I often read grand articles and debates on everyday sexism and forget that it happens to me. It’s something I haven’t thought about a lot, not because I’ve been blind to the wider issues women face, but because it’s become so normal, so ordinary, that I haven’t questioned it.
That’s the truth for a lot of women, that these little moments of sexism happen so damn often that we forget they’re part of a wider narrative.
Sometimes I forget that my experiences can be just as important in the fight for equality as the more violent and heinous acts against women that happen every day all over the world.
So I decided to talk about the sexism I face every day to remind us all that the things we count as normal, just aren’t.
1. Street Harassment
Have you ever walked down the street and some man either whistles, says some cheap comment or honks their horn?
Do you then react by just shoving your head down and walking faster, trying to brush it off?
You’re not alone.
I think it’s safe to say that women everywhere have experienced some unwelcome comment or action more than once in their life. It can leave us feeling uncomfortable and if anything, embarrassed.
When I was younger, I remember liking the attention, but a younger me thought it was a compliment. The older, wiser me knows it is not.
On my walk to the office just this week, I had some idiot honking their horn, hanging out their window and winking at me. And this only results with me trying to get out of the car’s vision as quickly as possible, when does it ever end with a date with Mr. Right?
You never hear someone on their wedding day telling their family they met because he wolf whistled.
We’re not objects, we are human. And it’s that sexism that guys throw on us daily without even realizing it themselves. Worse still, when you talk about it you’re made to feel like you’re ‘boasting’ in some way. Having some leery man stick his head out of a window does not make me feel more confident, quite the opposite actually!
2. I’m mistaken for a guy
This genuinely happens. If I’m shooting off emails here there and everywhere, using initials to sign off and asking for things, the recipient will assume I’m a guy. It’s become a running joke in the office, but it’s actually not a funny one. Because my emails are to the point.
Because I know what I want and I’m prepared to argue for it. And because I don’t ever let a guy tell me what’s best for us, they automatically think they’re speaking to a man.
I also see that when I use my normal email signature with a photo, people are different. Some men will take forever to quote us a price on something, simply saying
“It’s very expensive.”
Somehow I feel like they don’t take me seriously if they see me as a young woman.
3. Sex is a ‘dirty’ discussion for women
Guys get praised for their sexual activities and women get shamed. We all know this, it’s a narrative we’ve lived with for like…ever. We’re thought of as “dirty” if we are more free with our sexuality. In all honesty, it shouldn’t be a concern. We’re not asking to be congratulated for this behavior. Just allowed to be human and act on our impulses.
Sex isn’t just a guy thing! It’s something we just brush off, to others our reputation is affected as we’re thought of as “easy” and women who never say “no”. Don’t be ashamed of your sexuality and don’t let other people’s perception to how a woman should behave actually change how you do. Because if women throughout history did that, then we would not even have as many rights as we do today.
4. Period Jokes
I think all women can agree unless they’re joking amongst each other that period jokes aren’t cool. Especially when guys have no clue what they’re talking about. It doesn’t get any better with age either, we’re made to feel so uncomfortable about it when we’re younger and even getting older the stigma still doesn’t change.
I don’t know about you, but I was brought up fearing a period.
Guys didn’t make that any easier either. I was even bought period joke pants as a gift for my birthday once.
Maybe my sense of humor is off, but when it comes to my body and the nature that actually created us all I’m not prepared to let it be made a joke of.
5. It costs more
Being a woman doesn’t come cheap, obviously, we spend more money on our cosmetics, skincare, and clothes. But there’s so much more we have to open our wallets for and spend more on, just because we fall into a market.
Now, if that’s not sexism, I don’t know what is.
It’s a concept known as “Pink Tax” and I must admit, I didn’t know much about it until recently.
Tampons are taxed. Tampons!
Our periods are something we cannot even choose or control. Which means we’re dishing out money because of the body we were born into. And even when men earn more money than women, we are still the ones who pay more.
What are your views on this? Let’s have a chat about everyday sexism!
Ann Tye photographed by Career Girl Daily.
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