Just an everyday in a sexist life

It’s easy to say, ‘I’m not sexist, racist, disablist, fattist, ageist’ etc.

But what happens when someone challenges that?

None of us like being challenged so the automatic response is ‘Oh, no, I’m not’.

Except, how do we know? Ruth (and MMJ and Neuronotes) make the valid points that without an understanding of sexism and misogyny it’s somewhat difficult to say whether you have experienced it, or have dished it out.

I’ve read a lot recently about men who aren’t sexist, and there are currently some great posts around on understanding sexism, and specifically, victim blaming and shaming. Links at the end. Well worth a read.

I always swore I’d never do a feminism 101 for people. But here it is, in oldspeak before 101 appeared: ‘An Idiot’s Guide to Feminism’ (I know, ‘idiot’ is so uncool, but really sometimes appropriate). Or, at least a few tips and pointers to think about. Mostly based on personal experience.

The following behaviours are sexist:

1) Wolf whistling on a building site

Mostly this has stopped. Some workers have been suspended on site. The general current view is that it is no longer acceptable.

Yes, I’ve been whistled at.

What’s wrong with it?

Well, who cares what you think about some woman’s appearance? It’s called objectification. It’s not flattering. It’s called signifying approval that you meet the sexual standard for the men.

And of course, if you don’t get whistled at, then you are below par.

Either way, not good.

2) The reverse. Abusing women in public

How about approaching them and saying ‘Dooooog’ and then running off laughing.

Yes. I’ve had that too. It gave me such a warm fuzzy feeling. Thanks boys.

Because making jokes about a woman’s appearance is just Oh. So. Funny. And it is the privilege of the men to do so.

But, that doesn’t mean men who do so are sexist, oh no. It’s just a joke yes? And if you don’t find it funny you lack a sense of humour.

3) Women commenting on your appearance. Usually lack of breasts

‘Is that a boy or a girl,’ they said as I walked past, aged 13. ‘Can never tell these days.’

Gee thanks mum for getting my hair cut, and my fault for being tall and slim.

But, why is it your nosy business, strangers, whether I was a teenage boy or girl? Bad enough to think it, but to say within my hearing?

And the barwoman in the pub, ‘Oh, you’re flat-chested like me.’

Thanks. Just thanks for boosting my fragile teenage ego.

4) Men assuming your sexual status in the street, and commenting on it

‘Oh, German virgins,’ said to me and my French exchange pal in Paris, we were aged around 14/15.

And just what did our nationality or sexual status have to do with total strangers?

5) Let’s move up a little. Touching people

This is a rather sensitive issue. If you know someone, and have a friendly relationship, you may touch them on the arm. In Europe, we do kisses on the cheek. One in Gib, two in Spain.

What we don’t do, is creep up behind complete strangers and slide our hand up a woman’s arse. In a rather secluded place. With no one else around.

Yes, that’s happened to me too. I was in shock for hours. What happened was bad enough. What might have happened was worse.

But no men, you don’t have a right to stroke my arse.

6) Drinking pals. You know, a little alcohol, and oh yes, the woman is drunk and your luck is in

No. If the woman is drunk, and/or you are drunk, sex is a no-no. Is. That. Clear?

It is not a good idea to try and intoxicate a woman, with or without the aid of rohypnol, ketamine and/or GHB to deliberately have sex with her when she is not in control.

Nor is it a woman’s fault if you rape her in those circumstances. It is yours. And if you are extremely drunk or drugged, I would suggest you sober up before you fuck. Or, think about fucking.

Personal experience? Yes, I was drunk once and a ‘friend’ took me to his house. To sleep.

I probably wasn’t too drunk because I refused to play with his ‘toy’ (as he tried to convince me that his cock was just a plaything) on the grounds that I was drunk (at least I knew that) and I didn’t want to regret it in the morning.

It is never, ever, funny to try and make women lose control so that you can have sex with them. That is non-consensual sex. It’s called rape. If a woman doesn’t want to have sex when she’s sober, then don’t try to get her drunk to ‘change her mind’. And if she is already drunk, don’t act the knight errant and then rape her.

A woman who doesn’t know what she is agreeing to, is not consenting.

7) Fun phone calls

You know the ones. Anonymous ones. ‘I know the colour of your knickers.’ Or just the heavy breathing.

Have you any idea how much that freaks the recipient?

Yup. I’ve had those too.

8) Jokes

Because everything about women is light-hearted and whatever we men say is just fun. A laugh. With the boys.

No. Rape jokes are not funny. Appearance jokes are not funny. In fact, anything that basically puts women down, mocks them and scorns them is not remotely funny. It’s not feminists who need to get a sense of humour. It’s sexist people who need to re-evaluate.

9) Opening the door

These is a silly antiquated behaviour, not a symbol of deference or respect.

There’s nothing wrong with opening the door for anyone, regardless of gender, if they have their hands full. Or holding the door open for someone following behind you rather than letting it slam in their face.

