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Daily Misogyny

We occasionally get emails from readers who encounter pretty egregious misogyny in their real lives. First, one reader spotted this at her dentist’s office:


I had an appointment at a new dentist’s office this morning, and the only art in the waiting room was the attached poster. I found it an interesting choice for the waiting room: the woman appears to be wearing a swimsuit, the doctor on the left is looking at her breasts while holding a tooth in his left hand and a rose in his right. The way in which she’s looking at the audience I also found intriguing. The dental practice is owned by two doctors, one male and one female – not a couple – from Russia.
I was able to find the poster online at, where it is titled “Annual Checkup.” “Drilling Darling” is also disturbing. The artist, Yuval Mahler, has apparently made some similar work:
I thought it was an interesting depiction of misogyny in the medical community, especially in the gendering of doctor-patient relationships, and thought you might enjoy a look.

Ick. I would be squicked out, too.

Then another alerted us to Juicy Campus — which is basically like AutoAdmit on crack.

A reader traveling in Edinburgh spotted this in the back of a cab:


Do you know who is driving you home tonight?

Some companies offer female drivers – at CityCabs we don’t need to. All our drivers undergo a Police Check and are licensed by the Council to ensure peace of mind for all our customers…

Well in that case…

Another reader sent on a PowerPoint presentation chain email that I can’t figure out how to put up here, so I’ll just describe it, because I think that should piss people off enough: It starts with a black screen with the words “What does Muslim pussy look like?” When you click to the next screen, there’s this photo (and yes, I just googled “Muslim Pussy;” no it was not enjoyable):


So there’s your blood-pressure-raising moment of the day. What kind of daily misogynies do you run into?

Posted in Art

63 thoughts on Daily Misogyny

  1. I know it’s wrong, but the look on the cat’s face made me laugh (although that was before I read the text).

  2. *sigh* If it weren’t the implied “we don’t hire female drivers!” I’d be all game for CityCabs doing background checks and whatnot. Grrness.

  3. I went to the gym the other day and was informed that I could have three free sessions with a personal trainer. I asked for a woman trainer and was blown off. “I can train you,” said the man who signed me up. “I can tell you what a man wants a woman to look like. A woman can’t tell you what a man wants to look at. I will work on you until you look the way you are suppossed to look. It may hurt, but trust me. I am the one who’s going to help you.”

  4. That is not a happy cat.

    Tayari: I’d be looking for another gym and speaking to his supervisor. The medical industry knows quite well that you shouldn’t have to hurt to improve your fitness.

    Daily misogyny? Hm… I was at McDonald’s this morning. I blew it off because I was in such a hurry, but I shouldn’t have. I was just stepping up to the register when some guy cuts in front of me and starts talking to the cashier a mile a minute. The cashier (male, young) just listened to him, handed him a small cup, THEN waited on me. Of course, he then got my order wrong because of not listening to me. Grrrrrr….

  5. A woman can’t tell you what a man wants to look at.

    Wow. Did you ask to speak to a manager?

  6. I went to the gym the other day and was informed that I could have three free sessions with a personal trainer. I asked for a woman trainer and was blown off. “I can train you,” said the man who signed me up. “I can tell you what a man wants a woman to look like. A woman can’t tell you what a man wants to look at. I will work on you until you look the way you are suppossed to look. It may hurt, but trust me. I am the one who’s going to help you.”

    Oh my goodness! there are so many assumptions flying around his comment i nearly don’t know where to start! 1. wanting to be in shape does not = wanting to look the way you are “supposed to look.” 2. why the f does he think you are into men? what if you couldn’t care less “what a man wants to look at.” 3. you are (hopefully) working out to look and feel better for yourself, not anyone else…
    This guy absolutely needs to be reported – i can’t believe he said that to you… sorry you had to go through that, i would have FLIPPED OUT.

  7. Yesterday I spotted Tescos just put the photography, computing, and music magazines under “Men’s Lifestyle”.

    …Web designer, student photographer, & music obsessive, and yet… still not grown a penis! 😉

  8. The one I run into

    “This is Dr. Jay”.

    “Oh, it’s the doctor’s office”.

    “No, it’s the doctor”.

    And one from my greatest hits: The optometrist who told me I needed bifocals and who spent 15 minutes soft-pedaling it because “I know how women feel about that”. When I asked him if progressive lenses had the same peripheral vision as regular bifocals, he said “Well, no, but for women that doesn’t matter because all you use the bifocal for is reading or sewing”.

    I replied “When I sew, it’s usually on people, not fabric”.

  9. That poster may be cleverish from a sheerly graphic standpoint, but what kind of utterly depraved lunatic would display it in a dentist’s office!? If I were female and I saw something like that on the wall, I would leave skid marks out of there.

