The Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day to day basis. They might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalised that you don’t even feel able to protest. Say as much or as little as you like, use your real name or a pseudonym – it’s up to you. By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss.

If you prefer to e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. I can upload your story for you instead. Follow us on Twitter (and submit entries by tweet) at @EverydaySexism.

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#78858 Lara 2016-01-30 20:57
I got my first job when I was 16 my former Boss – who was older than twice my age - always made very inappropriate comments. From the first day on he referred to me as “sweetie” instead of my actual name. And though I was employed as part of the office, at the customer support and not his personal secretary he always made me get him his coffee or copying something instead of doing my own work. Soon he started making comments like “I wonder if you take all your orders so good” or “sweetie I can sure show you how to work with that technical stuff. (Referring to the computer I had absolutely no problem with.) If only there was more than one chair, I wonder if this here can hold both of us” (pointing at his lap) Sometimes I tried to make it clear with subtle hints or simply with my body language how uncomfortable I feel, but he always acted like I am overreacting and he pointed out that “he is just joking anyway” and that I shouldn’t take everything so serious etc… Scared of losing my first job I never got the chance to call him out on his behaviour. Thinking back, I know it was the wrong decision. At the Christmas party he got a little bit drunk during the evening. He introduced me to some colleagues from another department and thought it’d be funny and playful to slap my butt in front of them while calling me “his fairy” and explaining that wouldn’t have got any development in the project without my help. I felt so humiliated that I ran straight to the restroom and cried my eyes out and I never felt like someone could actually help me or even care if I talked about it that’s how I spent 3 months at the worst job ever.
#78857 EM 2015-12-19 00:24
Over the past couple of weeks, I have begun to call out colleagues on their unintentional sexist remarks or attitudes. This has meant having constructive discussion with some of them about why I hold those opinions and explaining my standpoint. This is certainly a positive thing as it calls into question why I hold certain beliefs and values, encourages others to consider that, enables me to explain thoroughly and logically so that others can truly understand the everyday experience of being a female.

I work in a male dominated office, I get on pretty well with most of my colleagues, and I have a really good job. In the office, when I first raised the point that the UK is in fact a rather sexist place for a woman to live, I was met with 'sexism isn't a problem', ‘what about men’, ‘not in this country’, 'I actually think women have it easier than men' and other such responses. It shocks me that some people don't realise this. To some extent I myself haven't realised just how sexist my 21 years on this planet has been because of how very normalised discrimination based on gender is…I’ve literally experienced sexism my entire life on a regular basis and it upsets me greatly that some people deny its very existence and that only contributes to the problem! It is so ingrained in society to diminish women, to categorise and to deny our opinions or pass off speaking up as 'being whiny' or ‘making a fuss’. And by saying that sexism exists, I am certainly not excluding males – obviously men can be negatively impacted by discrimination based on their sex too.

One colleague who seems ill-informed (through upbringing) but actually listens to my opinions asked 'so can men experience sexism?' and I responded with the point that of course, if anyone is being discriminated on based on their gender then that is the definition of sexism, and feminism is the promotion of equality, there is certainly no prerequisite of 'being a woman' in any terms, it is the equality of all sexes: male; female; intersex; agender; genderfluid individuals; and any other human on the planet. The same colleague proceeded to inform me that he had felt pressure to be 'tough' after I used the example of the phrases 'man up' and ‘have balls’ as an example of a sexist term implying that to be a man equates to being tough. (If you want to tell someone to be tough, tell them to ‘toughen up’, a non-gendered phrase).

Just from a few minutes of discussion on our lunch break, I felt like I'd helped inform someone else on the planet of just a tiny bit of what fighting sexism is all about and why it's so important. I’m glad that we are able to have serious discussion and I feel like maybe we have both learnt something: he’s learnt that sexism is still rife and I’ve given him examples from my life; and I’ve learnt that to a lot of people that don’t have to experience sexism on a regular basis as part of their standard lived experience, as I feel I do, they would want to help if they truly knew the extent to which this was impacting every young girl’s expectations, future, relationships and life choices.

I’m fed up of the attitude of a lot of people – men and women alike – who think the attitude of ‘boys will be boys’ or we should just ‘put up with it’ is ‘ just the way things are’. Do none of them want that to change?! I do not believe that. Social change is the only way forward. People are afraid to speak up, and I can completely understand that because of the reaction that speaking up is often met with – if you encounter sexism, you speak up, you are then told not to make a fuss, or taught that this is acceptable, then because you have been told that, next time you just ‘deal with it’ and become afraid of saying anything in case no one believes you so more and more problems may occur and go unnoticed by the majority of the influential population (i.e. men) that affect change in politics and in businesses and in the way the media treats women, and in the law that governs us, and so the never-ending cycle of patriarchal influence continues…

