Feminism, Sweet Machine, Trolls, You've Got to Be Kidding Me

Turn that douchehound upside down

We’ve got a fairly desperate concern troll in the mod queue today; he’s left comments on three different posts in the last hour AND sent an email to Kate about how we are ruining feminism, which is a crock of man-hating shit anyway. Needless to say, he’s banned (thanks for playing, Richard! Feel free to read the comments policy on your way out!), but something he said made my jaw drop so hard I think it bruised. Behold the cluelessness:

I still believe that women are their worst enemies. Seriously, how many times has a man said something cruel or sexist about your appearance compared to a woman?

Now, apart from the fact that the famed “cattiness” of women is of course a manifestation of internalized misogyny, and thus Douchehound Richard is a concern troll par excellence, this comment reminded me of the sad fact that many men simply do not believe women’s life experiences. They have no idea what many of us are subject to, because those things tend not to happen when there are men with us. Some men conclude that therefore shit must not really go down the way women says it does, because otherwise wouldn’t they see it with their big manly eyes?*

So in the spirit of a recent post at The F Word (UK) that turned into a mass documentation of street harassment, I’d like to open this thread up to the perhaps traumatic, perhaps triggering, hopefully cathartic task of proving Richard wrong. Not because he’s so important — he’s just your standard issue antifeminist concern troll — but because it can sometimes be useful to state out loud the things we all take as given.

I’ll start, and this is necessarily an incomplete list, obviously, because so many cruel things have been said to me about my appearance by so many men that I can’t possibly remember them all. But here are some.

Boys in school called me a cow, gay, retarded, four eyes, and of course fat. They made fun of my hair, my glasses, my clothes, and my figure. A male “friend” of mine in high school called my high forehead “male pattern baldness” and suggested I tape infomercials for Rogaine. Boys in my HS Spanish class nicknamed me “Bigote” (“Mustache”). A friend’s boyfriend told me I’d have a dozen boyfriends if they only saw me from the neck down. The guy whose locker was next to mine in school would fake invite me to “cool kid” events and then tell me I could only come if I would stop being so fat and ugly. My brother would grab my thighs and talk about how fat they were, and he told me I had a hick haircut (a long time ago! he’s nicer now). My father has expressed happiness that a painful chronic medical condition made me skinnier. My grandfather bought me new clothes as a birthday present one year and told me “Now you just have to not get fat.” My photos on Flickr have been linked from fetish sites whose posts are locked, so I get to imagine what gets said there.

That’s just off the top of my head and doesn’t count the endless street harassment I’ve been subject to since I hit puberty. You think men don’t say fantastically cruel and sexist things to women all goddamn day long? You think every woman doesn’t have a running list of words she wishes had never passed her ears? You think that women are the problem in a sexist society? That’s not how it fucking works, asshole.

So. Hands up if a man has “said something cruel or sexist about your appearance.” Hands up if you’ve witnessed a man saying something cruel or sexist about another woman’s appearance. Hands up if you know a man like Richard who thinks he’s so bloody different from all those other men. Hands up if you’re goddamn sick and tired of being told that if you notice sexism, you’re the sexist. And hands up, male readers, if you have ever been or known that man.

***Raises hand***

*Chris Clarke: If no woman in your life has ever talked to you about how she lives her life with an undercurrent of fear of men, consider the possibility that it may be because she sees you as one of those men she cannot really trust.

630 thoughts on “Turn that douchehound upside down”

  1. Are you kidding me? Recounting the times that this has happened to me, a member of my family or even someone within earshot, as you mention SM, would not even be possible.

    But here’s the one that came to mind first: “She’s got a big ass…for a white girl!”

    ***Raises hand***

  2. Exactly, atiton — this shit is so endless that there’s no way of documenting all of it, no way to even think about it. But on the chance that there are some well-meaning dudes out there (unlike our troll) who just genuinely don’t know, I think threads like this can be powerful.

  3. *raises hand*

    As a child, many of my male classmates wrote notes to “Hindy” (short for Hindenburg) and “Goodyear” (as in blimp) in my 6th grade autograph book. I was teased because of my huge breasts, teased when I wore a bra, teased when I didn’t wear a bra. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been out walking and a car full of men passes by and they shout out FAT COW! (Ironic that I’m the one out getting some exercise…) In university the target was my friend Frannie, who they called “Fat Frannie” and repeatedly made jokes about her in the dining hall. My father told me it was okay for him to be fat – he was already married. My grandfather regularly harassed me about my size and how large I was. Once I started in my career male students (I work in university administration) would call me a fat bitch if they disagreed with me, a number of them telling me perhaps I needed to seek out the services of a gym so I wasn’t so damned fat. I’m well into my 40s now and still subject to comments and epithets from people I do not know.

    I have been subject to some of this from other women but it’s rare. A few other girls in high school called me bullet boobs. A potential female employer asked me if I had the ability to climb stairs. Those are the only two examples that come to mind at the moment!

  4. BTW the main thread linking our troll’s unpublished comments is a complete disregard for women’s experience. Men don’t comment on women’s appearances, there aren’t really that many anorexics, and (most hilariously) “For the most part most of humanity considers women’s bodies beautiful, not men’s.” Because straight women and queer men don’t count as part of “most of humanity.”

  5. Heck, I didn’t even mention the male doctor who put me through hell when I was trying to get pregnant because I was, in his estimation, too fat…

  6. My hand is UP!

    In middle school, one boy made it his personal mission to make me miserable. He found something mean to say almost every day, but the one that really sticks with me is this one: “your glasses make you look ugly.” I wore boots to school one day (under a long skirt), and he convinced the rest of the boys to proposition me (because I looked like a hooker, apparently) for the rest of the day. The crowded around me in the math room, asking, “how much do you charge?” I was so embarrassed I couldn’t come up with a good comeback, so they mocked me for that, too.

    Around the same time, my dad told me, “you wouldn’t be so fat if you didn’t eat so much candy.” Every time he offers to pick up snacks from the corner store, he buys food for everyone else without comment but warns me he won’t let me get any junk food.

    In high school, a boyfriend ended an argument by telling me to “go shave your mustache.” Most of my college boyfriends haven’t had a problem remarking negatively on my appearance. One of them went so far as to tell me, as we were breaking up, “when you wear contacts and make-up, you’re actually kind of hot.”

    There have been other moments, but these are the ones that really stick out.

  7. 100%.

    it’s hard for male feminists/allies to learn how to start taking responsibility, but the easiest lesson should be Don’t Start Telling Women(/anyone?) How to Be Good Feminists.

    *raises hand*

  8. Hands way, way, way, waaaaHAAAAY up on this one.

    And, though I have had women make snide comments about my appearance on the street (once), they at least had the courtesy to not threaten to rape me into the bargain.

  9. I’m small and short, which means most guys look right over my head, so I avoid the worst of it. However, I have gotten the:

    -Wolf-whistles/catcalls from random carloads of guys while minding my own business on campus (this was a few weeks ago)
    -The first thing out of husband’s former roommate’s friend’s mouth upon meeting me was “Heh…boobies” (yes, asshole, I am well-endowed. STFU).
    -The ex-boyfriend who told me that he didn’t really like girls with big breasts because we were all fat.
    -The guys in my lab who don’t comment on my appearance (I think I’m regarded as one of them) but pick apart the appearance of other women in the department and in the media.
    -The time in a Canadian bar when I was 19, when I had to sneak out the back exit because a 40-something creep wouldn’t leave me alone.
    -The time when a friend and I attended a party at a frat house where many of the guys were either friends of mine, or friends of my friends. One of them spiked the drinks with something. I was up sick for half the night, as were other housemates, and we nearly had to call an ambulance for my friend.
    -The leering stares at my exposed calves while dressed in a skirt suit en route to a grad school admissions interview.