  10. No, I didn’t leave the office – I was just flat out puzzled. I didn’t see a man the entire time I was there – doctors, patients, hygenists were all women. I know there’s a male doctor also involved in the practice, but the blatant misogyny and sexuality in the picture just took me aback – nobody could miss that. I’ll have to ask about it. Turns out to have been expensive for a poster print, so why on earth that choice? The only other decor was a set of hubble-like animal figurines

  11. There were female driver -jokes on the wall of my driving school. Needless to say, I complained and when there seemed to be no action ripped them off myself. I mean, come on! The teachers were nice, two males not at all misogynistic, just jammed in their own culture and its misogyny.

  12. I’m a graduate student a year away from finishing my PhD. Today I came to class early and while we waited for the prof to arrive, I was talking with a friend about why I won’t be attending my boyfriend’s sister’s baby shower. I have several reasons for not wanting to go, but the only ones I said aloud were that it was at a bad time and “I don’t want to have to put up with [BF]’s dad asking me when I’m going to start giving him grandchildren.”

    “Wait, so you’re NEVER having children?” a classmate incredulously asked, very loudly, so that suddenly everyone was looking at me.

    “Not until she’s married, at least,” another classmate asserted, before I even had a chance to respond to the first,

  13. That’s a good opportunity to practice the Icy Charles Manson Stare of Death.

    tayari, second and third the recommendations to talk to the manager (and find a new gym if you can)–that is NOT the sign of a competent personal trainer. A good personal trainer doesn’t tell you what you “should” look like or what *they* will do to *you*. A good trainer finds out what your goals are (strength? flat abs? overall tone?) and helps design a workable program that will achieve those. This guy could injure you.

  14. Can you imagine the time it took to make that little outfit? What kind of mind spends HOURS just to create a truly offensive image?

  15. The most egrious misogyny I’ve ever encountered was when I was working for a trucking firm (the job was sold to me as an advertising and marketing position, but the title was “administrative assistant”):

    Boss: So, we’ll need to write your job description. Tell me everything you do.
    Me: I create ads, I write press releases, I–
    Boss: Well, I can’t really write on here that you write press releases, because you’re an assistant.
    Me: At my old job, I was a marketing “assistant,” and I wrote press releases all the time.
    Boss: Well, let me ask you a question… as a marketing assistant, did it matter if you were a man or a woman?
    Me (flabbergasted): Uh, no…
    Boss: See, an administrative assistant is a woman’s job, so I can’t really say you write press releases…

    Yeah, I went to HR and got him fired. Good times.

  16. I was at rehearsal and in one of the scenes, a troll fairy (one of the guys) was supposed to knock out a much smaller fairy (a girl). At one point, one of the guys yelled out, “have her struggling!! Women struggling is always funny!!”

    A lot of us were like “you’re such an asshole” (because, I dunno, I guess when a guy’s being an asshole, you’re supposed to let it slide, because obviously, he’s joking, or something), but my director gave it a go. After he saw it, though, he said, really loudly, “Actually, women struggling is disturbing. Let’s not do that ever again.” I wanted to stand up and applaud him for that.

  17. I work at Starbucks, and my store manager is very firm in his belief that women like sugary drinks and men drink black coffee. What’s really strange about this is that it doesn’t come close to holing true among his own employees, let alone in the real world.

    (We had a store meeting last night and he was speaking about how hopefully people who drink venti caramel macchiattos will “go home and tell their husbands about our new coffee roast,” so its on my mind at the moment. FWIW the new coffee is pretty good.)

  18. Over at Hugo Swyzer’s blog, I got a comment in response to one I left in response to Hugo’s post on how a feminist man can fight the Old Boys’ Club mentality that insists men aren’t encouraged to be more into technology and sport than women. And that my telling some other MRA dude that just because he didn’t see harassment (or recognise it, more probably), doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen is somehow trying to talk the guy into not believing his ow precious total non-experiences about an issue that doesn’t affect him.

    Seriously. Am questioning whether I actually grew up in the same world as some of these MRAs.

    Tayari, you should have said plenty of women are more interested in what a woman thinks a woman should look like, because that’s who they’re into. And watch his head to explode. But seriously, what an arse. Like ‘supposed to look’? I’m sorry, who made him the judge of all that is supposedly sexy and female? It’s not like you’d need his particular opinion, seeing as just about any guy strutting down the street likes to tell you what he thinks of you.

  19. And one from my greatest hits: The optometrist who told me I needed bifocals and who spent 15 minutes soft-pedaling it because “I know how women feel about that”. When I asked him if progressive lenses had the same peripheral vision as regular bifocals, he said “Well, no, but for women that doesn’t matter because all you use the bifocal for is reading or sewing”.

    I replied “When I sew, it’s usually on people, not fabric”.

