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Women Talk About The Worst Case Of Sexism They Deal With Every Day

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In the last fifty years, we’ve taken great leaps in combatting sexism, and women have far greater opportunities than we’ve had at almost any other time in history. But unfortunately, like a stain that you can’t scrub out of the bathroom floor, a quieter strain of sexism remains.

Sure, getting catcalled by some jerk on the street or condescendingly told how to do your own job isn’t the height of oppression. But it’s still pretty darn annoying and, when it happens every day, it starts to add up.

The more women talk about it and name it for what it is, the easier it is to stomp it out. Read on to hear twenty-five women talk about the annoying sexist situations they face on a day-to-day basis.

1. “Women are expected to be exceedingly polite to men who are hitting on them, even if they’ve already said no. Even if the man is saying something gross or inappropriate. You can see people complaining about girls who lie about having boyfriends all over the internet – but none of them seem to think about why she would say that.” (PancakeSanchez)

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2. I was getting my phone checked for an issue at the Apple Store, and when I tried to explain what the issue likely was, he ignored me. A couple minutes later my boyfriend (who went with me) repeated what the problem with the phone probably was. The guy helping me was like “Yeah, that’s probably what was going on. This is a smart guy. Do you ever get mad at him for being so smart?” It didn’t tick me off. It honestly just made me sad.” (deleted)

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3. “Medical issues are brushed off as PMS or period cramps a lot. I went to the ER for depression this year. I told the doctor I was on my period and he asked if I wanted to go home and “wait it out” to be sure it wasn’t just my hormones. I also was told that my severe abdominal pain was probably just my period when I actually had a UTI and severe case of mesenteric adenitis.” (deleted)

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4. “I’ve known multiple guys that say they wouldn’t be with a woman who made more money than them. Always struck me as unnecessarily vain and sexist, especially since my mom makes 4x what my dad does.” (Hungry_Lion)

5. “I am in dental school. Some of our very talented student dentists who happen to be female will always get mistaken as the hygienist. One customer went as far as demanding to see the “real” doctor. The classmate went and got the clinical director. Who was also a woman. The patient was very upset, and left.” (Macabalony)


6. “As someone who likes to lift weights “aren’t you worried about getting too muscular” or “you really should stop hitting arms.” Hey, I’m already cursed with being genetically weaker, don’t act like I’m a freak for wanting to make sure I’m strong enough to take care of myself.” (KnightedNarwhal)

7. “Women’s clothing, even expensive clothing, is thinner, more unstructured, less sturdy, more revealing, and fussier than men’s clothing. It is hard to find shirts without plunging low necklines, even on long-sleeve winter shirts. Shirts that are warm look like they are made for camping, not the courtroom. Even professional clothing is unnecessarily provocative and revealing. I don’t get it.” (effieokay)

8. “If I’m upset about something at work, no matter how genuine – I am immediately assumed to be PMSing. I manage a team of 10 people and work as a liaison between several departments. Every day I put out fires before they get a chance to get nasty. If I get stressed out by my job, “oh she must be PMSing, she’s on fire.” If my male counterparts are angry/stressed, “Oh he’s under a lot of stress, I feel sorry for him.” (Morrya)

9. “My friend once mentioned that both of his parents are doctors, but his friends address only his dad as “Dr.” and address his mom as “Mrs.” despite knowing that they are both doctors.” (DeadWeightGainz)

10. “My boss calls me baby. And I got demoted because our new employee “gets told what to do at home by his wife, he doesn’t need to get that at work too.” Yikes.” (rawrvenger)

11. “I work in a male-dominated profession, and even though my boss is super progressive and open minded, I’m constantly NOT picked to coordinate funerals or embalm certain individuals because of the emotional stigma of “not being able to handle it.” While I appreciate the sentiment, I did go to school for this and I do know what I’m doing. I take pride in my abilities, and one of the strengths I have is being able to compartmentalize.” (oldschool_styles)

12. “There’s the way we’re constantly judged on our looks instead of competence – this is super infuriating, I’ve had coworkers tell me to my face that I needed to put on makeup. Listen, makeup doesn’t affect my ability to do my damn job.” (Annemi)