    From other women: mainly just the constant assumption that since I have two X-chromosomes, I must be a) on a diet/counting calories, and b) unhappy with my weight/clothing size/overall appearance. Yeah, I’m not a diet buddy. STFU.

  10. Certainly not an exhaustive list, but:

    On the bus my freshman year of high school I was called a fat cow, Mimi (as in the woman on Drew Carey), and was told “I like fat chicks but you’re just tooo fat!” by a group of guys. I was, as I am now, a size 12.

    Later in high school I was walking down my street on the way home and was verbally accosted (he called me a whore) by my neighbor one year my senior who kicked me in the stomach when I retaliated.

    I was approached by a man at a bar while in college. When I turned down his offer of a drink, he called me a “fat dyke.”

    And yeah, you know, some women have said some pretty vicious shit, too, but none have ever kicked me or shamed me into riding my bike 8 miles to school instead of riding a bus.

  11. – A grandfather who would say that I shouldn’t finish my dinner (the dinner being forced upon me by my grandmother) because I’d get “fat”, and then he said, only slightly more quietly, “-er”. He repeated this performance several times. I was probably eight years old.

    – grade school boys who would both tell me that I am fat and ugly, but also that other boys in our class wanted to have sex with me. At the age of eleven. How is that not supposed to be cruel and scary?

    – carloads of college age guys who, driving by while I was out walking for exercise, would bark like dogs, or yell unintelligible but clearly hostile things.

    – the endocrinologist who insisted that the reason I have polycystic ovarian syndrome is that I eat too much. Even though weight gain is a SYMPTOM of PCOS. Even though I explained that I worked with a dietician friend and do not eat excessively.

    – the countless, countless men with online dating profiles who have either not responded to my messages to them after viewing my profile (which includes a picture) or who promptly stopped writing to me after receiving my picture. This is not the same experience of online dating that my slim friends have had.

    Richard, you have no freakin’ clue what you’re talking about. But what do we know? We’re all just a bunch of silly women.

  12. Oh my god, ralfalfa, I KNOW. The number of times a guy has said things like “I would have thought that you, as a feminist, would believe blah-blah-blah (insert whatever his point of contention is)”! There’s one guy who’s been doing it recently, and honestly, it’s really changed my (previously very favorable) opinion of him.

  13. There are too many to recount, but I’ll share the most memorable one. This happened over ten years ago.

    My then husband and I would walk 2 miles a day for excersize. One day, when we were out walking, a group of ‘men’ (boys, really by the age of their actions) drove up behind us and started harrassing me. For whatever reason, even though the ex- was with me, it didn’t save me that day.

    The ‘men’ (there were four in the car) started moo-ing at me, and saying things like “fat cow should stay at home!” and other things like that. The worst one though, was where they addressed the ex- and told him that he should put a ‘wide load’ sign on my fat ass.

    Yeah, I still remember that as if it was yesterday.

  14. – the endocrinologist who insisted that the reason I have polycystic ovarian syndrome is that I eat too much. Even though weight gain is a SYMPTOM of PCOS.

    *epic headdesk*

  15. A guy who thought of himself as feminist (because he was raising his little girl alone –don’t remember why anymore) and progressive because he had a tongue stud, speaking to me, as I sat there with hair on my chin (not to mention legs and pits): “I would never date any woman who didn’t care enough abut herself to keep her legs and pits shaved” That was not the only crack from this guy, just the one that stuck with me the most.

    More things than I can remember from guys at school (my main nickname in middle school was “Fro” from my hair –I also had guys dare each other to ask me out as a joke) and from men on the street.

    Last week, late-teenagers loitering (and smoking) outside the grocery store, in Denglish (this is an English translation): “Oh, my God, a bearded lady!”

    I’ve gotten the high-forehead/male pattern baldness comparison before, too. Before I started actually losing my hair.

    I’ve also heard men say they wouldn’t stay with a woman if she’d lost one or both breasts to breast cancer. The mind boggles.

  16. I’ve gotten the high-forehead/male pattern baldness comparison before, too. Before I started actually losing my hair.

    When I got that insult, it was long before I’d heard of PCOS and found out that women could get “male” pattern baldness. Which makes it even more odious as an insult, I think, because it denigrates both women with and without balding. Awesome.

  17. O.C., I think we may have had the same endocrinologist (although, to be fair, I’ve had female doctors who said the same thing, too.)

    I can add the whole list of doctors (mostly male) who have dismissed my reported symptoms because I’m female.

  18. Bald Soprano, you know that all us silly wimmin are hysterics who don’t really have anything wrong with us, right?

  19. Yeah, SM, that bugs me even more now than it did at the time. It was a guy justifying guessing that I was 40ish and therefore hitting on me (I was actually just turned 20), btw.

    Oh, I forgot the legion of boys in high school who when I wore a jumper, asked if I was pregnant. Or told me that I was.

    *puts both hands up in fists and jumps up and down at the guys*

  20. O.C. Right, and we don’t ever know what we’re physically feeling because our minds are disconnected from our bodies (I’ve been told that I’m “too old” for earaches, “too young” for fatigue and that my sciatica was a pinched nerve. That last one was an older guy who was SO condescending to me! He may actually have patted me and called me “dear”)

  21. I would type something up but I’m too busy raising all of my hands at once. In fact, I don’t have enough hands.

    In all seriousness, this needs to wait until I get home becuase some of the things I need to type here really shouldn’t be done on a work computer.

  22. There was the time I was walking along the street minding my own business, and some people threw eggs at me from a car and yelled incoherent insults. I’m pretty sure that car had no women in it.

  23. I dated a guy for five years (I don’t know why) who constantly belittled my appearance. He called me frumpy (for having the audacity to—*gasp!*—not care about wearing makeup all the time), he criticized the way I dressed, he called me “ribby” (at the time, I was in the throes of a pretty serious eating disorder), he generally made me feel terrible about my appearance. That doesn’t even get into how he belittled my personality and professional skills (and lots of times, his explanation was that women are inherently less skilled than men), but that’s a whole other issue altogether.

    *raises hand*

    Surprisingly, the cruelest things I’ve ever heard about myself have come from either men, or the nasty little self-critical voice that exists in my own head. Never really from women. So screw you, Douchehound Richard.

    Screw you, Douchehound Richard.

  24. *raises hand*

    At a church sponsored event, an older gentleman walked up to me and gave me a big hug… and then told me his friend bet him that he couldn’t get his arms all the way around me.

  25. I’ve already recounted the “wooo-eee! Look at them titties!” comment I recieved while walking to the record store one day.

    The guy who said I had a “knockout face, but was too broad of beam down below” for him to date.

    My dad who used to call me Thunder Thighs and Bubble Butt.

    I had bad skin in jr. high, so I got called pizza face a lot, lunar landscape, crater face. I also constantly had people of both genders telling me I needed to wash my face, and a guy actually rubbed a slice of pizza on my face once and responded, “What? It’s not like you could get greasier.”

    I had the guy in Jr. High who knew I had a crush on him, and asked me out in front of his friends, then when I said yes, laughed hysterically at me. The guy to whom I’d written a note, who ripped it up and threw it at me, telling me I was way too gross to date.

    The countless guys who would hit on me while I was bartending at a dance club, who when I turned them down, would call me a fat ugly bitch. Huh, I was good enough to want to fuck a minute ago.

    The guys who called me a dyke for turning them down.

    The creep who grabbed my tits while I had a bus tub full of glassware over my head.

    The asshole in my high school chem class, who pretended to be looking at my notes over my shoulder while he ground his crotch against my ass, IN CLASS.

    That’s just a few. Barely the tip of the iceberg.

