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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.

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#77756 Katie 2015-10-21 01:02
Last weekend my friends and I went on a night out. We went to a club that we frequent and headed to the dance floor. With in about 10 minutes of being on the dance floor I had been grabbed by about 16 different guys, some to the point where they would put both there arms around me and I had to squirm out of the arms to get away from them. It eventually got to the point were I was so annoyed that I asked were I was asking these guys who they though they were to think it was ok to grab me like that. After 20 minutes on the dancefloor I had to leave as I couldn't stand it any longer and my night had been ruined. I have never felt so uncomfortable on a night out before.
#77755 Molly 2015-10-20 22:33
After reading so many of these stories I have came to the realisation that what I used to excuse as 'boys being boys' was in fact sexual harassment. This is a long one...

From about the age of 13, boys at my secondary school would repeatedly and relentlessly harass pretty much all the girls in my year.
One example is when I had maths class, at age 14, I was sat next to this boy who would constantly feel up my legs and try to make his way up to my crotch, however I would try my best to bat his hand away although he would STILL carry on until the end of the lesson. This made me feel so uncomfortable and so angry but I would never say anything to the teacher, it only stopped when the teacher changed the class around and I was able to sit by a friend. It was a few weeks later that my best friend (also in that class) said he had been doing the same to her. Neither of us told a teacher for fear we would not be listened to or believed.

Another example is in my tutorial class I and the other girls would be sexually harassed by some of the guys in the class. They would grab our breasts, crotches, bums and try to pull our heads to their crotches in order to simulate oral sex. I was also told by two of the guys they wanted to 'spit roast' me! The tutor was completely oblivious to it all except one time he saw one of the boys touch my bum and he asked me if Ii wanted to report him to the head teacher. I of course said no because I didn't want to get him into trouble.

Us girls tried to justify it all by thinking it was just because they were boys and that it was a compliment for them to find us attractive, but looking back on it now, it was sexual assault and harassment and it makes me sick to my stomach that boys felt it was okay to do and say these things and still do! But also that I thought it was 'normal' and okay for this to happen to my friends and I.

There is so much more I could tell you but it would be a novel.
#77754 Emily 2015-10-20 19:07
I work at the hospital as a diagnostic radiographer, taking xrays to aid doctors in their diagnosis. One day shortly after qualifying I was supervising one of our students who was a man in his late 30s early 40s, as a student he was required to inform the patient that he was training and that there was a qualified member of staff present should he need assistance or if the patient didn't feel happy being xrayed by a student. Following this explanation the patient smirked, looked at me, a short woman in her early 20s, then back to the student and laughed. "She's supervising you?" he asked, as though this should embarrass the student.