But if you’ve ever been in the position of going to a meeting with someone in a strange building, having every door held open for you as you make your way to the room ends up like a farce. The two scenarios that follow go like this:

Scenario One

Man holds door open for woman. Woman goes through and stands there like a spare part not knowing where to go. Man follows through, embarrassingly squeezes past and resumes the lead until the next door appears. Repeat ad infinitum until reaching destination.

Scenario Two

Man holds door open for woman, but instead of squeezing past to take the lead, man then issues instructions somewhat like a driving test, telling woman to go right, left, take the third door on the left, walk straight across the junction, and then stop at the staircase. Assuming she’s made it that far. I have never seen men issue these orders to other men.

It is much easier for the person who knows where they are going to take the lead instead of displaying an unnecessary and impractical form of ‘respect’. Because, when necessary, women are capable of opening doors all on their little own.

And if you don’t behave like that with men, why are you doing it with women?

11) Claiming that there is no need for feminism because it’s all equal now. Yes. Sure it is. Do I need to quote statistics?

Even worse, moaning that men are discriminated against, and women are sexist towards them.

Because men are now the discriminated underclass. Really?

12) Feminists are just men-hating lesbians

I’m not. A lot of men read my blogs. Most of my friends are men. Feminism isn’t about hating men. It’s about trying to achieve equality for women. There is a significant difference. Feminists are not opposed to men. Feminists are opposed to a patriarchal society (invariably reinforced by the three patriarchal religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) wherein the power rests with men.

It’s the system that is at fault. But to change that we need to challenge it and our behaviours.

13) My women friends don’t agree with you, so therefore you are wrong

This one cracks me up every time. This is invariably trotted out by some ignorant (as in not having a clue about the issues) man, who parrots off what I have said to his equally ignorant women friends, and then comes back and tells me they are women, so they must know.

Well possibly if they are radical feminists they might have some idea. But given that radfems are thin on the ground, I find it odd that a man who uses sexist language would have a bunch of radfem friends.

14) And on the language issue …

Using terms that apply to a woman in a derogatory or abusive style is sexist. Here are a few examples:

Bitch (and bitch slap)

And, infantilising women by referring to them as baby, girl, chick etc when they are 20 or 30 just perpetuates the ‘women MUST keep their looks and appear younger than they are’ stereotype.

In a similar vein, referring to a woman as a lady is not good. Not only is this sexist, it’s inaccurate and classist. More about language on my previous post, mixing ladies and whores.

Language is so powerful. What we say influences others. So, please think about your choice of words. Before you claim you aren’t sexist.

15) And back to the beginning

If you trot out a bland statement that you believe in equal rights for women and you are not sexist, and behave in any of the above ways (or have done and think it was fine) then you are sexist.

If you argue with a woman who says you are, then you most probably are. Instead of arguing, try and work out why.

Up here for thinking, down here for … So use the brain for thinking. Not the other organ.

Some links:

Rebecca’s great post about victim shaming

Her link to someone with a long name who wrote a brilliant post about consent. She uses a great analogy for describing non-consensual sex

And finally, a fem 101 site that has some good posts answering basic questions with some well thought through answers

About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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48 Responses to Just an everyday in a sexist life

  1. This is so fabulous! You outlined these situations of sexism perfectly. I think it’s important to write these types of posts because they’re educational. I never learned about sexism in school. I learned about it through first-hand experience. I learned that I believed feminism was important and that female equality (equality for all genders, really) has not come close to being fully achieved yet. It’s so great to have posts like this that outline examples of sexism in a clear way for people who may not know what it is. And honestly, I partly blame the educational system for that. A lot of people are uneducated about sexism sometimes because they see sexist behavior all over the media and in the real world, but growing up, they are never taught that it’s wrong. I hope that in the future there is more education about these issues.

    Kids are smart and pick up on this stuff early. There was actually a third grader with whom I was discussing the youngest woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize for helping young girls receive an education. I asked the student why this is important, and she said that girls need an education and that it’s not just about our looks. She then said, “We’re so much more than that.” I think she’s a feminist. 🙂

    Thanks for linking to my post. This was a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rebecca
      I wanted to do a post that spelled out the obvious which is difficult when it’s been obvious for years, but as I started writing it, I realised everything I thought of as examples, in some way or another had happened to me. So to personalise it seemed less like a lecture which I find we can all easily slip into.
      None of us learn about sexism, unless say, we choose a women’s studies course. And the other issue of course is that a lot of people deny it exists. It doesn’t matter how many statistics or studies you shove in someone’s face, people fail to grasp the concepts. It’s frustrating.
      I think she’s an encouraging girl and we need more like her. But we also need older people to learn too as they still influence and pass down their views.
      Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am glad you wrote your personal experiences with these examples of sexism, because it happens to nearly all girls around the world. It’s important for us to know that we are not alone and that we all experience sexism.

        It’s shocking to me when people say that sexism doesn’t exist. To me, these types of people just don’t want to admit the truth and want to pretend that the world is hunky dory and nothing bad happens ever. It’s horribly naive, and even silly. It’s ludicrous for someone to say that sexism doesn’t exist. Not only is it silly, but it’s outright denial of factual information. It’s like people who don’t believe racism exists, or climate change. They are just ignoring facts.

