australia

I cannot bring my self to put my name up

It was May 8th 2012 One time our family had guests over, and they had a son who was around his early teens who I’ve known for most of my life. It was around midday, and we were playing together until he decided to push me into my parents’ walk-in-closet and pin me to the floor. He proceeds to take out his phone and play a video about initiating sex and reached down to take off my clothes. All I could do was lay there in absolute shock and fear. He abruptly stopped hearing my cousin approaching in the hall. Where I had the opportunity to open the door and run out. I’m incredibly grateful for my cousin; I seriously do not know how far the boy would have gone if he wasn’t interrupted. I was only nine years old at that time. As a result of that incident, I never told anyone except that cousin, not even my parents, before this blog, I planned to take it to the grave because I was ashamed. And from that day on, I sought food as comfort subconsciously over eating thinking I would be undesirable that it would never happen again. Through my pre-teen stages, I craved a childhood that I felt robbed of that day, so I held onto childish things like barbies and stuffed animals, watching children’s shows beyond the expected age. For years I thought it was my fault. That day caused me trauma I didn’t know I had; I matured at a rate that no child should. Afraid of relationships, scared of seeing that boy again. And if have any wish, it would be for nobody ever to experience what I experienced that day. It pains me to think that this is normal behaviour and similar and worse instances happen to girls and women daily.

Fatherly love??

My Biological Dad was walking with me once and he said something, I don’t even know what it was I wasn’t listening. I’m assuming though it was some sort of sexist comment. I asked him what he said. He replied with “I wish you were a boy sometimes.” I shot him a dirty look and asked why? He told me it was because I would be able to understand him better and I never forgave him for telling me that. It still makes me feel like crying every time I think about it.

Theresa

Hello, I am a young 18 year old girl from Australia and I have a few things to say about everyday sexism that I have experienced. The first thing I think of when referring to this topic is the many times I could be walking down the street with either my sister or by myself to find some cars passing by honking or cat calling out to us. The worst time this had happened was when I was alone waiting for an early morning bus into work and a group of four young man loudly shouted out and called to me and then proceeded to drive quickly in the direction of shop bus station. Luckily they just drove around the parking area and didn’t disturb anymore than that. During school I had found sexism occured when people would perceive my love for biology as a weird thing for a girl, or the time I picked up a grasshopper to place it outside it was seen as a “boyish” thing to do. Another instance I have experienced is both in public and at home where people will actively insult or tease me for having both small breasts and butt; some even saying I have the chest of and butt of a boy. The only other form of sexism I have experienced is in every relationship I have has so far with a male has involved sexist insults and assumptions. Generally the male I have dated were surprised by my independant nature to the point of complaining to me about it or calling it a flaw. There has also been a common belief among them that because I am a girl that likes them sexual intimacy and sending nudes is something I am meant to do and they didn’t always listen to the word “No.” I have also had all my opinions ignored constantly and dismissed as being “over dramatic,” or “maybe she’s on her period,” or “her hormones must be acting up.” I have also had my ex’s parents try and shove the idea of children down my throat even when I may seem uncomfortable as I want to put my energy into my career. Usually when I tell them that they tell me how “different” I am from most girls who would dream of a family and kids from a young age unlike me. (sorry for the long post. As soon as I started to write I realized just how much sexism I have experienced and thought nothing of.)

Enraged & depressed

At school, there’s a group of boys who have decided it is ‘cool’ to be misogynistic. They use the word ‘feminist’ as an insult. They make jokes about rape, all the fucking time, in every way they can think of. They sit around, spending time deliberately and loudly imitating, mocking, trivialising and insulting women who speak up about sexism and sexual harassment in society. They imitate and mock rape victims with PTSD and just carry on and on in the most awful way. This group of guys is doing STEM subjects and in some classes I am literally the only girl who takes those classes because it is so unpleasant to be around them and the teachers do nothing to stop it. I have tried talking to them, I have tried arguing, I have got into an hour-long shouting argument with some of these boys and I am obviously a man-hater. They say bullshit things like that they wouldn’t actually make rape jokes in front of a girl who’s actually been raped; but at the same time, they say that anyone who reacts emotionally to what they do and say just ‘has hurt feelings’ and has a duty to desensitise to it, because ‘the world’ (their behaviour) is not going to change. My best friend has been raped repeatedly, starting when she was eight years old, and has PTSD, anxiety disorders, clinical depression, an eating disorder, and self-harm after what she has gone through. She is unable to argue with them. She freezes in shock and horror and has panic attacks and shakes uncontrollably for hours. I argue on her behalf. Our other friend doesn’t stand up so well, so she tries to find ways to get our friend out of the class to talk to her – which involves lying to the teachers to get a pretext – and to try to reduce how much she is exposed to this and talk to her. Some days I’m the only one there, and on those days I always prioritise looking after my friend to arguing. Both actions are consistent with my values, it’s no question, but I get some people expecting me to fulfil my ‘job’ of calling them out all day everyday no matter what, despite the need to help my friend. I feel awful being in a situation where a decision like that even comes up. I feel so awful having to walk in to that school every day. And it’s a predominantly internet-spread – 4chan etc – thing, so I don’t have any hope for our generation. This culture is spreading everywhere. It’s not geographically limited, moving schools would do nothing. This is a new norm.

Teacher27

Bullying of female teachers always starts with male managers and male teachers throwing their weight around and taking the best of everything (jobs, classes, time slots etc) for themselves and their mates.

May Poole

The handshake vs. the kiss on the cheek. I come from Australia and work in the hospitality industry (which has enough implicit and overt sexism issues as it is). One thing I have come to notice through my profession is how certain forms of human contact play an important role in delegating women to a lower position in the work environment, with offenders being coworker and clientele alike. Now what I am referring to here is not the obvious ‘accidental’ bum grab, the rubbing of the small of one’s back or inappropriate questions being asked; but rather the subtle and more nuanced aspects of interaction. The best example being the greeting/goodbye of a handshake vs. a kiss on the cheek. In Australia, it is often customary to greet a man with a handshake, I imagine this practice is standard across a great deal of western society. Conversely women, even women we meet for the first time, are greeted with the more casual and certainly more personal kiss on the cheek. Why is it, that after conducting the same operational task as one of my male coworkers, that I get a kiss on the cheek and he a handshake as a departing gesture? Immediately it suggests that my relationship with the clientele is different to that of a man’s, simply because of my ‘femininity’. It displaces the legitimacy of of my professionalism and replaces it with a sense of informality and personal connection – both of which in this context come from one side of what should be considered a strictly business relationship. It is also considered to be completely appropriate to lay hands on waitresses, whether it be on the back, shoulder or arm (or more uncomfortably still – the top of the hip). To do the same to a waiter would be largely unheard of in Australia. As the old saying goes, human beings are visual creatures; we absorb and interpret the body language of those around us constantly. When our body language (because that’s what it is, language – It is a way of communicating with one another) changes between men and women solely based on their gender, we create a divide between the two implicitly. What I am basically trying to get at here is that I am sick of being spoken to as an ‘equal’ but quite obviously not viewed as one. What you say with your body and how it interacts with mine is telling – and currently men of Australia, you’re telling women in the hospitality industry ‘keep up the good work you pretty little thing, now go get me that beer’.