The student replied that he was being supervised by someone qualified in this area, while he was not, and conducted the examination is a professional manner. I said nothing but I was so irritated by the patients comment, it annoyed me that the idea of me being in a position of authority was funny to him and that he seemed to think that the student should be embarrassed to the taught and supervised by a young woman. This environment can also mean I experience sexism in subtler, less intentional ways as well, for example often when doctors come round to the department to discus cases they go straight towards my male (both young and mature) students, the idea that the young woman who addressed them when they first walked in is the qualified member of staff doesn't always occur to them.
#77753 P. 2015-10-20 18:17
I’m postponing having children because I’m terrified it will cripple my career indefinitely.
#77752 Grace 2015-10-20 17:50
i'm regularly catcalled when i use the tube, i've begun to get used to it to be honest. even if people havn't approached me they make me feel uncomfortable by looking me up and down, or clearly staring at my ass when i walk away. up until recentley i didn't really find this behaviour strange. I was on my own travelling home, when a man reads my name on my folder and says, "hello grace." i realised what he did, but i just looked away because he looked much bigger than me, and i really didn't want to talk to him. as it turns out we got off at the same station adn he started to talk to me. i didn't really want to be rude, so i politely answered his questions and tried to move on. when he asked how old i was i told him the truth and said that i was 17, he raised his eyebrows and said, "wow, thats young." to be honest i thought he would stop talking to me then, but when he didn't i stopped and waited until he left, scared to talk to the train guy on duty, because it didn't really feel like it was a big deal - i just felt really uncomfortable. But when i got outside of the station he had waited for me a followed me in the direction i was going in. i gave him such short answers at this point and never actually looked at him. i told him i didn't live in the area, and that i was very busy, and that i had a boyfriend - but he carried on fully knowing all of this as well as how young i was. eventually when i was really close to my flat i crossed the road and had stopped talking to him, after he had asked about my heritage and called me a beautiful young girl. it wasn't until i did this he seemed to get the message, that i wasn't shy and i didn't want to talk to him. even then i think he thought i was being quite rude. by the time i got into my building i was shaking and really upset and distressed. when i told one of my male friends though, they thought it was funny how upset i got, maybe the guy was creepy but no big deal. so i haven't told anyone else, because it isn't a big deal, nothing really happened, but it made me feel so tiny, like i couldn't do anything to make it stop, or that how i felt about his behaviour didn't really matter. now i've got the security of my sisters boyfriend, who has said if i ever end up in trouble again, to call him and he will come and find me. until i heard about this project, i never really thought this was a problem, sadly i just accepted this behaviour and carried on. Thank you for reading :)
#77751 Katharine 2015-10-20 16:40
I chose not to change my surname when I got married, and have been repeatedly had the same comments:

'Why would you bother getting married if you weren't going to change your name?'
'A woman always takes the man's surname, why wouldn't you?'
'I think it's nice to have the same surname as your husband'
'How did your husband feel about you not taking his name?'
'Don't you like his surname, is that why?'
'I didn't even know a woman was allowed to not change her name after marriage!'

My husband has never been asked why he didn't take my surname.
#77750 Anon 2015-10-20 14:55
Let me start off by saying that I am a woman. As a woman I have nothing against other women with expertise in the fields of science or technology passing on their knowledge to other women and girls. I have nothing against practical mentoring of women and girls for real world tasks. I honestly wish there would be more women with expertise teaching women and girls and showing them what can be done by women.

I have absolutely nothing against women and girls of low social and economic status being taught how to use a computer or code. This would be great if they took the lead in the creative process themselves.

What I am against is the very patronising advertising campaigns that use the word “empowerment” to reinforce existing stereotypes about females by using pink, make-up, hearts, fashion, flowers and glitter as hooks to try and sell technology to girls and women. A lot of these campaigns seem to be designed by male inventors and videographers to try and encourage women to get involved in technology.

One such supposedly “empowering” advertising campaign was for a girls’ construction kit. The advert was amazing to look at: it seemed as though little girls from different backgrounds had designed a complex machine all by themselves with the aid of the pink and purple construction kit plus a pink feather boa, a pink tea set and a pink baby carrier.

If you look at the behind the scenes videos of how the advert was made however, you quickly realise that the contraption was actually put together by male inventors. Also, all of the camera work and video editing was done by men. The complex chain reaction is edited to look like it’s one continuous shot. It’s not. The girls are just actresses who are told where to go and what to do by the men. They don’t get to build the machine themselves, they just watch the men do it all for them! The girls watch the men work out all of the physics, the girls do not design the machine themselves! So basically, it’s like buying a construction kit, watching your Dad, male cousins and brothers put it all together for you, then taking all of the credit for yourself (“Girl Power Rah rah rah! Look at what I made!”). This is very lazy and deceptive methinks and is a bad message to send to young women. Men are not there to be used to do practical hard work while girls just sit back and watch!

Lots of men watching the “behind the scenes” of the advert on the internet are laughing because they see this as “proof” that only men can really design and build machines and that girls are lazy. Boys and men see the “irony” behind the ad, which wasn’t as the people in the company intended!