        I think that the student I talked to is such a bright example of a girl who could help positively impact the world someday. It was amazing to me that a third grader is already fully aware that women are judged, treated differently, and that their looks is what many people seem to think is most important. To me, if a third grader has already experienced sexism, that means not only does it obviously exist, but it is still a terrible strong part of many cultures.


        • Thanks Rebecca. In fact I forgot one of the earliest ones. My very first friend at school, who I met aged 4 on my first day. Our parents became friends, her dad was a dentist, her mum a physio. ‘Oh, it doesnt matter what Nicky does at school. If she has a good pair of legs and a pretty face, nothing else is important.’ Um. Having said that, heclater encouraged me to go in for law (I didn’t).

          People don’t want to see it. Let’s face it, for 50 per cent of the population, it’s irrelevant. For much of the other 50 per cent, if they buy into patriarchy, they can get an OK (mindlss) life by competing with orher women for the best prizes.

          What I find inspiring is that girls and young women are discovering this earlier than I remember doing. So yes, it’s still out there and very strong, but, thinking girls and women are waking up to it at younger ages.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You’re welcome. Wow, that’s an interesting story. It baffles me that people can think that way and truly believe that as long as a girl is pretty, that’s all that matters. Looks fade. We age. Our minds should be what is emphasized as the most important things. I agree that it seems like girls are discovering sexism earlier in life, and I also believe that this means that hopefully girls will begin speaking up at younger ages.


          • Well some age better than others. From the sexist perspective, the concept, as you well know, is to use your youth and beauty while you have it in order to haul in the decent catch. Hence feminists prizing economic independence so that women don’t need to depend on a man, ie moving from father to husband for livelihood.

            We can exist on our own. We can choose our job/career, our life, what sort of relationship we want. We aren’t reliant on a hand-out from one man or another. But we still face all the problems you and I both write about with inherent and unacknowledged/denied sexism.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Those are such a good points. I think it’s so important for society and other women to realize that we can make it on our own without a man. We can do what we want in our lives, and we can make our own decisions.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Ruth says:

            From the sexist perspective, the concept, as you well know, is to use your youth and beauty while you have it in order to haul in the decent catch.

            That is the message, right? Kind of plays into your Cinderella post. Use your looks and feminine wiles to capture yourself a well-to-do man. BUT when a woman does this she’s labeled a gold digger. Go figure.


  2. This is a bit of a rhetorical exercise. But just a bit…

    Here is a scenario I personally find as a comical paradox. In the state of Texas, USA, anytime I have a 1-on-1 conference with a female student, particularly if she’s 8th grade or above, my classroom door (office door) MUST remain open at all times, even if the topic is of a very “private” nature effecting her educational performance. Yet, if the student is a boy, the open-door-policy is very lax and not enforced whether the matter is private or not. Over the last decade or more, I’ve seen this policy become more wide-spread in the corporate world as well — a Supervisor or Human Resources manager is now required to leave open their office door if the employee is of the opposite gender, even if the subject matter is of a sensitive private nature. The exception to this is if the office has no-audio video monitoring — another controversial topic.

    Does confidentiality take a back seat to “POSSIBLE” (theoretical?) sexist harassment? What if the teacher or HR Manager are gay or lesbian? And for that matter WHY should sexual-orientation even matter in the work place!? This last question may not be relevant in some parts of the world, but it DAMN sure is in Texas and the U.S. bible-belt! Hell, we have several states getting legislation passed or have passed it that allows businesses to freely discriminate against non-heterosexual customers and employees. I cow-patty you NOT! 😉

    I’ve been intrigued by all the reasons for and against these policies, and as much “their sources” for this reasoning.


    • Ruth says:

      I’m sure Kate will answer you better than I but, from my perspective and being in the Bible Belt, too, the policy should most appropriately be as follows:

      There should be two advisers and/or management present any time ANY employee is consulted with regarding education and/or work performance. The two advisers and/or managers should be held to the strictest of confidence and should be of the opposite gender.

      As for your question, if the policy where you are dictates that the door remain open for females it should also remain open for male students. Sexual harassment comes in many forms, though male on female harassment occurs far more frequently(or at least it’s reported far more frequently). The likely reason for your policy is just that. Number one to keep a student who is “subject” or “subordinate” to her adviser from feeling pressured by her professor (I’m sure you’re aware there are some unscrupulous ones out there) into trading sexual favors for grades and/or other types of favoritism. Number two it protects the adviser from false accusations and/or come-ons by a female student in exchange for favoritism. Were it me I would have no qualms about leaving the door open and would prefer a second opposite-sex(gender) adviser accompany me. I would think the policy would stand regardless of the gender of the student and/or employee.

