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.

If you prefer to e-mail me at laura@everydaysexism.com I can upload your story for you instead. Follow us on Twitter (and submit entries by tweet) at @EverydaySexism.

Add your story:

Megan

I have so many stories I could tell – from being told I wasn’t hired for a job because they “needed” a male hire or the time a man stood in front of my car door so I couldn’t leave until I gave him my number, or having men grab at my ass like I was a prize. But the one occasion that stands out to me the most also breaks my heart the most.

I was walking to my car after taking a Barre class. I won’t lie, I wear tight clothes to these classes, and I’m a curvy woman. I’m used to being hollared at by men, and usually, I stand my ground with them and tell them to buzz off. But as I was walking to my car this night, I heard this voice say “Mama Mia what a body!” I looked around, and just saw a car driving by. Didn’t think much of it. Until I saw that car stop. I continued to walk toward it, and as I walked past, I looked at the car. Again, I heard “Mama mia, what a body!” I looked right at the person who said it: this boy could not have been more than 10 or 11 years old. And his mother was sitting in the car. I almost always shout something back at the men who catcall me, and this time, I hesitated, but then I quickly realized… this is a CHILD. He needs to know, more than anyone else, that this kind of thing is not ok. So I shouted back “Hey, you should not be talking to a woman like that, ever. You should treat women with respect.” I half expected the mom to come and yell at me, but she didn’t. I almost wish she had. Because despite my response in that moment, I doubt he actually learned that what he was doing was wrong.

A child cat called me. A child objectified my body. That is not okay.

Jasmine

So i went grocery shopping and a man came up to me and grabbed me. I asked him not to touch me. He told me its a compliment, that he wouldn’t want to grab me if i was not pretty and light skinned. An older woman saw the whole encounter yet laughed and asked me “Why shouldn’t he touch you? What do you think you are? GOLD”. I was wearing an abaya with hijab and i had no make up on and i realised dressing modestly will not reduce harassment and to have a woman support such blatant disrespect is heartbreaking

Kim’s Kid

When I was 14 it was a double whammy. My mother, with whom I have always had a strained relatipnship, decided we should be friends. So she dressed me up im a tight zebra print dress, high heels and makeup, and took me to her favorite dive bar. She then made me dance with the creepy old guy who owned the place “so we wouldn’t get in trouble.” He squeezed me too tightly, groped my backside and nuzzled my neck. He wanted a kiss. She laughed, then ordered me a vodka orange juice and told me I was a good girl.

DP

I myself have been on the receiving end of everyday sexism. In fact, I have (at the time unknowingly) acquiesced in perpetuating some of these falsehoods. I have not objected as often as I should have to the off-the-cuff comments or the seemingly insignificant actions of others that undercut my abilities and knowledge as a person who just so happens to be female. My silence was not reflective of my objections, it was based in part on not knowing how to respond and not wanting make waves. However, I now strive to become a tsunami.

To the school counselor who came to my 8th grade class to schedule us for high school classes: You recommended that the young ladies in the class repeat algebra because “Catholic school math classes aren’t at the level of public school math classes.” However, you recommended that the young men in the class could proceed to the next level. I was able to overcome this setback that was obviously based on an inherent belief of gender-based abilities; however, not every young lady has the support and encouragement that I had and may believe that your implied representations are indeed true.

To the account representative at the bank: My sophomore year in college, I deposited a check into my account that took an extra day to clear, for whatever reason. However, I needed to buy textbooks and assumed the check had cleared after two days. When I came to see if I could get the overdraft fee waived since the money should have been available to me, you decided to lecture me on the importance of having a budget and that I couldn’t just buy “sweaters and purses” whenever I wanted. While I do enjoy purchasing a nice sweater and purse on occasion, my priority was my education and purchasing the materials I needed to support my Finance degree. By implying that I didn’t understand how to budget or that I was frivolously spending my money because of my gender, you discounted the issue at hand and jumped to the conclusion that my request was based on my inability to control my own finances.

To the physician I interviewed as part of a work project: You very deliberately directed your answers to my questions to my male colleague, who was assisting me in the engagement. You continued to pose all your follow-up questions to him, even though he deferred them all to me. By assuming my male colleague was more experienced and knowledgeable even though we made it clear you had it wrong, you undermined my education and expertise because of my gender. (Oh, and PS – those “girls” in your office are actually young women you have hired to support you – the “girls” might take care of whatever task you need, but they have families and lives of their own outside of the office – this is their job, not their hobby.)

These are just a handful of the experiences I have had over the years. There have been many, many more. Yes, I am a woman. But I am also a college graduate, a professional, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. My life has been influenced by my experiences, education, successes, and struggles, all of which are unique to me. It is my hope that future generations of young women can write their own stories based on their thoughts and passions, without the influence of the stereotypes of what a woman ought to be and do.

