I was at the gym squatting when a guy I had never seen before deemed that I needed help. I didn’t. He came mid-set to ‘spot’ me, literally hugging me from behind as I was lowering down. After that rep I stopped, pretended I was done, and left the gym. This was 5 years ago. What bothers me to this day is not slapping that MF instead of cutting my workout short and leaving.
I was groped at a sporting event I was competing at. I felt like a guy has been watching me all day but didnt feel too worried as I knew there were selectors at the event. I had to go to the bathroom quickly during a break between matches and I was in a rush so I went into the disabled toilet. I still dont know how but the guy unlocked the door while I was in there and stood there as he watched me urinate. I didnt even know what to say. I left as quickly as possible and he never even tried to touch me so I felt like I couldnt go to anyone about what happened :/
Earlier this month a man wouldn’t let me leave his house. I’d voluntarily got in the uber with him, but had changed my mind and wanted to leave before we got in the front door. He said when we were inside I could call another to go home. The house was in the middle of nowhere, I didn’t know where I was and then he said he’d let me call an uber if I got into bed and let him spoon me. I said I wasn’t going to do anything, so he lay there for hours narrating his sex life and holding me down. I was too scared to kick up a fuss because he was far stronger than me. At one point I was hyperventilating and he told me to stop. Eventually, after the whole night of lying there clutching my phone, under his weight, he let me leave at 8 am. What makes it worse is he’s on the same sports team as one of my friends and has told him a very different story. Looking back, I should’ve just called a friend to come get me but I didn’t want to cause a fuss. It was the whole flight or fight thing, but I completely froze. I didn’t properly get scared until I got into my bathroom at home shut the door and it all hit me and I had the worst panic attack I’ve had in years. Nothing actually happened, and I don’t know why it’s got to me so much. Since it happened I haven’t had a proper night sleep, which is making my mood get low and I’m panicking going places that he might be (campus), and what he’s exactly said to my friends.
I was talking to a friend at school about how we find it annoying that we’re expected to wear a skort for PE and Games even though we both prefer to wear leggings as we find that skorts restrict our movement (e.g. whilst stretching and doing lunges). My friend mentioned that she hates having to bend down in a skort when she’s trying to pick tennis balls up off the floor. At that point a guy then said that he wouldn’t mind seeing a girl bend over and pick something up off the floor whilst wearing a skort. Other guys in the room started laughing as well whilst my friend and I became frustrated. Honestly you’d expect better from a bunch of sixth formers seeing as some of them are now adults. When will there be lessons about sexism on the national PSHE curriculum?
All these moments where men think they’re being gentlemen but actually they’re just being sexist. I used to play soccer (I was very young and back then they didn’t separate girls from boys) and the coach had the boys run laps but said the girls didn’t have to. Sure, he meant to be a gentleman and do us a favour. But I ended up just standing awkwardly around and being bored because I actually wanted to run. And also, it makes us look weak! Boys can run laps and girls don’t? And no wonder boys are better at sports if they get challenged more! If you have the boys run and exclude the girls from it, the boys will be fitter in the end and the girls will only be weaker and the whole cycle starts again. The same thing at school. The teachers need to get some books from the school’s library. Standard phrase: “Can I get some help from some strong boys to help me carry the books?” Yeah because us girls can’t carry a fucking book. I know you’re trying to do us a favour and I know you’re trying to be a gentleman, but honestly don’t make us look weak. Just don’t make us look weak, because we’re not.
There’s an annual double-handed (two person) sailboat race which I entered my boat in. When I told people I was racing this race most people, male and female, asked whose boat I was on. I replied “my sailboat”. Most of those people further asked who is skippering, to which I replied “Um, me, it’s my boat. And also my crew is another woman” We took third, I have my trophy sitting right here as I type this. After taking third I was asked who skippered my boat. Because of course a female couldn’t possibly own a sailboat, skipper it in a race, with another female crew member…and take home a trophy. Both males and females were party to sexism in this.
Everyday sexism I took my daughter to a women’s cricket match the other day. We sat next to an adult son and father who expressed loudly some questionable views about a variety of topics (egg donation, transgender people etc.). They spent the match sarcastically applauding any mistakes the teams made, shouting “just hit the ball” and generally rubbishing women’s cricket. (The home team contained 3 English players who have recently won the World Cup.) By the end of the first innings, I had had enough. We packed up our things and moved to where more families were sitting. As we left, I told the men they were pathetic. My daughter loves sport (as do I), and we go to lots of football and cricket matches. We now attend football matches with friends due to the toxic atmosphere even in the family stands of our local team. I hadn’t expected to experience similar behaviour at a women’s cricket match.
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.
Back when I was about twelve years old, I played camogie, (the female version of hurling). We were hosting a charity car wash in the middle of our town to try and fundraise for our team. a man drove up, saw us in our jerseys which are identical to the boys’ team. He pulled up and asked if we were fundraising for the boys’ team. We replied it was for the girls’ team and he paused for a moment, then worldlessly reversed out and drove off.
I was playing golf with a guy and won. I play far more often and practice etc. He seemed to think it is still wrong for me to win because that is “emasculating” for him. It is depressing to think that no matter how hard I work I amsill expected to lose.