      Liked by 2 people

      • …the policy should most appropriately be as follows:

        Ruth, the operative word there is “should“, isn’t it? I agree with everything you stated. I most CERTAINLY understand the unscrupulous possibilites as a teacher…HAH, not just with students but parents almost equally as much! LOL 😉

        In the corporate world, it’s a slightly (totally?) different ballgame. Public schools are much more scrutinized & monitored for highest standards and conduct than the private corporate world, BELIEVE ME! And I realize you likely know that as well. To take this point a step forward in a general sense, one reason why Texas is the #2 or #3 fastest growing state in the Union is because of its HIGHLY attractive lack-of-business-regulations for Fortune 500 companies — Texas is an At-Will state. “Wild Wild West” mercantilism is a #1 political agenda for this deep Red Conservative state; has been for over 20-years. No personal or corporate income tax is another doozy.

        Could say much much more, but lunch & then 7th graders returning to class beckon. Thanks Ruth! 🙂


        • Not sure which region/city//district you are working in, but around here/greater Houston area, most have a policy to never have a closed door session with any student/parent/employee. Too risky.
          Recommended is another adult in the room to prevent problems about what was said or done. Always good to document (with brief note/improvement plan/recommendations/topics discussed) – signed by all parties if possible. Just a safety net so there’s no misunderstandings/misrepresentations later.(worked both in corporate and in education)
          Hasn’t been Bible Belt around here for some time – much too diverse – , still strong independent thinkers.
          Glad you get time away from kids for lunch. Hard fought “perk”.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Thanks Phil, another great input from someone, like Ruth, who knows more than I do these days. Or possibly ever 😉

            I do think there is a difference between children/students and working adults to some degree. I would argue for greater caution in teaching situations and some flexibility at work.


          • Depends on the organization. Children aren’t as innocent as they used to be – and many so called adults are more childlike/immature. Both kids and adults are so quick to yell wolf if any hint of money, attention, vindictive revenge, or being on TV is possible. Far too many lawyers not concerned with right and wrong. Having been in management in both fields, it became obvious extreme caution only smart in this climate. (It’s ugly. Far too many people have rage and ego problems.) Polite society gone. “It’s always someone else’s fault; I’m so wonderful” mindset. Hope other places are more reasonable. Much more than you ever wanted to know.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hi PMOTH or Phil,

            I’m in the DFW metroplex, and not to be the least bit cocky but for wide context, I’m an 8th generation Texan. Indeed, inner-Houston, inner-Dallas, and Travis County (Austin) certainly tend to be more moderate or liberal compared to the rest of the state…in population & culture of course. However, those three “regions” of Texas and their populations don’t necessarily reflect political views or voting tendencies — after all, Texas as a whole has been hardcore conservative for at least the last 2 decades. That long-standing political-legislative history permeates (directly and indirectly) into many socio-economic dynamics in the state. It’s undeniable.

            Regarding the always-open-door policy, I’ve worked on campuses and in school districts — even Charter school districts (one whose student body was 83% Wards-of-the-State & 50% were SpecEd) — where the entire campus staff is skeletal. There is often NOT adequate staff to have 2 or 3-to-1 conferences. Care to guess what Texas political party & administrations cut severely education funding (for staff retention & or new-staff hiring too) in 2010-11 that STILL has repercussions today?

            Documentation? Hah! Boy do I know that! My hours after school (7:45am to 3:00pm classes) were typically 2-3 hours more for said documentation because our district & campus could not budget or afford SpecEd Aids for the teaching staff. I never had one. By the way, I spent on average an hour prior to 7:45 to prepare for daily lessons, curriculum, etc. LOL! Needless to say PMOTH, I had NO life outside of work. But I did it because I love SpecEd, I’m very talented at it, I have a Psych/A&D/Counseling background, and most of all the students love(d) me. I CERTAINLY didn’t do it for the easy hours and 6-7 digit payscale! *extreme sarcasm there* 😉

            When I left that Charter school, the State’s Board of Education were about to levy all sorts of SpecEd violations & State monitoring onto them, which was rumored to be the last conditions toward closing their doors for good. The SADDEST part of that story were the Wards-of-the-State SpecEd students (K thru 12) and what was going to be taken away from them. That’s what hurts the most when I reflect back on the cause-n-effects of Texas 2010-11 political moves. Don’t ask me where those students MIGHT end up when they drop-out or barely graduate when a highly competive job-market and society gets hold of them! :/

            Hasn’t been Bible Belt around here for some time – much too diverse – , still strong independent thinkers.

            In rural Texas, the state is VERY much still firmly bible-belt, and honestly in pockets/suburbs of the 3 major cities, they are quite a few. Indepent thinkers? Naturally, because huge metropolitan areas like Houston and Dallas possess many immigrant workers, i.e. not native to Texas. Or those same workers in huge metropolitan areas are only 1st, MAYBE 2nd generation “pseudo-Texans.” These families might tend to be “freethinkers” if they do not hail from another ultra-conservative state or religious group. Sure. Agreed. But unfortunately Phil, due to long-standing Texas political-maneuvering from NON-metropolitan and conservative politicians, stunts like The Great 2003 Texas Congressional Redistricting, and will now continue with yet another Republican Governor and Congress “voted” in… all undermine and dilute Texas’ voter majority, and certainly secular Freethinkers like you and me. 😉

            If you are (or anyone else is) interested in my 8th-generation personal assessment of Texas political-culture and history, my blog-post Influences Upon the Majority goes into extensive detail.

