Sexism: We Need to Talk About It

All of the quotes in this article will remain anonymous to protect the identity of those who decided to share their stories.

 

I am sure that by now most Penn State students have heard about the debate between Dean Marie Hardin and Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports. Even though I have a lot to say on the topic, I've decided to take this incident as a chance to speak up about an issue that many people tend to ignore - or don't even realize exist - sexism amongst college students. 

 

Many people assume that younger people are less sexist, or that they at least admit is an important issue to address. Some would even say that our generation has a different perspective on gender and tends to defend women's rights. But that does not always seem to be the case. Multiple offensive comments were said today, and it makes me wonder how we are still debating what sexism and its impact. 

 

Given this situation, I've asked a few of my female friends and colleagues to share sexist situations that they've gone through. The response I've received in less than an hour made me speechless. Multiple girls contacted me, and, surprisingly or not, most of the situations were caused by male - or even female - college students. 

 

"In my Summer job, there were only 3 men working in the office. One of them would constantly make sexist and sexual jokes. He would call himself the office alpha male and us his b*****s."

 

"On my last day at my job, my coworker hit my upper leg which was so uncomfortable. He also asked me what my favorite sexual position was, if I had any f*** buddies and if I go to clubs. He more than once tried to get me to go drinking with him and the entire male office."

 

"My boss told my boyfriend at the time, who worked with me, that he should stop chasing p**** around work… meaning me."

 

"I don't know if this is sexist, but I had this guy tell me that it was hot that I was exotic. I told my roommates. Half of them said I should take the compliment and the other half said it was rude."

 

"A fellow female intern in my Summer job would constantly talk about sex with me and ask how much casual sex I have, comment on my chest size and talk about how f***able I was."

 

"A male acquaintance asked my ex how it was like to f*** a foreign booty. This same guy asked me what I did to make my a** look the way it does."

 

"'I think I can do it better than you' - one of my fellow interns."

 

"There was a study about how women always move out of the way for men and men never move out of the way. I stopped moving over the sidewalk and the amount of men who expected me to move is astonishing."

 

"My manager refers to me as 'that blonde chick'."

 

"My guy friend asked for my help on an exam. I stopped what I was doing to help and as I explained the topic another guy just repeated everything to him. He would say things like' Yeah just so you understand she means...' for every single thing I said. I asked what they called me there for and he straight up said to me 'I just think he'll understand it better coming from me'."

 

"'Nice a**' - my coworker during the Summer."

 

"Last year a guy came up to me and asked what the homework was for the next class and I told him. He didn't believe me and asked his male friend the same question. I sat in front of the class, took notes, and got all As on the exams."

 

"I worked at a restaurant over the Summer and I had to move heavy bins of rolled silverware out of the office into the host podium pretty much every day. Almost every time someone (male or female) would ask me why I didn't ask the guys for help."

 

"I asked my old teacher for a picture on my graduation and he told me '50 cents for a photo and a dollar for a kiss'."

 

"'I don't want you to take me home (from the tailgate) because I feel weird having a girl driving me around'."

 

It is astonishing that college women are going through these experiences every day and we are remaining quiet. It is astonishing that people still deny that sexism is real. And It is certainly astonishing that I want to speak up about this topic, but have to remain anonymous for fear of being attacked like my fellow girlfriends who have done so. 

 

Making comments of a sexual nature, asking women for sexual favors, commenting on women's body parts, making women the butt of jokes - these are all sexist actions that happen every single day. Even compliments can be sexist when they humiliate the person instead of making them feel good about themselves.

 

Sexism is real. Sexism happens every day. Sexism comes in different shapes and forms. Sexism is reproduced by both men and women. Sexism is something we have to talk about, and we have to start doing so today.