Cat-calling, ‘lad banter’, rape ‘jokes’… Casual sexism has – sadly – always been a part of life for most women – but it’s been firmly and increasingly in the ether for the past few years.
It’s the stream of familiar sexism that permeates constantly through society – and it was the catalyst for the beginnings of the Everyday Sexism project, which started three years ago this week. In that time, they’ve shone a light on the sexism that punctuates our everyday lives like never before – and moreover, shown just how much work there is still to do.
The project has chronicled thousands of stories of sexism from all over the world and, this week, is set to reach 100,000 posts as it celebrates its third anniversary. Some instances are achingly familiar – the accounts of being paid unfairly, shouted at or chased on the street, told that ‘women can’t’ do things that men do. Others are more sinister.
Casual sexism, though frequently dismissed as trivial and inane, is much more than just a comment in the street. It can lower girls’ confidence, intimidate and frighten – and, in a society that doesn’t take it seriously enough, it can sometimes translate to sexual assault. Girls have poured their experiences of being groped on the street, attacked or even raped on to Everyday Sexism – and, sadly, the situation only seems to be getting worse.
A report from Transport for London as part of their newly launched Project Guardian this week shows that, on public transport, 1 in 10 Londoners experience unwanted sexual behaviour as they attempted to make their journeys around the capital. Of that number, 90 per cent didn’t report their experience to police.
Is it because we’re so entrenched in sexism that we simply feel like we’d be wasting our time reporting? Or is it because we don’t have faith that we’d be taken seriously?
Either way, it’s time for us to stand up against casual sexism – and wish Everyday Sexism a very happy birthday. We wish it didn’t have to exist, but we’re grateful it’s there, working towards something better for the future.