Tag Archives: feminism

Being the “bitch” at the ball game

I was watching my younger sisters baseball game. Her team is the 16U girls team which is also known as team British Columbia. Since baseball is not generally the most welcoming sport for girls as many people consider it a “boys” sport I was happy to see an entire team of girls all playing ball together. I was also proud to have parents in the crowd supporting the girls and I truly believed that all of the parents were feminists, especially because they all seem to believe that girls should have just as much opportunity in sports as boys. I still believe a lot of the parents feel this way but recently my positive spirits about this community were shifted due to a man in the stands comment on my vocal support towards the girls. Every time the girls start doing well or I feel that they need some encouragement I cheer words such as “let’s go girls you’ve got this”, “let’s show these boys what you can do”, “lets go *insert individual girls name*!” And today in the stands I said quietly to the parents “I really hope the girls beat the boys today, I think they should be beat because I think the girls are the stronger team and they can do it!” A man in the stands (from our own team!) quickly told me to shut up as he was shaking his head and I replied by saying “I’m never going to stop supporting the girls!” He then said “you’re such a little bitch” in a very harsh tone and then proceeded to tell me that no one wants to hear what I have to say. These comments hurt because this was coming from a community that I thought was sort of a safe haven for feminists, a place for women and men to support each other. I told him that by using misogyny to defend his own misogyny will never silence me supporting girls baseball! I then turned to some of the mothers and grandmothers in the stands looking for support but instead heard comments such as “I can’t believe she is bringing this up at a ballgame!” And I was told that my response to the man was wrong and was encouraged once again to stop speaking. During this time the man continued to call me a “bitch”. My mother stepped in telling him to never say that to a woman again. My mother’s support gave me the courage to share my story because I know there are women out there that will support me and share ideologies such as my own. Even if my comments were a little too “out there” I will never apologize for sharing my voice with the world and will never ever be silenced by such hate. Thank you Laura for making this absolutely phenomenal site and allowing me to share my story of being referred to as a “bitch” at the ballgame. I hope this story empowers other young girls to refuse to be silenced by men who don’t want to hear our voice.

Rosie

I am only a 15 year old girl, literally the most normal you could imagine. I am a feminist, and I attend a Girls’ School where strong women are celebrated, and my best friend and I decided to open the FIRST and ONLY intersectional feminist society. When I realised that there is no empowerment for one of the largest movements happening at this moment in time I was astonished, and honestly I was embarrassed for my school not having one of these life changing clubs. We need school to open clubs like mine to show the world what feminism is, to stop sexism, and to stop the patriarchy from taking over. No, this isn’t my experiences of sexism, but I want to stop sexism, and if we don’t this will keep going on, and the best way to stop sexism is to teach the children that sexism is wrong, and we won’t get anything from it. Equality is the only way society can progress.

Anon

I wish to talk about how I feel objectified by my ex-partner who was a man when I was with him (and at the time defined himself as a transvestite), and who now identifies as a transwoman. Whilst I was with my partner he was open about being transvestite, told me that he had bought a dress and started shaving his legs. My position on this was that it was absolutely his right to do that, but I told my partner that whilst I was supportive of his choices, in all honesty it didn’t appeal to my own sexuality, (and I believe it is anyone’s right to have their own sexual preferences). As a result he would dress up in private (please note this was not at my request, but something he chose to do I suppose as a form of compromise). However, I often felt objectified and fetishized by this partner, having a fuss made over some garment I was wearing for example, which made me feel uncomfortable in the way it would trivialise my experience of being a woman by reducing it to an item of clothing and a focus on ‘femininity’ which I didn’t feel represented me or my worth as a human being. In addition, this partner would fantasise while having sex with me that we were a pair of lesbians. Again, I fully support and respect lesbians, but I am not one, and I felt in some ways that I was having this narrative projected onto our relationship, which again felt like a compromise of my own sexuality. Eventually we broke up amicably, but we have remained friends. The problem I have is that this person has felt it their right to ‘transplain’ the difficulties of being a woman to me on several occasions, which I find is becoming an alarming trend coming from a lot of transwomen. For example, he explained what it was like to be street-harassed and suggested I couldn’t know what it was like, as though I had never experienced it! I believe it is the right for any person to express their sexuality if it doesn’t conform to gender norms, and I believe transpeople as all people are deserving of respect, but I am deeply concerned by some aspects of the trans-activist movement which appears to be dictatorial about notions of sexuality and gender, and what a woman and sexuality is, and even who we should be sleeping with. Speaking specifically about my ex, they call themselves a woman, but this individual exhibits all the signs of middle-class white male privilege in the confidence they have to express themselves and indeed to mansplain. To be fair to my ex, who is an intelligent and sensitive person in many ways, they do have some awareness of this and accept they have privilege due to their upbringing, but unfortunately many in the trans-community do not. They demand they are accepted not only as women, but even in some cases a superior form of woman due to inherently sexist notions which all relate to appearance – quality of make-up for example – rather than life experience. Some even argue that a lesbian to not want to be with a transwoman who has a penis is transphobic. I don’t wish to disrespect anybody, but for some (not all) transwomen, being a transwoman is not about ‘feeling’ like a woman, but about wanting to be admired as a woman and having a festish for this, as with my ex. I do not suggest this is in any way wrong morally, but it is an infringement of women’s rights and indeed insulting to women when it is demanded that they play along with such a fetish even when it means denying themselves their own definition, thoughts, feelings and sexuality. In my case, to do so would be to claim that I am therefore a lesbian, which I am not (again, no homophobia in this statement, I’m fighting for the rights of straight, gay and bi women alike to define themselves and their sexuality here in saying this). Unfortunately, because as women we are brought up to be people pleasers, and indeed because we experience so much aggression at the hands of men, we have always been grateful for allies, which transwomen have always been seen as. But ultimately, natal women should be the ones who define what it is to be a woman, not people who were born and raised as men.