  26. My hand is raised. Some fun examples: the guy in my high school who yelled “ghetto booty” down the hall every time I walked by him AT SCHOOL (he was never reprimanded) or my supposed male “friend” who told me that if I just lost some weight in my thighs I would actually be good looking. I couldn’t have been more than a size 6 in those days (not that demeaning language should be used for anyone at any size, but it just kind of shows that there is absolutely nothing you can do to avoid it). Ugh.

  27. *raises hands*

    I often blog about this, so I’m not going to repeat my zillion examples and multiply that by the zillion more that made me angry before that blogged-about zillion crossed the line. But I will tell one clueless story, because skimming an above comment (Bald Soprano describing an older patronizing man) triggered it:

    Apropos of nothing*, a male coworker sidled up to me at work, picked up my hand, and stroked it. “What a pretty hand,” he said. “Why is there no ring on this finger? Oh, because she hasn’t gone back to school for her MRS degree.”

    *This encounter took place several days after I announced my intent to leave that job, since I’d received a fellowship to the PhD program I’m in now. But he really came out of the blue with that!

  28. Consider my hand up.

    I just had this talk with My Nigel. We were talking about sexism and harrassment at cons, and he said “I don’t really see stuff like that. It seems like a safe place. Besides there are a lot of people around.”

    My response was: “You don’t see them because you’re a guy that doesn’t participate in harrassment behavior, and other guys aren’t going to harrass me when you’re around.”

  29. **raises both hands high**

    – The boy who waited for me along my way home for TWO YEARS late in grade school to beat the crap out of me. I kept changing routes, and he kept guessing correctly at least three times a week. He knocked the wind out of me, blacked my eye once, and made me terrified to go to school at all.

    – The guy who told me he couldn’t understand how a woman could possibly be raped, since she would fight back, wouldn’t she?

    – The two ex-boyfriends who I thought were still my friends who suddenly stopped the entire roomful of conversation at a party by turning to me and telling me how threatening they found me.

    – The guy who told me a few weeks after my wedding that I would of course be cutting my hair really short and gaining fifty pounds, because ‘I didn’t need to worry about how I looked anymore.’

    – The guy who followed me around an SCA event all day using the line ‘I can see that look in your eyes’ every five minutes and expecting a different result…even when I was very clearly flirting with another guy.

    – The scary, unkempt man who started following me home from a restaurant one day when I twenty. Just as we got next to an empty field with waist-high grass, he said “How much would it cost to have sex with you? I bet it would be a couple hundred dollars, huh?” I kept my eyes straigh ahead, and said firmly “No, I wouldn’t” all the time trying to work out in my head how fast I could get to the place two blocks away where I knew there were not only a lot of people, but some who knew me and would protect me if I could get to them. He said “You’re a stupid cow, turning down a couple hundred dollars.” Luckily, he turned away and left. As soon as I felt sure he couldn’t see me anymore, I ran to my place of safety.

    Oh, and when I told my boyfriend about it the next day, he just shrugged and said that it didn’t matter since the guy hadn’t actually harmed me.

    It’s been twenty-five years, and I’m still shaking as I type this.

  30. OH, tanglethis, you reminded me of something! When I was working shareholder services (phone customer service) for AT&T, I had one guy propose to me because of the way I sounded over the phone, one guy offer to set me up with his son, and one guy invite me to come visit him in Pennsylvania while his wife was away. Ok, it was about assumed appearance based on sound-of-voice, but still fucking sexist!

  31. “I had the guy in Jr. High who knew I had a crush on him, and asked me out in front of his friends, then when I said yes, laughed hysterically at me. ”

    Yep, had that happen, except after I said yes, he waited a few minutes, got my attention in front of everyone, and said “Consider yourself dumped.”

    Oh, I’d forgotten about my stint working in a record store. I worked Friday nights during undergrad, so it was my task to change the window displays. The store had big plate glass windows on a main road, and for the entire time I was in there, every single time, there would be honking and catcalling as guys drove by. Didn’t happen when one of the guys got in the window, that’s for sure.

  32. well, I’m fat now and can’t say I’ve ever been blatantly attacked about being fat (maybe because I became fat in adulthood)

    but as a young woman I had a boss who once said to me, “you look so good I’d like to rape you.”

    This was in the early 80’s before sexual harassment was even a known term.

    I quit my job he scared me so bad. I still get a sick feeling when I think of the way he was looking at me when he said that…

    no…I don’t think a woman would ever say such shit…

  33. I was involved in a labor protest yesterday, holding a picket sign with a picture of a worker who had been fired for organizing. A guy came up to me and asked about what we were doing. I told him what had happened to the worker and he said “That’s terrible.” Then he took another look at the sign and said “She’s not much of a poster child for your movement, is she?”

  34. If I had enough hands to raise for all the times I’ve been called names by men, I’d be Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Destruction.
    I’ve ALSO had stuff thrown at me from passing cars for just walking down the street and not being a Barbie doll. And yes, I remember THAT like it was yesterday, too.
    As for the guy-what an asshole.

  35. Oh, and my first boyfriend was constantly nagging me to lose weight (when I weighed 9 stone), and my stepfather called me “that stupid bitch” from the age of about eight. And there was the old guy on the street who shouted “Slut” at me as I walked past in an ankle-length skirt.
    And yes, it was usually the boys who took the piss out of my looks / clothes / glasses / whatever at high school.

  36. Oh, and the guy my freshman year in college who dated me for one week, and then broke up with me because I wouldn’t sleep with him, and told me that was the only reason he went out with me. (I later met two other women he pulled that with that year…)

    Twistie: the high forehead/balding comment I got was at Pennsic. One year after I was nearly date-raped there –someone who didn’t get that no meant no, and not try again in five minutes.

  37. Ohmygod, Pick me!

    Let’s see… we’ll just go with what has been said to me in my adult life.

    -My boss told me once my breasts were too far apart
    -Same boss told me he would never have sex with me, totally unbidden. Like, I was standing around, and he said, “You know, I would never have sex with you. Ever.”
    -Co-worker told me, also unprovoked, that seeing me in a wet t-shirt contest would be “disgusting”.
    -I’ve been told to my face that if I were drunk, I would deserve to be raped. And the speaker insinuated that he might do the raping.
    -I’ve been told,”I’m going to shoot you in the head and skull-fuck you.”

    And that’s just a few things that I can remember. Not counting street harassment, or being grabbed and groped against my will.

  38. The boy I liked in 6th grade told me I was flat-chested so that made me ugly. I remember thinking, “I’m a skinny twelve year old, what do you expect?!” But of course later I also saw him and his friends making fun of a girl for having too large of breasts. There really is no pleasing the douchehounds.

  39. – Male coworkers purposely brushed against my breasts (working side-by-side at a fast food restaurant) when I was a teenager.

    – A male coworker hugged me from behind and pushed his erect penis into my back.

    – Being propositioned for sex by a guy at the library. He gave me a note telling me that even though he had a girlfriend, I looked too good not to try.

    – In college, the countless number of anonymous phone calls to my dorm room from a man who wanted to let us (my roommate and I) know exactly how he was touching himself and where he wanted our pussies.

    – A classmate in college who always sat in the section where most of the women were. His behavior and mannerisms had a general sense of creepiness. He would lean in close, too close, to talk to us. He then took to sitting by me mostly, and once touched me when he wanted to say something. I told him point blank, “Do not to touch me.” He moved on to bothering some other woman, but none of the others would put up with his invasivness, so eventually he sat mostly to himself.

    – After my mom bought me my first bra, my sister’s then-friend (male) referred to my “over-the-shoulder boulder-holder.” While embarrassing, I was more creeped out that an adult man (late 20s) felt it was okay to make a comment about my breasts, just developed at age 12, in front of my whole family.