I haven’t even begun to list my personal experiences, and this post is already enormous – often you get people responding to the concept of feminism with ‘statistics are lies’, ‘they’re just making it up to get attention’ but if statistics are lies then why don’t people listen to our genuine experiences? Oh because there are no figures…um hello? We can’t win if that is the attitude. The everydaysexism project is brilliant because it allows a platform on which you are able to call things out and demonstrate to the world how much of an issue sexism remains to be. At the same time, it deeply saddens me that so many other women go through similar things, and that gendered expectations are forced upon us before we can even talk: the toys, the way adults treat boys and girls differently before they have even had a chance to develop, the activities that are segregated, the response to boys hurting themselves being ‘oh it’s nothing’, ‘bit of rough and tumble’ attitudes and girls experiencing the same are met with this: ‘oh darling are you alright don’t play boys games blah blah’. Despite being of the exact same ability, i.e. as girls we are taught ‘you are not supposed to do this’ despite being entirely capable. Boys are taught to like blue and play with making things. Girls are given pink and toy kitchen sets. Some boys and girls like that. Some don’t. My favourite colour is blue. I hate cooking. I’m still a woman. Don’t try an impose some notion of ‘female’ you have just plucked out of the air on a child who is more interested in readin than toys anyway and who will get so fed up of every girl having to like pink that when she’s 8 she decides black is her favourite colour because she’s already had enough. She’s only 8. And she’s already subconsciously aware of the sexism she’s going to be subjected to for the rest of her life.

I will not resign to this kind of society. All that does is perpetuate the exhausting reality and I do not want to live in this kind of world.

It is so hard to express how difficult it truly is to exist as a female in this society and be taken seriously. I know that in global terms, I am pretty lucky living in Britain in the 21st century, but that does not negate my lived experience of discrimination simply for being female.

So, THIS IS MY WORLD, in the few instances I can recall where sexism has been blatantly obvious to me:

- Kids at school would say ‘grow a pair’ to imply that someone behaving ‘weakly’ needed to physically have balls, i.e. femininity = weak and masculinity = strong. I responded to this by saying ‘grow some ovaries’ because woman can be strong too, but that does not eradicate the problem, it was just a comeback out of despair at such a binary view of the world.

- My mum forbid me from attending boy/girl sleepovers at 17. When my brother was the same age, he was allowed. Same situation, but different sex = different rules for him. And turns out that actually most of the boys at the sleepover in question turned out to be gay anyway, not that that should be of any relevance! We should not be made to avoid situations in case others act inappropriately, we should just all be taught to act respectfully in the first place. She also didn’t like me walking home in the dark. I can understand the logic of not wanting your child out late at night, but does this apply to men? No. Despite the fact that more men get physically attacked in the street than women, one socially informative thing my school did manage to teach me.

- When we were 13, a boy in my year grabbed another girl from behind while playing chase and ripped her shirt so that the buttons on the front popped off. This must have been so embarrassing for her, but then everyone else heard about it and all the boys were saying how she was flat chested and wasn’t wearing a bra as if that was relevant to anything. It must have been utterly humiliating, and no one focused on the fact that the person who did this in the first place should not have been behaving so violently and perhaps not found it quite so hilarious.

- When I was 14, I was sitting on a grass bank at school and a ‘friend’ starting pulling on my leg so that I slid and my skirt pulled up. I told him to stop multiple times and he didn’t get it. I am someone who rarely swears but this was the first time I remember that I deemed it necessary and I told him to ‘F*** off’ – he seemed to think it funny that I swore and like it was all some big joke when actually he should have respected my body in the first place and the fact I’d explicitly used the word ‘no’ multiple times. I shouldn’t even have to say no in the first place! Surely it should be obvious that you don’t start touching someone without consent. I would like to add to this point that I personally preferred wearing trousers but the dress code of my school meant that ‘girls’ couldn’t wear ‘trousers’, which is ridiculous. Especially when things like the aforementioned do occur, and the school policy doesn’t even give the option of taking extra measures to prevent this – not that it should have to of course because obviously wearing a skirt is not an invitation to look or touch anyone ever.

- During my time at secondary school there was an instance in which a 13 year old girl took an explicit photo of her vagina that a boy in her year had pressured her into sending, which he then distributed among his friends and so the cyber bullying begins and the judgmental looks and words from all students and teachers ensues…I am pretty sure the boy was asked to leave, but guess what message we were sent? Not ‘respect your peers’ but don’t send photos. It’s like saying ‘don’t have sex’ without any explanation of what to do if you do and how to be safe in the way you go about your life. I watched a terrifying video of why not to distribute photos, and I understood that I had to be careful online etc with advances in technology, but the teachers were teaching that the onus lies on the victim of such crimes not to let them happen. Because that’s what they are – crimes. And that is not the message we need to be sending to young people.

- Again, at school, there was a teacher who was known by my peers as ‘a perv’ from his general behaviour towards the female students. A couple of incidents that spring to mind are him generally leaning over the girls’ shoulders, clearly making them uncomfortable, the time when a wasp flew underneath another female pupil’s desk and he thought it necessary to go and have a look under the desk (remember the girls all wear skirts…) and another occasion when he told my classmate that he could see her pink bra through her shirt, in the middle of the corridor. She was humiliated and that’s a highly inappropriate comment for a teacher to make as he had clearly been looking directly at her chest.