            Nevertheless, I appreciate your feedback PMOTH (Phil) and echo Kate’s sentiment about your background in corporate & education sectors. You certainly would have some valuable contributions to the discussion! High regards to you … a fellow teacher/administrator(?) in THIS state! 🙂 😮


          • Land grant family here. Left the US as it “was getting too crowded” and the government too intrusive. San Jacinto. Run-away scape. Have stuff from Sam Houston given as wedding presents to a young frontier bride. Quite familiar with East TX and Dallas. While there’s backwaters, you might be surprised where many of the old hippies ended up. Many small towns are quite liberal in certain areas. Don’t like to over generalize. Politicians don’t get TX – especially with the multilingual immigrant population so widespread – and it is..don’t kid yourself. There’s change even in the small towns – especially in small towns – drive it and see. Change.
            Long history in the family with TX/DC in education. At one time if you swung a cat by the tail in TX, you’d hit a relative of mine in a school district/University edu. dept somewhere. Been there, done that. Supervisor, district star, dept chair, trainer, textbook com. Saw so little progress decided to work from outside (although got lured back into the classroom for a bit) But there was always the salary issue. Been an interesting journey, but seen a lot and met a lot of people. Working in business is good. I think school districts should require teachers do that every 7-8 years or so to keep them in touch with reality. (You know those state standards sitting on your shelf, worked on those. That edu research/brain theory of how children learn and acquire knowledge/how students learn language 2 best – research and implementing findings into districts was where I was happiest – but realistically little change at lockstep classroom level…as an auditor witnessed that.(“You have to take the shrink wrap off of the materials and use them for it to work….)
            Neither political party has it’s head on straight at this point. Have to look at each candidate one by one – evaluate the individual and their record. Like anyone can trust what they say or what they will do once elected.
            Independent free thinkers. True Texas style. Great to meet you and look forward to more entertaining discussions (will wander your way to check out the landscape there)

            Liked by 2 people

          • will wander your way to check out the landscape there

            Lol, that will be fun 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • PMOTH, very wonderful to make your acquaintence! You’re going to have much more to say from the educational POV for sure! I’ve only been a 4-8 Generalist & SpecEd teacher since 2010. My longest “normal” work-history is in psych/A&D/counseling prior to my pro and semi-pro soccer career. I’ll bow & humbly give the floor to you on matters of Texas education.

            By the way, I’m 97% sure I’ll leave teaching because of the upcoming curriculum textbook changes to Social Studies/History and Science. My convictions about broad-based scholarly consensus mixed with my conscience to teach equally from those MANY sources (not just Judeo-Christian slanted ideologies), will push me out of teaching & education. I learned quite some time ago, never to sacrifice my own beliefs and identity:

            My definition of a free society is where it is safe to be unpopular.” — Adlai Stevenson

            Warm wishes to you Phil! 🙂


          • You do know the state textbook selection process? Always amusing. Mostly drama/tricks by the textbook companies…makes good national tv.
            No district is forced to take a book that’s useless…districts have much more choices now. And you can always keep the old useless book. Personally, I think textbooks should be outlawed as they are horrors created by for profit companies trying to please everyone. The state has good course guidelines, teach those and the kids will be fine…if we could just get rid of the endless testing which does not good except teach kids how to take multiple choice tests and provide data for publishers, program authors, and for the public to beat up teachers. There’s no way to know how much a kid actually knows by looking at multiple choice test results….or how good a teacher is.
            (So from your last wonderful quote, I take it you, too, are annoyed with Doonesbury’s Gary Trudeau’s comments about free speech and Charlie Hebdo? Satire rocks. May it long rule and speak free…or we shall soon all be serfs)

            Liked by 1 person

          • Popping my reply down below to re-justify left… just to irritate Kate. :twisted; 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • Nah, good idea 🙂 never can find a theme I like that doesnt cause nested problems. Thank you, kind sir.

            Liked by 1 person

        • I think Ruth gave you a good answer and as I don’t work in education and have been out of the public sector for years I wouldn’t dream of saying otherwise.

          A couple of points I would add. From personal experience, I can’t ever remember inappropriate language or gestures in any education or work situations from managers/tutors. Again, personally, I probably sent off a lot of don’t-hit-on-me vibes. That’s not for a minute to victim blame, but can predators sense the weaker people? I don’t know the studies, but it is suggestive of confident women walk assertively down the middle of the street syndrome. Dunno.

