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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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#56924 Anna 2013-12-13 22:57
When I was 14 in early 2004, I and my school friends went to a disco at a local boys school. Back at our own (girls only, famously ultra-feminist) school later that night, as we sat around in our dorm, we talked about who had 'pulled'.

I was asked if anything had happened between myself and any boy. I said that while I hadn't kissed a boy, I had been groped on the behind. A friend of mine (who interestingly now, along with a BA from Cambridge and, in six months, an MA from SOAS, is very independent and equality-minded)replied with something along the lines that 'everybody got groped' to some degree or another.

What depresses me most about this is that none of us, even despite being almost drilled daily with feminist ideals, batted an eyelid at the idea of us being seen as free game by the boys at the dance. At the beginning of our teenage years, we weren't taught that isn't ok.

Four years later in '08, we all went away on holiday after our A Levels to celebrate. We went out every night and were treated in the same way. When I found somebody I was dancing with too aggressive in his advances, nobody stuck up for me or asked if I wanted to leave the club. I had to stand and wait at the side for several hours before my friends were done because 'nobody realised it was a big deal'.

Perhaps if four years earlier, we knew that kind of behaviour was not OK and had stuck up for ourselves then, we'd have stood up for each other years later when advances of the opposite sex moved on from squeezing somebody's behind to pouring beer down their throat, biting their lip and drawing blood and then persistently following them around the club when they said no, this is too much.

Worth noting that on the second night in 2008, we were at a club that turned into a foam party. Many men, including those in their late 30s, used the foam as an excuse to try and stick their hands up girls' skirts.
#56923 Rosie 2013-12-13 22:53
I walk to and from work most days and have often experienced men shouting "nice legs", beeping at me from their cars/vans and (sometimes) following me. Whilst I usually brush this off by thinking of them as creeps and cowards, it frequently becomes frustrating and upsetting.

One 'friend' (male) who I told about these experiences said that I should be flattered by the attention I get and that I am overreacting. I am quite sure that he was making a very poor and offensive joke, as he enjoys teasing me for opposing page 3, but I actually think this makes it worse. Harassment is not a joke.
#56922 Po 2013-12-13 22:52
I met this guy once through my best friend's boyfriend, he fancied me I guess and got my number from my friend. Which I was fine with. After awhile we became friends (but endlessly flirted with each other). For two years, most of the texts he sent me consisted of him asking me for dirty pictures. I always said no. I even once told him he should stop asking that and he apologized and stopped...for that one night. He occasionally asked if he could be my first (I'm a virgin, 20, never had a boyfriend - and I'm totally fine with all of that) and I always said no and told him why when he asked - that I would like to be in a relationship with someone long term before any of that. But he was always persistent in asking me and in turn I felt bad for saying no.
During these two years, he was also playing the field with other girls - it seemed he only talked to me when he was single - occasionally flirted with me while in relationships too. I let it go on for so long because I never had that kind of attention before and I didn't want him to stop liking me so was afraid to be up front about it. And I often felt not good enough.
And this one's the kicker. I decided to visit friends for two months and before I flew up this guy told my friends that we were going to have sex and that I'd be 'the 6th v-card in his wallet'. That is a quote. He told my best friend that. I gave him no indication EVER that I was going to have sex with him. Ever. Apparently he just didn't believe me when I said no - all those times. And I wish, as soon as I saw him, I called him on it. And then when I was about to fly home at the end of those couple months, he told me he didn't want me to go home yet...sweet, right? Nope. Because he 'hadn't banged me yet'.
He's not a bad person, really. Just not great when it comes to girls and relationships...
#56921 bq 2013-12-13 22:35
I often choose female physicians because I'm more comfortable in this context. As such, I found myself in the office of a "highly recommended" female podiatrist to get fitted for an orthotic while recovering from a broken foot.

The doctor asked me several questions about my personal life, and when I stated I was a photographer and I was married (which, by the way, why is this relevant at all TO MY FOOT), she laughed and said, "let me guess, you're married to some rich old man who lets you play at being an artist."