- A girl in my year was regularly casually referred to by the boys as ‘blow job lips’, as if that was supposed to some sort of compliment. It’s disgusting, quite frankly.

- At the age of 15/16 I had a couple of relationships and I discovered that my ‘boyfriend’ has been telling everyone that I had pubic hair. Like that was anyone’s business but my own. No one had talked to me about how to maintain that area, and even if they had, it’s my choice what to do with my body, and the boys in my year seemed to find it disgusting and made comments about me when I was in earshot that made me feel worthless and horrible. Probably because they’re comparing me to some hairless pornstars and an unrealistic expectation of a submissive woman that does what a man wants…

- In sex education, we learnt absolutely nothing about consent. Or domestic violence. Or what a healthy relationship is. Which is SHOCKING. How on earth can we report anything or recognise anything or know what to do and what isn’t ok if none of us are taught what is not acceptable? As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, the lack of anything other than penetrative penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse was disturbing, focusing on the male of course, as was the school’s initial promotion of ABSTINENCE as the only option – luckily the school did eventually realise that these ideas were too unrealistic and outdated and only going to damage my generation so the people that used to talk to us about that were not brought in again for the years below.

Not teaching that consent is needed can have such damaging consequences. It terrifies me that people don’t recognise any of these things as issues in their day-to-day lives that are embedded into the patriarchal society in which we live.

- I had an eating disorder. I had friends with eating disorders. One boy I knew who struggled, and several girls. Perhaps there were other boys struggling but because of the gendered idea that men should not be ‘weak’ and to have such a mental illness may be perceived as weak, they did not say anything. And we see that in middle aged men more than anyone else, where the highest cause of death is suicide because people are too afraid to speak up about their feelings, deemed as ‘not manly’ or whatever society has decided for them. We need to be seen as HUMANS. We are ALL INDIVIDUALS, not defined by our gender. The messages I received from the media growing up were all of skinny women, photoshopped, ‘perfect’ – apparently this is the ideal…catwalk models starving themselves to death, quite literally, people a size 8 like me being ‘too fat’ to be models, which I know now is utterly ridiculous, but at the time all I could see was that I wasn’t like these women. I wasn’t tall, I wasn’t beautiful, I had an athlete’s body, I wasn’t skinny, I didn’t have curves either, I didn’t have boobs. According to the magazines, the billboards, the sides of buses, the adverts everywhere, the TV, the internet, I was not the definition of ‘a woman’. This unrealistic concept that even the real women used can’t reach is created because beauty standards are imposed by lighting, camera angle, editing, airbrushing, on top of an already unattainable figure for the majority of the population! I realise now that this is the case, but growing up you are bombarded with this impression from all around, don’t even get me started on the music industry. The amount of scantily clad young attractive women dancing around fully clothed men prolific throughout music videos when I was growing up continues to shock me. The things they can get away with, from songs and videos like ‘Baby it’s cold outside’, literally depicting keeping a woman against her will, to modern pop such as ‘Blurred Lines’, so explicitly showing a man telling a woman that ‘she really wants it’ – HOW IS THIS OK?! IN ANY WAY? The answer is it is not.

- Another example of sexism from school was frequent use of the phrase ‘that’s what she said’ to turn any comment anyone made into a sexual innuendo focused on a woman, i.e. males using the totally unrelated content of spoken words in order to purvey a woman as an object of sexual gratification. I think this started when we were about 12.

- My dad likes to suggest that any opinion I might hold that contradicts his comes from the fact that I’m ‘on my period’. He used to say to my mum ‘I think this is a case of PMT’, now he’s informing me that ‘menopause is too much for her’, not because he’s concerned but because he thinks it’s some kind of joke to link genuine attitudes and opinions back to our reproductive cycles, which bear no relevance to my personality as an individual person residing in this messed up society.

- I’m very into YouTube and I don’t even want to begin delving into the ins and outs of the horrible, disgusting, scary comments I’ve found, even on videos explicitly battling sexism, which refer to women as ‘cunts’, ‘bitches’, ‘pussies’ (see how all the insults are equating to female genitalia and derogatory in themselves)…while consistently denying that sexism exists, calling people ‘feminazis’ at the same time. So calling out someone’s opinion makes me a Nazi?! I’m pretty sure being a Nazi is actually more like doing what is expected to be done and taking orders from a dictator you know like, following sexist societal norms under the patriarchal government and stuff…it also isn’t particularly polite to call someone a Nazi. My parents and my siblings call me a grammar Nazi, and it upsets me because just because I pay attention to detail, doesn’t mean you can suddenly compare me to people who committed atrocities. So people who attempt to align feminism (the definition of equality) with Nazism (the definition of discrimination) clearly do not understand life. The brief point I was going to mention was I was watching a cosplay stormtrooper video and all the commenters automatically assume a male pronoun, despite the channel and video exclusively belonging to and having been created by and featuring only a female. To jump to the conclusion that anyone who is into Star Wars must be a man is preposterous. Another issue is the conception that boys play video games. There are actually more female gamers now than there are male. Any person can have any interest – regardless of their sex.