          I can see the logic in an open door policy so long as people can speak in low voices so the whole corridor doesn’t hear. But if they can’t hear, then of course, equally so, anything could be said …

          Regarding the presence of other people, I think it would depend on the formality of the situation. In some cases other people would hinder honesty and continuance of a good working relationship. I’ve been lucky with good bosses, and good tutors. I wouldn’t have wanted other people present. All my nominated tutors at university (academic, personal, hall of residence etc) were men. Probably because there were more men on the staff to put it bluntly and not enough women to go round.

          When it comes to performance evaluation, I personally would prefer a closed door for 1:1. If it’s formal enough for others to be involved eg counsellor, HR manager, then the student/employee should be equally represented in terms of numbers, and gender. Although, given that women are sexist too, that doesn’t necessarily help. But I would like to resolve anything before it be ame so formal. One of my friends went to school with her daughter for a performance review which seemed pretty sensible. But of course, that brings the problem of working hours with it too.

          There are no easy or perfect answers. Education is harder because of the position of trust with young people, and we are dealing with rapidly changing times and views.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Ruth says:

          Well, yes, I did say should simply because I don’t know the standards there. Here, yes even in the Babble Belt Georgia, professional standards are typically what I outlined. It’s a ‘best practices’ thing. Even the small companies I’ve worked for employ that method.

          As far as the public school is concerned, I’m not certain of their practices but I believe they, too, employ that method.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The standards are pretty similar I think; I’d be surprised if not.

            Based upon your reply, Kate’s, and PMOTH’S also, I guess I’ve failed in my attempt to at least HINT about the knee-jerk extreme-pendulum reactions and subsequent legal regulations of it. :/

            On an elementary, middle, or high school campus, these regulations are totally needed — as PMOTH Phil contrasts in his later replies to Kate — but how much or how little businesses and corporations should spend work-hours and expense to teach & enforce the same regulations, I’m unsure. Should it be both a private AND public investment? Wow, I know of MANY hardcore conservatives here in Texas (hell, even in my own huge extended family and their in-laws, etc.) that would go ape-shit over more intrusions by businesses & government into the dealings of private homes and lives (social behaviors) when it is inevitably connected to their paychecks and work-place! Most Texans want the “government” totally out of their lives, especially my parent’s (“Greatest” WW2) generation, males particularly! LOL

            Footnote — this was a hastily typed up reply. I probably should’ve thought it through longer. But I’m clicking the “Post Comment” button anyway.


          • Would you like me to just retitle this post, ‘Education in Texas, Sir?’ 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • 😦 I humbly accept my reprimand Kate. You are absolutely correct. I’m totally fine with you deleting my comments about it. Sorry!

            Forgive me? 😉


          • Oooh! I get to reprimand you, and you apologise too? Made my night. Or my early morning 🙂

            Nah, doesn’t matter, happy for discussion to go wherever, I’m a hostess not a flipping dictatrix (?)

            Of course 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hahaha! And don’t forget spunky entertaining humorist! 😉


  3. Lots of laughs and nods with this post.
    Stupid Boy Tricks. Everyone is mean to someone else. Really get tired of all the excuses.
    What bothers me and really seems to be holding back progress to seeing individuals as equal and worthy are several things. (in US – wouldn’t dream of trying to explain what is going on elsewhere – Although yeah, that sneak pinch or grab from the rear…it really isn’t something tourists are eager to experience, so forget that excuse, locals.)
    Politicians stoke discord and division by using inflammatory language in front of one group about another group in order to gather power/votes. (“Black lives matter” No, ALL lives matter. Murder is murder. Dead is dead – no matter what race, color, creed, or gender.) Political leaders don’t really care about what’s right – only about winning their political race. If voters are at each other’s throats it is so much easier to divide and conquer.
    And then there’s TV shows, movies, music industry which is all about profit and uses language their target group wants to hear from their role models/”authorities” – language that appeals to the audience by creating an image they wish they had. (Big tough man. Women want him. Men fear him.” Why do especially younger women buy into this crap.)
    It’s going to be tough to change behavior when shows like “America’s Favorite Videos” and rap songs focus on hurting others for laughs, fun, and profit.
    It shouldn’t be difficult: treat others as you wish to be treated yourself. Sounds simple, but people really don’t seem to do simple well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s depressing, but we’ve discussed it before. Luckily there are the odd few hopes for progress. Women like Rebecca who clearly articulate the problems and fearlessly wrote about them far more articulately than I could have done in my 20s. The young girl Rebecca mentioned who had realised women aren’t just around to be judged on our looks.

      Funny huh? People are simple but can’t do it. Maybe need a little Water Babies and Mrs Do As You Whatever It Was.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Is it a concern that Rebecca’s young friend is considered unusually aware and bright rather than just thinking what every young girl should be thinking? Not to belittle what was said at all. Change is slow. I keep telling myself. Real lasting change comes slowly so it sticks. Good to hear more and more like Rebecca so we’ll know it will carry on.