    – Being whistled at and called to by men while walking down the street. No, it’s never flattering, which is how I’ve been told to interpret that behavior.

    – And while the sentiment has not often been expressed to me outright, men often think I’m a bitch because I have opinions of my own and am not afraid to express them when appropriate (i.e., countering sexist bullshit I hear in my presence). Or, they are angered by my having the audacity to think I can be independent.

    Example, a neighbor once asked me if I needed help carrying a piece of furniture up to my apartment. I’m sure I did look overwhelmed by it, because I am petite and the thing was more than half my size (but lightweight as it was pine and mostly empty space). But I very politely declined his offer. I did appreciate him wanting to help. His reply, angrily stating, “Geez I was just trying to help.”

    Part of me didn’t want his help because there is, and always will be, a fear in me that men will use any opportunity to take advantage of me – no matter how nice the man seems to be. Letting a stranger into my home to move a piece of furniture? I can’t do that. I used to be trusting of men and women equally. Then I hit puberty. That’s when I became an object to be consumed. Particular men in my life have proved to be untrustworthy, and there’s no usually way to know who is going to be the next predator.

    I know are more examples I’ve forgotten. There’s stuff I didn’t even realize was sexist and inappropriate until I was older.

  40. Ugh. My hand is up Up UP.
    To start, maybe 3000 of the comments here:

    Well, to end there too. The list is godawful long and I’ve gotten really skilled at washing my brain.
    But the commentary on that video is typical, and I think it’s interesting “data” as to what people will say to fat people when they know they won’t be held accountable.

  41. My ex once told me I looked like “a mongoloid” and when I reacted in horror (more, in fact, to his choice of word than anything) he said “Oh, but you’re cute! You’re my little mongoloid!” I was so stunned I had no idea how to react.

    The most sexist things I have to endure in recent times are not directed at me, but come from male friends who see me as “one of the guys” since I date women now. So they think I want to join right in with the objectification talk. Most recently I had to endure a friend who came back from Japan talking about “bouncy Japanese girls” and saying he needed to go back there and find strip clubs because zomg Japanese wimmins! (I think he may be exaggerating this attitude to get a laugh out of other people, but the fact that it *works* says so many things I can’t even begin to think about it without my head hurting.)

  42. *both hands up*
    I’ve had my share of random street harassment. And groping, for which I was blamed because I ‘must have been sending out signals’.

    Also, my brother’s friend is still in line for an ass-kicking for saying to my brother, “Your sister’s gotten kinda fat” when I was recovering from a freaking eating disorder. (To my brother’s credit, he did tell said friend to stfu.)

    Then there was the guy in a bar telling me that I should wear more makeup and get contacts…a male ‘friend’ telling me recently that I’m too fat now to get the guys I want…when the worst I’ve gotten from women is looks and the assumption that I’m trying to lose weight. Gah, douchehounds suck.

  43. SingOut, I don’t think anyone is going to hate you. As horrible as all these things are, there’s nothing worse than thinking you’re the only one who’s faced it. After all, if it’s just you, it’s easy to think maybe it’s something you’ve brought on yourself or that you deserve. You didn’t and you don’t.

    Knowing that others go through the same thing can be a relief, because then you know it’s not your fault.

    TheBaldSoprano (which is actually one of my favorite Tom Stoppard plays, incidentally), one of the reasons I left the SCA was the fact that I was constantly having to deal with guys who thought their attentions must be welcome simply because I was a woman, so I should just shut up and be grateful. I was there to play in costumes, not because I couldn’t find any way to get laid by mundanes.

  44. *puts hand in air*

    I’ve been called fat in so many different ways that it’s pointless to catalog them.

    I’ve been harassed and followed around by men — not specifically related to my weight, but creepy nevertheless.

    I’ve been told by a doctor that the digestive problems I was having were related to being fat — this is after I explained that I had a horrible home and school life, and gee, wouldn’t stress have something to do with that, maybe? Which, you know, it turned to out to be stress. Not fat.

    I’ve been explicitly propositioned — and I mean explicitly — BECAUSE I was fat. I mean, he said it right up front. He liked fat girls. And then he offered to take me somewhere, fuck me, and that he’d totally do me the favor of calling his friends over and CHARGING THEM for fucking me. Boy, THAT was a self-esteem booster! That asshole, by the way, followed me HOME — and at the time, I had no phone.

    I’ve had women say the occasional rude thing, but it sort of pales in comparison to Mr. Pimp, there. So, Richard, kindly shut the FUCK up.

  45. 1 – my appearance was mocked straight through elementary school.
    2 – in a school with a so-called zero tolerance teasing policy, my classmates took it upon themselves to learn to insult me, my appearance, my purported odor, body hair, and weight in new languages. often in song.
    3 – in high school, boys would get back at male friends of theirs by dropping notes into my locker asking me out, supposedly from the primary target of their mockery. this was evidently a horrible thing for any guy to experience.
    4 – on a single walk earlier this month, no fewer than three men leaned out their car windows to taunt me and laugh as they speeded by. the most insulting and sexually explicit of them had an icthus on his car.
    5 – while visiting potential wedding reception locales with my mother this weekend, a carload of young men again yelled out their car windows to yell denigrating comments about our appearance and the sexually degrading things which ought to happen to us.

    there is much, much more, but five items should be enough to prove my point. i have better things to do than to relive this shit all afternoon. ten minutes is plenty.

  46. Ye gods and little purple fishes, Naamah Darling! He actually thought that offering to make money off of his friends fucking you was some sort of compliment to you???? That’s SICK!

    Oh, and speaking of sick…

    – The doctor who refused to examine my sick friend because she was ‘a twelve year old girl with an hysterical mother.’ Yeah, that hysterical appendicitis is easy to recover from. By the time they got a doctor to look at her, my friend’s appendix had burst and she lost an ovary in the ensuing surgery. it was the only time I ever saw my parents counsel someone to sue and throw the fucking book at anyone for anything.

  47. My most memorable comment wasn’t about my appearance, I hope that’s okay. In the seventies my junior high history teacher told me I was “very logical for a woman”. I just sort of blinked and was amazed even back then, at that age, that someone would think logic was a man’s talent. Then there was my high school chemistry teacher who told our class at length that women were happier as wives and mothers. Both male, BTW.

    I’ve also been date raped by men a couple of times (no, I wasn’t drunk or drugged either time). Both times they were guys I’d known and liked for a long time. Never had a woman do anything remotely as bad. So, yeah, it’s men I’m warier of; and feminism isn’t a factor at all in why, simple experience.

  48. *raises hand*

    This boy in my middle school greeted me with a new “you’re so flat chested that…” joke every day from the beginning of 6th grade through the end of 8th. If we had gone to the same high school, I know it would have continued through 12th.

    I’m so sorry that everyone has to put up with this!

  49. Another post just triggered the memory of my first post-undergrad “career” job. I had to threaten one of the principal investigators, a PhD with a wife and young daughter, with a sexual harassment claim to get him to stop lurking outside my lab, stop leering at me on the elevator, stop sitting at my lunch table uninvited and staring at me while I ate (I even tried to make conversation once, but he refused to talk, just kept staring), stop following me around the building.

    My best friend recently got her next-door neighbor kicked out of university housing. He was married and his wife lived there with him, but he would show up at my friend’s door or call her late at night, propositioning her for sex and threatening her with all manner of harm. She lives alone in a ground-floor unit, so the threats weren’t empty.

  50. Oy, here we go…

    All the comments I got as a teenager about being fat AND having small breasts. I’m sure you can imagine.

    My brother calling me ‘chunky’ and saying that I was going to be wayyy fat when we were kids (he’s better now, thanks).

