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Baggage

May 18, 2012

This post is dedicated to @EverydaySexism. this is a shortened account of how sexism has affected my life in a multi-layered and when I think about it a painful way. Here is a possibly outrageous confession but in general men frighten me, show me an arrogant and/or aggressive man and I will show you a swift exit, and I understand that for any men reading this you might not like this admission. However this fear was instilled into me as a child and it takes a rare man to make this fear go away. A side note that if there is a hell I hope that is where all groups of men go who wolf whistle shout compliments/insults etc, it isn’t flattering to have that happen to you in the street it’s nerve-wracking.

So what about this baggage of sexism I have carried around with me all these years, lets say it started with being told to be a good girl, sit still and be quiet, you can’t play with your brothers Lego, here have a doll. you’re ugly, you’re fat, you don’t have tits! You do have tits, now you’re really fat! Suddenly you’re a slag! No you’re not you’re stuck up. Sex is evil (if you are a girl) the naked body is evil (if you are a girl). If you ever have sex nobody will like you ever! I know this because my Dad told me this, if I had sex before I got married I would be ruined, it was a gift I had to save for my husband. (My dad the biggest hypocrite in the world ever!).

Being that girl (the only one in the village) who was from a single parent family. You should also look up the deliberate sexism regarding the 11 plus. Being told by the head of the sixth form that he didn’t want a girl like me in HIS sixth form. My life up until I was 16 was one big ‘THOU SHALT NOT!’ festival and all under the umbrella of how a girl should behave and what a girl should expect, and was to work and try knowing that I would never ever be good enough. Incase you were wondering I was a very well-behaved young lady, I tried very hard to please the what a girl should be like police. I got fired from a waitressing job at 16 because I refused to kiss the boss. I also had several long dark walks home escaping from men determined to claim my virginity. (seriously what is that obsession about?). Why do people equate virginity with innocence? unfortunately I may have been a virgin at 16 but I lost my innocence at 11, they are not one and the same thing.

As a single mum I have been criticised when I couldn’t work and criticised now I am working, everything is my fault. Some politician told me my children would all be criminals and a man walked up to me once and informed me that my sons would be gay because I was bringing them up on my own. And I think it was me that broke Britain (oops). (my children are all happy and succesful that’s because they take after their Dad…he told me this).

Let’s not forget the everyday political sexism, I will never own my own house, I have a menial part-time job because that’s all I managed to get. I haven’t sat on my laurels though and have nearly completed my degree, and all my children either have, are studying for or are planning on doing a degree. My daughter still suffers from sexism but not in her own home by her own parent and that’s the gift we should give all our children, the ability to recognise sexism in all its guises and the ability to reject it.

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Caroline Criado-Perez

A Pox on the Patriarchy

feministmeup

Lady things, explained.

norfolknonaligned.wordpress.com/

"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

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