This ad, when viewed in conjunction with the “behind the scenes” footage is sexist towards both men and women because:
-It assumes that girls are incapable and stupid: they have to get the “big boys” to build things for them because they are technologically inept
-It assumes that men are there to be used by lazy women and girls to do practical technology while the girls take all of the credit for the men’s hard work for themselves!

The discontinued “girl empowering” Barbie book “I can be a computer engineer” seemed to have similar sexist messages.

A lot of these “girls empowerment” campaigns assume that all girls like pretty hearts, flowers and stars without exception. These campaigns assume that girls don’t like all those “nasty horrid boy” colours such as red, blue, green or black, but must have everything made for them in pink! The girls often have to wear pink T-Shirts with the campaign empowerment slogan, as if passers by couldn’t tell that the girls were girls just by looking at them. What about girls who are Goths or happen to like the colour blue or hate hearts and flowers? Well, I guess that these so called “girls empowerment” campaigns aren’t for all girls then LOL!

A lot of these campaigns claim to be designed for girls based on how the “female brain” supposedly thinks! Decorating supposedly “horrid nasty boy” technology with pretty hearts and flowers, then colouring everything pink based on some questionable “scientific” research is incredibly patronising towards girls and women.

I have nothing against the colour pink, however, I am against people assuming that all girls and women like it without exception! Some women don’t like pink! Hearts and flowers and glitter look nice, however they are not everyone’s or every female’s cup of tea! This kind of décor might be appropriate for “Care-a-lot”, but it’s not appropriate for what some girls and women may want to do with their lives!

Lots of girls “empowerment” campaigns assume that Science is a “nasty boring boy subject” which is supposedly why girls and women are put off studying it. So, to encourage girls to become scientists, one “genius” videographer decided that girls might like science if it was all about fashion and make up. A “girl empowering” advert was created where the “i” in the word “science” was replaced by lipstick. Words and equations were written in lipstick (because women are supposedly too stupid to use a pen dontcha know? Sarcasm). Health and safety were thrown out of the window as the female scientists strutted about like models in high heels giggling and playfully throwing molecules into the air. They were clearly flirting with the male scientist (who was trying to concentrate on doing his microscope work, but he was clearly distracted by the young women). The result is a farcical looking “cosmetics advert”, which may or may not have been based on a male “scientist’s” “fantasy”.

I am sorry, but when I have been told by people that they will “empower” me, they have never taken my opinions or my life circumstances into account: they have just wittered on about their own utopian fantasies of how they want me to be then ask for my money at the end. “Empowering” disabled and “mentally ill” people by sugar coating reality and saying platitudes like “You can do anything if you try!” (regardless of circumstances, money, other people’s attitudes, whether the building has a ramp, how ill you are or how much you hurt etc…) is just as asinine as some of these pink drenched “girl empowerment” campaigns. As I found out, if you’re not constantly upbeat or inspiring to others, you get a lot of hate from carers and social workers! This enforced positivity probably runs rife in “girls empowerment workshops” leaving no room for struggle, sadness and real life commitments! A lot of women’s cancer support “empowerment” groups have become patronisingly pinkified enforcing “positivity” even when situations are hopeless. I have heard that women can be rejected from these groups if they don't smile enough.

Call building a ramp what it is: building a ramp, not “empowering disabled people”. Give the person in a wheelchair who powered his/her way up the slope some credit! A ramp is just a tool (a simple machine in fact): it takes a person to make it work! Give a girl the credit when she builds a machine or uses a tool: the word “empowerment” “bigs up” the workshop organisers and ignores the girls’ individual hard work!

Empowered people are “acted upon” by the people “empowering” them.
Powerful people are actors who use their power.

In the nineties songs and people would say: “I’ve got the power!”, but nowadays people are so weak that they have to be “empowered” by someone else before they can do anything! (especially girls, because boys apparently never have to be “empowered”). Girls have to have their “hands held” by being “empowered” while boys have to struggle on their own to learn things. Infantilising to girls and women much?