Cami from Miami

It was a Sunday, when I was 16 years old. My Mom dropped me off at the Public library to do work on a school project, while she went to the mall to take care of some shopping. She didn’t realize the library closed early. Two younger girls, as well as myself, were asked to leave. The girls used a payphone to call someone to pick them up but I couldn’t call my mom, as this was before cellular phones. I saw an older man looking at me as I stepped out of the library and I gave him a polite (lips closed) smile and nod. As we waited for our rides in front of the library, I noticed the man was sitting at a bench right by the front door of the library and appeared (to my innocent eyes) to be holding what I thought was a piece of cured meat and openly smiling at me. I looked away, confused. It took me a few seconds to realize that he was masturbating. At first, I froze. I felt I couldn’t leave because my mom would be coming to pick me up and wouldn’t be able to find me. The younger girls were still there, so I made my way over to them and greeted them as though I knew them. I said, “don’t look but that man is masturbating over there”. Of course they looked. We thought about calling the police and made our way toward the pay phone, which was closer to a basketball court near the library. By the time we reached the phone and I looked back, he had left. Then, the girls were quickly picked up by their father and I was left alone in front of the library. A few minutes later, he was standing at the corner across the street staring at me. When my mother arrived, he had left. I breathlessly told her about my frightening experience. She laughed and said, “oh yeah, this happens to everyone. My first time was in Cuba. I was walking to school when a black guy on a bicycle went by me staring at me and masturbating.” I had never heard of this and couldn’t believe this actually happened with frequency. Every time I tell that story to a woman, she has a story to tell about her experience. How crazy is that?!

Sarah

I went on a date with a guy. After dinner, we were talking and he said he want to kiss me.. and I said no. A few minutes later he kissed me anyway. When I pulled back he said “I’m just doing the guy’s job”

Sarah

I went on a date with a guy. After dinner, we were talking and he said he want to kiss me.. and I said no. A few minutes later he kissed me anyway. When I pulled back he said “I’m just doing the guy’s job”

Anon

I am so exhausted from always being afraid of strange men who think that they have the right to comment on my body, or make sexual advances toward me.
When walking to my car after meeting my friends for a drink last Saturday night, two young men yelled obscenities at me: “I want to see you naked! Let me f–k you!”. I was terrified.
While going for a run, a taxi driver told me to, “keep it up my baby”. When I told him not to call me that, he said he would call me whatever he liked. I fought back tears as I ran away.
When walking on the street this morning, a homeless man looked me up and down and said, “I like it I like it I like it”.
I am so tired. So exhausted. Always afraid, always harassed, always ashamed of being a woman.

Natalie

When I was 19-20 years old I started my first secretary job at a law firm in Sydney. I worked for a team of people including a man who was 40, married with two young children. He would repeatedly stare at me inappropriately, make excuses to look at my computer screen and hover so he could look down my shirt, and asked me to coffee when he found out I was single after a break up, despite never showing any interest in my life before that point. He was well known in my office as the office creep, and I knew of several girls my age where he had asked them to lunch despite having no work-related purpose. This experience made me more cautious around male bosses and distrusting, and even 8 years later has stayed with me. Today, I sent him the Harvey Weinsten NY Times expose and suggested he learn from this and that he knows exactly what I am talking about. Men who use their power of position and age to influence more vulnerable individuals (particularly girls/women) are the lowest of the low.

Verity Wright

I’ve been thinking about work place sexual harrassment since the Harvey Weinstein story broke. As a young photographer’s assistant working for a Photography studio in Leeds, I was the only female on the shop floor, all the other photographers and their assisants were male and I was employed as the “token” female. I was sexually harressed on a daily basis, I soon learnt to cover myself up from head to toe in baggy jeans and jumpers so that I didn’t entice any further comments. I remember being advised by my boss to “just sleep with us all and then we will stop talking and fantatising about what it would be like and then we can all concentrate on our jobs”. When I entered a room it was most often met with “Oh you can tell it is Verity becasue her tits always enter the room first”. The men would go home and tell their wives/girlfriends that I would climb the ladders in short skirts, stockings and suspenders, to be honest the list is endless. I eventually left as I couldn’t cope with it anymore and I challenged the Director of the company on my last day, I was so cross as I’d found out that the new male assistant was being paid more than me, I’d just had enough.

This story has also triggered an interview I once had were the interview letter had been addressed to Mr instead of Miss and when I turned up they were very surprised to see a female. I wore a smart suit to the interview and had bare legs and I was actually told in the interview that they couldn’t employ me as the men would spend the day looking at my legs.

I told so many people, but was met with a walll of silence, stop making a fuss, you should be grateful that you are getting the attention. Female friends saying I was frigid and had no sense of humour, it would be called “banter” now wouldn’t it.