- I got called frigid at school. I had just got dumped. A boy in my physics class, at 15, asked me if I had let my ex ‘touch’ me and I said no and he said ‘well that’s why [he broke up with me] then’…yeah, great message there. Oh, and then, when I have let people ‘touch’ me, I get called a slag. I feel disgusting or not good enough, whichever course of action I take. Luckily I don’t feel like that anymore, but I was very lost throughout the entirety of secondary school and getting to university wasn’t a whole lot better either.

- Whenever I talked to a boy, and still actually, my parents assumed that something more than friendship was occurring. Yes, a lot of teenagers are going to be interested in one another romantically and/or sexually, but that doesn’t mean that every single person I talk to is of interest or interested. Apparently it isn’t possible to be ‘just friends’ with boys, which is absolute rubbish and just really frustrating and is a damaging message to send to your daughter in the first place – implying that ‘boys only want one thing’ (i.e. sex) and couldn’t actually value me for my personality, my intellect or opinion or friendship.

- A common ‘joke’ heard at school was ‘make me a sandwich, wench’ or ‘get back in the kitchen’ (unfortunately, my brother also finds it amusing to wind me up with the latter, because he knows I’ll take offence, obviously). These of course were only directed at girls. It’s disrespectful, presumptive and such an obvious example of male privilege. (I don’t mean all males are privileged or that no one else is privileged either, just in this particular case there is clear sex discrimination against women). Furthermore, the fact that it was the norm in my teenage years for girls to get called ‘wench’ by their male counterparts regularly in the classroom, is quite shocking. I do not recall a single instance in school where a teacher made a comment attempting to address any instance of sexism.

- People assume that as I am a woman, I by default, for some unknown reason, must be weak. Luckily I managed to prove some of the people who thought that wrong – I beat several boys in my year at arm wrestling when I was 13. And I was proud. I now go to a weight lifting class at the gym yet when we needed to move heavy boxes at work and I volunteered, the ‘helpful men’ immediately jumped in, unable to see that I was able to this quite easily without their help and actually could manage more boxes at a time than some of them in the first place. It’s sad to see that in the last 10 years I have experienced exactly the same presumption over and over despite it being completely unfounded on anything concrete about myself as an individual, and that people immediately perceive me as ‘female’, ‘feminine’ and ‘weak’. I am not particularly feminine nor am I weak. But I could be. Just as a man or anyone else could be.

- When I was 16, after my GCSE exams, there was a big party to celebrate with drink and music and some people camping over and a big garden, a fire for burning unwanted notes etc. I had a boyfriend at the time. I was wearing a sleeveless top that zipped completely down the back that I had borrowed from a friend because I didn’t really have anything to wear and she had been kind enough to give this to me as it no longer fit her. My boyfriend and I went out of the way and were lying down and kissing. He then starts to unzip my top. I then notice some people at the back of the field and ask him not to, but he’s already unzipped it completely so decides to take it off, so I’m literally topless in a field at the age of 16 where a load of my peers are pretty close by, and I get upset and embarrassed and feel ashamed and I’ve never worn that top since. The boyfriend apologised, but the fact he felt entitled to do that when I was clearly very self-conscious does disturb me slightly.

As I’m writing this, I cannot believe the extent sexism I have experienced cumulatively over my lifetime. And I’m only 21. I’m probably not even halfway through it.

- The tampon tax. I have terribly bad periods. Luckily there are some options available now I’m older, but if I had been unable to buy tampons for the past 10 years I would have been stuck at home for a week every month because of the excruciating pain I get when menstruating. I have to wear a sanitary towel AND a tampon to be secure enough to function in day to day life. And I know people are grossed out by period talk but so what? It’s a natural biological function that many women (and trans men, also) have to deal with. It causes enough hassle as it is without then being taxed for being assigned the female sex. At least that has been reduced, so hopefully we can persuade the EU to completely scrap that tax in relation to tampons in the UK, since apparently Jaffa Cakes are more essential…I recently joked that I would go and sit outside Parliament during my period with no sanitary products and throw Jaffa Cakes at MPs to prove the ridiculousness of this measure.

- I haven’t even started on University yet. I am a bisexual woman. So in 2014, at a point when I’m 20, I’m single and I’m out dancing on a society night out with other students, I get chatting to this girl and she seems really cool and I think we’ve hit it off and turns out I’m right and we start kissing. Then a male student comes up to us and thinks it’s within his rights to force our heads together because god forbid we’re doing this for our own pleasure and not for the satisfaction of males…it was a horrible experience and made me scared of being open about my sexuality in public. There isn’t anyone you can tell about that.