Bring back the nineties attitudes!
Bring back a time when girls and boys had to learn about technology in clubs together!
Bring back individual power and agency!
Bring back the “Tom-boy” who works things out on her own and has no need for a pink world of flowers, hearts or butterflies!

The phrase “empowering girls to build robots” takes the credit away from the girls who worked hard to build the robot or code the computer, and credits the teachers for all of the girls’ hard work!

The phrase “the girls worked hard to build their machines to their own designs, after they were trained by mentors” emphasises the hard work that the girls put into their projects. It shows that the girls have agency.

I dislike the word “empower” because it implies that the system is okay and that the girls, women and/or disabled people have to be “changed” to fit the dysfunctional system by “empowerers”. The disabled people and girls are shunted into teaching “ghettos” with people like themselves. The girls are all herded together so they don’t have to compete with those “nasty horrid competitive boys”! Or heaven forbid, share any ideas with those supposedly “nasty horrid competitive boys”!

What about the girl who tinkers around in her garage alone and build a car without a “female empowerment” workshop? Is she any less powerful than those that attend the workshop if she figures things out for herself without it all being spoon-fed to her wrapped in a pretty pink bow?

In my opinion, the word “empower” should be placed in “Room 101” and the “Dustbin of History”. It is a meaningless buzz-word that allows people to stereotype women and girls by shunting them into a “pink feminine” box while ignoring their individuality and creativity. There is nothing wrong with feminine women who like pink: there is everything wrong with expecting all women to act feminine and like pink.

Instead of vacuous buzzwords such as the “e” word, use real meaningful words such as “training”, “mentoring”, “activism”, “making”, “experimenting”, “building”, “programming” and “teaching. These are real words with no fancy pink metaphysics attached.

Real women and girls need real help so that they can develop their own ideas individually. Non-condescending real world physical and logistical help. Women who are already interested in science and technology need useful mentoring, not a lot of pink “hot air”.

As a woman I don’t feel “empowered” and I’m glad. I failed at what I was going to do, so I’m no inspiration to anybody.
Even so, I am glad that I wasn’t subjected to a sea of pink and forced to smile like some of these “empowered” young women are being forced to.

Being told that I was being “empowered” as a “female mentally ill person” did squat all for me. It would have honestly been more useful if someone got a chocolate teapot and tried to pour me some hot tea out of it.

Also, girls may be enthusiastic about science and technology now, but what will happen to them later on when they have to work with men, have to deal with family commitments, deal with rejection, look after disabled relatives and depression hits?

Reality doesn’t look quite so pink and full of sparkly hearts, flowers and butterflies now does it?
#77749 Miranda 2015-10-20 14:31
This summer I was living in Bloomsbury - on my way home one night, I had to walk through a little arcade to my street - It was midnight maybe, and two men stumbling back from a pub were in the same alley, coming towards me. As a woman, even in a safe, '1st world' city like London, instinctually this is always a scary situation - to be alone on the street with two drunk men in the vicinity. So they passed, saying 'hey baby', and other comments which I ignored. Then they yelled back (becuase of my silence) 'you're just a stuck up Bitch, paying £350 a week for a flat here...' (me, inside laughing - if only they knew the great deal I was getting on rent!)
Then contemplating it later I thought, how sad that my first reaction after this, was one of relief, as if 'that didnt go so badly'. All they did was call me a bitch.
#77748 Megan 2015-10-20 13:06
I live in a lovely area, mostly families and the elderly, sense of community yet weekly I get comments from men passing me "nice legs" "alright gorgeous" "you and me tonight baby", can't stand it, its not a compliment, its not nice, its scary and uncomfortable! I know many people experience much worse but it shouldn't be happening at all!
#77747 WHY??? 2015-10-20 12:53
I am 14 and at a co-ed school in Australia so it's quite warm during summer, anyway, it was casual clothes day where we get to wear anything from home, well, for the boys. Boys are allowed to wear shorts and singlets and yet us girls aren't allowed any shorts above our knees and our shoulders and collar bones have to be covered. I asked one of my teachers why this was and he replied with, "because you will distract the boys in the class, you have to be fair" how is this is any way fair!
#77746 Victoria 2015-10-20 12:37
In a long follow up email about plans for an upcoming all staff event there was one action point - for Victoria to make sure there was enough sandwiches for lunch.
#77745 Hannah 2015-10-20 12:13
Of course, being born female I've had a lot happen to me... but let's focus on this month

