“I sit at the bar, accompanied by two middle-aged men. They talk about politics, economics, and tech. They’re absorbed in their own humble beliefs and startle when I offer my opinion on the subject. They stare at me in disbelief. “What do you know about that”, one of them asks me. I tell them I’m fairly well-educated, interested in world politics, technological progress…. The other one interrupts me. “No, not that“, he says “how do you know about all that. YOU’RE A WOMAN”. I gasp at them in disbelieve, not able to answer the question. A question I honestly don’t even understand.”
“I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” – The Great Gatsby
What’s that supposed to mean? Do my breasts influence my brain in some way? Or is it my period? The fact that I’m bleeding down there once a month definitely must mean I’m not capable of following complex topics. That is why women belong in the kitchen after all, isn’t it? Because their gender must affect their intellect. Women can’t be clever, can they? All they care about is makeup and fashion. It baffles me how in a country that prides itself on equal chances there still are men who act like it’s special that a woman can talk to them about economics and politics. Excuse me but who do you think you are?
Everyday Sexism | Some examples from my life
When I started working at my last retail job, we were told not to dress to “slutty”. But at the same time, we girls had to make sure we’d look good enough for men to find us aesthetically pleasing so they’d buy stuff from us. On my first day, my supervisor told me to always make sure I look nice enough for men to start talking to me. However, showing too much cleavage or leg was a no-no. My male co-workers weren’t given a dress-code, of course.
A couple of weeks back a relative told me not to wear dark/red lipstick on my (blog)pictures because it’d make me look like a bitch. And oh hey, men don’t like that in a woman. She told me I shouldn’t put pictures like that on the internet. The lipstick doesn’t suit me and I’d look at least 20 years older and “not that classy”. Okay?
One day a guy followed me all the way to university because he was determined to get me to go on a date with him even though I told him multiple times that I’d have a boyfriend. That happens more often than it should, though. Men touching your butt in crowded rooms, pretending it wasn’t on purpose….
SOME MORE SEXISM FROM MY EVERYDAY LIFE
When I’m out alone I always make sure to change the street when I come across a bigger group of men. I don’t want to be cat-called or sexually assaulted on the streets. That happened before and I’m terrified of it happening again. When I go out in a skirt (e.g. when I took the pictures for this post) men shout at me and cat-call me. That’s disgusting, not nice.
I often cross my arms in front of my chest when I go out in a lace bra (under a shirt obvs) because people tend to stare and whisper. Men and women alike. I’m sure men are often pleased by what they’re seeing while women immediately whistle into their friends’ ear and talk bullshit about me. “How dare she go out without a bra. Duh, you can see her nipples. What a naughty girl! “
In school, I was often told off for being too loud, too bossy or if I was using “too many” swearwords. Women shouldn’t do that. They should be quite, nice and submissive. Fit into the stereotype or you’ll have to justify yourself.
During my teenage years, I often told people that I’m not “the typical girl”. But what’s that supposed to mean? I did that to justify that I wasn’t into horse-riding and blush pink princess dresses. I wore black jeans and read all day. And I was still a girl. Who’s “the typical girl” anyways?
*I know it’s easy to sound like a bitter men-hating feminist when talking about sexism. I’d like to note that I know not all men are like that, though. I know many boys who consider themselves feminist and who would never degrade a woman in such a way.
SHOP THE LOOK:
Want to know the fun part? That’s just a fraction of the sexism that I have to face on a DAILY basis. I get sent nudes. When I don’t send them back I’m called a prude, if I do I’m automatically a slut. When nude pictures of Jennifer Lawrence leaked , people said it was “her own fault“. Excuse me but I can bloody well decide on my own if I want to take nude pictures of myself or not. When women speak up against their rapists in court they’re accused of being liars. Why do we always blame the victim and not the culprit?
BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD
Women experience intense pain once a month – for years! They get pregnant, carry a living being around for 9 months and then go through hell while giving birth. After that, they’re supposed to look hot AF within a few weeks. And yet we’re called “the weaker sex”. Why yes, I’d LOVE to not have to do that. Let’s have guys play that part for us. You can do pregnancy and struggle to get back into a career whilst I’ll sit on the couch, drink a million beers a year and still get celebrated by society.
I am aware of the fact that sexism affects everyone, not just women. Men are equally as much under pressure by the double standards defining our society. And let’s not even begin to talk about people who deviate from the norm (e.g. in sexual orientation or gender). HOW DARE YOU! I have no idea what to do about sexism. But I think we need to work on a plan for younger generations to be finally given equality and freedom in expressing themselves.
That is why I decided to talk about this, admittedly controversial, topic up here on the blog. I want to inspire girls to speak up for themselves. I want to show that it’s not okay how society treats us. Yes, I do like fashion and I do wear makeup. But I’m also clever. I do consider myself intelligent and I don’t ever want to hear, “but you’re a woman” when I talk about cars, tech, economics or politics again. Oh, and in case you’re wondering – NO I’m not on my period right now :D
Do you also have experience with everyday sexism? What do you think about this topic? And what do you reckon we shall do to get rid of it? I’d love to hear your experiences and opinions in the comments below :)