13. “Men age like wine, women age like milk. Women hit middle age and we become invisible. More often than not, women nearing 50 + are seen as either ‘can I speak to your manager’ harridans or grandmothers or just plain non-existent. Men are considered sexy, successful and in command at the same ages.” (abermarm)

14. “Something I’ve seen a lot of is an expectation that women (and minorities in general) are expected to do a lot of extra emotional work if they are wronged in some way. I was once harassed at my workplace and when I told my boss about it, the response was basically, “Well, what did you do to encourage it?” The fact that I had a strange guy follow me around my workplace telling me to smile or hanging around when I was ending my shift was chalked up to something that I did. Everyone kept saying that he was a nice guy, and he clearly didn’t mean to bother me. Not so nice once he started screaming at me because I didn’t smile at him, huh?” (ameliafearhart)

15. “This is just personal experience, but I transitioned from female to male, and as soon as I started passing, people just seemed to be nicer to me. I was shocked at how many strangers suddenly started talking to me and treating me like an equal.” (gravitationaltim)

16. “My boss once told me to ‘take one for the team, put a bag on my head, and [expletive]’ a male coworker because he regularly makes highly inappropriate comments towards me. It was more important for the guy to get laid than in trouble for slapping a banana sticker on his crotch and following me around the kitchen I work in for five minutes.” (AtlasMaverick)

17. “Having our facial expressions policed. I worked on a boat, welding in tiny spaces. My boss pulled me into a disciplinary meeting where he told me that I smiled more at my coworkers than I smiled at him, and needed to work on that and my “attitude”. I asked him for a specific example of my attitude and he didn’t have one. What on earth does my face have to do with my work? I’m under a welding hood. You see my face for ten minutes a day.” (deleted)

18. “I can walk into a hardware store, making a $1000 purchase for my company as the master carpenter, and if a dude is with me, the sales people will speak to him, even if he hasn’t said a word. Once, I had a supplier call my predecessor to try and change my order because he didn’t believe that I knew what I was doing. I never shopped at either place again.” (deleted)

19. “The fact that most medical studies for pharmaceuticals are performed only on or more extensively on men. This leads to side effects affecting women being underrepresented or completely unknown until it’s in the retail markets. A great example of this is Ambien. Women weren’t included in the studies of side effects for Ambien and so, scientists were unaware of the fact that men’s digestive systems would process the drug almost 2 hours before women did. This led to some women experiencing severe cases of sleep walking or sleep driving. We need to better understand how our medicine affects all members of society.” (lazymay)

20. “In the workplace, one of my biggest pet peeves is the women being expected to do secretarial work even when they aren’t secretaries. I’m a lawyer, most of the people I work with are lawyers. We don’t have any true secretaries, so everyone makes their own copies and that sort of thing. My supervisor’s desk is literally one foot away from the copier but rather than make her own copies, she would walk across the office to hand me a stack of papers and tell me to make a copy of them.” (MissColombia)

21. “For whatever reason, I am at my most attractive when viewed from a car. I’ve had men yell pretty vulgar things at me and just drive on their merry way. Street harassment is real, people.” (I_Ace_English)

22. “Men, including close friends and my boyfriend, assume I am wrong so often that I am usually logged into my university database during casual conversations because I know I’ll be told “you just saw clickbait somewhere” or something condescending like that. I mean, I love proving them wrong, but it gets annoying after a while.” (cageswithoutkeys)

23. “One time, I was in a lab group where I was the only girl, and all but one of them would completely ignore everything I said. Like, when a guy asked the group how to do something and I responded, he’d turn to one of his friends and ask, “Hey Bro, how do you do this?” When his friend explained it (exactly the same way I had), he’d say, “Oh, I get it now.” This happened constantly.” (Barbieheels)

24. “We’re expected to give second, third, fourth chances etc to men who love us. We’re shamed for wanting a successful and competent man, but I rarely see men shamed for breaking up with “crazy girls.” (cageswithoutkeys)

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