Bethan Juliff

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.

Lucy

As a gay teenager, I haven’t been dreadfully conscious of the truth concerning my sexuality at school. It was something I thought that people should be mature enough to handle, and if they weren’t, then they weren’t worth my time. In hindsight, this approach was probably really really stupid. Within a few weeks of coming out, I got asked so, so many times about my body, my sexual attraction, everything. F*cking classmates asked me in the middle of maths lessons whether I really liked ‘sticking my fingers up other girls’; whether I was sure about my orientation, if I just hadn’t had a good dicking yet and that was why I was so ‘perverted’. A person I’d known for 3 years asked me if I was a boy now – because, in his mind, lesbians were transgender boys. A concept of girls liking girls seemed impossible to him, and he had the gall to ask me if my breasts were real (‘do lesbians have tits?’). These were fourteen-year-old boys asking me these questions. I was absolutely disgusted – and hurt. That hurts, it hurts so much, when people see you – a classmate that they should respect and just leave alone – as some false-nails porn fantasy, as some ‘bent queer’ who just hasn’t had the right cock in her yet. Couldn’t they just leave me alone? Every other day people would ask me about my sexuality like they had a right to be invested in who I was and wasn’t kissing. In other instances, people told me that feminism was all about female domination and that feminists were just trying to take over the world and subdue men. The notion that feminism was still necessary didn’t strike them despite the harassment and rape rates, the workplace discrimination statistics, all the other glaringly obvious things. Another time I got told that the only reason women were in lower job positions than men and there were fewer female executives/women in positions of power, was because women were naturally better at tending to children, and that it couldn’t be asked of the father to look after them as it would be too much of a burden on his manly, manly soul. Societal and ingrained prejudices and normalized discrimination did not seem a real and actual thing to him. Every time I confront someone on the way they treat women or LGBT+ people, they tell me I’m making a fuss over nothing, that women and men are equal now, that ‘societal prejudice’ is just made up. And every time I think about this, I feel angrier and angrier. Because I feel as if there’s nothing I can do. Some people will change their minds, but many never will and will die full of hate, racism, sexism, and homophobia. I cannot change the way they think. I cannot pick a fight with every other builder on a street corner who tells me – a fourteen-year-old – that I have nice tits, I cannot argue with every classmate who tells me ‘rape is just rough sex’ and that ‘it feels good after a while’. I, a schoolgirl, am utterly powerless against the people who would objectify me. I have this raging, hot anger inside me, I want people to apologise, to see that gender equality is more than the right to vote and equal pay (which, by the way? Still not a thing). I want rapists to go to jail, I want sexism to be explained clearly and explicitly to every primary school child so that they know that sexism is still real, I want boys (and girls!!) to understand from a young age that doing anything without your partner’s consent is wrong. I want this bullsh*t attitude of ‘female dominance’ to be discarded and for people to realize that they are scared of being emasculated. I want men to know that they can be raped too and that they shouldn’t buckle down and shut up about it. I want prostitutes and sex workers to be treated equally – working in the sex industry does NOT equal lesser rights as a human being. I want slut-shaming to not be a thing, I want lesbians to stop being seen as either a fetish or a warped thing of nature, I want gay men to stop being seen as either creepy ass-rapist pedophiles or feminine sluts. I want transgender people to stop being seen as perverts who are trying to spy on you in the bathroom, I want women of color to stop being fetishized. If I read this out to the boys at my school, there would be a divided reaction: many boys would leave laughing and joking about my hair, or how I shake when I’m nervous or snicker as they leave abusive notes in my locker, but secretly feeling ashamed and angry about themselves. A positively minuscule number would openly agree, and I can almost guarantee that they would have female friends or be part of the LGBT+ community, and would know either first-hand what it’s like to experience gender discrimination or have heard it from people they care about. And I know that most of the boys would leave, rolling their eyes at another feminist propaganda rant. Maybe this is a rant, and it definitely is feminist. But it’s not propaganda. I’m not trying to win over the gays and build an army of women. I’m asking men to take me seriously. I’m asking for more men to step in when girls get harassed, for more male classmates to stand up and defend gender equality, for more boys to stop being so scared of the word ‘gay’ being used as an insult and get a damn grip on their bullsh*t masculinity, and realise that most people will love them regardless of how they come dressed into school, how they talk, who they kiss, what they do in their spare time. And if they’ve found themselves friends that criticise them because of that – then they’re pretty sh*tty friends, if I do say so myself. People who put down their own friends in order to feel validated about what they do with their reproductive organs are assholes. I really diverged in the end… but I hope some of you can relate. This website is wonderful and brings so many women together.

