From “women can’t be better drivers” to “two girls can’t be best friends,” sexism and questionable remarks like these are rampant in our world.
As a woman, it is so easy to identify a man —or even another woman— marred by baseless prejudices, trying to undermine your abilities just because of your gender. Sexism has normalized to an extent that when it is called out, the person doesn’t even realize where they messed up with their words, actions, or demeanor.
The Internet is brimming with women sharing their everyday encounters with sexism. It’s like misogyny has found a subtle way to inflict itself upon us in the form of ‘casual sexism.’ Here are some of those heartbreaking experiences women have shared over the net.
1. “I’ve noticed men tend to talk over me in academic discussions, even when I’m correct and they aren’t. Honestly, academia is not great for young women. Hasn’t scared me off yet but I’m still in undergrad.”
2. “It feels like we sometimes don’t even have a voice. It’s a pretty fucked up situation. People always underestimate us and I sometimes think- no matter how hard I’ll try, I will always be paid less, underestimated and discriminated on the basis of my gender.”
3. “A really casual and trivial example, a female colleague asked me something about a complicated excel function, I said I wasn’t sure, she said “let me ask a guy then”. How is a guy automatically better at excel? Ended up the guy has no idea how to do what she wants too.”
4. “This is a small one but my boss calls women “females” and it drives me BONKERS (i.e., when talking about a meeting with a guy and two women he would say “yeah my meeting was with X and two females.”)”
5. “I was one of the most accomplished athletes from my high school. A mother of a football player told me that my accomplishments were good “for a girl.” I mean, why do you have to say that?”
6. “I was sitting in my room, studying, when I overheard my mum talking to dad about how one of her friends has this tendency to swear a lot. “I’ve never seen a person, especially a woman, who can swear so easily without even squirming. Shameful. Women shouldn’t use such basal words.” I frowned. I fail to understand why a person’s gender is important when it comes to something universal like swearing. Why is swearing seen as ‘unladylike’ behaviour?
7. “My own parents are really sexist. So we were in quarantine and I absolutely love my body hair. So they saw my hairy legs and yelled at me for having hair. They both told me that I should shave them right now because I’m not a boy. They said that it looks disgusting and that I am a forest. I was left speechless,”
8. “I have noticed that in professional meetings with groups of men, when someone requests a cup of coffee or water, they naturally address me, or another woman in the room, even though we are all colleagues on an equal level.”
9. “You’re not like most women”, and it’s a compliment. Thank you for letting me know that, in your eyes, I’ve transcended my gender and now have the privilege of being taken almost as seriously as a man.”
10. “My dad hates it when any woman drives. I’m probably the best driver in my family but if I’m driving he’s complaining constantly. If my brothers do, their reckless driving is fine.”
11. “Being talked over by men, not being allowed an opportunity to speak when men are involved in a discussion, being sexually harassed, having my professional contributions downplayed by virtue of my looks, being told that women just aren’t as smart as men by men who I’m significantly smarter than, being ignored, having the idea I just said be repeated by a man who gets credit for the idea I just said, being talked to like a child. This is only a partial list, I could go on for a while.”
12. “Unsolicited “safety” advice from unqualified people when you go hiking or motorcycling–active discouragement from participating active outdoor sports. Even after you’ve demonstrated competence by leading groups, teaching the sport, or authored articles about it.”
13. “It’s so frustrating. The worst was car shopping, I actually had to file a complaint on the sales guy because of how he refused to talk to me even when my husband specifically told him that I was the decider.”
14. “I was in a well known department store trying to buy an elliptical trainer. I had already decided what I wanted and was standing there by the cash register waving my credit card around. The cashiers were playing around (guys and a girl) and ignoring me. I waited several minutes, trying to get their attention. My husband (who was tall) walked up and they all came to attention and started trying to wait on him, even though I was still there and they had no idea we were together. I was pissed.”
15. “My brother is allowed to do whatever he wants (surprise) with no consequences whatsoever. He comes home at 4 AM, but when I come home at 10 PM my parents go crazy. I tried talking to them how unfair and sexist it is to treat me differently compared to my brother and they always say ‘it’s because you are a woman’.”
16. “I’ve had to lie at job interviews about having and wanting children. I also don’t wear my wedding bands. I had ( a woman nonetheless) say that the job wouldn’t be good for women with a family as they needed some dedicated.”
17. “Being told how “tired” I look whenever I don’t wear makeup. How few men actually know what natural human women look like really blows me away.”
18. “The male coworker who told me I’d be happier if I quit work and got married. I kicked his garbage can as I walked out of his office.”
19. “Not being paid the same wage as my male counterpart, even though I am more qualified for the role.”
20. “Always when i lived with my grandparents. They would always make me clean the bathroom and wash the dishes and not my brother. Said because “it’s what girls should be doing” My grandfather also punished me when i was a kid for playing with my boy cousin who has toy guns and said “it’s for boys”
21. “I work in a male dominated field and deal with it constantly. Just yesterday I had a customer say “Can I get one of the guys to do this for me?” when it was just checking to see if we had something in stock.”
22. “That awkward non-response when you display leadership or superiority in some respect (even when it’s completely expected, eg you have the most expertise). They aren’t confronting or challenging you, but ignoring you to show you they subscribe to social conventions in which a young woman should be quiet.”
23. “When I play video games, and do something wrong, it’s because I’m a girl. Even though my aim is pretty accurate and everything, and sometimes you just make mistakes in a game, I’ll ALWAYS have someone be satisfied that the woman messed up.”
24. “As a personal trainer, all of my clients were women because men refused to work with me. They didn’t think I: 1) knew what I was doing or 2) couldn’t get them to teach their goals… even though I am strong. they often assume I can’t even lift 50lbs.”
25. “On topics I am very knowledgable about and give my opinion, the men almost ignore my comments completely but totally engage with other men in the group. Like, what?”
26. “Waiters/Servers in restaurants, when they bring the cheque. It’s happened to me so many times when I’m out for dinner with a male friend and it is I who has asked for the cheque, and not him. However, guess who the cheque is given to??”
27. “I hate when you correct someone for their sexism and they respond with calling you “uptight” or “sensitive”. As if it’s an annoying quality in a women to want to be respected.”
28. “In my previous workplace, I was often interrupted by my “overconfident” male colleague. I could never finish presenting my ideas whenever he was around. He was really sexist and loved mansplaining things to us. Subtle sexism at the workplace is more common than we realize. It’s called subtle because we now perceive it as normal and customary behavior and most women ignore it because they are too afraid to call it out. I know this from personal experience.”
These are everyday sexist behavior that both men and women propagate. The problem with sexism like this is that it is so subtle that it remains unnoticed or is cast-off as ‘ very normal.’
Experiences like these that mirror the stronghold of the age-old gender-based binary that, sadly, still exists. The idea behind sharing these experiences was to make people conscious of such behavior that is an everyday reality. Change comes with awareness.