    Sooooo, my peripheral vision isn’t important because I’m sewing or reading? Wtf? I sew for a living and use my (freaky good) peripheral vision all the time. And it bugs me if it’s cut off, which is why I don’t have the stylishly small lenses/frames. *snort*

    Also, good for you Dr. Jay on that reply!! 🙂

  20. I interned at an office where the main boss (not my boss, but several ranks higher) refused to let me lift boxes…even with a dolly. There were kind of a lot of boxes involved, since we did a lot of mailings–but nothing more than half-full with paper…you know, just like the boxes i move around at my current job every day. I’d understand if they’d been heavy and he was concerned about me hurting myself and them getting stuck paying for it (it wasn’t an ‘able to lift 50+ lbs’ job description after all), but he’d always tell me to ‘get one of the men’ to do it because ‘you’re a woman’ and ‘that’s what men are supposed to do.’ And if i got sent out on an errand say, to the post office, i had to have one of the ‘men’ go with me. Just in case. The stupidest thing was i was working manual labor over the weekends and frequently helping to move/lift things that weighed more than i did.

    Oh, and i’d have flipped out on that guy at the gym. I hope if you do stay there you find a more respectful trainer–and get that jerk in trouble.

  21. I work at Starbucks, and my store manager is very firm in his belief that women like sugary drinks and men drink black coffee.

    I get ragged on by people all the time for ordering sugary, frothy coffee. It’s even worse if I ask for a green, spiced, or fruit-flavored tea (by the way, plum-white tea is the best).

    Anyway, last summer my cousin was making innuendos about an artist’s sexuality based on the fact that he blows glass. Yes, apparently glass blowing makes you gay. I wanted to scream “You freaking play saxophone!” but didn’t.

  22. I volunteer at a military welcome center at our local airport. We welcome traveling soldiers, give them pizza drinks, and provide a place to hang out, make phone calls, check email, and relax while they wait for transport to local military bases. My son is in the Army and it gives me a chance to help out other soldiers.

    One of our new volunteers is a retired lawyer and when I was showing him what we do I said that we swept the floor when it got messy and showed him where the cleaning supplies were. He said, “I don’t see dirt.” I told him that we would let him know when the floor needed sweeping. He said, “Really, it could be knee high and I wouldn’t see it.” I said I just thought it looked better when the center was clean and that I swept it every couple of hours. He said, “Well, it’s a good thing you’re here, then.” He also refuses to make coffe or help clean up around the food area, aparrently that is also something the femal volunteers are supposed to do.

    I’m a research scientist in real life but am honored to keep our center clean for these brave young men and women.

  23. I was watching the Simpson’s yesterday…and they had this whole episode about girls and math (pretty much) that involves them splitting the girls and boys into different schools. Lisa ends up sneaking into the boys school, because they aren’t really ‘teaching’ anything in the girl’s school, just talking about feelings (which is a little irritating in itself, but not handled too badly…the teacher running it is obviously kind of over the top, so maybe it’s just her and not ‘women’). So Lisa sneaks into the boy’s school to do real math and ends up being better than all the boys at it but she has to get Bart to teach her to act like a boy to survive the violence and stuff. Okay…up to this point you could make a lot of feminist criticisms of this episode, but overall it seems to be mostly going in the direction that Lisa’s kicking some boy ass in math, and also that both of the schools are way over the top in how they’re run. But. Then, at the end, when Lisa reveals who she is while getting the ‘best math student’ award or something Bart yells that the only reason she got good at math was because he taught her to think like a boy. At which point she throws the award at his head. Horrified at her ‘un-girl-like’ action, she then says this

    “Lisa: And I did get better at math, but it was only by abandoning everything I believed in. I guess the real reason we don’t we see many women in math and science is…. Well, whatever the reason is, I’m glad I’m a girl, and I’m glad I’m good at math!”

    Wha? My roommate and I both just looked at eachother like ‘um…huh?’ I was seriously expecting that sentence to end some other way, like ‘it was only by having people treat me like I could be good at math’ or something else. Arg. And then in an interview with one of the writers involved in this episode, he says “That was a very difficult episode in some ways, because we wanted to deal with it, but we didn’t want to toe any ideologically obvious line either way, so it was hard to come to a satisfying end, but we probably came to an interesting place, I hope.” No. You didn’t. You came to a place where maybe boys aren’t ‘inherently’ better at math, but only better because of their mentality, which, apparently, involves picking unnecessary fights and little else (in this episode). Stupid. Worse theory than ‘inherently better.’ Stupid, stupid.

    This is a little episode summary, where I lifted the quote from.

  24. I think I’ll fix Lisa’s speech for the writers, seeing as they didn’t know what to do with it:

    And I did get better at math, because I was actually being taught math, not feelings. I guess the real reason we don’t we see many women in math and science is because we teach boys they must be better at math and science, even when they’re not. If we let both boys and girls work at what they are good at, we might learn that girls don’t suck at math any more than boys.

