Oct 16



We are not supposed to talk about it, lest it upset or even offend someone and their precious sensibilities. We’re supposed to suck it up and get on with it. But this just allows the malignancy of sexism to fester.

I have told this to men before when having “this” discussion: I struggle to name one female who I know well who hasn’t at some point been on the receiving end of sexual harassment or assault.

There is, of course, the relentless “everyday sexism”, which is psychologically demeaning, affecting our confidence, self esteem and contributing to depression, anxiety, eating disorders etc.

There is the sickening but all to familiar fear in the pit of your stomach when you have to pass a group of men who start leering and jeering, when that guy on the bus is staring at you possessively, or when you are dancing somewhere having fun with your friends and you suddenly feel an unknown uninvited unexpected hand on your body, as if it is not yours anymore. When you feel that unnecessary and unfair but frustratingly unavoidable feeling of shame and degradation when they stare at your breasts, your ass, your legs…

We are reared to believe that men are some sort of uncontrollable animal, that simply can not control these behaviours, that the onus for protecting ourselves and preventing this is on us. That the cognitive enlightenment, sentience and intellectual capacity that the human race has evolved over millennia just doesn’t apply when it comes to men’s sexual urges.

What a load of [insert expletive of your choice]! 😡

Men are perfectly capable of controlling themselves, we have simply created a social environment that reinforces their psychologically ingrained belief that they either can’t or simply don’t have to.

It is up to ALL of us to change this untenable situation, to break this passivity, to call for change. It will come not only from the big actions, but from the subtle every day things that I was once blind too, subconsciously absorbing without realising.

The terms of triviality, intellectual inferiority, ownership and objectification that are directed at us every day. The pink, flowery, subservient perfection that we ask of little girls and the loud, independent, active curiosity that we encourage in little boys.

Enough is enough. Call it out, even when it’s uncomfortable, even if it seems small… every little bit of sexism contributes to this overwhelming sociological inequity.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.clairemariethomas.com/2017/10/metoo/

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