- If you are a female and you go out to a club or a pub, you can expect leering, unwanted comments, unwanted touching, anger if you reject all of the above, grinding despite clear avoidances, this continue after telling someone you’re in a relationship, them NOT BELIEVING you (that isn’t a reason to continue anything unwanted anyway), and to barely move when you PHYSICALLY PUSH THEM AWAY. I’ve been out with female friends before dancing in a circle and they have had guys come up behind them that they don’t even notice and we have to look out for each other and I’ve had to drag someone out of the way because I know it isn’t wanted (because they’ve indicated to me, or told me, or have a partner) or they’ve had to give me a hint that there is someone approaching me and I need to dart quick or risk getting stuck and ‘dealing with it’ until I can get away without being pursued.

- I’m a fresher at University, 18, in a relationship, out with some of my flatmates a few weeks in and one of their male ‘friends’. He knows I have a boyfriend. He knows I don’t drink much. He calls me beautiful, it’s not appropriate since he’s supposedly ‘in love’ with my friend and he knows I’m not single. He takes me off and buys me Sambuca shots. I ask for singles. He gets doubles. Multiple times. I end up feeling really sick and luckily a good friend takes me home and looks after me while I throw up and cry and eventually go to sleep. She tells me the next day that this boy had said to her he ‘saw me as a challenge’. Lovely, isn’t it?...

- Muslim friend doesn’t believe in sex before marriage. Fair enough, those are her values and I respect that. Starts seeing guy. We’re a bit concerned. Try to warn her we’re not sure about him. She gets defensive and tells us to stop being judgmental. She goes to his place, has a drink, wakes up naked not knowing what happens. She’s in denial and ‘he says nothing happened’. This is awful. Really awful. We try to talk to her but the next day she’s passed it off as ‘he didn’t mean it’, ‘he’s not really like that’, ‘everything’s fine’ – she’s still seeing this guy two years later even though he has cheated on her multiple times, been incredibly disrespectful, his cousin made a pass at my friend when they were out and was so persistent that she had to move seats because he wouldn’t leave her alone. These are the kind of things my peers and I are dealing with. We are well-educated independent young women, and this is the kind of society we are exposed to.

- The revised porn laws. Yes because what the porn industry could really do with is EVEN LESS FOCUS ON FEMALE PLEASURE. Great. What is wrong with face sitting, exactly, that is not also wrong with blowjobs? You don’t see anyone calling for a ban on those in porn now do you. And female ejaculation. I personally experience female ejaculation, and I get a lot of pleasure from it. Why should that not be available while male ejaculation is? Someone probably thought ‘yes this is a great idea let’s BAN FEMALE PLEASURE’ and reinforce the idea that men control sex even more in porn and thus influencing young (mostly male) minds. What about lesbian porn? Why should that be damaged at the expense of giving in to the unreasonable ‘demands’ of the male consumers? All taking away things like this does is make females even more vulnerable and deemed less powerful in sexual situations.

- At university, in some of the seminars, there was a tutor who specifically singled out the female students to ask them questions, made me and the other girls feel uncomfortable on a regular basis and this prevented me going to future seminars, bearing in mind this was on the matter of EU law and thus seminars would have been fairly useful considering the complicated material and the value of discussion. We give anonymous feedback on a university system and I’m 99% sure I recorded this fact, as I’m certain some of the other students did. I get an email from this tutor the next year calling me to his office to speak with him. This makes me feel extremely uncomfortable as I don’t know why, and I don’t want to be alone with him and I email asking why this is (since he isn’t tutoring any of my topics this year), and he says he cannot tell me via email. I go to his office at the arranged time not knowing what this is about and he tells me there has been a complaint and was I in his seminars etc and asks me directly if he made me feel uncomfortable. I don’t know how to react and I deny it because I don’t want to feel even more uncomfortable and I’m sure this is not the way to go about resolving such complaints and I just want to leave, and he asks me to send him an email (i.e. in writing) that I confirm this. So I do. Because I don’t know what else to do. This should not have happened and I saw that afterwards but there weren’t any options that I could see and I didn’t want to cause any drama, I just wanted to get away.

- My housemate’s lecturer thought it would be appropriate to describe the encounter he had with a woman where he pinned her down and tried to give her Rohypnol… but ‘her friends helped her get away’, for the reason of supposedly educating about this drug and said to the boys ‘if a girl won’t have sex with you’, use this... Well, that’s blooming lucky that that poor girl did get away, and it’s also lucky that someone was audio recording that lecture and managed to make a formal complaint and get the idiot fired. He taught a science subject and since the beginning of first year I had heard things about how his behaviour was always inappropriate, he would hang around the female lab students while they were trying to get work done, for no particular reason, how all of the students he chose to supervise were female, but there was never anything concrete enough until that very extreme case.

