University

Anon

Why is it that many voice activated computer assistants are given female wake names and female voices? Is it because the software was developed by men? Did these men ask permission from real human women before using real human female names as wake words? Did anyone consider the impact this would have on the women or girls? Do these men realise how much chaos, frustration they would cause women and girls who (not by choice) share names with these bots? What if a woman makes a video call to her friends, one of her friends says her name and then the computer device goes off? What if her friends tell her not to say her name any more? What about her identity and dignity? What about her social and educational life? What if a woman (who had her name first) is subject to a constant barrage of jokes and commands? What if she is told she is irritating just for stating her own birth name because saying it apparently makes the music stop, lights go off or the microwave pause? What about girls bullied and sexually harassed at school just because they happen to share a name with an ai program? None of these women and girls chose to be treated this way. They woke up one morning to find the world constantly asking them to “check the weather”, “turn on the lights” or “play [insert name of popular song her]”. This goes on week after week. Why are women name shamed because of the coincidence of sharing their name with a piece of software? What did they ever do to deserve such degrading treatment? What if a small boy sees his Dad yelling in frustration at a device with a real human female name? What does that teach children about how to treat women in general and how to treat women with that name? It bothers me a lot seeing adults and children yelling at machines assigned names that belong to real women. By naming the machine’s default wake words after women and requiring people rudely command the devices with saying “please” or “thank you” sets a very bad example of behaviour for young children and society in general. These devices have essentially become glorified electronic BoBo dolls where the user is rewarded with entertainment and comfort for being lazy and speaking in demeaning ways towards women who through no fault of their own share their names with the default wake word of the device. If people are forced to call an electronic device by a female name transference of the rude behaviour onto real human women with the same name will occur by association. These devices teach people to bully and harass (sometimes sadly even sexually I’ve heard) women who’s name was programmed by someone else to be the wake word. Also the women and girls with the name are forced to into silence by friends/colleagues so as not to wake the device. These women and girls are unfairly being forbidden from saying their own names! What does this do to a person to dread saying their own name while other people yell commands using it constantly? Also the advertising misleadingly refers to the electronic device as “she” and calls the device by the default wake word (which is a common woman’s/girl’s name). So sadly anyone who watches the ads will associate the woman’s name with an electronic “servant” even if that woman has other career plans. The women with the name used to activate the device are unfairly placed into a “do this do that” box. It is the most insidious form of unfair stereotyping I have ever seen in my life. How is this fair or acceptable? This is not okay. This is not cool. This has to stop now. Why do people make jokes about this? Don’t they care? Why can’t non-human connected wake words be programmed into voice activated assistants? Lots of people (especially Sci Fi enthusiasts) enjoy media with robot assistants in the story such as R2-D2. The Sonic games have the E series robots with unique numbers. If a wake word “robot style” code was used similar to these robots then no human beings with human names should be adversely affected or confused with these assistants. Why can’t robot style wake words with numbers and letters instead of using names that already belong to real human women and girls? Or if you’re a Trekkie, why not change the wake word settings to “computer”? A genderless robot sounding voice would be cool too as well as customization. Just some ideas. If they keep using human female names as wake words for voice activated personal electronic assistants then remember… Your name could be next. BTW I am ticking the “I am not a robot” box because I am a human woman.

Shalvi

1. I was walking back home from work in the evening when a guy on a motorbike smacked my ass from behind really hard, then drove on 10 meters, stopped and grinned. I was too tired and shocked to say anything and he left before I could get his license plate. From then on whenever I walked on the street, I would turn around if I heard a bike behind me. 2. I had just completed high school and cycling with my sister in a university campus when a guy on a motorbike started riding next to us and started masturbating and saying we were so pretty he couldn’t control it anymore. We screamed at him and he took off. 3. My boss always made comments on how immoral it was for women to have guy friends, to drink or smoke etc and he thought that healthy family structures were being destroyed because women had started working. We had respectable debates a couple of times about such topics and needless to say I didn’t like my boss very much. I used to work hard and would also put in extra hours at work when needed. Out of the blue one day my boss asked me to marry him and I was absolutely shocked. I said no and he told me to take my time to think. I explained to him that I didn’t need time, that we were incompatible and so different and after all the disagreement we had had how did he think I ever liked him like that. Over the next two weeks he tried to change my decision, told me I was at fault for his feelings because I put in extra hours at work and he thought I wanted to spend time with him and said that we could compromise, and I didn’t understand what a great person he was and how much he loved me. When I told him no he asked me to resign.