        • Well it sounds like an improvement from when I was young so I’m basing it on that. And yes, change is always slow, and it’s never what we really hope for anyway. Guess we have to accept something is better than nothing while still fighting for more. Somehow.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. davidprosser says:

    I’m currently hanging my head in shame. I would never have called myself sexist in this lifetime. But, you caught me out.
    I was brought up believing it’s good manners to hold a door open for a lady and still do so.
    Yes, I also still call them ladies.
    My daughter is in her 30’s as are my nieces and I still call them baby but honestly it’s because they have been addressed thus since they were tiny babies in my arms.
    I should perhaps stick my head down the loo and flush at this point but instead I shall just try to think before I speak.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx


    • I think that’s a little over the top. You can lift your head. The point is about not understanding what constitutes sexism. And it isn’t just about agreeing that women should have equal ops and equal pay. It’s about all the subtle and subliminal messages that society continues to circulate and perpetuate.

      I was brought up to call women ladies. Well, nice women anyway. That was the working class aspirational part of it.

      Scroll down to the middle of this post for when I learned the error of my ways:


      I think I’d be holding the door open for you! We have silly situations on Gib buses where older men stand back to let the women on first, and younger people like me stand back to let the older ones on, so no one gets on the flipping bus as we are all being oh so polite!

      Family situations are a law unto themselves. I did roll my eyes when my mother called me her little girl in my forties as I looked after her and visited my father dying of cancer in hospital. I wasn’t really a dependent little girl at that point. An acknowledgement of adulthood would have been nice.


  5. Ruth says:

    Great post, Kate!

    Yikes! TheBrit calls me babygirl and I like it(I guess I’m a bad feminist). No one else gets to call me baby or sugar or girl, though. It’s a term of endearment. I call him baby, too, btw. And honey. We’re kinda soppy like that.

    Most of the time when I hear the term ‘ladies’ now it’s either in a hostile, I’m about to come unglued on your arse, “Look, lady, yada…yada…yada.” Or it’s in a religious theme, usually aimed at young women, as if they should aspire to be ‘young ladies’.

    I don’t get the whole door thing(I’m planning a post to address this, needless to say I think it’s kinda stupid). And same as you, I was taught to respect older people, so we have that same crazy situation going on around here, too. The old(er) men stand back for the ‘ladies’ and the ‘ladies’ stand back for the old(er) men. Leaves everyone standing round looking at each other like they’ve got three heads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really liked some of the discussion on your post that I linked to about compliments as it did get into an interesting and wider discussion.

      At the moment he is calling me Old Trout which I am rebelling against, but sweetheart, darling and gorgeous occasionally creep in on both sides. The only one who gets called baby is baby Snowy, well he’s not two yet.

      Yes, I get the ‘lady’ meaning no such thing. Might as well say, ‘I don’t mean to disrespect you BUT’ …

      I should have kept this post to ten. But I couldn’t decide which to cut. And I can think of more … with the door thing I included the standing up at the table thing but did cut that. Oh well, another post as the world seems so uneducated. I love your posts, they are so much more thoughtful and considerate than mine. You would be great at PR.

      It’s quite funny. Except you can see the bus driver getting irate. He’s obviously thinking, ‘just get on the fucking bus!’


      • Ruth says:

        Well, he doesn’t call me that often. Poppet, Sweet Pea, Pickle, and, as you say, gorgeous creep in. We have pet names on both sides(some NSFW). Occasionally Cheeky Mare sneaks in. Me?!? Cheeky?!?!? Never!

        It does seem the world is quite daft when it comes to this issue. You wouldn’t think it would be so difficult to just treat other people like…well…people, would you? But apparently…

        Thank you for the kind words. I’m not sure about the thoughtful and considerate part. Well, maybe thoughtful. I just try to think how it is that I want to be treated and how I treat other people. Sometimes I wonder if mutual respect can even be taught. I know that it can, but for some people it seems to come naturally while for others it seems like a foreign language.

        Certainly the bus driver must get aggravated. He’s got places to go, for crying out loud!


        • It must be your young love syndrome. Our soppy names are minimal. Older people seem to enjoy poking fun at each other. Possibly because we can after xx years together. One that has stuck is Flisty, which I don’t dislike. It’s terribly convoluted and comes from a dog thing! Mistress, Misty, and then Flisty! Go to Flisty. Aaaagh! We did have Tifey for a while, which came from wifey-tifey as I loathed being called a wife in the first place. Luckily that one is buried. We don’t have any NSAW ones though. Unless Arsehole counts.

          It’s so funny, I keep reading comments that say exactly what you and others say, and it’s exactly what one of my fave authors says, she creates a religion about being decent to people. Although her books are humorous, I think that is such a telling point.

          I admire it. But it doesn’t work with self-centred people. Everyone else saw the dance you led with Tirib. Did he?

          It’s Gib. Their latest issue is checking people’s passes ie residence or health card for free journeys, and throwing them off to telling them to pay otherwise. We all live in different small worlds.


