I’m only sixteen years old and I experienced more sexism I am probably even aware of. It started at a young age. When I would go out wearing short pants, my mother would tell me to change and I would get so angry and confused about it, because why should I change my pants, if I want to wear them?
My parents told me and taught me things like that all my life. My twin brother is allowed to come home from a night out whenever he wants, my limit is 2am if I’m in our town and 12am if I’m in the city nearby. I get so angry about it, although I know they want to protect me and I also don’t want to get in a dangerous situation, but it is just so wrong, that this is normal and we just have to live with it! When I fought with my parents about all that and got angry, my father once told me that I was being childish. The worst part is, that I believed him and really thought that I am not allowed to get angry about that stuff, because that’s how the world is and I can’t change it anyways…
In 6th grade a classmate wanted to pay me to touch my butt. In 7th grade I got touched at my boob from another classmate. For three years straight, I had to hear everyday verbal harassment, so-called “jokes”, with things like “can I eat your burger?” (which was a patch on the back of my jeans) or “your boobs got bigger over the holidays” or “can you describe your pussy?”. I was sent dick pics, was asked for nudes, was touched at my butt when I was in a club, got followed or stared at by men, so that I had to run away and all that with the age of twelve until sixteen. And at that time, I wasn’t even aware of, how all this stuff was actual sexual assault.
All these things made me think that I’m worthless and my self-confidence got beat down by every comment or look or whatever and I am still struggling with building it up again. When I have a problem with something and find something sexist, I’m afraid to speak up, because when I do, I’m being told to “not being so dramatic and sensitive and make everything about feminism”.
I hate being afraid of speaking up and using my voice, walking alone at night at a street and feel this fear of getting assaulted by every man I see. I hate thinking about things like “should I buy a pepper spray” or “should I really be wearing this?” and changing and adapting MY life and behaviour, when it should be the people who cause me to think this stuff.
It makes me furious and helpless and sad and I just want to do something about it, but the world we live in is just so unfair! If we speak up and fight against it, we are going to be made a target for sexism even more, because so many people think of the word “feminism” as something bad or ridiculous and “just a bunch of hysterical women who hate all men” or we’re simply a slut for embracing our femininity and swimming against the stream. People criticize everything and sometimes I feel like, there is nothing a woman can do right.
I am so sad and scared, that my little sister, my mother, my future daughter, my friends, probably every woman in this world are going through this or will go through this and worse.
If you read this, I just want to remind you that whatever you went through, is horrible but it doesn’t define you and it’s not your fault! Your voice is important and you are a powerful, amazing, intelligent, beautiful, beloved human being! You matter <3