*m

I was a first year physics student. We spent two days a week working in a lab. The lab supervisor was watching porn in his office all day. After you had finished an experiment, you’d have to go into his office to show him your report. The office had no windows and was always dark. When the lab supervisor was not in his office, he’d be joking with the male students talking about the female students’ bodies. One classmate of mine he referred to as BBOTU, which stood for “beautiful body otherwise terribly ugly.” I don’t know how he referred to me, but I do know that he joked about me with a couple of guys who started showing up drunk at my house in the middle of the night. When I became the student representative at the university committee that oversees the teaching, I learned that the faculty knew all about this man. They said they put him in charge of the first-year lab because that meant they wouldn’t have to interact with him. Already at that age, I had internalized the sense that females don’t matter to such an extent that it never occurred to me to protest. And I wasn’t the only one. When this man retired, some 15 years after I graduated, he was made an honorary member of the physics student association. After all, he’d always helped out with events.

Friend?

I had a friend at uni who I have since realised he wasn’t really a friend. He once introduced me as the epitome of an oxford slag right his friends. It was out of the blue and really hurt me and made me feel uncomfortable. Once we were watching a tv programme and he started stroking my upper leg, I looked at him as if to say what are you doing and he commented that I had such big legs and he hasn’t noticed before. I have seen him since university where he commented on my weight gain, saying he assumed I was pregnant as that’s really the holy excuse for it.

Carina

I have two stories. First one was at university. In the first week of uni I was told for my post grad induction on what I should be careful about but mostly what I shouldn’t wear and how I shouldn’t behave to not attract the attention of potential rapists. None of the guys were told on how to behave and what they should or shouldn’t do. At work when I tried to get a promotion I was told my a male work colleague that now that I’m married I don’t have to worry about my career as my priorities have changed and my husband can provide for me. He had no knowledge of my husband’s salary and clearly it meant I’m now married so why do I need a career. Clearly something that no one ever told to my husband after we married. I have endless stories like that.

rouaa

my name is rouaa, i am 19 years old from Benghazi libya. i have been reading and learning more and more about feminism and sexism and the more I do, the clearer it is to me how unfair i have been treated in the past, because it was just what everyone thought was normal and okay. when i first started experiencing men catcalling me in the streets (i was probably 13) my mother told me i should never look at the man or respond or even defend myself if he tried to touch me because he might get angry and hurt me, i listened to her for years. another time i was in a crowded store with my mom and dad standing in line, i felt a hand brushing against my ass, i figured it was by accident because the store was crowded, but the second time i felt uncomfortable and told my mother, she told me to “be quiet” because she doesn’t want my dad to hear me and then start trouble with that man. Early on i was taught to always cover up, my dad would send me back to my room to change because my pants were “too tight” and i hated my body because i didn’t wanna be a sex object. i was furious with questions and i was always shut down from people who said it was our religion or our culture. my cousin once told me that my house would be “dirty” if i worked because i wouldn’t have time to clean. my uncle told me it was my job to sacrifice and compromise because that’s what a good mother does for her family. I saw my aunt thanking her husband for holding the baby like he was doing her a favor by taking care of his own child. in libya we have tribes and these “important” tribe meetings which women are obviously not invited to because, well, because they’re women. i have a cousin who would ignore me every time we met, he would shake hands with everyone in the room but me, i never knew why but i figured if i was a man it surely wouldn’t have happened. when you’re a girl you’re automatically less important, easy to ignore. in family dinners we have to make sure the men’s plates have more food and look more presentable because they’re more worthy of that for some reason. when my cousin was 16, she was forced to marry a man she didn’t want, and the same had happened to her sister. when anything bad happens to you youre automaticly blamed for it because men have needs, men cant control themselves, “its okay for men to catcall and hit on you because its a “phase” that they go through” a crush i had (believe it or not) once said to me, but why should i be the subject of your phase? why do you feel entiltled to my body and to talk to me or even get my number? why is all this bullshit okay and normal?. in libya youre not really suppossed to dye your hair or wear makeup until you get married. i of course didnt care for that and wore makeup to events and occasions anyway and people always judged me for it. i wasnt allowed to wear makep going out (still not allowed actually) and one time i got in trouble for wearing makeup to uni. its like everything we do is for men or for their attention. and so many more things that are happeningto me and girls in this society. but im so grateful im unlearning everything i was taught growing up. i wont be a victim of internalized misogyny anymore.