I recently went to a friend's house to hang out. He was having a rough time with his recent break up and we were all pitching in to keep his spirits up. I say friend... I've always had a very difficult view of him. he's the father of another friend (who is my age) whom he abused when she was young... but he seems genuinely repentant, and it being her choice to allow him back into her life and into the social group, I respected that and tried my best to be kind. So I HATE him for what he did to her but he's trying his best and has always been nice when we've hung with him.
Long story short, he got very handsy, said a lot of sexually charged compliments about my body and also touched himself through his clothes. I am very ill and on new meds that make my brain jelly, I didn't know what to do... I BLATENTLY ignored it, made comments about the show we were meant to be watching and tried to change my body into a position where he'd be unable to touch me as much. Turns out the moving just made it worse, he then had access to the underside of my upper inner thigh. I couldn't leave on my own either as I have severe mobility issues and he lives three floors up. I just waited until it was time to leave (he had to carry me down the stairs) got in a taxi and fled, confused and slightly panicked.
I'm currently in the process of dealing with it. I've warned other people not to be alone with him. Talked to him about it, he said he's sorry but I'm not going to be his friend anytime soon.

Also I recently left one of my RP groups partly because I am too ill to keep up with much activity but mainly because the DM running it is particularly harsh to me for no reason other than I lack a penis. Everything I say is stupid, he cuts me off midsentence and generally berates me for nothing at all. The other players (apart from my boyfriend [who is currently hanging by a thread due to this and other things]) all supported me in this unfair treatment.

The other two groups I am in are much better. In one there are a couple of guys (one being the aforementioned DM) who talk over others and tend to get most of RP time, as they are just... louder and bossier. Most of that is probably unintentional though. The other one is almost perfect, might be because THAT guy isn't part of it. However, Handsy father of friend is...

Generally sexism is everywhere where I now live... I miss the city, there it was strangers being drunk and idiots. Here it's people who are meant to be my friends...
#77744 M 2015-10-20 11:31
I would fuck her so hard she’s be in a wheelchair, then I’d finish by putting a load in her face."

Do women write this about men in the media?
#77743 M 2015-10-20 11:22
If you want the perfect example of "women's logic" rather than rational logic, just read this article (and weep).

This random comment under an article that had nothing to do with sexism, or gender.
But was elegantly written by a female.
Shame, I'd managed to get through four hours of the day without being reminded of sexism. Think thats the longest break this year .
#77742 NattyAbroad 2015-10-20 09:09
I asked for a payrise last week. I was told no, even though, I quote my manager, "I do a great job". If she'd just said that we didn't have the budget I'd have been OK with it.
But then she gave me pointers to be more "respected" by the Board of Directors (who are comprised of 6 men and 1 woman): she said I should dress more conservatively. That's the polite version. Her version was: "you should wear longer skirts, if men see your legs when you walk into a room they think about other things and think you're "up for it" so you won't get respected professionally". I was absolutely gobsmacked.
#77741 Cathryn Graham 2015-10-20 08:13
Article in the Times this morning on a new breakthrough in IVF - 21st October 2015

"The average age of a first-time mother has reached 30 as growing numbers delay starting a family to pursue careers."

Is this fact or just the opinion of Oliver Moody? Nothing about women's partners wishing to delay, not finding the right partner, not feeling emotionally or financially ready. Nope must be our selfish pursuit of a "career"!

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