Everyday Sexism

Sunday, 30 July 2017

the little book of feminism

I was at work this week, and while I was serving two business men their morning coffees, they started talking about politics. As someone who is extremely invested in that subject - I mean, I spend £9,000 a year learning all about it - I couldn't help but try to get involved with the discussion. I looked over to these men while they were discussing and one of them caught my eye, and said the following:

Oh sorry, darling! I'm not talking to you! We're just debating politics, you see! Don't worry your pretty head about it!

The satisfaction I felt when I saw his face after I replied: "Oh, I know! I'm actually doing a politics degree right now! And I agree, I do think that Theresa May lost the general election due to cockiness. I mean, she attacked her core voters - the elderly - in her manifesto. From there I knew she'd really messed it up."

While, in the moment, being able to watch two businessmen become incredibly embarrassed that they'd just assumed I knew nothing about a subject because a) I'm a woman and b) I was serving him coffee really irked me and got me thinking a lot about everyday sexism, and it made me realise how much sexism I do experience in a day and how much we all do, even if we don't realise it. Whether it's just a man calling you 'darling' or 'love' in order to patronise you, or whether it's something more obvious like catcalling, we (as women, or those who identify as women) experience far, far too much. 

Why is it that when a man is assertive he's powerful, but when a woman is assertive she's 'bossy', or 'feisty'?

 I asked you guys on Twitter how many of you had suffered through some examples of everyday sexisms, and the response was very interesting. 

I found it so interesting that a large amount of people had never been catcalled. I have been catcalled a few times, mostly happening in the summer when I'm wearing shorts or a skirt and usually from men driving past in cars. The first time it happened I was 12 or 13 and walking home from school by myself. A group of lads in a car honked their horns and shouted "NICE LEGS". When they drove passed me, and turned around - they saw that I was literally a child and I think that freaked them out. Other people expressed that they'd had similar experiences on Twitter, which is horrific.

So this one ties into my earlier story, and it's something that happens a lot. However, I have noticed that it's usually older men who have this mentality and more towards younger girls. In my peer group, I do not notice this kind of sexism. The young men that I know all treat me like we are on the same level but I think this is just because we are all at uni together and all got onto the same course so they assume we are on the same wavelength.
This one had a very interesting response. I expected it to be extremely heavily weighted towards 'yes' and while 'yes' did win, it wasn't by the landslide I expected. When I was at school, the girls had the option of doing walking in PE while the boys had the options of sports like cricket, rugby and football. For me, at the time, this was fantastic because I loathed (and still do loathe) team sports, because I'm bad at them and always am the one who lets the team down. However, looking back, why the heck weren't we allowed to partake in these sports? Why were we given the option to walk as a PE activity!
This one really scared me. Only 7% of the people who answered this poll hadn't been called an "endearing" nickname by a man they didn't even know. Men often use this during arguments or disagreements when they want to diminish us and take away from our identity, like we are going to be less right because we are not being addressed by our names. It's also incredibly patronising and I feel it almost symbolises men wanting to take ownership of us; they decide what we are to be called, not us. This is something that irritates me to no end. When I am called one of these names by a man, unless that man is my boyfriend or a relative, I tense.
Now, this was extremely interesting to me. This happens to me all the time. I think it's because I have a tendency to share my political opinion, and despite being pretty educated on the subject (an A-Level and one year of Russell Group University education in the subject, to be precise) I like to think I know what I'm talking about when it comes to politics. Especially around the time of the general election - and the Brexit referendum - whenever I tweeted anything vaguely political I got a tirade of 45-year-old+ men trying to explain to me that I'm wrong and that I can't possibly know what I am talking about because I'm: a) a woman b) young c) a beauty blogger, and you can't possibly have make up on your face and know anything about politics. I once actually had a man reply to a tweet I'd written about how awful Theresa May was with "HAHAHA MAYBE IT'S MAYBELLINE HAHAH"... What does that even mean? You can quote adverts? I was extremely confused. I also especially got a lot of hate when I wrote an article for Journal.ie on the general election. The comments section of that was most unpleasant.
I was expecting this to be a landslide of 100% yes, because I can't count the amount of times I've seen someone make a joke about how the show should now be called 'Nurse Who' now they have cast a female doctor (implying that men can't be nurses and women can't be doctors - lol wut) and honestly, it's beyond a joke. In a show where time travel, shapeshifting aliens and squad trips to the moon are the key themes, what these men are finding unrealistic is that a woman could play the man character of someone who regenerates into a new bloody identity every few years.

Those are my thoughts on everyday sexism. I don't know what I wanted to put across in this post other than how shit men can be and how sometimes I feel like we ignore the smaller details of sexism in favour of the bigger aspects of it. What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you experienced any of these things?  

10 comments

  1. I love this post! I agree with literally everything you've said. Sexism sucks. X

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  3. The PE one was less obvious for me as I went to an all girls school, but there were less "rough" sports we didn't do compared to the boys school down the road! We did end up doing netball and badminton more than sports like football as well. Thankfully I've only been catcalled a few times, but having always been a curvier lass from my early teen to now it was also super gross to be eyed up by older men! Everyday sexism is definitely a problem whether people believe in it or not!

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    1. Older men are the worst! I feel like people don't address everyday sexism enough and I wanna talk about it!

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  4. You go girl for showing those two businessmen having their coffees that women can have fully informed and articulate political opinions too!! Proud of you for speaking up! I found your poll results really intriguing, I absolutely hate being called "darling" or other forms of sickly-sweet endearment by mean I don't know, it's infuriating and serves only to put women down! Grrr! Good on you for writing this post and getting people taking about sexism!

    Abbey www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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    1. Thanks Abbey! I felt super sassy when I retorted!

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  5. I love that you still responded to them and showed them you weren't stupid like they so wrongfully assumed. I hate when men just assume I am unintelligent simply because I am a woman and/or wear makeup. I found this post incredibly interesting, it is crazy what us women deal with on a daily basis!

    http://www.heythererobyn.com/

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  6. It's so crap that we STILL have to put up with this sort of thing, it's like it's naturally engrained into men to think we're lesser beings in ways we probably haven't even realised yet. I can deal with the nicknames but condescending comments and catcalling are big no-nos for me! I would've gone right off on one if I'd gotten that shitty ass comment from those men!
    Alice Xx
    blacktulipbeauty.wordpress.com

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  7. Love this post! I went to China to teach English to children last year and genuinely left because of how I was treated by the male teachers. It was so awful x

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