As a 31 year old woman, I just tried to tell my Dad about some of the reproductive problems I have been experiencing over the last year. After finally seeing a specialist I thought it was time to share the problem, as after months of pain and years of issues it is looking like Endometriosis. He didn’t even turn down the TV to hear it or look at me, let alone offer sympathy. He simply asked, and have you been diagnosed? And was immediately dismissive when I explained the risk of making the condition worse that comes with keyhole surgery required to do this. And when I explained that the only offer of treatment is the birth control pill he again dismissively said ‘lots of women take that and they are fine.’ Women need to start speaking out about issues and side effects of the pill, as we desperately need to find other ways of treating Endometriosis. I would argue that we are still discouraged from openly discussing our reproductive health and subjects periods are still so stigmatised to the point that Fathers can’t even comfort their daughters. If we don’t speak about how unfair it still is that birth control is seen as a female responsibility or how awful the symptoms of the pill really are then society will not change. There will continue to be Dad’s who mansplain the pill to their 31 year old daughters, opinions based on no evidence in particular. It brought back a really vivid memory of a Saturday when I was about fourteen when he decided to have a go at me for staying home all day, I was having my period and I didn’t feel like leaving the house because it was so painful and heavy. He really became aggressive so I just told him that I had my period and to lay off, he went silent, no sympathy, no apology, because that would be him admitting he had done something wrong. I have been repairing the damage caused by his sexist attitude my entire life and can only really now recognise it defend myself when it occurs. Men with daughters need to try harder, no matter what age they are. Medicine needs to recognise that the pill is not a suitable long term treatment for a chronic illness. Endometriosis is as common as diabetes and because it actually makes women infertile, this is an issue society is facing as a whole, not just a ‘women’s problem’.
This is but one of many encounters I’ve had like this but this was the most recent and sums up a lot of the behavior I’ve dealt with. I am a single woman in my early twenties. My father passed away very recently, so I’m in mourning at my home. People are in and out, and during one visit, I mentioned that I wish I could change my shirt since it was ratty, but couldn’t do so at the time. Presumably joking, a female friend said that I should worry about that because people here are looking me over to see if I’m marriage material. This may have been said in jest, but there’s a definite, unfortunate truth to it. I had to field a fun comment from a relative, “You’re going to get married and have a man take care of you, but your mother is all alone now so you need to take care of her.” I’m so glad that I apparently am going to get married asap and a man will make all my problems go away.
I’m 14 now, but this is a story I never shared with anyone, not wanting to cause tension or more sadness in my family. At about 12 years old and also when I was 13, last year. I remember almost being asleep in the night laying in bed, my father would come into my room and check if I was asleep. When he thought i was sleeping he would sit next to my bed and at first just gently touch my arm. His hands then went down to my crotch, during this I pretended to be asleep in fear of what would happen if I ” woke up”. He would touch my vagina and sometimes even fingered me. I never knew what to do so I igonred it. In fear i tried to deny it trying to convince myself i had just dreamt it. And it s not like my father is abad dad, he cares about me and my education and the rest of my family. And now I wish i had maybepushed him away or something for my friends have also been groped and I wish they had told me before because i cant believe how alone they must have felt until they cameforward but my thing wss a long time ago and i dont want to start something.
Growing up, every time my father saw a driver cut corners on the road, park crookedly, or just generally be bad at driving, he would always point out the car and say things such as “I bet she is a woman” and “Look at how badly this girl parked”, blindly assuming that the drivers were women simply because they were bad at driving. If the driver was a male, he would say things like “Come on man! You have to do better than that!”. As a young child, I was curious to see if the drivers were female. As I got older, I brushed off the comments and rolled my eyes. But now that I am a teen, I tell him why it is wrong to say things like that, and how telling me these sexist things as a child could have really affected me if I had not been so exposed to feminism.
I have a habit of putting my leg up onto the chair I’m sitting on when I’m bored. Most of the time, I avoid doing it because I know it could damage my spine in the future. However, when my father sees me do this, he makes this noise as if to say, “how ugly”, and tells me that it isn’t “elegant” to sit that way. If he told me this for any other reason, I would understand, but his reasoning is that all woman and girls MUST be beautiful and elegant at all times, otherwise they are bad, and no one will like them. Another time, he asked me and my sister if one day we would like to go sky diving. I never enjoyed that kind of thing, and my sister is deathly afraid of heights, so we said no. He then proceeds to say that if he had a son, the son would say yes, as if woman are only timid, little, pretty creatures, and all men are brave and courageous. Until recently, when I watched the Everyday Sexism TED talk, I would disregard these comments. I do understand that I could be going through a lot worse, but I felt that I should still share my story.
my father said that even when I’m at home in pyjamas I must wear a bra because I can’t show my nipples to my brothers, but they can be shirtless in front of me
Singapore. Engineering Consultancy. I met with a gentleman at a conference and we started talking business opportunities private/public partnerships. I work as Engineer for a consultancy and my boss encourages me to do BD as well. The gentleman, 60-something, retired and in private equity, a grandfather to two, and I decide to meet next month to talk some more about possible collaborations. At that meeting, I see him saying goodbye to a young professional. She is Japanese, and I say hi to her in passing. She seems excited to have met with him. I wonder if it is a coincidence that I am like her, only Western and white. During the meeting he tries to compliment me, saying I must be the boss at my firm being so smart and intellectual. I am confused. Do we have a language barrier? (he is Singaporean Chinese) I correct him on my position with the firm and that anything more concrete we need to discuss with my boss. As he proceeds to complement me on more things that are not true or not relevant to our discussion I realize he is trying to make me comfortable and appreciated. We part ways and I wonder why I feel like I wasted my time. I get text messages from him thanking me for the meeting and that I should visit and come cook for him and have wine together. ???!!!?! I ignored the message. During our office meeting the next week I share my experience. My male and female co-workers are dazed. My boss smirks and, while understanding, he chuckles and comments that that it is part of life. Should it? I wish I asked him. Should it? Should your daughter of 19 experience the same as I did last week? She is studying to become a professional in Engineering. Should she be obstructed in her work like that?
I told my dad I’ve been offered a position on the Board of Directors for a national feminist charity (the youngest woman ever on the board!) and sent him my profile for their website. He responded with ‘not your best photo, I guess you didn’t want to look too glamourous’
My father and I were out to lunch. (I am a 47 years old.) The waiter addressed him as “sir” and called me a “young lady”, even though the waiter was clearly 15-20 years my junior. I told the waiter that lady or ma’am is how he should address me and to leave the “young” part silent. The waiter nodded and reacted appropriately. My father, however, told the waiter, “You can call me young any time you like and I won’t bitch at you about it.” It was like a public colonoscopy, that painful. My entire life my father has used biting comments like these to try to punish me when standing up for myself especially against men. Standing up for ourselves should not make us the targets of abuse. Men are scared of losing their entitled traditional male power and use comments like these to try to keep women subservient and obedient.
I was just watching a TV show about trolling with my dad and brother. When I told my dad that many prominent women receive rape and death threats online, my brother denied it, claiming that women make it all up as an excuse for inferior job performance. After just a couple of minutes my dad was agreeing with him. I’m so disappointed that the two men who are closest to me in the world care so little about women’s rights and are so dismissive of women’s opinions. Somehow they feel they know more about being a woman than women do.