    Not perfect, but a damn sight better than the official one, I guess.

    Er, so the Simspons never makes any kind of social commentary? Did they not watch most of their episodes? It’s kin of hard to avoid specific viewpoints, and if they totally wanted to avoid it, they should not have made a whole episode about an issue they didn’t have the guts to address.

  25. I see a fair bit of misogyny and stereotyping almost daily. I work at a church and we have a female minister. I swear, if one more “well-meaning” man calls her ‘little lady’, I’m going to lose it on her behalf. We have people who come in off the street and can’t believe she’s the minister. The men there are old, and many have old fashioned (read: sexist) opinions. I’m “the office girl”. Mind you, they call each other ‘the boys’, so I guess that’s fair enough.

    The kicker for me was when they were needing volunteers for something, and someone suggested me, someone else said, “She’s busy with her kids. But her husband, we could ask him.” Um, wha? No. Not so much. We share the parenting. Pretty equally, except I’m home most days and he’s not.

  26. I remember a time over in Korea when me and an older, female English teacher went out to a pork restaurant for their BBQ special. I could speak only a few things in Korean while the other teacher could speak pretty darn well, and without a dictionary. She did all the ordering and whatnot, yet, at the end, the waitress turned to me to finish things up and pay the bill.

    It just boggled me because my friend did all the work, yet the waitress seemed to think that I was in charge, even adding on the fact that I’m 20 years her junior.

    Another thing I found was in talking with Uncle Sean, from mom’s side of the family, and his constant assurances that I would get LOTS of women over in Korea, just for being a big white male, which I found to be both racist AND sexist. I glared at him like the idiot he is while mom said “Jamie doesn’t think like that, he’s respectful of women.”

    It shut him up pretty good.

  27. Once I was trawling the mall for a summer job, and I went into a gaming store to ask if they were hiring. The guy behind the counter just looked at me and said, “…Do you even know what this place is?” It was kind of nice as a way to rule out that place as somewhere I’d work.

    I currently work in a library and it never fails to shock me the way people treat my male supervisors with respect, but yell at and insult my female supervisors. I’ve seen my female supervisors take astonishing amounts of verbal abuse (from patrons at a library at an elite university, no less!). If a man of the same rank comes out to see what all the yelling’s about, he is spoken to calmly. He can say the exact same things as the female supervisor and people will believe him and not yell at him. It’s crazy!

  28. Jamie Jeans’ story reminded me of how waitstaff seem to think I look like a “Christina,” because I’ve lost count of the times they’ve swiped my wife’s credit card then handed the slip to *me* to sign.

  29. One of the worst times I can remember being insulted was the summer in between college and law school, I was waiting tables outside of Atlanta (waitressing = pretty much misogynistic remarks constantly), but one day this guy came in. He asked how old I was, and I told him, and he asked how long I’d been working there, and I told him I just graduated from college, and he said

    What was your major? Waitressing??” And gave me the grossest look ever, he was so fucking pleased with himself.

    i guess its not necessarily misogynistic, but I have a feeling the whole encounter wouldn’t have happened if I was a man.

  30. I work in a photo center and have to help out a lot of people with the kiosks and I’m getting really sick of older gentlemen calling me ‘darling’. But there are a couple of instances that really stand out.
    One was during my first few weeks that told me I was pretty and asked if I was a model, when he came back the next week he said he’d have to take pictures of me.

    Just recently there was another older ‘gentleman’ who had two orders stapled together. When there are two separate dockets for one person we usually either put them in the same envelope or put a rubber band around them. Didn’t happen with this one while I was on my break and the man came to pick them up and I gave him the one envelope and he had to come back a minute later for the second for which I apologized to which he says in a friendly manner:

    ‘Oh I’ll have to give you a smack next time’

    He was walking off as he said that and must not have seen my expression.
    It’s like they think this ‘flirtatious’ crap is cute and endearing. I think we can all agree it isn’t…

  31. Yikes. Reminds me of the CSI episode, “Sweet Jane”, where a kindly seeming veteran dentist has actually been drugging and raping and killing young girls for decade.

  32. My daily misogyny was walking home yesterday and seeing a car parked near my apartment with a bumper sticker on it that said “Gas, grass or ass: no one rides for free.” Glad to know you’ll rape the next hitchhiker who doesn’t have cash or weed, asshole.

  33. Betsy, that sticker has been around forever. It’s far from the worst. I once saw one that said, “If it wasn’t for date rape, I’d never get laid,” and another, “If I don’t get laid, someone’s gonna get hurt.”

    Sheesh. Why not just say “I’m an incipient rapist” and be done with it?

  34. Personally I don’t think that City Cabs intended to offend anyone – I’ve used their services and certainly had female drivers. There has been quite a big campaign in Edinburgh (and I presume the rest of the UK) regarding getting home safely and it probably relates to that as there is a big problem with unlicensed mini-cabs. The emphasis in the wording just comes across in the wrong way.

