For as long as I can remember I have broken every single stereotype about girls. I am competitive, so much so, that since a very young age I have always competed and won against boys. I am nerdy and adore action films such as Star Wars, Marvel, DC comics, Lord of the Rings etc, which I realise a lot of girls love too yet are silenced for it. I am not into beauty, I am 16 years old and still won’t wear make-up or stylish/revealing clothing no matter how much it is forced upon me to look more beautiful for other people. I also love gaming, but the community is so sexist sometimes that I turn off all online communication. These stereotypes have always tried to enforce themselves upon me, but I have always ignored them, so much so that a ‘person’ once said, “You should have just been born a boy”. Whenever I would compete against boys and win, simply for the fact that while I am small, I am fast, strong and an all-around sportsperson, boys would say to their friends, “You got beaten by a girl”. I have also always been uncomfortable around children to the point I decided I never want children when I grow up with absolute certainty because I physically cannot be within five metres of one but people always say, “You’ll change your mind.” I HATE STEREOTYPES.
I am a South African immigrant to America. My family moved here when I was 12 years old for my father’s job. Moving internationally during middle-school or adolescent years is difficult in itself. Besides sitting in class not speaking any English, being forced to stand up to pledge allegiance, or being teased and bullied for my accent, my clothing, my hair, and being from the “country of Africa,” I quickly fell victim to repeated and daily sexual harassment and assault in school. I admittedly welcomed what I perceived and was told was simply male affection and flirting. Any attention at this point in my life was good attention and other girls seemed envious that boys took interest in me so I thought it was a good thing. From getting cat called everyday, having my ass grabbed as I moved through the hallways, groped by boys I didnt know in class, being flashed, bet on, fought over who gets to date me, or asked if I would perform sexual acts on a random basis became extremely normal and intertwined with my educational experience. I thought this is America. This is what it means to be a woman. This is what it looks like to be loved. Teachers and other students saw and heard everything, yet no one protested, so then it must be good right? This led to a spiral of abusive relationships, more assaults in high school, depression, eating disorders, anxiety and panic attacks, being emotionally numb, and distancing myself in every way from my own family- the only people I had with me in this country. I later realized that maybe my immigration status and my nationality had something to do with it. I was told numerous times that I was “exotic,” my curvy figure it BECAUSE Im South African, that I was “foreign” and therefore assumed to be more “willing” to be sexual etc. I was also of course disrespected for strictly being an immigrant, but the two became meshed and seemed to exist together. I also thought I was alone of course until the #Metoo movement gave me and a group of girls in my dorms the confidence to confide in one another and find that we weren’t alone at all.
A while back I was watching TV, as one does and this random add for old navy caught my eye(for those of you who do not know what it is, it’s a large reputable clothing company in North America). The commercial was advertising there kids clothing. The names of jeans featured were what angered me. The boy’s jeans were called the “Karate jeans” and the girl’s jeans were called the “Ballerina Jeans”. I understand this is a small thing but it still bothered me and I thought it is important to share. It’s these stereotypes that bother me the most. As a girl who does mix martial arts *which karate is a part of* I found this preposterous.
I was in Primary School around 9 years old playing football with some boys in my year. Then one of the boys kicked the ball badly and they all started saying “Even girls can do that better than you”. It made my friends and I feel less confident in ourselves and from then on I never took sport seriously.
I don’t know if this is appropriate here…? Khm, I’m a teen, I live in Europe, and my parents are divorced. I live with my mom and older sister. They make really sexist comments on men all the time, stupid thing like “that’s not very manly”, or “he sounds gay”, which, wow, I didn’t know that voices had sexualities. And this whole “manliness” thing? Yes, please, don’t let them have their own personality and preferances, because that’s totally fair. Mom has been forcing gender roles and crap like that down our throat since we were little, and in the past two years my sister has started thinking like that too. This isn’t about women, but hey, sexism goes both ways, right? Another thing that really bugs me is how pretty/popular girls at my school are treated. There are 6 girls in my class, and me and my friend are “the outcast” or whatever. The point is, she keeps talking trash about them, like they’re the mean girls out of a teen drama or something, while I doubt that she would be close enough with any of them to actually know who they are outside of some stupid stereotypes.
When I told my friends and family about being raped (I’m 14) I was told, “you’re a girl. It was probably consensual and you just regret it now.” “You’re a whore. You probably liked it” “You probably deserved it” and “shut up. You’re a girl which means you’re just looking for attention.” I personally didn’t know being a girl meant you wanted to be raped, that you deserve to be raped, or that everything you do is you being dramatic
This didn’t happen to me but I witnessed it a few months ago at a conference I was at. So, it was a healthcare conference in the UK. Lots of high-profile speakers at an event being held by a very well known think-tank. We received an excellent speech from a geriatrician about the way that an ageing society was changing healthcare, she was maybe in her 30’s very well-presented and obviously super smart. I really enjoyed her speech. She was immediately followed on stage by a journalist in his 60s who was giving the next presentation. His first sentence was “I am [Insert name here] and I am a futurist, which means I live in the future.” Then without pausing for breath he goes “Typical woman, you’ve nicked my bloody microphone”. He was referring to the geriatrician who had taken the microphone with her when she left the stage. There was an audible gasp from the audience. He apologised, but I don’t think he understood the irony of saying he lived in the future and then demonstrating a completely prehistoric point of view. I was so angry, the geriatrician gave a really intelligent speech establishing herself as an excellent doctor but at the end of it he still clearly saw her as ‘a woman’ not a professional. Also stealing isn’t even a stereotype of women???
After trying to achieve what felt like the impossible holding down a full time teaching job and running a house with 2 boys mostly single-handedly as a result of my hubby not pitching in, I finally said I wasn’t doing anything else and he would have to for a while. He immediately announced that he couldn’t possibly with his current workload and would have cut down his hours (which are already fewer than mine). It was clear that he expected me to be able to handle it because ‘women are good at those kinds of jobs.’
I am a teenage girl in high school. The other week I heard a boy in my Chemistry class say to his friend “its not hard for girls to fail”. I found this particularly offensive as we had recently received our results for midterms and I failed one of the chemistry tests. To suggest that girls have it easier when we sit the same exams in the same time under the same conditions and are taught by the same teachers is ridiculous and extremely sexist.
Shana Grice, 19 years old, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. She had reported his abusive stalking of her repeatedly to police. The police fined her for wasting their time and treated her reports with skepticism. Thankfully, the ex-boyfriend was found guilty and is now serving a life sentence. But this case just goes to show how little women can reply on the police to take them seriously. The judge criticised the police for their attitude towards her and for stereotyping her. How many more women need to die before we are taken seriously and afforded the rights and protection that we deserve?