    More recently, my dad playing the concern troll and insinuating that I eat too much and that I shouldn’t enjoy food because I’m fat. Oh, and saying that I should be careful about feeding my 10.5 month old because otherwise you-know-what will happen (FAT!!!1!).

    The “You know you’d be really pretty if you lost weight” comments. Oh, and the “You’d be really pretty if you wore make-up/shaved your legs/wore a dress/wore girl clothes/shaved your pits/didn’t curse/weren’t so loud/weren’t so opinionated/acted like a chick/etc” comments.

    Yeah. All those too.

  51. Delurking to raise my hand here …

    I was told at the age of 12 by an adult who should have known better (my father) that I had inherited “the Von Mengershausen thighs”, ie “very large, thunder-thighs”.

    Cue a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, body-hatred and addictive eating that I am only beginning to resolve now, the year I turn 40.

    Thanks, Dad.

  52. How about every time a man disagrees with us on an internet forum, they’re constantly breaking out either “fat bitch” or “slut” or “whore”? So when men disagree with us we’re instantly either not sexually desirable…or sexually promiscuous. Nice.

  53. Oh no, I’ve never been harrassed! All of you must be crazy…these things just do not happen!

    Like when I was in junior high, and walking down the hall, and some guy punched me in the back to see if I could feel it through my fat? He was just conducting a scientific experiment!

    Or that time I was standing at the bus stop, and some guy stopped in a car across the road and refused to drive on, even when the light changed, until I smiled? He was just encouraging me to be more optimistic!

    Or that time at a concert when some guy lamented that I was frigid because I wasn’t flattered by him rubbing his crotch against me and calling it dancing? Well, he was just giving me a lesson in ettiquette!

    Or when I told the guy I was sorta seeing about the whole traumatizing incident (which included my best friend continuing to force me into the situation and then calling me a rude mental patient when I was angry), and he told me that he remember the days when he tried to rub up on girls at parties? Why, he was just trying to reinforce that lesson by showing me how normal it was!

    Or how about the time the only boy in the chorus, a guy I had known my whole life, remarked upon watching a tape of our 7th grade performance, that I looked so thin back then in comparison to the way I looked at the moment? He was just kind enough to let me know I wasn’t taking care of my appearance!

    Oh and the fact that he said it in front of the entire group? He was just making sure all us girls were warned about the dangerous of not being pretty!

    And when a former coworker took it upon himself to corner me and touch me every chance he got? Why, he was just being friendly!

    Not to mention all the compliments I have received on the street from men who just wanted to let me know that I was beautiful! They truly are angels for trying to boost the self-esteem of the women of America!

  54. Oh my god, reading these I am just trying not to cry at my work desk and I’m remembering all the shitty things guys did to me when I was younger and how they can continue to do that.

    When I was in high school I would IM after school with the popular boy and listen as he talked about how his parents fought etc. He told me “I was the best friend he ever had and I’d be the perfect girlfriend ….. if only I looked the part.” He then told me he mom had a treadmill in the basement and I was welcome to come over and use it whenever.

    A “friend” of mine would mock me by pulling his head back on his neck and asking ‘if his double chin was close to looking like mine.’

    elephant, fat ass, cow, — one guy even told me I was a disgrace to teenage girls everywhere because this was the time we should look most fuckable and no one would want to touch me unless very intoxicated.

    While walking in the “take back the night” rally in college, a car-full of men yelled “who the fuck would rape any of you?”

    At a party, I made out with a guy who pushed my head down and told me to suck it, when I said no, he snarled at me that i should be grateful.

    A guy I knew from class exposes himself to me at work.

    Another male coworker repeatedly begged to give me foot massages at work. We worked the late shift… alone… in the middle of no where. It was terrifying.

    While arguing against sexual harassment in class a man muttered behind me, “just jealous that no one ever notices you, huh”

    It could go on and on and on.

    And what is really sad is that those comments come from strangers and “friends” and former boyfriends.

  55. *raised hands*

    I have been called a:
    “Fat bitch.”
    “Fucking bitch.”
    “Fat fucking bitch”
    And any combination of the above by complete strangers who wanted: a parking space, for me to get out of their way, and godzilla only knows what else.

    In addition, I REFUSE to look at anyone driving in the cars next to me. I don’t care if in my peripheral vision there are hands waving wildly or honking going on, I have seen more disgusting gestures than I ever care to again. Frankly, I feel a little bad because I’m sure one or two of those people just needed directions to the freeway, but I’m not risking it.

  56. “You’d be pretty if your neck weren’t so thick.” And the endless street harassment.

    And the endless comments that men and boys make about girls and women:

    -she’s pretty, from the neck down. yeah, the neck up isn’t so great, but still *leers*
    -she’s so ugly, she’s so fat, look at that figure, i wouldn’t fuck her
    -omg, she’s so old [to be here at a bar], she must be desperate, how sad.
    -she only won [a debate competition] because she wore a low cut top and a short skirt.

  57. Yeah, also it’s mostly men who seem to think that my tattoos either mark me “open for business” or ask me why I’d want to mark up my lovely flesh like that.

  58. **raises hand with outstretched finger at Richard***

    Richard, sweetie… Doubtless you’re probably one of those who thinks that random man grabbing and fondling my ass on a train platform while using his other hand to masturbate should have been interpreted by me as a *compliment* on my appearance. He obviously LIKED MY ASS!!

    As should the comparatively-less-harmful quip from a senior male professor who said to me, as I was on the way to teach my morning intro class, “I heard you coming up behind me in your heels and thought, ‘I love the sound of a woman’s shoe. It sounds so feminine.'” I’m sure you can’t fathom why this put me off my game when I then had to face 40 freshmen at 9:30 in the morning. Why, he LIKED MY SHOEZ!!!

    I hope you get a clue someday… and that, when that happens, you don’t *quite* die of embarrassment at what you wrote today.

  59. Oh and that guy who shouted at me and a friend as we walked down the street to ask us if we liked anal sex? He was just trying to broaden our horizons!

  60. One of my engineering professors told the class ‘ only half of you will pass this course, and it won’t be anyone in the front row’.

    The entire front row was made up of the women in science and engineering program I was in.

  61. *raises hand*

    Just a small selection of the sexist/racist/hateful things that have been said to me by men:

    “You’re ugly.”
    “You look like a cocker spaniel.”
    “What ARE you anyway?”
    “Your hair looks like an ugly fro.”
    “Fucking bitch.”

    Etc etc…

  62. I have to say, most of my verbal abuse in middle and high school did come from girls, but I didn’t really hang around boys at all if I could help it. The boys in my class would just walk behind me and hit the back of my head, or kick my ass through my seat, or put food in my hair at lunch time. There was one boy who would follow me around and ask me my pant size and whether or not I was wearing a bra yet, and eventually he started groping my back to feel, and snapped my bra strap. I developed breasts a little earlier than other girls in my class, so even though I was fat, and at the bottom of the pecking order, boys would still sometimes hiss dirty things in my ear and ask to see me with my shirt off, or if they could touch me (I actually was molested by peers, but I don’t want to get into that here.)

  63. I once, in junior high, had another girl tell me I should shave my legs. And someone in graduate school suggested to me that I’d be prettier if I lost weight.

    Let’s see: if I stack that up against the shit I’ve experienced from men: rape, groping, being followed on the street, obscene phone calls, catcalls, etc., etc….

    Yeah, the bulk of the harassment (both the “you suck” and “I want you to suck me” kinds) came from men. And by “bulk” here I mean 99.99999% of it.

  64. Well lets see, I don’t have too hard a time of it, don’t ask me why. (I guess since 2/3 of the people I know have told me that they found me “scary” when they first met me it is because I’m intimidating and lots of people assume I am a lesbian for no apparent reason. Not that I’d mind be)

    But there was the guy I went on 1 date with who threatened to stalk me if I didn’t call him. I didn’t call him.

