Tag Archives: family

Clare

My conversation Me: i dont want marriage or children, i never have Them: youll change your mind/youre too young to think that/you havent met the right man yet/tell me in 10years when youre married with kids etc My boyfriends conversation Him: i dont want marriage or children. I never have Them: what about your partner? Him: she doesnt want that either Them: sweet/lucky/highfives all round Why cant i get that reaction for knowing what i want with my life? Why is he lucky but im deluded?

Z

My brother used to try to take showers with me, to have sleepovers with me, and i other stuff, and as a younger kid, i never thought anything of it. Now, he will randomly burst in on me while I’m undressing in my room, open the curtain while I’m showering, make weird comments on my developing body, and other weird stuff. When i have friends over, he will sit outside my door and listen to our conversations. He is 8, in second grade, and i am 12, in 6th grade. This is sort of creepy, and i wish he would stop. The thing is, he is emotionally delicate, and anything negative i say about him will make him have a meltdown. I tried telling him to go away when he walks in on me, i try telling him to stop listening to my conversations, to stop saying things like “i just noticed you have armpit hairs!” In public, but he doesn’t listen. I shouldn’t have to be scared of a boy who is 4 years younger and foot shorter than me. I tried telling my parents. They wont listen. “He’s only 8” “he just wants your company” “he looks up to you” no, he looks up my skirts. I’m not the only one who feels uncomfortable like this at home, but the thing is, when they are your family, they tend not to listen to you when you say no.

Stine

I started wearing make up when I was 14 years old. I’ve always loved to work with colored eyeshadow at home, and really try to play with it and better my skills. When I’d been in our bathroom for usually more than half an hour, my mom would always say the same thing to get me to stop: She’d say “No man wants a wife who cannot go out in public without spending a lot of time on her appearance.” Sometimes she’d also tell me that if I went out wearing the same amount of make up that I did when I practiced my skills at home, I would attract r*pe perpetrators “on purpose” – like it was a thing I could control.

Lía

My aunt remember me a lot of times that I should get married and have kids because I’m woman, and be a mother is part of a woman

Sarah

I was at a family dinner tonight, and we had an older (mid 60’s) male cousin over who I had not seen in a couple of years. He is an extremely wealthy, self-made businessman, and an outspoken philanthropist with many succesful projects. He asked me how life is, and I was really excited to tell him about my new job as I now work in the nonprofit industry. I mentioned I started a new job and he said “that’s nice! Are you still single though? Playing the field?”. I am 23. I was really taken aback, because I was so ready to talk about my job and because he’s a super liberal guy, but I was especially annoyed when I noticed he was having conversations with men about their jobs during dinner. I’ll never understand why it’s more important for me to declare to extended family members that I have a new boyfriend than it is to be proud and excited to talk about my career.

Sam

I went on a camping trip with my aunt’s family this summer. We rented an RV and got to watch the camping company back our RV into the campsite. Part 1: The driver of the RV was a woman, middle-aged, and clearly very experienced. My younger cousin commented, “Watch out – she might hit something. Women can’t drive.” He is nine years old. Part 2: I was shocked and said, “That’s sexist.” Now, he and his siblings looked shocked. Their eyes were big and round, and all three of them quickly glanced at their mom, who hadn’t heard what I said, then quickly turned back to me. The same kid that had just said, “Women can’t drive,” urgently whispered, “Don’t say that aloud! That’s a bad word!” Me: “What? ‘Sexist’?” He frantically nodded his head. His younger brother (6 years old) and older sister (11 years old) both glanced back at their mom, then slowly backed away. Me: “If you can be sexist, I can call you out for being sexist.” It is shameful that the same parents displaying everyday sexism by making demeaning comments about women have also taught their children that using a word that brings attention to discrimination is “bad and “wrong” because it shares a root with the word “sex”. It is disappointing that my three cousins are being brought up to be accepting of and practice everyday sexism themselves. The same people who are supposed to teach them fairness and equality are teaching them to condone demeaning behavior towards half the world’s population. I miss my cousins now that I’m back home, and pray that they will become respectful to all, irrespective of the sexism present in their home. I worry for my female cousin, who is being told through everyday, casual sexism that she will never be as powerful as her brothers. Even a woman well into her 40’s maneuvering an RV backwards with expertise is incapable due to gender in the eyes of my cousin’s family.