Vi

It took me several months to write this and post it here. I had to overcome myself to take out my pain. However, I know for sure, this resource www.everydaysexism.com is of paramount importance since it helps to destroy sexism. Everyone who writes here is a hero. Women and men who share what is inappropriate to speak openly are heroines and heroes of our time. I’m especially grateful to those men who found the courage to admit their mistakes and apologize, it deserves respect. I was six. My fourteen-year-old cousin has seduced me twice. I remembered that nightmare forever. A little helpless girl struck with horror. I’m half a meter from his lowered pants. He repeats in an unctuous voice: “Come here, touch, kiss…” I came closer and realized that he wanted me to do something bad, but I didn’t understand how bad it was. It’s very scary for a child to refuse an adult. I remember the state of numbness when you want to scream, to run, but you can’t move. I had the strength to overcome my stupor and escape. He waited for a while and tricked me into his room again but I ran away immediately. I was a six-year-old child! He calculated the situation to create an alibi for himself. My father had just left the family, and there was no one to protect me. Hardly anyone would have believed me. Of course, my mom would defend me, but this would be perceived as baseless accusations against my father’s relatives. Since then, this bastard kept his distance from me, and I kept my distance from him. He was even afraid of me; perhaps he subconsciously recognized my strength. Who else became his victim? He’s a general now. Sometimes psychological abuse is more powerful trauma than a physical one. The child’s psyche hides traumatic events, represses them. Decades later, I remembered EVERYTHING. The memory began to extract events and experiences from childhood, youth, and all my life from archives. My memory is very powerful, I remember all the details and feelings, emotions, and sensations. My thirteenth birthday. Me, my sixteen-year-old friend, a fourteen-year-old cousin (the younger brother of the pedophile), and a neighbor boy of my age went for a walk on the beach. It was in May, almost summer, at 4 p.m., a huge public beach of a large industrial Ukrainian city with a high crime rate. However, what ‘A’ grade girl thinks about crimes? There were no sunbathers, but there were enough people to wait for trouble. It all happened quickly. More than a dozen teenagers sent our boys away, I could see them turning their backs. They just left. I saw how a friend of mine, surrounded by ten guys, went to the bed of rushes, and two more took me to other bushes. I didn’t immediately understand what they wanted from me. I haven’t yet had my menarche. They began to explain what I should do, vaguely and confusingly, but I understood it quickly. My first expected reaction was a cry for help. Several warning strong slaps in my face, ringing in my ears – I calmed down. They didn’t know, neither did I that unjust physical pain triggers specific psychological and physical mechanisms in me. I distinctly remember how my mind began to perpend the situation; using the search method, I analyzed the chain of possible events. At the same time, I was thinking about my friend: where is she, what’s going on with her? The worst scenario was that they’d beat me, and I’d bite with my teeth into their stinking flesh until I gnaw through the main vessels of these bastards. I didn’t like this option, I hate the forcible touching, and even more so physical violence against my body in any form. I already knew that. I nodded, pretending to be listening to their instructions, subconsciously trying to stall for time and looking for an option with minimal losses for myself. To run away was perfect, as I already had a junior category in track and field athletics, so they wouldn’t catch up with me. I understood that they didn’t need any fuss. They thought they could handle me quickly and easily. With my peripheral vision, I found an opening in the bushes leading to the path, but I didn’t turn my head so as not to give myself away. A God of the universe, chance, or fate favored me. I noticed the silhouette of a woman with a dog. They noticed her too. When the woman came up with this heck of a place, they became silent for a moment. And I took this chance. I ran faster than any sprinters in the world and yelled louder than Krakatoa. I never turned around. I saw people turning and heading to me. I ran and continued to study the surroundings, looking for help for my friend. Several truck drivers rested on the shore, I headed to them, explained the situation as I could, and pointed my hand in the direction of the second hellish place. The men grabbed big tire levers and ran there. Everything worked out well. Was it a HAPPY-END? My friend, “our” boys and I never discussed what had happened. They probably still think we were raped. I didn’t tell anything to my mother – I knew that she’d find them. Did those bastards stop at least for a week or two? My child’s psyche took this situation for granted, as a norm of life. Is this the NORM of life on planet Earth?