    And recently there was the gentleman who assumed I was single because of my “seriously big ass”.

    Oh and the fact that until I was about 18 every guy on earth HATED me because I was taller than them. When I did go to a co ed school the boys went out of their way to get me into trouble whenever possible.

    I also never got invited to a single dance in highschool (even when all of my friends were going and some of them didn’t have dates. No one invited me.). It is a cardinal sin to be tall and a girl if you aren’t a model.

  65. Putting aside the insults heaped upon me by men I know (or knew) personally — what about the insults heaped upon me by the (male-dominated) culture at large? Because that’s where this argument always begins: some guy saying ‘I’VE never said anything bad about a woman, therefore you must be insane’ (Which — oh! so ironically! — IS JUST SUCH AN INSULT).

    I have two main beefs with the whole ‘women are their own worst enemies’ argument:

    1. The bare statement itself betrays the speaker’s bias, in that it defines ‘women’ as an undifferentiated mass sharing a single characteristic. The speaker has heard some number of individual women make unflattering remarks about some number of other women, and has erroneously deduced that, therefore, all women behave in this manner. This is the very definition of gender bias.

    2. No offense to the douchehound, but I’ve heard this pablum trotted out so often that the fucking thing needs a pair of running shoes. It’s such a part of our cultural consciousness that I can no longer tell a friend ‘you know, I don’t really like that dress on you’ without fear of being labeled a Traitor to My Race. Yet, said douchehound can post inane shit to a feminist weblog without a second thought for how it will reflect on his brothers, BECAUSE THE FEMINISTS WON’T EXTRAPOLATE HIS IDIOCY ONTO EVERY OTHER MAN THEY KNOW.

    In short, yeah, I’ve said derogatory shit about other women, and no, it didn’t bring feminism crashing to the ground. In the same way that Mr. Douchehound’s idiocy won’t bring modern civilization to a screeching halt. Even though it should.

  66. Public school was A LOT easier than Catholic grade-school (and I’m not Catholic). Mom sent me there thinking I would get a good education. The bulk of the students there were assholes. We are talking seven and eight year old boys who would accost me and pull my skirt up, and other kids who would just yell insults. Now, I was wearing regular girls’ sizes and was just stocky, but I was still considered a fat cow. There was another big girl at the school, but she was very tall, and she got called names too. When I got to seventh grade, it got bad enough that my mom decided to pull me out of school and I told the teacher enough was enough. One my tormenters even called me one night and apologized, but I told him that I was leaving and what he did was shitty.

    When I got to public school, I was just another girl, although one guy who was fat (and was one of the most popular guys in school) liked to call me “bush” because I had thick curly hair. But he was my neighbor and we got along okay. He actually sat on my backyard fence and broke it and I never let him live it down. *evil grin*

    As an adult, I haven’t been publicly harrassed like so many other women here. There was some jerk who murmured to a friend as I sat next to them at a bar that he wouldn’t do me even if he was drunk, but I think they realized I heard them because I shot them a dirty look and they left. That’s OK, they weren’t so great anyway. But having guys yell insults at me on the street or follow me, nope. I’m left alone.

  67. *hand up*

    The only time I can think of when other women (well, girls in this case) were nasty to me was in middle school when certain girls did so in order to get approval from the douchehound boys they liked – one of them actually apologized to me about it later.

    Comments from men? Too many to name – not so much in recent years (I think I’ve reached the age of invisibility) but from about ages 12 to 30, it was a normal part of life. Sucky, but normal and totally in line with what everyone else here is saying, so much so that it seems redundant to give examples.

    When I first started seeing my now-husband, we were out together and a homeless guy asked me for change. I said no, politely, and he said he hoped I got raped. It was ugly but not really any uglier than the normal kind of crap any woman hears walking down the street alone. I didn’t event think of taking it seriously as a threat (though I did make sure that no one was following me around the rest of the day.)

    Anyway, the future Mr. Nettle didn’t hear any of this directly, but he asked, “what did that guy say to you?” I told him. He looked shocked. He suggested we call the police. He offered to go beat the guy up. I said, “No, why would you bother doing any of that? It’s not that big a deal, he’s not going to do anything.” He said, “The guy must be a psycho, who talks like that to a woman?” I said, “um, what planet are you from?”

    He really had no idea that this kind of thing is normal. I had no idea that anyone would be surprised by it.

  68. A few things that stand out for me:
    – Canvassing on the street/door-to-door and having assumptions made about my orientation, sexual availability, and sexual practices, as well as threats stemming from those assumptions (details still make me flinch).

    – Being told that I was obligated to have sex with someone because he was “a nice guy” and didn’t actively harass me (apart from, you know, pressuring me to have sex.)

    – My dad, who, bless his heart, just couldn’t believe that there’s any discrimination these days against women in engineering and computer science, much less against the *only* woman in a computer science class. (It could have been worse, but it was Not Good in many ways.)

    But apart from getting this shit from family, strangers, acquaintances, and the occasional friend, it’s nice to know I don’t experience “that much” of it.

  69. Where to start…
    -Being told by my grandfather that women are responsible for a majority of what is in landfills because we use so many beauty products.
    -Being told by my father that he hates working with women my age who have PhD’s (I have one and work in the same field) because we all think that we are so smart when we don’t actually know anything.
    -Being told by my father that he wants to move to South America and find a wife who doesn’t speak english so that he doesn’t have to talk to her.
    -Having my male advisor “accidentally” brush his hand across my entire chest.
    -Having a male co-worker who is much taller stare straight down my shirt during a meeting.
    -Having men assume that I play a support role instead of running an organization.
    -Being moo’ed at while crossing the street, being propositioned in a bar by a guy who positioned basically laid his dick on top of my knee as a sat on a stool, being leered at riding my bike at age 10 by a group of men in their 50’s…

    Hands way UP… just the tip of the iceberg.

  70. Oh, and I can’t believe I didn’t think to add this one earlier;

    – The guy who on meeting me for the first time at a party greeted me with this deathless thought: “Giving women the vote is like handing a loaded gun to the three-year-old.”

    To this day I’m betting he doesn’t understand why I didn’t want to speak to him after that.

  71. *raises hand*

    I have a high forehead and a cowlick right in front which means no bangs. I was told I was balding and had many jokes made from that. It was mostly in grade 6 that it happened and I thought it was all forgotten by the time we hit high school. Clearly not because I was overwhelmingly voted ‘most likely to go bald’ in senior year. And lots of the guys from my elementary school days took it as an opportunity to tell me that they voted for me. Like I would find it funny or something.

    I’ve noticed that my dad makes horrible sexist remarks (not toward me but toward other women when I am around) and he gets attitude when I make a point of saying that I do not appreciate those kinds of comments. Seriously – you want me to have high self esteem and know my worth, and yet you think I won’t be offended at you belittling other women? Serious wtf.

  72. This thread is going to make me cry. I want to give everyone here a big hug. Also, I want to make my husband read it, because he’s one of those dudez who thinks that women are meaner to other women than men are to women.

    – Some guys I knew in law school referred to one of our classmates as “Manatee” because she was fat and, according to them, ugly. LAW SCHOOL, people. Ugh.

    – I remember in junior high this one boy made up a freaking POEM about my friend’s flat chest.

    – I got called “Thunderbutt” in junior high more times than I can recall, only ever by boys.

    – After getting a perm as a pre-teen, one boy told me I looked like I had put my finger in a light socket. (It was a truly disastrous perm, to be fair, but he was the only person to comment on it.)

    – A male “friend” of mine saw a photo from me from college and told me that my short haircut made me look “like a lesbian.”

  73. By the way, is anyone reading to the F-word UK thread? Sadly, I am and one of the commenters mentioned having friends encourage the harrassers/ apologize to them for your rudeness, and I was just wondering…did that ever happen to any of you?