Elsbeth

Jerusalem – 3rd of April 2018 The following happened to me on my way home from the city centre to Damascus Gate after midnight: I spent the evening with my temporary lover and decided to walk home to my flat in the Old City. Since it was already past midnight streets were pretty empty. I am not afraid to walk alone through parks in the dark and I do feel safe in public spaces. The experience of being sexually assaulted hasn’t changed this in my case even though it shook my sense of safety. Two guys approached me while I was walking on Yannai Street. Since I wasn’t interested in chit chatting I tried to pass by without giving them much of attention. From then everything seemed to happen pretty fast: They didn’t let me pass and one of them pushed me with both of his hands against a fence next to the walkway. Meanwhile his friend started to grab me under my shirt. He touched my belly, my back and parts of my breast. For seconds I was totally paralysed. I couldn’t move and felt the weight of patriarchy crushing me down. My female body seemed to belong to anyone else but myself. This feeling of powerlessness and objectification let me freeze like a statue not able to defend myself verbally or physically. After my self-esteem kicked in again I took advantage of creating a moment of surprise and pushed away the guy who was trying to fix me against the fence making a necklace out of his hands for me. Doing so gave me the opportunity to run away. Shocked and not able to express myself properly I arrived back at my lovers place and shared briefly what just happened to me. He hugged me and it actually felt good to entrust my body to a male person after experiencing sexism in such a way. Not knowing how to deal with the situation and with the good intent not to enforce him on me that person left me alone in his bedroom in order to finish a movie he was currently watching. Feeling vulnerable, alone and fragile I didn’t even come up with using obvious resources such as calling feminist friends or asking my lovely roommate to pick me up. Once again I haven’t felt treated as a subject that deserves attention and care. Finally I stayed overnight at his place and managed to express my needs and feelings towards him. What I realised after this experience is that sexism is part of my life. This could have happened anywhere to me. As a feminist it is part of my daily struggle to raise my voice in order to strive for, amongst others, the equality of the sexes. Besides that I believe we have to share our stories with our male counterparts. We can expect more from them than sexist behaviour. In fact we have to reach out for men as allies we can trust. Furthermore I want to point out that texting my best friend after getting home safe on a random night out is not overly cautious. It is damn necessary even though we are living in the 21st century. We are not all simply human beings. Not yet!

Marga

Berlin – Disco Havanna, 7th of April 2018, around midnight I was out with friends in a salsa club and wanted to go to the restrooms while my friends were still dancing in the 1st floor. So I went down the stairs on my own to the ground floor. Two guys came towards me (I wasn’t even paying attention to them really, there were so many people going up and down the stairs) but then out of the blue one of them took some strong steps in my direction trying to kiss me. I blocked him by holding his shoulders and then tried to tell him that this kind of behavior is not cool, that he is crossing a limit and that he should never ever do that again, to no one. But instead of understanding he just moved his head towards me again, trying to kiss me a second time. So I slapped him in the face and started to shout at him, on what the hell he thinks he is or what gives him the right to behave like that. In this moment his friend joined the scene, holding my shoulder and trying to convince me that there is no problem, and I was overreacting and so on. I was getting more and more upset and pushed his arm away and told him in a quite angry voice not to touch me. That pissed him off so he tried to push me away now, saying things like, “Ok, crazy girl, she is totally overreacting…etc. etc.” By that time we were already heavily arguing down the stairs and I considered just leaving, but that behavior (turning the whole thing around and making me the person losing the temper without reason) really made me angry. Luckily there was a girl that saw us and she asked me if everything was all right. I would like to say thanks again to that woman who gave me the support and the confirmation in that moment that something has to be done and that it is not ok to accept this as something normal and ignore. I spoke to the security and they immediately took action. I have to admit that I was positively surprised about how they dealt with the situation. We searched for the two guys and found them (there was another person that had seen the situation as well and that told us where they were) and I was asked if I wanted to make a formal complaint but then I just said no and the guys were just thrown out of the club. I don’t know if it would have been better had I filed a formal complaint. One of the security personnel told me later, when I went back in, that I was wrong not to do it. But in that moment though I wasn’t sure if that would not be overreacting somehow. Retrospectively, now I ask myself if that is not exactly what the patriarchal society makes us believe every day (and what that friend-guy also told me), that we are overreacting when affected by sexist behavior and unfortunately, in the end we believe it (because it is so ingrained in our heads) knowing at the same time that it is NOT true and that we are NOT overreacting.

