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.)
Pregnant and leaving a psychiatrists appointment at a hospital and builder shouts “alright sugar tits” at me.
Women of Britain Come into the Factories Last week I photographed a wartime poster from 1941 – but I recently discovered that after almost 80 years of striving for equality, we still have a long way to go. Here is my story… I am a knitwear designer based in London and was recently selected onto a programme, managed by an international knitwear company, to go and work with a specialist team and have my collection produced. After two sell-out seasons working on my Bethan Juliff London brand, with press coverage in Vogue and How to Spend it and first-class stockists such as Browns and Feathers, I was forced to take a break from my business as I had caused irreversible damage to my shoulder, back and neck through over use of my knitting machines. My design process relies on specialist, proprietary techniques that I have developed with my machines but I had to stop knitting and focus on getting better – I knew that the next step for my business would be to find a method of external production for my designs. Being selected onto this programme was exactly the opportunity I needed to relaunch my business. It was the chance for me to use the best available knitwear technology, working directly with technicians, fully funded to produce the collection I’ve been developing for the past 18 months, it was a dream come true. Unfortunately, it was all quickly snatched away from me, for no other reason than pure and simple discrimination. I am a new mother, with a 8 month old baby girl – a fact which I had clearly stated on my application for the programme – and my very supportive husband had agreed to take an 8 week break from his own work so that he could travel with me and our daughter, as her full time carer while I worked on the production of my collection. When the knitwear company discovered that I was intending to travel with a family, they promptly told me I was no longer welcome on the programme. They were very clear that my family was their reason for retracting the offer. I am truly shocked and so disappointed to have experienced this kind of discrimination. If they are selecting designers based on their personal circumstances, shouldn’t they, at least, be clear that this opportunity is only available to young, healthy designers without dependants? I have chosen not to name the knitwear company in this post as, like many other victims of discrimination, I am concerned about burning bridges and being seen as a trouble maker. But I knew that I had to say something because if we just accept these situations and don’t speak up about our experiences nothing ever changes. Being a mother does not change my ability to design clothes or run a business, if anything it has made me all the more determined to work hard and show my daughter that anything is (or should) be possible. I’m not angry (although maybe I should be), I’m just very sad that this is the world that we still live in. I see so much change happening in so many industries, signficant strides towards equality being made in broadcasting and financial services, companies in the UK finally being forced to publish their gender pay gaps but there is clearly still a very long way to go.
I was on the train this afternoon, with a friend minding our own business and chatting as per. Standing behind me (on a not very busy carriage) were a group of teenage boys. Ignoring their sneering at us, myself and my friend continued our conversation. It took a good few seconds for me to realise what it was that felt a bit strange. The guy standing behind me was stroking my bum. I know this is a sad reality and regular occurrence for many public transport goers. But this has never happened to me. And why should it? Out loud, I challenged this stranger in front of the crowd saying “this guy just touched me inappropriately and felt my bum”. 3 things : 1) I was shocked that no one batted an eyelid. Although tbh retrospectively I guess that’s fairly normal. 2. the stranger and his group of friends were all laughing and encouraging each other with inappropriate suggestions directed at me. Motivated by his “joker” friends or to prove his masculinity, he moved his way closer to us, trying to intimidate us. 3. If I were with a guy, they wouldn’t have dared touch me. Even though this group of “laddish” teens were significantly younger than myself, it didn’t stop me feeling extremely vulnerable. I wasn’t dressed provocatively (not that it would matter anyway), just in jeans and a coat to my thighs. The fact that he touched me where my coat covered, made me feel even more uncomfortable. The fact that these boys were laughing and without a care in the world that they had just made another person feel so uncomfortable, will probably never cross their mind again. And they will probably do that again to someone else undeserving of that feeling. I know most of you are fed up with all the sexual assault and harassment allegations that have been flooding the media. But it’s things like this. Young people and bystanders normalising this totally inappropriate and disgusting behaviour. Luckily I had my friend with me who told them what she thought of them- although it clearly didn’t make an impression on them as they responded with “choke me, choke me”. So I guess what I’m saying is that, we have to stop this epidemic of normalising sexual assault and what may seem like banter/jokes, could be really damaging to someone else. We have to carry on educating and raising awareness. Why can’t people be respectful to others? And why can’t others speak up when they witness something wrong?
I am sick of it. All of it. I have boys constantly calling me babe or darling. My friend had boys comment saying about her ‘arse’ and they’re just everywhere. I swear there is hardly a decent boy in our school who hasn’t said something derogatory or sexist. Telling me women’s rights are a joke and to make me a sandwich. I know some of this sounds minor, but if it’s happening all day every day, it sometimes gets too much. Even if they’re just giving us a wink, or kicking a football at us- it hurts. I’m so tired of them jeering at us in PE, they seem to pick on me for some reason, the teachers are either too occupied to see or we have to pretty much shout at them to bring it to their attention. I am going to do an assembly with a couple of my friends on sexism and I hope at least somebody gets the message because I am honestly SO tired of them. There is so much more that I could write here- I just want somebody to take notice.
I had an operation on my nose when I was 17 to repair the twisted tip which meant I had trouble breathing. My parents both accompanied me to one of my pre op appointments.. My surgeon explained all the technical aspects of the operation, including quality of breathing looking at only my dad and addressing him… Then he started saying to my mum and I about how glamorous I was going to look and that I will be more confident and pretty. Yes because all women only care about looks and glamour over their own quality of life.
I accompanied my half Chines wife to get her passport photo taken. I was standing in the shop behind the male photographer silent. He paused just before he took the picture and turned around to ask me if it was for an English passport. Because how could my wife possible know?!?
I was asked by a peer whether I agreed with him to the “girls can either be pretty or smart”-stereotype. Didn’t ever expect that question, did I?
Conversation at a party last night: “Women are too emotional to lead countries…For one week of the month at least.”
Really annoyed to hear from an 8yr old girl that the last 3 times her class (from our local school) has practised dancing for Christmas party the Female teachers got the boys to choose a girl. She matter-of-factly told me she never gets picked. Why on earth should she be made to feel like a wallflower!!!