- There was an anti-sexual harassment campaign at my university with a hashtag, which was a good idea and seemed to get people talking. The only problem is people have started to use the hashtag in jest or for completely unrelated things. All that does is diminish the importance of its original intention to draw attention to the very real problem of harassment on campus.

- In my University town, there is an alley colloquially referred to as ‘Rape Alley’. Yes, you did read that right and it’s disturbing how quickly that just becomes part of the language, only serving to trivialise something really horrible. It wasn’t streetlit for a long time and is narrow. Once two of my friends and I were walking back from eating dinner out in town a few weeks into our first year. A car pulled up, turned it’s light off and just opened the door. No one got out and we ran away as fast as we could. It probably was nothing, but it was scary, especially as this was in the place that we referred to with that horrible name.

I haven’t even got you up to date on the current state of sexism I am experiencing on a daily basis. The bus drivers say ‘sweetheart’ to the women, not much to the men. Why? I do not asked to be called this. It sounds patronising and I am not anyone’s ‘sweetheart’. I get beeped at. It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing but I shouldn’t need to qualify that because that’s irrelevant to people’s apparent entitlement or obligation to honk their horn, shout across the street or shout ‘get your tits out’ from their car as they drive past while I’m walking back from a lecture at about 6pm. There are too many instances to list all of them. I would be here forever. And in fact I’m quite tempted after now seeing all of that written down. To just never leave the house again. Because what is the point…BUT WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS !!! I am exhausted…it is so exhausting living in this madness, where some people can still claim that sexism isn’t a problem anymore.

A couple of my colleagues think it funny to make jokes about me liking Tyson Fury (obviously I do not) yeah haha inviting him to the Christmas meal would be hilarious sure…it’s not funny to mock someone for disliking a prejudiced public figure for valid reasons. But they are more senior than me so what can I do? Bit more difficult when their dad is my Managing Director too…here we stumble across the dilemma of either losing your job or doing what is right and not being able to pay the bills. Because that seems to be what happens.

- My friend was sexually assaulted by someone in our group of friends and she didn’t say anything for a while as she was understandably, traumatised and now suffers PTSD. The perpetrator has apologised and genuinely realises that what he did was wrong, but the thing that shocked me most was the reaction of other friends. They were protective of the guy in the situation, they didn’t believe what my friend was saying – maybe they didn’t want to, but all it did was isolate her more and cause her more distress. They may have done more psychological damage through their response than was initially caused. They question why she didn’t say anything straight away – obviously because she was in shock and then they refused to accept the truth.

To anyone out there arguing that 'sexism doesn't exist', or that 'woman are whining', or that ‘the statistics are lying’…accusations of lying rather than actually responded with anything valid themselves are not really discussion points and are an inherent part of the problem. This ignorance, or inability to accept all that is wrong or that we can all do something to change this, is a huge part of the problem.

I am just from writing some of my experience and those close to me, this is all between 1994 and 2015.
So anyone trying to say sexism is an outdated problem, please wake up to reality. Just look at the above. And then remember I am a white woman in the West, so in comparison to a lot of women in the world, I have it easy, and I know that and I can hardly bear to imagine what the women in Saudi Arabia and other such places have to go through every day.

The message from EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE is sexist: media, politics, career aspirations, gendered toys at a young age, TV, education, presumptions about my characteristics, enforced dress codes, my peers, work…

And I am yet to experience much of the workplace, getting older as a woman, undoubtedly the questioning of my fertility in ten years or so, the expectation to reproduce (which for some reason men aren’t subjected to purely because they are men despite usually providing 50% of the ‘ingredients’ for such child-making purposes), being a pregnant woman if I do decide to have children, it is terrifying.

I am scared to exist.
#78856 M 2015-12-18 23:40
When I was 13 I was working as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, and I just got off work and I was waiting for my mom to come and pick me up at the front of the restaurant. Then this truck parked about a few spaces away from me and these to drunk guys came stumbling out and cornered me and kept asking how old I was and saying how I was probably in high school. I told them to leave me alone and then they walked into the sushi store right beside the restaurant. Then my mom pulled up And I got into the car and as we were pulling away the guys came out of the store and started yelling at me and my mom. My mother practically brushed it off as said its normal. Still thinking about this pisses me off .
#78855 Anon 2015-12-18 22:29
I was going to purchase a video surveillance system from this security company but I think I'll shop elsewhere.

http://www.indexa.de

Because pretty little things can be burglars too...
#78854 Anon 2015-12-18 21:02
At Primary School, I was expected to dress and look a certain way just because I was a girl. I wasn’t allowed to be myself. I was told by my female relatives to say “hello” to people at “school” and wish them “good morning”.

I said “hello” to one girl in the playground. She looked at me disapprovingly down her nose at me as if I was dog excrement.

“Why aren’t you wearing hair-grips?” she barked: “Why don’t you wear make-up? Why aren’t you wearing a headband?”

I stood there in stunned silence. She didn’t even greet me. She just barked commands and questions at me like an angry drill sergeant in a skirt.

