I have had chronic pain in one joint or another every day for the majority of my life. Before managing to see a physio at work, I was told be a doctor that my joints weren’t hypermobile, I was “just a woman” – completely dismissing my experience and obvious joint problems.
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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Despite handling the majority of correspondence and information gathering for my re-mortgage, our advisor put the account in my partner’s name by default.
At my best friend‘s workplace, a position was free and they had two candidates for it, a man and a woman. She overheard her two male bosses and female colleague discussing the candidates and which company car they could provide and what the male candidate had said about this. The colleague then asked what the female candidate would like to have as a company car. One of the bosses answered, if they decided to hire the woman, they would do it in a way that doesn’t make her eligible for a car. For the same freaking position! In this firm, every male earns more than every woman, regardless of actual workload or date of hire. This is illegal here, btw. My friend is shy and nice and couldn’t say a word, when one of her male colleagues blamed her for something he didn’t think of and told her she‘d ‚really need a man to show her what‘s what‘. (She is single) I can’t even imagine what I would have told that bastard in her place! I might add that she works as an accountant in a ‚normal‘ small trading firm. Not even a stereotypically male dominated surrounding. Yet the desks seem to be soaked in testosterone (and incompetence). She really wants to get away from there.
Happened to my best friends 22yr old daughter. Her boyfriends new boss (C) had stayed over their house after they’d all been out drinking the night before. Her boyfriend left for work that morning leaving my friends daughter alone with C. C asked her repeatedly if he could kiss/touch/and more to which she repeatedly said no. He was so persistent, and she was alone with him that she “allowed” him to touch her because to her it was the only way to stop it. I am so angry on her behalf that he put her in this position and this behaviour seems acceptable to him. She won’t report it as her boyfriend loves his new job and she does not want to ruin that for him. I hate this happened to her but respect her need to deal with this in her own way cos ultimately we weigh up the behaviour and consequences and do what we need to do to protect ourselves.
I work as a volunteer in a library, and am in my mid fifties. Recently there was a meeting between our local councillor and three of us volunteers. It was fairly impromptu, but had been organised for the time when I was going to be working there by one of the other (male) volunteers because, he said, I was ‘gobby’. The meeting lasted an hour and a half, during which time I spoke less than any of the three men there. Despite this, half way through the meeting, after I had raised a single point, this same man said ‘You see what I mean, you’re gobby.’SO in a meeting of 4 people, 3 people spoke more than me, 1 person was female(me) and the one who was typified as speaking too much was me (the one who spoke the least). I told the man that I was not happy with his remarks and he stated that it seemed to him like thats what I was. I asked him why he hadn’t called the other men gobby, and there was no reply…. There are a number of adjectives that could have been used…eloquent, articulate, able to express opinions, knowledgeable, cogent etc etc. But the chosen word was ‘gobby’, which in my experience is almost always used by men to talk about women who dare to speak in meetings where there are men. Never heard a man talking about another man and calling him ‘gobby’. Its a small thing, but it is symptomatic of the way in which sexist words are used every single day.
A man who I work with strode out of his office, looked at me as I came into the room and boomed ‘why do you always look so miserable’? ‘Just smile will you!’ I told him never to tell a woman to just smile but not one other person in the room (all men) said a word. The same guy thinks it’s fine to assume that I want his slightly aggressive sexual attention.
Every time I order a beer and my husband orders a soft drink, 90% of the time the waiter who brings it over (male or female) gives the beer to my husband.
I got harassed on the bus the other night and it was terrifying. One drunk man was shouting down his phone, about smashing shit up and how tonight his actions would get him in prison, so I spent the whole bus journey on edge anyway. Then another drunk man proceeded to try and chat to me. He came over to me, I was wearing a blazer with badges on the lapels. He hovered his fingers very calculatedly over the badges on my chest reading them out one by one, his fingers centimetres from my chest. My mind was flooded with what to do but I decided to let it happen and only intervene if he touched me, out of fear if I became confrontational, the other drunk who was ready for a fight might seize the opportunity. While this happened one woman looked at me and when I made eye contact she snapped her head away. A man turned to watch to assess the situation. Afterwards, he smiled and almost laughed as if to say “bloody drunk people, eh?”. I couldn’t smile or laugh about it. When I went to get off the bus, as I’m standing waiting for the bus doors to open, the male bus driver decides now is the time to tell the angry drunk to pipe down and behave. I think when I got off the bus and cried, I was more angry and upset by the fact that the men in the situation 1. Had the audacity to act like this in public and make me feel uncomfortable and 2. Had the privilege to be able to laugh it off, or insight confrontation without taking into consideration how it could end for themselves or the people surrounding them. I also felt sad that myself and the others felt that it was only appropriate to intervene if I had been fully assaulted and not when my personal space was invaded and I felt uncomfortable. I realised I wouldn’t have been able to think these things without the feminist reading I had done in the last year and I began to wonder whether knowing everything had made the situation better or harder. It certainly felt harder/sader/angrier unpicking everyone’s reactions. However, when my friend told me the next day that she had also been harassed that night and later in the week my other friend was sexually harassed and we were all able to talk about it in clear terms, and we were able to articulate our anger and I was able to console and empower my friends and myself after such traumatic events I realised that I actually had a bit of superpower in knowledge and ignorance is in fact not bliss.
Getting wolf-whistled as I passed a group of boys whilst walking home from university. (Swansea, UK)
I notice this most when I visit my folks in the south: men from strangers to family and typically much older call me “little lady.” I’m a year away from 30.