Alexis

I live at home with my sister and parents and attend the local community college. My older sister recently graduated from university and is now back home while she looks for a job. Every single day, she makes a sexual remark to me. For example, she will look at my body and make a comment. “Your ass is so small.” “I want to take a picture of your ass.” “Your thighs are skinny.” She will also make comments about my choice of clothing. “Are you wearing underwear?” “Are you wearing a bra?” “That shirt shows off a lot of skin.” “Those leggings are inappropriate.” The list goes on and on. What bothers me is that this is my sister, she’s only a year older than me, wears mostly the same thing i wear, and just graduated from a very liberal, “progressive” university that prides itself on teaching people about these kinds of issues. She acts like she is so open minded, progressive, and “aware”, yet she perpetrates her sexual harassment on a daily basis. She is a woman, criticizing me for being a woman, and shaming me for wearing women’s clothing. I don’t even know where to begin processing this.

grace (19, melbourne au)

this happened last year I was sitting in the living room when my brother finally came out to clean the dishes of the meal i’d cooked for him. I heard him starting to unload the dishwasher, which i knew to be dirty, and told him to stop. He kept unloading, saying some of them looked fine, to which I walked over and said just because they were rinsed didn’t mean they were fine (some could’ve had contact with raw chicken etc). I also knew that he was just being lazy, wanting to make room so he could put the new dishes in, to which they wouldn’t clean properly (becasue they never do, especially when they’ve dried out for hours), so then I can get the pleasure of properly washing them the next time I cook. ‘What on earth has this got to with sexism’ you might be wondering. This can’t be a big deal, just another, ‘men don’t do chores’ whoop de doo. “Sit down or I’ll kill you.” He pointed his finger at me, his teeth were gritted and his eyes wide. They were wide with the same anger in which we argued every other time. Except this time he threatened to kill me. Except this time, I knew him to be capable of thinking it every time he looked at me that way and-in a moment of sheer horror, to do it. My dad, who’d be in the room, told him ‘he’d gone too far’. He said it seriously, not angrily. My brother started screaming about how I was patronizing him before he went to his room, slamming the door. I stood there shocked. Then something even worse happened. “You shouldn’t have nagged at him. Your mother always nagged.” My dad just placed the blame on me for my brother threatening to kill me. He then left. I stood there still. I didn’t want to cry. I didn’t want to think that these men- which was all they were to me in that moment, not family, had the power and right to be angry, to cause devastation and for me to fall victim to it. I didn’t want them to have power over me. But I cried nonetheless. And I kept crying, struggling for breath. I physically walked outside of that room, but everything in my mind was a struggle. The cold air hit me, it was raining, but nothing could be felt bodily, not even if my brother in that moment had barged out from his room and stabbed me. My sister ‘Laura’ was with our older sister ‘Jane’. I couldn’t reach out to her for comfort and solidarity. I felt so alone, with the words ‘you shouldn’t have’ ringing in my head as much as ‘i’ll kill you’. I ended up calling my mum, even though i knew she would be at work. I felt guilty for causing her such panic, but once I finished talking with her I assured her I would call my oldest sibling, ‘James’ who always knew how to make me laugh even when i was detemined to be upset. And he did make me laugh, I began to calm down as my Dad came out to talk to me. I didn’t want to talk to my dad though, i felt he had no right. No right to explain the situation to me, to tell me what i did, or what he did, as he so very much likes to do before apologising. He just had no right to do that after what he said. Mum called him. She justly told him how wrong he was to say what he did. To slander my mother in the process of slandering me, meanwhile all my brother got was ‘you’ve gone too far’ in an unemotive statement. He was more emotional about the woman he’d been separated for five years now, and my acting like her than my BROTHER THREATENING TO KILL ME. And you know what? A week later, my brother- not the nice one who made me laugh even when I was in the middle of a breakdown, the one who threatened to kill me poked his head into my room and with a grimacing smile, said ‘sorry about what happened.’ I just stared at him. He deserved nothing. He might as well have just texted me ‘btw sorry about threatening to kill you, no biggie right?’ And I’m still supposed to be okay with it today when I see him. As if I can’t think of him saying it. Of all the times he’s gotten angry, when’s he’s broken something, yelled, shoved me back in a rage. How am I not supposed to think of the women I see on TV, who were murdered by someone they knew, they trusted and loved. How am I not supposed to think about him threatening to kill me over fucking dishes, and fear that the next time he gets the slightest bit mad, not only may i be threatened, but I could be killed. And that I don’t just imagine it, i consider it a real possibility that my own brother might kill me in a rage.

