticed a man sitting in the teen section past hours. Rather then sitting down across from him, me and my friend went two bookshelves away from him to quietly talk. 15 minutes later the man was slowly walking up to us and whispering something so we speed walked to the kid section (where my dad was) and he followed us all the way there and left us alone when he saw my dad. That is the day I realized that in few peoples eyes I am not a human, I am an item. I am nothing more than an item to them. in 6th grade I was told that because I am a female i am to stay and the kitchen and produce children. I was told that none of my dreams would happen because I am a female. Playing my favorite sport, basketball, the boys said i was good for a girl. I was called a prostitute while wearing athletic shorts from the boys section. I was told that because I was a female my jokes weren’t funny. I was 12 at the time being told these things by my peers both male and female. I am now 15 and can feel them starring at me as only an item.

Anon.

At school, boys in my year often make comments about how annoying feminists are or that women should ‘go back to the kitchen’. It’s always said as a joke (and it’s only a small minority who make comments like that) but I’m always left feeling angry that when I try to explain why I disagree they refuse to listen. I have also noticed that if someone is well liked then their actions often go unchallenged. A [particular boy in my year has slapped girls’ bottoms or simply put his arm around them, which may not sounds like much but is a complete invasion of privacy when you are minding your own business. School uniform rules are also ridiculous in my opinion – you are not allowed to show your ankles (is this the victorian era??!?) and my friend once found a section in the sixth form dress code which said that you couldn’t where tops that showed our shoulders. When we asked someone why, they said that male members of staff might be distracted. Not students. MEMBERS OF STAFF. I was furious that they said this so casually and completely missed the point of the matter – teach others not to objectify people rather than telling us to cover up!! This reminded me of conversations about rape victims being asked what they were wearing – victim blaming is horrific and completely wrong – but I digress… I have an afro, and since my hair is not as long as some of my friends’, I have been told that I look like a boy. Not great, but not heartbreaking to hear. However, through people’s looks and comments, (‘you have massive feet’ or ‘you know you have hair between your eyebrows right?’) I have often felt like the ‘ugly one’ or the one who doesn’t quite fit in in my friendship group. My friends themselves have never made me feel this way – they are all proud;y feminists, and always make me feel included – but I can’t help but feel that by not being typically feminine, I’ve ‘gone wrong’ somewhere. Being a mixed race, (closeted) bisexual teen, I often feel like I have to prove to everyone that I am worthy of their respect. I know others have it much worse, but it still makes me feel so frustrated that women are constantly having to earn a place in society. However, it’s sites like this that give me hope – one day, we won’t have to have these discussions. If you’ve made it to the end, thank you for reading (hehe) and remember that you are not alone in feeling upset, frustrated or angry – cheesy as it sounds, we’re in this together.