We were about 7 or 8 years old at the time. She was wearing lipstick, eye shadow, eyeliner and foundation. Her make-up was done in the same style as her mother’s. Her mother was on the PTA and a very active member of the school community. Her mother was always in charge of organising events and enjoyed dancing. Her daughter was studying dance too. In fact, she would perform routines at assembly and everyone would cheer because she was a fantastic dancer. Appearance was everything to her. From the sequins on her tutu to the ribbons in her hair; everything had to be perfect. She had to be perfect. She was athletic and flexible and was the teacher’s favourite in PE lessons. She wrote well and she was adept at Maths.

“Why don’t you talk to her?” the teacher’s aide would ask me: “She a really nice girl and she’s very clever too. She’s a wonderful dancer. Her Mum’s really nice. I’ve met her Mum. She helped me set up stalls at the School Fete.”

“I don’t think I really want to any more,” I said sadly.

“Well it would be rude if you didn’t at least try to talk to her,” said the aide curtly: “People won’t want to be friends with you unless you talk to them.”

I sat in silence looking down.

“That’s a nice skirt you’re wearing,” the aide said.

It wasn’t exactly like I had a choice. Girls had to wear winter skirts in the winter and summer dresses in the summer. The boys had to wear trousers. Girls were not encouraged to wear trousers. I felt venerable in a skirt because the boys like to try and lift up the girls’ skirts to see their knickers. I would have liked to have worn trousers because at least then it wouldn’t have been as easy for boys to see my underwear.

As for the girl, I don’t think that any “anti-bullying” interventions would have helped her. Some people are too mean and concerned with outward appearances to change. She thought she was above everyone else and the teachers agreed. Children also follow their parents and teachers examples. Sometimes children who bully are teachers’ pets who can do no wrong. The teachers condone the bullying or simply ignore it. Yes the teachers thought that I would look “nice” wearing hairgrips and make up too. Teachers bully, judge students and yell also. Yes, pupils copy teachers emotionally abusing pupils.

Female relatives and teachers aides would give me fruity lipstick or lipstick lollies for my Birthday and Christmas. They would buy me mirrors and combs and unsuccessfully try and get me to wear painful hairgrips.

I just use practical chap-stick now. I don’t see the point of showing off lips with bright colours. I wear trousers.

Boys are encouraged to run around, get muddy and be active, not to worry about hairgrips and lipstick like girls are.

If one of the boys had dared to go to school in a skirt wearing make-up, I think all of the female teachers’ brains would have exploded.
#78853 Rebecca 2015-12-18 20:50
From my first day as a part time assistant at a gift shop my male boss belittled my values and constantly questioned and challenged my choice to be vegan and my ethical lifestyle choices. His overly tactile behaviour made me feel very uncomfortable such as touching my back for no reason multiple times a day. My ethical values were constantly disregarded, my volunteering for a Peace and Justice charity and my choice to buy only fairtrade clothing was seen as naive and I was told that I was a sheep. Sexist cards were sold at the shop, which my boss described as funny, espcially the one that implied women had no sense of direction. Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines blared from the shop's stereo, reminding me of the sexist environment I was working in. I informed my boss that Blurred Lines was very insulting and insinuated that rape was no big deal. He did not remove it. He constantly reminded me he couldn't accept I was vegan and made continual childish conceptions that if cows weren't milked than they would blow up and that the world would collapse if cows weren't eaten. The belittling bullying behaviour carried on for nearly 2 months until he said we couldn't work together as my values were too different to his and he couldn't accept veganism. I feel strongly he felt undermined by a woman that has beliefs and challenged his chauvanistic lifestyle. I wish I had left sooner but felt I stood up for my beliefs and hope this sexist behaviour is eradicated.
#78852 Anon 2015-12-18 20:18
Some girls use misogynistic slurs and hostile sexual language towards other girls too. It isn’t just males that sexually harass females with offensive language.

During my first year of Secondary School, I was approached by two girls who asked me to befriend them. They said to me:
“Hey, you’re so clever come and hang out with us!”

I thanked them for complimenting me, but humbly said that I wasn’t that clever at all and that I still had a lot to learn about the world. They asked me to sit next to them at lunch. I thanked them as I sat down with my fish fingers and sweet corn. I drank a glass of water. The girls gulped down soft drinks cans and burped very loudly.

“Bet you don’t know what your food is made of,” smirked one girl.

“Oh for goodness sake, it’s just fish, breadcrumbs and sweet corn,” I said losing my patience.

“The dinner ladies lied to you. I know that you’re really eating men’s nipples,” she exclaimed, enthusiastically pointing at the sweet corn: “Those fish fingers are really men’s dicks and you’re putting them right into your mouth. You probably like sucking them.”

“Yeah, you’re really disgusting,” sneered her friend raising a disapproving eyebrow: “You’re drinking a cup on men’s semen. I know it’s rich in protein, but I mean come on…”

I stared at them both. I was furious now, but I didn’t let my anger show. I coolly replied:
“Excuse me, but do you mind? What you’re saying’s really putting me off my food. I think you’re telling fibs. You’re just winding me up for attention. I’m not falling for it.”