    I mentioned it in my above comment, but my (former) best friend laughed and joked with a guy who was essentially molesting me and who she knew was making me seriously uncomfortable. When I confronted her later, she told me I was sick and needed psychiatric help.

  74. Ooooh! Yeah…

    I was raped at age 16 by a 24 year old who was dating a friend of mine (an older friend – she was 20). I kept quiet about it for a long time. When I finally told another “friend” word got around. Said 24 year old followed me to a diner in his car with three of his friends. They pulled in behind me, blocked my car so I couldn’t get out of my parking slot, and surrounded the car to scream at me. He said, “It would be a privilege for you if I raped you.”

    I had three different stalkers by the time I was 18. One ex-boyfriend followed me EVERYWHERE – seriously, EVERYWHERE – for over a year. I moved to the other side of the country.

    I developed a close friendship with a male supervisor at a previous job. He was, in fact, a vice-president at a university where I worked. I was 22. I was (and still am) also very close with his wife. They were like parents to me. Needless to say, no one else at work could possibly understand that a young, hot lady was simply “friends” with an older man in a position of power. Couldn’t be that I was just super-smart, competent, and trustworthy, eh? Allegations of a sexual relationship followed for several years.

    I get propositioned for sex at professional conferences CONSTANTLY. Men get quite angry when I refuse. I’ve taken to wearing a fake wedding band (a security gift from the BF) as an easy-out: “I’m married” seems to be taken easier than “Nope, not going to sleep with you, douchehound.”

    This is not even including the cat-calls, random groping, and years of “teasing” from men because I was a competitive equestrian. Something about a woman (or child, as I was when I started) in tight pants on a horse that elicits the nastiest and scariest of comments.

    And the best part is that most men think I’m conceited when I talk about the things that have happened to me. “Oh, so you think men just follow you around like you’re so hot?” Well, yes, actually, they do. Is it because I’m hot? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m small and look like I can’t fight back. Doesn’t matter. It’s still true. It still happens.

  75. High school: Freshman year, a male student repeatedly called me fat and ugly. Over and over. Senior year, another male student called me fat, ugly, and worthless.

    College: while eating at a buffet, a male customer muttered to his friend as I walked by that he was surprised anything at the buffet was left after I’d passed through it.

    Women have said things to me like “Have you tried this diet?” or the concern comments. The cruelest comments have come from men.

  76. In elementary school (probably about third grade), a little boy used to get in close and punch me, repeatedly, in the upper arm while we were on the playground. I didn’t know what to do about it and it went on all year.

    Another boy in about fifth grade used to say, “Where’d you get those clothes? K-Mart?” and tease me about wearing “floods” even when they weren’t.

    In seventh or eighth grade, two boys mocked me in drama club because I wasn’t shaving my legs.

    My grandfather offered to pay me to lose weight and said it wasn’t good to be “a fatty.”

    In junior high, as I was out jogging (and during my eating 900 calories a day summer and trying not to pass out), a guy walking down the street going in the opposite direction passed me and pinched me on the butt, hard. Face flushing even pinker, I kept running and wanted to never stop.

    Yesterday, at 8am while I was getting gas, the attendant stood outside of my window (you can’t pump your own in my city) and said, “Hello friend. You’re pretty. Where are you from?” My five month old was in the backseat and the gas pump was still pumping into the car, and I felt totally exposed and trapped with him standing just outside my door. I was not happy at all as he was looking at me and smiling and I felt anything but friendly.

    I raise my hand.

  77. Sorry Richard but I’ve repeatedly had men say horrible, sexist things to me. I’ve had girls say things too but, in my experience, men are worse (although I have to admit that, now that I’m back in academia instead of working, and now that I don’t go out that often to pubs and clubs, the amount of abuse in my life has been drastically reduced). As for types of abuse I’ve had a wide variety from my father’s near daily complaints about my weight, my attitude as a teen to his current “I’m just looking out for you but why aren’t you married yet? why aren’t you trying these medications? why aren’t you doing x, y and z?”, to boys at school throwing stones at me, trying to set my hair on fire, not to mention the daily verbal abuse. When I was older it was commonly men in clubs calling me a dyke for not being overwhelmingly grateful that they wanted to talk to me (regardless of what I wanted) that I’ve had to deal with. I’ve had years of medical and dental and other professional men calling me sweetheart and dear and there was even one who insisted on calling me pixie (WTF?), and very few of those men seemed capable or willing to listen to what I was saying.

    As a grown up (and in the world I now circulate) things are better, but this isn’t because the men have gotten better, it’s because I’ve gotten better at recognising and avoiding those men. The only real problem I have now are my father, occasionally my brother and one of my brother in laws friends who repeatedly threatens to punch me when I disagree with him or express any opinion that is vaguely feminist.

  78. One of my first tech support jobs, almost 10 years ago, was for a regional ILEC. I was the only woman on the support team, but my supervisor and her manager were both very intelligent women.

    Now, this was when DSL was still relatively new and popular, and since it was one of those “just get it added on to your phone bill!” type things, we got some amazingly bizarre customers calling in.

    Me: Thank you for calling tech support, how can i help you?
    Male caller: Oh, i’m sorry, i wanted tech support, not customer service.
    Me: Um, this is tech support, how can i help you?
    MC: Oh. Can i speak with your supervisor?
    Me: I think she’s available, may i ask the purpose of this call?
    MC: Oh. Can i speak with her manager, is HE available?
    Me: No, i’m afraid SHE is not available, but if you…
    MC: *click*

    I got those calls at least once a day – people refusing to believe i was tech support because i was female. But not as bad as the other kinds of calls i got….

    Me: Thank you for calling tech support, how can i help you?
    Male caller: Oh. Hey honey, how’re you doing today?
    Me: *pause* I’m fine, thank you. How can i assist you today?
    MC: Are you busy?
    Me: … Pardon?
    MC: What are your measurements?
    Me: … *click*

    I did not get into trouble for hanging up on him in that instance, but one of my male coworkers suggested that the next time someone asked me that over the phone, i should say “36-26-36-10”.

  79. Aside from the harassment (verbal and physical) from people I actually know, I’ve regularly been shouted at/threatened while walking/running for exercise.

    I’ve never thought I “could” complain about catcalls because they weren’t saying something “mean.” As Stupendousness so beautifully stated, as a female past puberty, I’m an object for [male] consumption.

    I’ve received comments from little boys out schoolbus windows that chilled me to the bone. Where did those boys learn such violence? Not their mothers, Richard.

  80. ***RAISES HAND***

    And I quote: “It’s not her body that’s the problem….it’s her face! If you put a bag over her head, she’d actually be fuckable!”

    I don’t feel bad. I heard he got arrested for stealing things from Fry’s Electronics, and then trying to return them. :D

  81. I haven’t had nearly as much of this stuff said to me as most women seem to, but indeed, the vast majority of it came from men, especially men whose advances I’d rejected. When I was a little younger, people used to mistake me for a guy a lot, because of how I dressed, my short hair, and my not particularly feminine figure, and once when I turned to someone who called me sir and spoke to him, he told me, “Stop trying to talk like a woman, because I know you’re a guy.”

  82. I can’t even count the number of boys, all through childhood and high school, who gave me shit about my “mustache.” Later in high school, I naired it once, but didn’t like the feel of my skin after that. A month or two later some guy who was pissed off at me in class for proving him wrong asked me why I had to “let that shit grow back and force me to look at it every day.”

    I was sort of a know-it-all kid, and I’m sure it was kind of obnoxious. But the girls in my class usually would just roll their eyes at me, while the boys would get combative, challenging me and yelling at me to shut up all the time for the same basic arrogance they displayed.