    I find the current Lynx ‘Mix it Up’ ads much more offensive – I can’t find any images of the campaign online but they are all over the bus stops locally with pictures of half naked women as Executive/Volleyball Player. Sadly, looking for an image online I managed to find their website and videos which are even worse 🙁

  35. Today, for the zillionth time*, I got told what a cute son I have. My nine-month-old was wearing a lavender baseball cap, and her brown jacket had frills on the sleeves. I can’t tell if the assumption that human = male is just so strong that no coding short of pink lace dresses will overcome it, or if people are just so worried about ZOMG scarring a poor little boy (or offending his parents) by mistaking him for a girl that they guess “boy” just to be safe, but either way, it’s kind of starting to piss me off.

    *slight exaggeration

  36. God, let me see what I can pull out of my archives of the worst experiences ever:

    At college, as a communications major, I volunteered at the school radio station, which in fact was funded by the communications department, but not one (that’s right not one) communications major used besides myself — and I had to get into that by volunteering to read for a spot with a blind guy. Anyway, said “director” of the station announces that the station manager and himself are going to a radio communications conference, funded by the school. They were planning their trip. When I commented that I’d like to see about going as I was interested in radio journalism, their response was, “You can’t, you’re a woman, the school isn’t going to foot the bill for an extra room for you.”

    Same station studio was plastered with highly offensive promotional pictures depicting BDSM poses and slash/porno trash that the “boys” seemed to like. I complained about this being offensive and discriminatory as well as the outright denial of my ability to attend the conference. The school’s response? They shut down the entire radio station.


    Presently I am working as a carpenter with another guy on a job in a neighboring state. My boss walked on in me talking trash about him to another employee. He took me aside and began to rant, within which said rant was, “…and I gave you a chance and hired you even though you are a WOMAN even though WOMEN make all kinds of drama and I won’t have any drama here and that’s just what you are doing….”

    I glared at him and calmly asked, “What do mean by that?”

    He back-tracked immediately, “Well, I mean that …. well I probably shouldn’t have said that…”

    Fact is even more than the outrageousness of the comment itself is that this guy is one of the biggest drama queens anyone could find. He’ll have a fit over the smallest grievance and has been warned to control his flight of temper, especially after nearly getting into fisticuffs with another contractor over a “You called me what?” type of argument.

    He hasn’t lately, but for awhile he also had the annoying habit of calling me “sweetheart” or “hon” when correcting me or instructing me on something. This when I am in my work clothes, holding a drill and other tools engaged in what are commonly considered manly pursuits and where work and production matter. I haven’t yet been able to rouse an appropriately diffusing/humorous/jibing response to these words, choosing only to ignore them, but it is particularly embarrassing when a higher up on the hierarchy happens to be around.

    I remember when I worked in a grocery store meat department and an older gentleman rang the service buzzer. I came out to see to the customer’s request only to be told sternly, “I want to speak to a man.”

    Or in same employ, when I offered to pick up a large frozen turkey and place it in a woman’s cart as we were required as a courtesy, only to be told coldly by the young woman, “I can pick it up, I ate my wheaties today.” I wanted to reply, “Hey lady, I’m on your side! I’m only doing my job!”

    Or in same employ when a customer calling in a phone order asked my name for reference, “I never knew of a man by that name.”

    “I’m not a man ma’am” I replied as politely as possible.

    “No way, you’re kidding me!” was her return.

    This went on for so long the entire meatroom was busting out laughing. I have a deep voice, so am commonly mistaken for a man, which I’ve sometimes not bothered to correct. I get to see how men talk to other men, unfortunately, I can’t engage in the proper banter to let loose what they’d say to eachother that woman aren’t supposed to hear as well, I’m not a guy and the ruse can only go so far.

  37. I used to teach GMAT/GRE/LSAT prep courses at a private company, and several years ago (when I was about 23) I had a tutoring session with a male student who was a few years older than me. It was the middle of the summer, probably 90 degrees out at least, so I wore a sleeveless dress to the office. I happen to be very hourglassy, and most dresses emphasize that no matter what material they’re made of. Anyway, this student took one look at me and said What are you wearing?! in this half-alarmed/half-please way. I said, “Excuse me?” And he said, I swear to god, “That’s not teacher clothes.” Somehow I managed to say something like “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” and I was extremely uncomfortable for the rest of the session. The next week, he apologized and told me he meant to say that I looked very nice in that dress. I told him that I appreciated the apology, and that what he had said was inappropriate. I wish I had also thought to tell him that it was none of his business how “nice” I looked, but hey, I was 23.

