I have a friend, (yes, just one). My friend works in an environment that is primarily dominated by men.
A lot of these men comfortably fit the stereotype of a “lad’s lad” in the sense that they enjoy a laugh and a bit of banter. However, many of them also fit this stereotype in the sense that they find it appropriate to sexualise pretty much every female that they meet.
Unfortunately for my friend, 99 percent of the time she is the only female around which means that she bears the brunt of their sexist behaviour.
I’m sure the majority of women have been in the position where they have found themselves the target of misogynist comments and behaviour. I for one find it infuriating and cannot imagine how frustrating it must for her to be in that situation all day every day.
Fully grown men who should, quite frankly, know better regularly make judgements based on her physical appearance and actually think it is acceptable to grab and touch her inappropriately.
Part of her working day involves not only having to listen to men make misogynist comments about her but also enduring customers slapping her bum with rulers and touching her in a sexualised manner.
This kind of behaviour regularly gets excused with the whole “boys will be boys” saying that people seem to think actually justifies this disgusting behaviour.
Other men and even some women attempt to trivialise this behaviour by claiming it is “just a laugh” when in reality, it is sexual harassment. A woman’s body is her own and she has the right to go a full day at work without being groped.
My friend regularly has comments made to her about her uniform with men suggesting she wear skin tight lycra or heels and miniskirts to reel in the customers. To hell with practicality and comfort as long as they have some wanking material, right?
Upon realising that my friend didn’t find his suggestion about her uniform funny, one customer decided to see just how far he could push her and told her that he could never work with a woman.
What was his reasoning for this, might you ask? Well, he said it was because he would rape her.
Yes you read that correctly. A fully grown adult man told my friend that he could never work with a woman because he would rape her in his van.
Just take a second to process that information.
Unfortunately, comments like this seem to be many people’s idea of a joke. I, along with many other women who oppose rape culture, get told that I cannot take a “harmless” joke. I get called a “bitch,” a “feminist,” or “crazy,” (all of which are true, by the way), because I call bullshit on misogynist opinions voiced by repulsive idiots who are trying to be funny.
Funnily enough, the people who crack these demeaning “jokes” and constantly treat women like slabs of meat tend to be the very people who argue feminism is no longer needed, because we’re equal now.
Jokes are funny. The violation of a woman’s body is not.
- A special thanks to my anonymous friend for allowing me to use this story.