Sunday, 28 October 2012

Everyday sexism - get your examples out for the boys

It was a sunny day towards the end of the last century. I was leaving my job - again - to go off and mess about on boats. (I did this several times until motherhood put a stop to it.)

My colleagues at the newspaper I'd been working at had clubbed together to get me a present. They all stood around while I unwrapped two whole melons.

Apparently, this was a joke because I had big breasts, also known as melons. Geddit. I was mortified, but smiled, pretended I didn't understand the joke and got a sharp knife to cut the fruit into vicious cubes.

Not long after that I had a breast reduction. It wasn't that they hurt my back or any of the usual excuses. I was sick fed-up of being the joke with tits - groped, gawped at and always commented on. At the time I thought it was my problem...

Anyhow, it's just another example of the everyday sexism that swills around polluting things.

This week Boy One skipped off to school very excited because they were going to see a heart dissection in biology. Over breakfast we discussed how much blood there would be. Both Boy One and Two were disappointed to learn that there wouldn't be any - probably not a drop.

"The girls will still scream though," said Boy One.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because they won't like it... We were all given the option not to watch and it was only girls that said they didn't want to."

What followed was a very long conversation about why girls were no different to boys and some people may feel squeamish about seeing an organ being cut up. Only girls might think it unseemly to show too much enthusiasm for such matters and boys, however queasy, might fear a ribbing.

It's everywhere, all the time is sexism. Follow @everdaysexism on twitter for some examples and you might like to add yours.



10 comments:

  1. I had to read the second and third paragraphs again - I was horrified to read that - that must have felt so humiliating - the awful thing is that this kind of shaming is still rife in offices. I remember one xmas party and it was the dreaded secret santa (even though everyone knew who they were buying for) and one woman received an apron with a woman bits on - her face said it all - the present was so inappropriate - I had my boobs groped at an office xmas party once - it happened so fast I didn't have time to react and I was left fuming - If I could go back to the scene I would have thrown my beer over him!

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    1. It's often the way that when these things actually happen you can't quite respond in the way you really, really want to.

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  2. I'm genuinely shocked that you got that as a present. The worst type of unprofessionalism. And it's a crap joke too. I hate crass humour at work, I think it's the lowest firm of comedy because it requires no intelligent thought.

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  3. I cringed reading this, but sadly, wasn't surprised.

    What is wrong with people?

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    Replies
    1. What's wrong with these people? How long have you got?

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  4. What an appalling joke. I'm cringing just reading it. Can't imagine what it must have been like at the time for you.

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  5. Awful awful awful. Everyday sexism is so ingrained, so commonplace that I despair. Perhaps I should record it.

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    Replies
    1. I do think that it's only by being relentless, yet reasonable, in the face of sexism that things might change.

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