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To All The Boys I’ve Hated Before: Odd Things That Girls Heard From College Boys

A girl’s life is not easy. Periods, not being recognized, suffering from harassment, waxing and double shifts (home + studies + work). And when, finally, they manage to guarantee their studies, after many obstacles imposed by the patriarchy, they still have to deal with unpleasant situations in their daily lives. These are often triggered by their university colleagues (men).

Throughout this text, some reports were gathered, stories of harassment, mansplaining or just meaningless conversations.

 

 

* The names of the characters have been changed to protect the identity

"You will work for me one day"

Vanessa (19), a Brazilian student of Biotechnology at the University of Manchester, was greeted with this “statement” by her former schoolmate and medical student at University College London (one of the most renowned in the area). The boy already had a negative record in terms of believing in meritocracy. However, completely disregarding his financial condition: he is the son of the best ophthalmologist in Europe. In other words, in addition to having access to excellent teachers, he carries his family's highly regarded name.

Despite the apathy felt by her, she had to maintain in contact with him, since her boyfriend maintained a friendship with the boy. The story begins when everyone went out  together, and during a conversation, the subject came out. "I was telling him that his effort was nothing compared to a medical student in Brazil." “He disagreed with me. But he didn't see his own privilege. He asked me about what I was going to do in college, and when I replied that I was going to study biotechnology, the boy said, laughing, that I would work for him then.

Amanda (19), a Brazilian Biology student at the University of Coimbra, says that she has already gone through mansplaining situations by two Portuguese boys in her course.

The first one, according to her, often insists on meddling in other people's conversations, in order to explain exactly what the person was talking about. Hate looks and short answers didn’t work in this case. For this reason, Amanda tried to ignore the situation. However, a specific situation annoyed her a lot: “I was talking about The Society series with a group of friends which he was in. I tried to say that it was based on a German tale, called The Pied Piper of Hamelin, but he interrupted me to say exactly what I was explaining”.

The second drawback came after a Chemistry test. The girl was discussing a problem with a friend from the second year of Biology, who was taking that class again. During that moment, the boy came out of nowhere, and entered into their conversation. The problem started when commenting on the exercise, the boy interrupted her all the time, because he believed he had got it right: "Even after I explained why he was wrong, he insisted on saying that I was wrong". Finally, she was one of the only ones to score 19/20, while he almost didn't make it.

"You will sit next to me"

This phrase came from a teacher that Leticia (22) had, after an attempt to escape an episode of harassment coming from his friends. The student of Electrical Engineering at the Industrial Engineering College in Brazil (FEI) says that she was sitting next to him, during a lab class  and, even though he was teaching the entire class, she felt his hands on her leg: "I wanted to cry that day, because he was part of the college board." This situation was one of the most traumatic for Leticia, however others occurred with some of her classmates. During academic conversations, she had to hear that, because she had a beautiful body, she probably danced very well. Another very unpleasant situation was when she received a text saying that she was “100x hotter now” because she knew about programming, when she had no intimacy with the person who sent the message.

"If Marcela managed to do this exercise, anyone can"

Only 18 years old at the time, Marcela (22), student of Materials Engineering at the Federal Center for Technological Education of Minas Gerais (CEFET-MG), heard that from a teacher (approximately 50 years old). She remembers the situation, in which he asked if she was able to do it in front of the whole class, when she said yes, he decided to humiliate her in front of her colleagues, with the quote above. She reports that the institution has a lot of discrepancy between the number of male and female employees. Which may be an indication for the case to be configured as “discrimination by gender”.

Biphoby

University parties, always so fun and welcoming. A way to escape the stressful routine of tests, jobs and responsibilities. At least, that was what was supposed to happen. Biology student at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Marina (19)  reports that during a party, she got involved with a “boy with leftist views”. Everything was usual, until a friend of his came and revealed the change in behavior of the boy: “She told me that they were together, he treated her as someone that he wanted something more, but on that day, he was ignoring her  and kissing me in front of her”. The discontent was evident, so she started to ignore him. However, peace would cease to exist in a matter of moments. When the boy found himself entitled to take satisfaction from seeing the kiss between Marina and her friend (which was not unheard of). Shortly thereafter, he called the girl "bisexual asshole", and continued to insultig her.

"Are you really going to leave me like this?"

Most of the girls have already been severely disappointed with some boy. Mainly, with those who call themselves supporters of feminist ideals: on social media, they always preach respect and equity, but they dont always practice what they share. And that was the case of Danielle (20), a student of Portuguese at the University of São Paulo. She told us about her admiration for a boy who was in her class and he seemed to be the idealized perfect man. They got closer and a romance began to take place. She lived with a friend and the boy used to constantly  insist on spending the night with her. "I was a little apprehensive and insecure, but as we continued talking a lot and everything was fine, I decided to call him on one night that my roommate wasn’t home" reports Danielle.

Things started to heat up, however the sensations did not disappear, even though everything was going well. She wanted to stop it and, In a reaction different from what was expected, the boy didn’t accept instantly and questioned her incessantly about why she didn't want to continue with the act. Greater shock, along with disappointment, came when he placed her hand over his apparent erection and asked if she would really leave him like that. Desperate, she started recording audios of the moment, because his insistence would only end when, finally, she realized how reducible the student was. The colleague then proposed to watch a movie, and soon after, both fell asleep. The decision to distance herself from him was gradual. Gradually she stopped responding to his texts, as none of them referred to a formal apology about the episode. She believes that women should unite against this type of man.

What do they all have in common? All of them were victims of an oppressive and sexist system: patriarchy. Luckily, the girls had the courage to report these sensitive moments, but that doesn't happen much. The behavior adopted by most of these men is responsible for the silence of these women.

As difficult as it may be, don't be silent. Expose these situations. You don't have to go through it alone!

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The article above was edited by Helena Leite and traslated by Giovanna Favero 

Larissa Rangel

Casper Libero '23

Futura jornalista!
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