Sophia

Today, I was watching an interior design programme which was following the lives of a small family who wanted to build their dream house. The mother of the family was going to be in charge of ensuring the builders were working efficiently and doing their work and she would also be lending a helping hand & her husband would be looking after the children whilst she worked on the house, I thought this was wonderful and she was doing a brilliant thing, unfortunately the presenter of the show thought otherwise as he constantly called her out for small issues, such as she may have mislaid a brick or measured inaccurately, he even went as far as to say ‘Perhaps she should’ve been the one looking after the children..like most women and let her husband do the work’ which I find disgusting. I went on the watch the following episode of this programme where the house was built, it was beautiful! Perfect in every way imaginable, unfortunately the presenter kept calling out the woman and laughing behind her back and being incredibly rude indeed! #EverydaySexism

Chuyita

I recently purchased the book ‘Everyday sexism’ and it awoke the urge to talk about my experiences with sexual assault and sexism. As a Hispanic teenager, I am expected to know how to cook, clean, be polite and submissive, and respect men simply because they are the ones who will protect me as I am ‘fragile’ and ‘not smart enough yet.’ It really sucks to have to require validation from my father in order to stay in the U.S. and obtain a higher education than i would in my native country. It is extremely exhausting to not be able to hang out with my friends or to burp or to be fat or hairy because that’s not ladylike. At school I have to deal with my fellow classmates looking at my body and I honestly hate being responsible for not getting raped when I walk down the street. I hate having to carry around loose bobby pins and how my brother was forced to teach me self-defense in case someone tries to do something. I don’t like the way I feel when i have to not make eye contact and lock doors behind me when I see a man give me a weird smile. I’m sixteen years old. I don’t like not being able to show my shoulders or my knees because a horny teenage boy might find that attractive and try to take advantage of me. I have been told that they are ‘complimenting’ me and that I should be grateful that someone would ever find me attractive, but the truth is that it makes me feel really uncomfortable and it makes me want to puke. A huge form of sexism that I see in school and in the general public is that we often fail to understand that men get sexually harassed, men get raped. I have met plenty of boys who have also ran away from other men and in some cases women. I have noticed and even done it, with all honesty, I grabbed my friend’s stomach and made my way up to his nipples and everyone took it as a joke, i noticed that even thouhh men are usually the ones to attack they are also victims and they get no validation or respect. You see? Men are also struggling with this because just like how I’m expected to be the perfect wife they are expected to be tough, strong, fearless, and ready to take any compromise or burden on their shoulders and not complain. Men are also victims of sexism. Men have feelings. Men are worthy of being loved. Men are worthy of being held and cared for. Men are a light of love in the darkness of sadness. There are a fair amount of men who have made mistakes or simply bad choices; choices that have affected many of us, but men are also pure and they are victims too. I have been sexually assaulted by both men and women and the only difference were the sound on their voice and their body type. Their intentions were the same and essentially had the same outcome. Is no different. I want to make a change and make school a safer environment for both boys and girls but we need to make it clear that feminism is gender equality and that it does not mean that women are better than men like many of my peers think. This is just a little something of who I am, what I’ve been through, and what i stand for. I might return later on. Thank you

Sara

Yesterday one of my closest male friends and I were reading a feminist magazine and he actually started explaining the concepts to me. I knew the concepts, and though I might not be as well read as he on feminist literature and philosophy, I acutely experience these things every day. I just really took issue with it. Later, this same friend made an offhand comment about how unfortunate it is that ugly women never get taken seriously in society (after explaining how he made out with a very problematic person because she was hot). I’m not the best looking woman, and I have dealt with that, so it stung. I’ve felt bad since.