Aditya

I am from sangli, Maharashtra (India),now I am 19 years old BOY.When I was 11 years old that time I faced such abusive things and I still remember that and I never shared that abusive matter happened with me to anyone still today’s day . There was one man besides my home ,he asked me for coming with him to his farm.i didn’t think that it will happen with me ,he just told me that he needs help of me ,I went there with him and after sometime in the farm he started abusing me like he was trying to kiss me that was not normal,and he told me for shaking his penis it was so horrible . Still I can’t believe that happened with me This happens with me almost 3 or 4 times in one year by same person . Now this is the 1st platform that I am sharing my such things Now feeling little bit better 🙂

Aditya

I am from sangli, Maharashtra (India),now I am 19 years old BOY.When I was 11 years old that time I faced such abusive things and I still remember that and I never shared that abusive matter happened with me to anyone still today’s day . There was one man besides my home ,he asked me for coming with him to his farm.i didn’t think that it will happen with me ,he just told me that he needs help of me ,I went there with him and after sometime in the farm he started abusing me like he was trying to kiss me that was not normal,and he told me for shaking his penis it was so horrible . Still I can’t believe that happened with me This happens with me almost 3 or 4 times in one year by same person . Now this is the 1st platform that I am sharing my such things Now feeling little bit better 🙂

Kate

I am 19 y. old and I am a Computer Science student in one of Ukrainian universities. Back to my school years’ end (2018) most girls were told that they should study languages and then major in them too. Embroidery was an obligatory lesson. Those, who didn’t cope with it really good or didn’t want to, were told things like: “A woman must do this”, “A woman must know how to knit clothes for her kids because it’s eco-friendly”. This lesson STILL EXISTS in every school! Then I secretly decided to enter CS at our local Polytechnic. None of our teachers was happy about it. My German teacher kept insisting I wouldn’t pass exams (What? But I have a gold medal at school for my studying). Another teacher said she was very disappointed because of me. I did my exams and am getting a scholarship now. It’s become a bit easier at uni but..I ecountered sexism from boys. And this doesn’t come from the best students but from the rest – the majority (I’m #3-4 in group rating and I’M NOT super skilled yet). First, they didn’t believe me that I had scholarship, while most don’t get. Then they started saying “You’re getting good marks 4 and 5 out of 5 only because you’re a girl”, “Females are stupid”- I was told this semester in autumn by a guy who is new here and couldn’t even solve simple equations. During my first 3 month at university a guy called me “Fucking bith” when I refused giving him my work and helping him. That happened during a practise class when a woman professor was in the room (it’s very small, for max. 16 people). Then he wanted to remind me of this the next day. I had good relationship with some people who then wanted to take my works too, so when refused, they call me bith, “You fucking MUST give me”. Another guy from my group asked me online directly without talking in person “Wanna date?” I said no. He responded “You’re angry because u never had a guy”. I also heard other things like what smb would do with me, etc. I was despised for not drinking alcohol or hanging out, or having a boyfriend, or not sharing my code. When I try to protect myself with words, I was tried to be grabbed while he said “You’re damn so small, how you dare, you can’t object to what we’re saying!” And yes, I’m only 157 cm.