  38. I’m sure I’m going to get gunned down for this one, but had he said simply how nice you looked, what’s wrong with that? It sometimes bothers me that we live in a time when you have to wonder if it’s acceptable to compliment someone. If it sexualizes someone to tell them that they look attractive, then what of it? Aren’t we sexual beings? What crosses the line is when that fact (that you think someone looks attractive) necessarily means anything beyond a simple statement of fact.

  39. This was before I became a full-time feminist: I have play videogames for a good majority of my life and I have used computer since I was 3 years old.

    My mother had picked up the game Dead or Alive Ultimate (My idea of feminism is you can be both tough and beautiful, without sacrifice. Stand your ground and snap down those who sass you.) and the guys in line asked “Who’s that for?” My mother said “My daughter” and they said “What’s her Gamertag?”. (I didn’t get onto XBOX Live until 2006)

    From what I heard from fellow gamers, they would have been the type to try to talk dirty while I was playing. Now, I like a little dirty talk now and then, but only from someone I know on a intimate level.

    This sort of misogyny angers me so. People have recently focused on girl gamers, despite the fact we’ve be around since the 1980s. And many of the guy who play video games that I’ve ran into are pretty much the geeky kind. Yes, we girls have larger breast than men on average (Not counting sumo wrestling and speed-eating wannanbe’s), but sometimes I wish that the more sensitive gaming guys would come out of the woodwork…

  40. If it sexualizes someone to tell them that they look attractive, then what of it? Aren’t we sexual beings?

    JC, I assume you’re talking about my situation with the student. If he had said “You look nice today” without the shocked “What are you wearing?!” and without obviously checking me out, maybe that would have been a fairly neutral thing to say. But I didn’t want to be “sexualized” by an older man whom I barely knew, with whom I was about to spend three hours in a small, closed room, and who was paying a lot of money for my time. If you don’t see why that’s a problem, I don’t really know how to explain it to you.

  41. Lucy Gillam I used to get that about my boys – “What a gorgeous girl!”. I never could figure it out. I finally decided it was because they had HUGE blue eyes and blue eyes must somehow equal girl.

    I mean seriously, they’d be dressed in the most boy outfit I owned (I didn’t shop for stereotypically boy things but we did get gifts) and people would still think they were girls. Up until about age 2 (and they had lots of hair that was cut in a typical boy cut, so it was even more bizarre).

  42. I remember an incident during an intro to C++ class in college. During the first day of class, some kid in the front row raised his hand to ask a question. He said “Mrs. Houlihan, …” to which the kick-ass lady professor replied “Mrs. Houlihan was my mother.” I couldn’t believe this kid, at a top tier school, couldn’t provide the proper respect for a college professor.

  43. Last night I was out to dinner with some friends and talking about the crazy abstinence only ‘You are a rose and every time you have pre-marital sex lose a petal’ thing. And then this older man lent across from the next table to ask me how may petals I’d lost. When I told him it was none of his business he claimed I had been ‘advertising’ it.

  44. JC, context is important. In a teacher/student relationship, it’s inappropriate for one to make a comment about the other’s appearance.

  45. These kinds of things happen all the time in the car-related world where it just seems to be unheard of to have a woman work on or even like cars. I can’t even tell you how many times I have been completely overlooked in line at the auto parts store because I must just be waiting for some guy (and if I do get waited on, they act like I am a complete moron). And starting from my very first car I have heard some variation of “Is that your dad’s/boyfriend’s/husband’s car?” A couple of incidents really stand out though –

    I used to manage a custom suspension shop for lowering cars and trucks. I did sales, ordered parts, worked on vehicles, whatever was needed and was the one running the whole place. There was one man who called up and wanted to ask a question about which part he needed, but he refused to talk to me about it and asked if there were any men there he could talk to. I told him no, I was the one who handled all of that, and I would be happy to help him so he hung up on me. He then called back several times to see if there were any men there to help him – I finally told him there were no men there at all and if he wanted his parts he would just have to talk to me about it. I never heard from him again.

    And car shopping has got to be one of the worst. I have been shown the vanity mirror more times than I can count, until finally I start out by drilling the salesperson on engine specs. A few years ago, I went with my sister shopping for a truck (she had just been in a bad wreck in a small car and at the time wanted a big Dodge truck). The salesman actually had the nerve to say, “That is an awfully big truck for such a little lady. Let me show you the Neons.” We replied, “No, why don’t you show us a manager instead.”

  46. I was raised in a household full of talk about cars. I knew a lot about them, even at 16. When I was 17 I was thinking of trading in my Mustang for a Mazda 626, so my dad went with me to the dealer. The salesman asked a few questions about my current car to determine trade-in value. I answered all of the questions, not my dad. I told him the engine size, year, trim package and sound system specs. Then he asked me if it had a defroster. I said yes, vents in the front and wire in the back. The salesman said “I think you’re mistaken, that model of car doesn’t have wire defrosters in the rear windows.” I said “I drive it every day, and see them every day.” He suggested they might be auxiliary radio antennae. I said “No, they heat up and melt the frost when you activate them. I do this every day in the winter.” He continued to insist I was wrong. Finally he got up and went to look at the car himself, then came back and said “Well, you were right.”