  6. PMOTH Phil:
    (So from your last wonderful quote, I take it you, too, are annoyed with Doonesbury’s Gary Trudeau’s comments about free speech and Charlie Hebdo? Satire rocks. May it long rule and speak free…or we shall soon all be serfs)

    You are correct. However, Stephen Colbert is my #1 idol for parody/satire! I LOVE his “Truthiness”! 😀


  7. EllaDee says:

    Awareness and education is important. The G.O. has grandkids, a girl and 2 boys. And I’m about to become an aunty… niece or nephew TBA, and I’d like them to grow up without experiencing or exhibiting sexist behaviour, free to be the individual they are. Just until it’s patently clear what’s acceptable or not, I’d like to see the discomfort move from the recipient to the perpetrator.


    • The trouble is when most, and I do mean most, adults are unaware of the issues and how much supposedly flippant comments permeate society and our thinking, we aren’t going to get away from it any day soon. A few blof posts from me and others (Ruth, Rebecca et al) are largely speaking to people with similar views anyway, and we are very much in a minority.


  8. makagutu says:

    Kate, I read this post and I was at a loss for words.

    I open doors for everyone where it is the logical thing to do.
    I use lady a lot of times and not because I consider others whores, far from it and you well know I have nothing against prostitutes- males or females.
    I have never got a lady drunk to have sex with her. I wouldn’t do it.
    I make comments about how people look, both males and females from how short to how big they are just as an observation.
    Lastly, as Davidprosser has said, I don’t know if I should lower my head in shame.


    • It’s not a dig at you or David or anyone. I’m trying to explain there is a lot more to sexism than saying it’s all about equal opportunities/equal pay. Or not raping women or getting them drunk in order to have sex, aka raping thrm because they are incapable of consent.

      Not all feminists will agree with my points. Certainly not all women will. The main point is that ‘normal’ ‘everyday’ behaviour is sexist because we live in a patriarchal society and that is how we are all brought up. Religious people have it emphasised even more.

      Opening doors logically for people, regardless of gender is fine. I do that too. And appreciate it if I am struggling. Opening a door only for women and not for men is not fine.

      Lady has a whole load of baggage wrapped up with it. It combines working class pretentious aspirations, is technically inaccurate unless one is titled, and creates an imagery of a mythical, nice, respectable woman. Snobbery and sexism in one single word. For example, to you refer to all your men friends as gentlemen? Because that’s the linguistic equivalent. And do your newspapers rever to ladies? That would be interesting if they did. British ones haven’t done so for years.

      I’m not for a minute suggesting you have tried to get a woman drunk. But I have read blog posts where others have talked about it.

      But do you make those comments to total strangers? Or to people you barely know? Or … what? If you missed Ruth’s post on compliments etc (link at the top) it’s worth a read. You probably read it, but it does sum up the mixed views.

      Of course not. As I said though, there really is a lot more to the cultural and societal perpetuation of sexism than most of us realise.


      • makagutu says:

        But do you make those comments to total strangers?

        Of course not, I don’t go telling a guy you are short. I just make a mental note of it or sometimes point out to someone am talking with if they noticed the same thing.
        I know quite well you were not having a dig at me nor anyone for that matter. Am just voicing the realization of how much sexism is embedded in our society that we barely notice when we are guilty of it.
        Once in a while I refer to some as gentlemen. I admit lady and gentlemen have so much luggage


  9. disperser says:

    Hmm . . . where is the line, and who gets to choose it? What may be sexist to one might be good manners to another.

    I say this even though for most of what you write I absolutely agree. Although, even as I know the post is about women, the same can apply to men, old, young, and (insert name descriptor here).

    Isn’t the point that everyone should be treated with respect, their boundaries respected, their concerns (within reason) respected?

    And yes, women are more at risk than men. There should be social pressure from men on other men to behave . . . unfortunately, the criteria for manhood is tied to certain stereotypes that reinforce bad behavior.

    But, social mores change, and it’s especially difficult during the transition.

    For example, I hold doors open for both men and women. If they object, I tend to resist going ahead of them (some of that is because I don’t like anyone close behind me). If they press the issue, I relent, but it requires some effort on my part. Still, I put that effort forth when I deem it appropriate.

    I have no way of knowing if some women will find that offensive, and frankly, I don’t care. I’m doing it out of politeness, not sexism. So there, perception matters. Someone can call me sexist because I get up to give my seat to a woman (whether she wants it or not – I’ve stood after vacating a seat even as the seat remain unused). This becomes a tad iffy as I get older. After all, old people are often treated the same way. I dread the day some young person offers me their seat.

    Bottom line, we are in a long period of transition. There needs to be some give and take on both sides.

    Not, of course, when we speak of overt sexism like whistling, unwanted contact, or any of the other clearly detestable behaviors.


    • Well for all we differ on many viewpoints I agree that the whole point is about respect for everyone.

      I don’t hold doors open or offer up a seat based on sex, but rather on need. Person more immobile than me and dodgy on legs? Gets seat. Silly old man opens door or offers seat to woman half his age is blatant sexism. Hold doors open, not necessarily to go in front, but rather to not let them slam in face? Common courtesy. Word of the past 😦


I appreciate any comments you leave, so long as they are relatively polite. And thanks for reading.

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