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The Everyday Sexism Project was founded by writer and activist Laura Bates in April 2012. It began life as a website where people could share their experiences of daily, normalized sexism, from street harassment to workplace discrimination to sexual assault and rape.
The Project became a viral sensation, attracting international press attention from The New York Times to French Glamour, Grazia South Africa, to the Times of India and support from celebrities such as Rose McGowan, Amanda Palmer, Mara Wilson, Ashley Judd, James Corden, Simon Pegg, and many others. The project has now collected over 100,000 testimonies from people around the world and launched new branches in 25 countries worldwide. The project has been credited with helping to spark a new wave of feminism.
Washington Post, in a piece whose title was phrased to sound uncannily like an actual piece of political commentary – ‘Hillary Clinton’s Tentative Dip into New Neckline Territory’ – condemned Clinton for daring to let slip the awful secret that she had female anatomy. Straining desperately to spin an entire 800-word article out of an irrelevant observation, the Post resorted to phrasing the revelation in bulletin-like sentences as if it were the latest breaking news in a tensely unfolding
incapacity. Ironically, of course, new fathers suffer many of the same sleepless nights and feel the same close attachment to their new baby, yet somehow this seems to lead to far less ‘well intentioned’ concern about the potential impact of parenthood on their careers. The strange habit of seeing mothers and fathers through completely different lenses holds strong in other situations too. Witness, for example, the level of public vitriol reserved for teenage mothers, from reality-style shows to
living it every day, influencing every choice and thought. Because it isn’t just about the individual incidents; it’s about the collective impact on everything else – the way you think about yourself, the way you approach public spaces and human interaction, the limits you place on your own aspirations and the things you stop yourself from doing before you even try because of bitter learned experience. As the writer John Scalzi brilliantly and simply put it on his blog, Whatever: ‘In the role
needed help and was told ‘no, I just wanted a better view of the nice young doctor’. My husband is never given the same consideration for family policies as female colleagues. And many of the stories we have received from men suggest that they experience an added stigma against reporting sexism, because of strong stereotypical ideas about men being strong and manly and ‘not making a fuss’: ▶ As a male nurse I have received endless quips from my female colleagues and patients. From ‘show us
something to make it happen. Pretty much told it was my problem or that I was ‘too sensitive’. One woman explained how her family’s attitudes towards victims in the public eye spilled over into their indictment of her. ▶ Just watching BBC Look North. Story about a woman who was raped in a park at night. My mother: ‘Stupid woman, what on earth was she doing walking in a park?’ Incidentally, when I came home and told Mum I’d been raped by my boyfriend, she replied: ‘That’s what you get if you