This book has revolutionised my thinking. Seriously. I was wandering through my life thinking that I haven’t really been a victim of sexism – and then I read this book and realised that things I thought had been ‘banter’; or I’d thought I’d been oversensitive about are pretty terrible.
I remember every PE lesson boys plucking my bra – once making it come undone, and my friend had to redo it for me in the middle of the hockey field.
I remember boys taking pictures of my legs on the bus and threatening to post them online. I did report this – thank goodness, but I’ve never thought of that incident in this light. Women are not sexual objects to be taken pictures of without permission. What gives someone that right?
I remember boys shouting that I had a ‘camel toe’ the first time I wore trousers to school.
I remember having to use urban dictionary for a friend whose boyfriend kept on calling her ‘frigid’. We were thirteen and didn’t have a clue.
I remember taking up jogging at the age of fourteen and giving up because the only route I could take was over a motorway bridge. I got honked at by so many lorry drivers.
I remember the relief I felt being offered to trail a kilt at school so that I didn’t have to wear a pencil skirt anymore.
There were other instances which I’m not going to mention. One in particular which was pretty awful.
I can’t believe I just assumed all of these instances to be ‘boys will be boys’, ‘banter’ or just a part of life.
I know my experiences are very minor. But look at the impact these things have had on my life. I hated PE. I was scared on the bus. I am self-conscious about what I wear.
These are just my experiences – and I bet every woman has a story like or worse than the experiences I have had. Why do we put up with this?
Equally, why should men have to put up with inequalities such as the presumption that they can’t care for children alone. Why are little children told to ‘man up’ and ‘stop acting like a girl’? Why are men facing discrimination when they become nurses or hairdressers?
I would firmly press a copy of this book into anyone’s hand. Everyone must read this book.
Barriers need to be broken. This needs to stop.