My boyfriend like to tell me that I’m quite funny for a girl. When I challenge him and call out he says that he’s just being honest and that’snot sexism
At the start of a senior staff meeting on Friday, male colleagues were joking around about harassment. They think it’s ok because they know each other well and of course they’d never behave like that themselves. They don’t realise how depressing it might be to women to be getting the message that they see if as a joke in this setting. Wearying.
At a stand-up comedy gig in Shepherd’s Bush. I was the only woman in the room and was relentlessly picked on by the comedians, who would not stop telling me how “gorgeous” I was. One asked whether I was dating the male friend I had come to support, when told no my friend was advised to simply “keep trying”. Another said to the whole room that I was “a woman worth dying over, or at least spraining a wrist over” and received thunderous laughter from the audience. I left feeling utterly humiliated. Was I supposed to find that funny?
Working as a business consultant there were times when I was the only woman in the room. For a construction industry client I had to work with a team of 25 men in Central America. 25 men and me. Everytime when we were in less formal settings they used to make sexist and sexual jokes. It was so awkward. This guys sometimes were 60 years old or more, and I was 26, and it was supposed to be “ok” to tell sexist stories during dinner (work dinner- please notice): stories about how hot a secretary was, how well equipped she was, or how this saleswoman at one of the stores wanted to “get some” or if a female manager was a total bitch and hated men. They did this in front of me, all the time. They thought it was completely normal and funny. But it was so uncomfortable. At first I was unsure as to what I was supposed to do. Should I ignore it? Should I laugh as well? Should I say something like “this is so inappropriate”? It was really awkward already since I was the only woman but I wanted to “get along” with them. But it just wasn’t possible. It was infuriating the way they spoke about women all the time. And at the same time I knew they just didn’t notice how wrong it was. After the first weeks I made it a point to just stare down the guy that told the joke and make sure he noticed I was not laughing and I was completely serious. So when someone made a joke instead of laughing I just stared at him… for a looooong time, completely silently. It was weird and exhausting because really, who wants to do this while having dinner? It worked a little bit… first when they noticed my stare they would stop laughing and seemed to wonder what the hell was wrong with me and sometimes they sorta noticed maybe what they said was not ok and started to think why I would have a problem with it. However, this was actually too subtle for most. When it was really bad I used sarcasm to thank them for such a lovely dinner conversation, and for sharing how hot my colleagues were and how great it was to know they appreciated them, since they were all sooo handsome, successful and incredible men, and surely all this women were glad to be considered attractive and desireable. I smiled all the while but they did get the sarcasm. Also sometimes I mocked them, “yes, please do tell me more about that saleswoman Rodolfo, it’s funny as hell to hear how she is not interested at all in you”. After several times they sorta made the effort, but I could tell it was really awkward for them as well. Sometimes when they slipped I used the loooong stare and silent face. Once I told them I wasn’t going to laugh at their sexist jokes as a black person wouldn’t laugh at racist jokes. Overall it was a completely exhausting experience.
I’m at university and I live in halls with 13 other people. There are 9 boys and 5 girls, so we are outnumbered. However the thing that bothers me is that some of the biys make rape jokes. The make a joke and everyone but me laughs. I don’t see how people can find it funny. I really don’t. I find it disgusting. I called them out on it once and they all looked at me and were defending themsleves; how they would never do it, how they think it’s horrible. But if they did they would not make jokes. What’s even more shocking to me is that one girl is doing her degree on law and human rights, another psychology and another criminology and myslef sociology. We have all looked at rape in our sujbects, be it either the legal apsects or the impacts. So the girls know how horrifying it is, yet thery still laugh at the joke. I hate it.
I just watched Laura’s speech at Ted’s and how she was told not to make a fuss about these things. I hear this very often. e.g. Some of my friends (all men) joke about women’s right to vote in our country (Switzerland). They say it was a mistake. They sometimes say “women should go back in the kitchen”. When I get upset about these jokes they call me a Femnazi! And they say that I take it too serious. Why is it ok to make offensive jokes about women? But it’s not ok to be upset or offended? Sometime they even say that I’m exhausting because I speak against such jokes.
A few years ago I got my first job as a waitress in a cafe that my dad’s friend and his wife owned. The workers were really nice and fun to be around, at least for the first month. And I loved it there. But later, when I was part of the “qlique”, I started doubting them. That was when the harrasment started. I had seen them do it to each other in the fist month, never did they include me. It seemed like an inside joke and because some of them had been or were at the time in a relationship with eachother it did not seem as much. I was a virgin, never had I been intimate with someone. And then the “jokes” started. slapping my ass in front of the costumers, pinching my boobs, sex noises behinde the WC door, standing behind me with hands on my hips while I was pouring drinks, humping me from behinde as a surprise and the endless sex jokes and suggestions. I was scared to tell the owners that I was not comfortable with it because I was ashemed that my dad would find out. I was scared of slut shaming, tho I had done nothing wrong. I had asked the others to stop it, but got called chicken and told to loosen up. And as it was my first ever job, I didn’t want nor could I lose it. But I had this inside feeling, that if I did ask for it to stop and reported it, I would be sacked.
I am in middle school not the place you think you would see sexism. Surprisingly I once was told ” You know what’s a joke women’s rights.” In elementary school a girl once told me my boobs were too big. Why does this exist