I have no idea where that came from, random hostility from this woman who had just met me and ostensibly was there to help me. I was shocked and barely was able to gather myself enough to say that my husband was also an artist and we'd met in school, and that I didn't understand her question. She laughed. I don't know if that was supposed to be a joke? An insult? Friendly conversation? WHY??
#56920 Nina 2013-12-13 22:30
Advised by my grandmother to find a rich husband now that the state pension age is being raised to 70. Then she said "he'll have to be at least 60 though, now that you're almost 30 ..."
#56919 bq 2013-12-13 22:29
I am a 30 year old artist. I hold an advanced degree in my field and would say I am reasonably intelligent. I was admitted to a hospital several years ago after having a flare of my autoimmune disorder while on vacation. While resting in my hospital bed, waiting for my husband to come back from grabbing lunch, the attending gastroenterologist came in, with several medical students in tow. He (an older white gentleman) didn't make eye contact while reading my chart and spoke about me rather than TO me. When he finally addressed me, he asked how distended my stomach was (a symptom of my illness), and before I could respond, he pulled my gown up over my face, exposing my legs, underwear, and bare breasts. He made a remark about my tattoos and several piercings (which are not visible when I am clothed) and said something to the students about watching "these kind of people" (tattooed people?) for "drug seeking behavior." I don't use any illegal drugs and have never abused the painkillers prescribed for my (very real) medical condition, so that was a baseless judgement. I was in shock.

He never even drew the curtain closed around my bed. When he pulled my gown back down, he left it crumpled just at my hips, leaving my underwear and legs still on view. I was humiliated and quickly pulled a blanket over myself. He actually made a "joke" to me that it was silly of me to have piercings and tattoos if I didn't want them to be seen. I noticed two of the medical students had turned their heads. I wonder in retrospect if they were embarrassed for me. He did not bother to address me to my face while stating "you have crohn's, it's not brain surgery, you know what to do," as he walked out of the room.

It is demeaning enough to be a patient in a hospital. To be dehumanized, mocked, and pointlessly degraded on top of that is outrageous.

I complained to the nurse (and my husband, and several medical assistants) and nothing happened beyond my livid husband refusing to leave the room until I was dismissed the following day. My husband and I both sent letters of complaint to the hospital - great way to spend your vacation, first going to the ER then writing angry letters. The result? We got a form letter apologizing that my experience was "less than satisfactory" in their care because "the patient is our first priority."

Thanks for the institutionalized sexism, assholes.
#56918 Susie 2013-12-13 22:20
I did my undergraduate degree at Oxford University and one of the tutors would only talk to my tits not my face.
#56917 Lydia 2013-12-13 22:18
When paying the bill at a restaurant the chip and pin machine handed to my boyfriend instinctively
#56916 Joni 2013-12-13 22:18
When I was 17 years old and going to university, I stopped off to pick up my sister in the shop she worked at. Being a polite girl, when the two owners came out to speak with us, I smiled and had a short conversation with them. I asked if I could use the restroom in the back before we left. When I came out of the restroom, one of the old perverts grabbed my breast and tried to kiss me. Ugh. 35 years later I still cringe... what would possess a 70 year old man to think that ANY young girl would welcome his unwanted and inappropriate attention?? Needless to say, I never stepped foot in that shop again. My sister insisted they had never made advances on her, however, I convinced her to leave the job shortly after that.
#56915 Susie 2013-12-13 22:16
I work from home as a counsellor and have to check that my husband will be at home before I accept any new male client for fear of sexual assault or violence, thus limiting my professional freedom. If I was a man I would have the male privilege of not having to fear this.
#56914 Susie 2013-12-13 22:14
In the metro in Paris I have had a man shove an erect penis into my back, and at least two men actually have their penis out masturbating while staring at me in full or half full carriages. I would then have to get off the train in total fear of them following me and fearing attack and sexual assault all the way home as a teenage woman walking alone in the dark.
#56913 Sam 2013-12-13 22:14
Hello, how are you? (asked an older male professional contact who is very high up in the theatre world)
Very well, thank you (I replied)
Last time I saw you, you were heavily pregnant (last time he saw me was two years ago)
I'm pregnant again actually. I'm four months gone.
Oh my God. What's wrong with you?
____________ (Well nothing obviously, I'm clearly very healthy- was what I wish I'd said instead of being dumb struck)

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