lark

I am proud to call myself a feminist and I’m not afraid to speak up when I find something to be sexist or otherwise wrong. I have tried to teach the members of my family that they can be feminists too or, at least, to work of their misogyny, both internal and external. The issue with this is, however, that many of the older people in my family (50+ years of age) refuse to believe that they can change. It is difficult to show people that they can unlearn the teachings from their youth, should they have enough patience to listen to the people who are speaking out. But instead, they are not willing. And while I’m not okay with this, I would rather they remain silent on issues than what they typically do. Their go to method of talking about feminism and sexism is, usually, to say their controversial opinions loudly and with joviality. They say things they know I will argue with them against, because I’m not willing to stay quiet in these cases, and when I do speak up to argue with them, they are instantly shutting me down, telling me to stop “being so angry” and that it’s “only a joke”. For me, it’s not “only a joke”. By doing this, they are reinforcing the idea that women are meant to be silent and should she speak out on anything, she is being “disruptive” and “a bitch”. Riling up women around them until they speak out against their disgusting words and then telling them that they cannot have an emotional reaction to it further perpetrates the myth that all women are hysterical and emotional. It’s not okay. And this blatant sexism is disgusting.

Kay

Hi, I just wanted to list a few things that have happened to me because I am a woman, things that have happened to me throughout my life. -Age 10 to now, I fear to get off the school bus and walking home because of the number of times I have been catcalled. I am afraid the catcalls will turn into something more. Age 8, I was sleeping at my cousin’s house and instead of hanging out with him, playing games and talking, his mother made me fold their laundry because it was the only thing I was good for. I remember crying as I folded their clothes. -Age 11, as I got off the bus, I dropped my water bottle. I bent to pick it up and a boy two years older than me told me if I wanted him to have sex with him, I could just ask, not flaunt my figure. I remember telling my friend, and her just laughing it off because that’s just what happens. -Age 13, I was looking at a doll because it was my favorite Disney character. It was on the bottom shelf, so I had to bend to look at it. A man walked behind me and whistled. My dad was in shock, but I held him back before he could hurt the man that did it; I didn’t want to cause trouble. I remember questioning why I held my father back, why I valued his safety even after I was objectified by him. -Age 14, a boy asked me if I liked his friend. When I said no, he called me a filthy lesbian and that had to be the only reason I didn’t like him. I wasn’t out at school at the time and this certainly pushed me further in the closet. I remember thinking that maybe me being a lesbian did make me dirty, unnatural. -Age 14, my first girlfriend sexually assaulted me. When I reported her, she begged me not to because it could ruin her life, her volleyball career, she even told me it was triggering her depression. A mutual friend of ours told me I was making too big of a deal out of it and that I should just drop it. I remember being told that it wasn’t a big deal because it was another girl, not a guy. -Age 14, I was visiting my friend at the pool where she worked. Her co-worker asked us to kiss each other because he thought it was hot. I remember wanting to cry because even though he did not know I was gay, I knew that I would be labeled as just a sexual fantasy to men. -Age 14, at my cousin’s graduation, a grandparent of another student was looking at my chest, thighs, and butt. When I finally made eye contact with him and glared, he just laughed and winked at me. I remember crying in the car and putting on my dad’s jacket that swallowed my figure whole. -Age 15, I was told that because of the way I presented (short hair, feminine button-ups), I would never find a husband, or have a good job. I remember being angry that this person thought they had the right to tell me how I should present myself because of their values, their views. Not mine. -Age 15, I realized that everything I had been taught, my internalized misogyny and internalized homophobia, was a direct product on how society functioned. That women were useless, only meant to be around for sex and run the house chores. And I realized that that was a load of bull. If a woman decides she wants to be a sex worker, if she wants to be a housewife, if she wants to go to college and get a doctorate, no matter what, she is deserving of respect. She deserves to have the courage to speak up, not hide away. And it’s about time that society focuses on the newer generation of girls to make sure they don’t grow up as we did. I’m still 15, and I will strive to live to see the day where women aren’t afraid to report simply because their voice is not seen as valuable.