Sexism

Civil Servant

Got some anonymous feedback for an Executive Management course I’m on. One person’s comments said they have ‘significant confidence in her skills and decision making’, and then ‘I think that some people underestimate her and [I] suspect that sometimes this is because she is young and female‘. This makes me angry. I’m grateful to this person for saying it out load, and it really encourages me they don’t think it’s okay and mentally try to dissolve these preconceptions, so at least some others must think the same way. But the fact this is what still women face makes me angry, and demoralised about being in my own workplace.

Claudia

Hello! My name is Claudia, I am currently in the U.S.All my life I have been told I would never amount to anything and that I would never be as strong as men. I have experienced things such as sexual assault as well as catcalling. When I told someone they said it was because I was not wearing anything (I was in my own home) and that it didn’t count because he “Didn’t mean it sexuallY.”. It happened before with a boy a year older than me who treated me like an object, but “Boys will be boys.” It happened once more by a woman as well. I had been groped in public and catcalled multiple times, and so have all of my female friends. The inequality is disgusting, and we need to fight back! Please understand my story and know you’re not alone, and your story is valid regardless of gender.

CC

After telling my boss about a string of several sexist, boderline racist and innapropriate “casual consversations” with an older male professor that shares my office twice a month, she shrugged it off by saying “oh he will never change his ways, better to avoid him”. So I now have in my diary the days he is scheduled to come in so I work from home on those days. I might have to change office in the next few months as well.

Cristina Berenguer

My (now ex-)boyfriend used to treat me like a piece of shit while claiming that he was “a feminist” and saying that he couldn’t stand women being treated in the way they are. He was always sharing feminist videos on his social media. We had an open relationship because he had asked me to (while he always was saying it was because I would not be able to have a closed relationship – aka slut-shaming me). When we were with our friends he made me look like I was the one bossing him around, him being innocent and this poor boy who was always behind me, doing whatever I wanted. He tried to get in bed with friends of mine, while I was in the same room. He raped me through coercion multiple times – including the first time we had “sex”-, he told me my English (which is not our first language) was bad, he told a friend of mine that he was only a 5% sexually satisfied with me. He was obsessed with anal sex and he always wanted to try it with me, when he very well knew I hated it and it hurt a lot for me. In a nutshell, he disturbed my sexual life to a point where I would start crying in the middle of doing it. Still now, sometimes, I can’t have sex with my couple because I can’t stop thinking of that. Never respected my boundaries, gaslighted me and treated me like I was ugly and stupid. Now I have a masters’ degree in Plant Biotechnology and I will start my PhD this year.

South Downs

We have one female HGV driver out of around 160, and I witnessed normalised everyday sexism only last week. The men were clearly watching something sexually distasteful on a phone, and the banter was flying, both ways, not wanting her to miss out, or be left out, one put the phone directly in front of her face, so she had to watch. Clearly uncomfortable, but being forced to be one of the boys she laughed it off. We dont need to become surrogate men to do the same job, we dont need to fit into make culture to do the job. The culture and banta should be free from casual sexism

Rebecca

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’.

Ben

When I was in an abusive relationship I was turned away from domestic violence help because I’m a man. #everydaysexism

Tina

I went to the Free Britney Spears Rally. “The Blast” in Los Angeles and Hollywood which is a tabloid had a reporter criticize one of my new friends at the rally because her bra was showing, instead of focusing on it being a civil rights or human rights issue for equality. Disgusting! She would be fired in NorCal.

Aslı

I was in a relationship with a man from US and in the beginning he was so different from the men i knew since I was from a highly conservative country. I was even shocked when he was okay with me studying abroad for 6 months and didn’t break up with me for it. Even this shows how undeveloped the society was and how much i was used to it. Then one day we had a conversation about homosexualism and he kept defending his homophobia based on me being unexperienced and how i don’t know anything. I don’t even know if that was coming from his feelings about me being from this 3rd world country or me being this little girl that can not possibly be right but appearently it was not about the topic anymore. And the same night there was a protest about not cutting the trees in my home city for a gold mine and i was supporting it to the end and writing letters to unesco all day. He just saw a post about it and said “It’s not gonna work anyways it didn’t work for Gezi Park protest they still cut down that one tree.” I explained him that eventhough people died in Gezi Park and it is seen negatively it actually worked and there is no shopping mall in the place of the park that he walks through everyday and maybe this protest can work too. He just said “No it didn’t they still cut down that tree you don’t know shit.” After that I just asked him for some empathy at least since it is my home city. “And that is why women should not be in decision making positions because you are simply thinking with your emotions.” was the answer i got. It was all like the good old sexism I’ve been reading and listening about and I never thought that it could be me in a position like that with him. It does not have to be a physical act or extreme words, sexism can be in these little arguments that can be ignored and moved on. But it is there. People said “At least he is loyal to you or he’s not a bad person” in his defense and they were right. But it made me question my opinions and the risk of believing that he was right even one time was an insult to my being.

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.