    Because I was a 17 year old girl, you see, I couldn’t possibly have known about the features of my car. I spent a lot of my childhood hanging around car dealerships, and I know how customers should be treated. I’ve never heard my dad or brother spoken to that way by a car salesman.

    I’m 28 now and driving a used car I negotiated for, financed and purchased all by my little self. I continue to freak out car dealers by coming in with knowledge of blue book values and engine specs.

  47. >> “I guess it’s not necessarily misogynistic, but I have a feeling the whole encounter wouldn’t have happened if I was a man.”

    This reminded me of an undergrad linguistics class in which we were supposed to critique research projects in progress. I was trying to help this guy improve his (really terrible) project about “girls’ v. guys’ language,” which seemed to have been inspired by his assumption that “girls” hearing the word “foundation” would think of makeup while “guys” would associate it with buildings. As diplomatically as possible, I pointed out the many flaws in his research method and suggested ways to improve it. His response? “Whoa! Just ’cause you don’t agree with me doesn’t mean you have to attack me!”

    I have to believe that my constructive criticism would have been considered a lot more carefully if it were coming from a “guy.”

    [Also worked in a store staffed by about 80% men. According to two of three male managers, all of the female employees — including the head cashier and the 30-something lead salesperson — were “girls,” while all the male salespeople and cashiers (most of whom were about 18) were “men.” Hmm. Maybe this was because none of the (male) customers would ever talk to a female employee about fishing or hunting gear… far too complex for us.]

  48. While working at a cafe:

    Old man: “I’ll have a cup of coffee.”
    Me: “Sure, have a seat, I’ll bring it out to you.” I bring it.
    Him: “I asked for a cup of coffee.”
    Me: “I know, this is it.”
    Him: “This is a mug. I asked for a cup.”
    Me: “Look, the coffee comes in these mugs, but if you want, I can pour you a smaller one in a teacup.”
    Him: “That’s the problem with women. Always a grey area. With men it’s always black and white. I ask for a cup, I get a cup.”
    Me: “You’re going to get that mug of scalding coffee in your crotch if you don’t watch your language.”
    Him: Sips coffee quietly… grumbles incoherently….

  49. I interned at an oil company, and we had a meeting with some software people. There was an older man in a sling; I had recently broken my collarbone and had been wearing a sling too, so I asked him about it.
    Me: What happened to your arm?
    Him: I tore my rotator cuff.
    Me: Yeah, slings are a bummer. I just got out of mine, broke my collarbone.
    Him: Doing what?
    Me: Playing rugby.
    Him: Rugby! That’s not a sport for girls.

    Unfortunately, I could not think of a clever response.

  50. Well, here’s one for the record books!

    I just posted a link to this article on my private (friends only) online journal with a few examples of my own experiences and asked the women on my friends list to do the same.

    This is one of the examples I posted:
    A few years ago, I used to post regularly on [band] Message Board and in a thread about other bands, I mentioned that I was particularly fond of The Nazz. One of the regular posters was shocked and said, “Wow, I can’t believe you like The Nazz and you’re a girl. That’s so cool.”

    This is the response from a male:
    re: the nazz thing. i wouldn’t call that sexism per se. . . so yeah, the first time you meet a female with an active interest in music (in my case [name] when i was nearly 25) then it can come as a bit of a surprise because it’s so often dismissed as just a boy’s thing in many ways

    so yeah, a clumsy thing to have said but i think you might be in danger of reading a bit too much into it… if you follow me

    I’m absolutely floored! Does he not realize the irony? He may as well have said, “Oh, you’re just a woman, how would you know what’s sexist? There, there, dear.”

    So I replied with: If I find something said to me to be sexist, it’s not appropriate for a man to tell me I might be reading too much into it.

    His response, which I just can’t even be bothered to respond to because I’ll probably just tell him to FUCK OFF: well apologies for being open and honest and trying to explain what someone might have meant

    not doing that again in a hurry

  51. I work for the civil service and the enviroment i work in is very working class boys club. If you are a strong minded human such as myself then you arnt accepted because you are also female.

    There is a guy in my room who actually proclaimed out loud that he wasnt jealous of our new boss being female and that he missed out on the job,because in his words “im jealous of no woman”

    i was actually upset and confused when he said that.

    I always said that i hadnt encountered any different treatment to being female but having read all these different stories,i do now.

    Its so hard for me to accept and it get quite upset over it.

    I do think that many of us,have steriotypes of other sexes,races etc that we think without thinking,like when you see somebody black,if you arnt black yourself,thats the first thing you notice,same as with sex etc. I dont think that is a bad thing,cause anybody that isnt you,then you notice the differences. I guess its when you treat them different according to their race,sex etc as oppossed to their actions or personality,well then thats the difference.