“Actually we do mind,” said the girl: “Now you’re just being rude and stupid.”

“If we can’t have a pleasant, polite conversation, then I’m leaving,” I said getting up.

“Hey come back!” shouted the girl: “We didn’t mean it. We like you. You’re intelligent and kind. We’re sorry…”

I sighed. I hated just getting up leaving people in the middle of a meal. It didn’t seem polite. My relatives had always told me to be polite and kind to people whatever they said to me. I sat back down again.

We sat together at lunch several times after that. We’d laugh and chat about random stuff like how everything in the world is connected in an intricate web of causes and effects. We talked about how complicated the universe was. The girls listened to me talk about stars and galaxies. They told me the plots of soaps they watched on TV and who fancied who in the storylines.

Some other girls walked past us to another table. The girl I was talking to announced to the world:
“That girl over there is a skank.”

“That’s not very kind,” I said: “How would you feel if someone called you that?”

“Pissed off!” she laughed and slapped her friend on the back.

“Hey those sausages that you’re putting into you mouth are really men’s dicks you know,” her friend giggled.

And they say that boys behave more immaturely than girls…

One of the downsides of sex education is that it makes polite, pleasant conversation at the school lunch-table impossible. Kids just talk about all of the words that they learned in PSHE and discuss sexual anatomy and bodily functions with their friends in public. They call this “banter” and “only joking”. No teachers ever intervened or stopped them using hostile sexual words or explicit language.

A few weeks later, the two girls said that they were taking leaflets from outside the careers department.

“It’s good that you’re doing some research into careers,” I said.

“Yes it is,” said the girl giggling: “But I’ve heard that some women become prostitutes. I don’t really know what a prostitute is. There aren’t any leaflets on prostitutes. I wondered what a prostitute was and what that type of career would be like. Could you look up the word prostitute in the dictionary?”

“Why can’t you look up your own words in the dictionary?” I asked annoyed: “You didn’t even say please when you asked me.”

“Because I’m lazy and stupid and I can’t read all that well,” laughed the girl: “Also I don’t like saying please because I just don’t.”

“This is a trick isn’t it?” I growled: “I bet you just made that word up because I’ve never heard of it.”

“It is a real word. I heard it on TV. I can’t spell it and I don’t know what it means. I’m telling the truth honest,” her eyes swelled with feigned panic while she was desperately trying to stifle her giggles by covering her mouth with her hand.

You have to remember that at this time I was barely out of Primary School and still very naïve. At that time nobody had ever said that word to me, so I assumed that it didn’t exist.

That night. I tried to prove that the word didn’t exist by checking the dictionary myself. I was upset by what I read. Then I realised that some women might not have a choice due to poverty and have to make money this way.

As for the girls, I told them that I was cross and disappointed with them tricking me and that they had betrayed my trust. I told them that they had taken advantage of my good nature by manipulating me. I still remained friends with them because they did start to calm down. They asked me to try smoking, but I said no thanks. They said that they wanted to be cool and impress me with their smoking. They did stop smoking for a while and they kept saying how “clever” I was. I told them that they were fortunate to have me as a friend because most people wouldn’t have the patience to stick around them. I stayed friends with them because they were young, daft and I never desert my friends because they have different preferences from my own or want to make different choices in their lives. I try to forgive people if they have said things off of the cuff or for a laugh. I have to respect people’s rights to their opinions.

I don’t know what the answer to this foul language issue is because if I’d asked them to stop saying these words it would have been like censorship. I believe that people have the right to freedom of expression, but sometimes this comes out as hate speech or disgusting slurs. We were encouraged to express ourselves freely in English Class and yes, sometimes it meant that people used explicit language to make a point.

When does freedom of speech become bullying?
It’s a grey area between friendly thoughtless teasing at someone’s expense at one end and deliberate hostile behaviour at the other.
People need to try and respect each other though even if they disagree on some issues.

The girls didn’t try to take advantage of my kindness again. I had other friends too who were much nicer.
#78851 anon 2015-12-18 19:19
because apparently a christmas card picturing two girls tied up and their mouths taped shut, and with I presume the father and son standing behind them holding a sign " finally peace on earth, happy holidays" is seen as appropriate.
#78850 P 2015-12-18 19:18
Walking down the BUSY high street and a man I'd never spoken to before cat calls at me. I give him a look of disgust to show him I'm not interested and he starts shouting "little blonde slut" at me. A woman in front of me starts giggling. Left me feeling so humiliated and degraded.
#78849 megan 2015-12-18 18:19
I am 14 years old and a few weeks ago I was walking on the pavement through my village in a Saturday morning.I passed a white van which was parked up, a man in his forties wound down the window and whispered in my ear "you would get it." I felt immediately confused I looked at my clothing I was wearing a shirt and jeans.