  52. Everyday sexism? My husband & I don’t want kids. Whenever this comes up, I’m asked “what does your husband think of that?” or (even better) “what do your parents think of that?”

    C’mon, I’m 32. My parents are lovely people, but I don’t make my life decisions based on what’s good for them. And the “what does your husband think of that” thing might annoy me less if he ever got asked what his wife thought of it. Apparently his decision is okay, mine is something I need permission for.

  53. I came very close to punching this guy at the gym about a week ago. Upon finishing my cardio workout and entering the weight room, I went to grab some dumbells from the rack-which just happened to be in close proximity to the incline bench. The guy (probably 17 or so…I’m 23) picked up his med ball, lied down on the bench, and with his arms fully extended overhead, began doing sit-ups and practically hitting me with his ball in the process. I selected my weights and moved away to a spot where we would not interfere with each other, however this guy wasn’t satisfied booting me from my first spot. He came over and started using the leg press to my immediate left, again invading my personal space. I thought that perhaps this was his way of flirting, like maybe he just wanted my attention or something.
    Despite his scrawny chicken legs, I gave him a smile and some room. I said “excuse me,” then moved over to the area near the incline bench once more. So what did this jackass do? He came back and started hovering over me, literally reaching over me to grab some dumbells from the rack! At this point I was done dancing, and went back over to the leg press machine thinking that I would speak up if he was rude again. I draped my towel over the leg press machine, which no one was using, and stood beside it doing arm curls. I was self-contained, happily listening to my ipod, trying to ignore the stupid little beefcakes flexing and grunting all around me. But this jerk just had to come over, move my towel!! and then start loading up the leg machine bar with these giant weights which were obviously too heavy for him to handle on his own.
    “Did you just move my towel?” I asked, giving him a last chance to say sorry.
    “Yep!” He emphatically replied without making eye contact or removing his earphones.
    “Don’t you how to say ‘excuse me’?” I inquired.
    He looked me up and down and then said snarkily “That’s not necessary.” I fumed for a second, then looked him up and down and said “Do another rep, Chicken Little” as I walked away.

  54. In my office we secretaries (male and female alike) share fax duties. One day I was handling the afternoon, and as I walked past an area of desks someone asked me if I was the Fax Lady. Without stopping, I said, “Yes, this afternoon, but Bob was the Fax Lady this morning.” For about a 10 second period there was shocked silence…then laughter and asking Bob if he remembered to wear his dress. I kept walking…

  55. Some really interesting commentary on this site ladies. I was wondering how other’s cope with the sexist comments in the workplace? I find myself seething with anger when male colleagues comment about women’s body parts, or business trips that involve trips “get pussy”. I have noticed that other women laugh along so in some ways are colluding with this behaviour. I am constantly disappointed when men I like and admire emerge with such comments. We really are in a double bind. If we ignore the comments – we are saying that this type of talk is acceptable. If however we constantly challenge the behvior we are labelled uptight and lacking in sense of humour. Interestingly some men will say that you just need to get laid. All of these responses have the common factor of reducing women to nothing more than their sexuality. Second point I wanted to make is how some women are genuinely oblivious to the sexism that exists everywhere. I mentioned to two friends recently about how I was sick of the use of the objectification of women in advertisiig and they both genuinley looked confused.!! Are they better off living in ignorance? I have recently found that that more I use the internet the more I realize how deeply ingrained misogny is within our societies. I stumbled across a website recently that lists places to “get pussy” and then rates the quality. Some men expresses their delight at how these young girls didn’t insist on condoms. Most disturbing of all was one guy posted pictures of a young muslim girl working as a prostitue along with her name and number from a country where she would be killed if found by the authorities. Makes me feel sick thinking about it. Also, others were told to bargain as nuch as possible to keep “price of pussy down”. Are men really that bad and women respected that little? How far have we really come? Will we ever have equality?

  56. I remember one very clear episode of sexism in my life, and I still talk about it.

    I was working in a research lab at the time (about 16 years ago), and I was one of three lab techs in the lab on this particular day. The other two lab techs were men, however. The head of the department comes into the lab holding a bunch of papers. At this point I am wearing my lab coat, test tube in one hand, bacterial loop in the other, standing in front of a bunsen burner, and this man comes right over to me and asks if I’ll make copies for him. The other two (male) lab techs were sitting at their desks reading and writing. Yet this sexist asshole thought it was appropriate to ask any of us to make copies for him, and who does he come to? The only woman in the room, who just happens to be unable to make copies at the moment. I tried to feign niceness and looked at him sternly, then said “Why don’t you ask Tom or Ken? They are not busy at the moment.” He grumbled and walked away. I was so pissed.

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