    My dad was the kind of parent to get hard on his kids for underachieving, so any less-than-stellar grades were cause for criticism. Fortunately I never had those, which meant that it was my weight that was scrutinized, any gain brought up loudly, often at dinner. Funny, my straight-As brother got hounded for his choice of music, even though neither of us was in the overweight zone (I didn’t hit that until college, though throughout my younger days I just assumed I was grossly overweight because I was bigger than my siblings and my dad seemed to think I was). He also hounded my mom for years to grow her hair long because he didn’t like it short on her – which everyone else thinks was her best look, including herself – and gave me and my sister crap for every inch we’d cut off our hair. Oddly enough, he strongly identifies himself as a feminist and was a Clinton supporter for pretty feminist reasons.

    A few weeks ago I was at a show on a Monday night with my boyfriend and one of his friends, who is sometimes a fun guy and sometimes a tactless turd. I was tired at 11 on a Monday after a long work day and a long bike ride tha tweekend, despite coffee, and stifled a yawn. Friend comments that “maybe you wouldn’t be so tired all the time if you got more physical activity.” YEAH DOUCHEBAG BECAUSE THOSE 23 MILES I TOLD YOU I BIKED YESTERDAY DON’T COUNT. He has a foot on me and has to lift weights 3x weekly just to keep his weight as high as mine is.

    I spent 8 months sharing an apartment with a guy on my junior year abroad who threatened to hit and rape one of our flatmates on two different occasions when they got into arguments; when I got into a fight with him and he raised his voice I told him exactly how I’d get him kicked out of school if he threatened me. He laughed and said “You think I want to bang *your* ugly ass?”

  83. Oh God, yes.

    The guys at the local school who nicknamed me ‘Walrus’. (I was never sure if it was to do with the fat, the facial hair, or both. The girls picked it up and used it, but the boys came up with it first.)

    The guys at my old office who referred to the fat boss behind her back as ‘Jabba the Hutt’, made jokes about how (she’d been twice widowed, apparently) she must have eaten her previous husbands in their sleep, gave graphic descriptions of what a certain higher-up boss (who was rumored to be having an affair with her) must have had to do to be able to bear having sex with her…The other comments they made about the other fat girl in the office, who’d put on a lot of weight after she was disabled in a serious motor accident. (I still cringe and feel to blame that I didn’t report them for what was definitely discrimination – they treated her like shit – but they also treated me like shit back then, and I was too scared to speak up.)

    The washer-upper at the hotel where I worked who was constantly trying to grab my ass in passing, comments about how he liked girls with meat on them…

    Various guys in passing cars. One when I was walking with my ex, in shorts, who decided to express his opinion that (in so many words) I shouldn’t be wearing shorts with an ass like mine. The fact that the ex just grinned and said nothing.

    The ex himself and the names he called me, the less-than-subtle diet suggestions, the porn smuggled home when he was drunk at a time when he was claiming he was too old to be interested in sex, and finally, the ‘Oh, you know I really wanted a skinny blonde’ admission…

    The doctor who, when I raised the subject of possible depression (a stab in the dark, which only years later did I find, thanks to a female doctor, was almost certainly what was going on), scoffed and said that depressed people couldn’t sleep (I was falling asleep in the daytime), and lost their appetite, and, well, obviously that wasn’t the case with me…..and looking me up and down in that way….

    My dad…it really, really hurts me to admit this. He made other comments about my appearance in my teens, but this really hit home. One time when I was about 14, I was just going out the door to go out in a skirt that he regarded as a little too short for me, and he called me a prick-teaser.

    (Bear in mind that having had a very old-fashioned upbringing, I was so naive at that age as to hardly even know what he meant by that word. My dad was older than most, and regarded himself as a ‘gentleman’ who would refuse to look when the other guys at work passed round the porn mags. I now realize that he was only a ‘gentleman’ to women who were ‘ladies’ in the 1940s sense of the word. And at a certain point, reaching maturity in the 1980s, I had inadvertently ceased to be one.)

    That’s what I can remember. Although there have been other things, no doubt.

  84. I thought we were just talking strangers. If we’re talking people I actually knew…I wouldn’t even know where to start.

    Also, I don’t know if this is an issue because I have only lived in one other place besides Los Angeles so I guess I have always assumed that the Hollywood standard of beauty is much more enforced here. I’ve traveled around the world though and the only places I’ve been targeted was here and in Paris where I think the standard is also uber-thin.

  85. Oh oh! I thought of another one!

    When I was fourteen, my family, some of my mom’s friends and I went to the L.A. county fair.

    It was lunchtime, and we were going to go eat, and I remarked that I was hungry. A friend of my mom’s friend (a man of about 45) said, “I can picture a herd of cows, and you at the front of it.”


    I cried the rest of the day. Nobody defended me. I will never forget that, I think, for as long as I live.

  86. Men made my life hell in elementary, junior high, high school, and college.

    Not a damn woman in there has made me feel like shit. Not a damn one.

    I’ve been called:

    * whale
    * fat whore (in elementary school!)
    * mannish
    * flabbigail (my RL name is Abigail)
    * flabby (my nickname was Abby)
    * The Blob
    * Thea (there was a short-lived sitcom in the early 90s called Thea. Thea was a fat woman)

    by men. I’ve had men tell me:

    “If only you lost 50 lbs, you’d be so beautiful!” (ex-boyfriend)

    “I’m so proud of you for losing 30 lbs, it’s just so amazing.” (exercise-obsessed ex-boyfriend. I’d also been working my ass off to get a summa cum laude in physics…but *LOSING 30 LBS* was what he was proud of! Dick!)

    “Your knees are supposed to touch, but nothing above that.” (by my Dad, when I was twelve. By the way, my thighs haven’t *not* touched since I was seven — I’m pretty sure I have lipedema. Not like he cared).

    I was molested when I was a teenager and no one believed me because I was fat, or they put it down to me being “desperate.” Yeaaaah. Riiiiight. Because I really love it when guys force their dicks down my throat. Yeah. The adipose tissue on my body apparently has corroded my good senses.

    I was harassed by male gym teachers in elementary school, made to run extra laps, allowed to get beat up during dodgeball, and made a general fool of. The female teachers never made me feel like that, though they weren’t exactly fat-friendly.

    Argh, this is really pissing me off. Talk about opening a can of worms. It’s not like a woman is automatically an angel — they’re just people, and they can be jerks too — but the idea that there’s some kind of catty intergender self-destruction is such fucking baloney it makes my brain throb.

  87. Growing up in New Mexico I got to hear it from man/boys in English AND Spanish… lucky me and my “great big tits!” I know how to say “fat, ugly cow” in two languages.

  88. “Nobody defended me.”

    Same here. Lack of support from those supposed to love us compounds the hurt of the attack.

  89. The occurrence that really stands out in my mind was when I, an adult, got catcalled by some middle school boys who were hanging out the back windows of a passing school bus. It wasn’t so much that it hurt or scared me–getting harassed by a couple of 13-year-olds who weigh 90 pounds soaking wet isn’t a threatening experience–but that prepubescent boys were already engaging in that sort of behavior.

  90. I think this thread shows how valuable the blogosphere in general, and the fatosphere in particular, are to both us, women commenters, and to male readers, particularly the clueless ones, like Richard.

    Because I’m thinking that the relative anonymity of this forum is why I feel confident in commenting, openly and honestly, and I bet the same is true for many of you. But if I were face to face with a theoretical “Richard”? I can’t say for sure that I’d speak up. Because even though I’m smart and confident of my opinions, I’ve been too well conditioned to be the “nice girl” and let the “boys” talk, even when I know they’re full of shit. If “Richard” is a man who exerts some kind of social or professional power over me? Then you know that I’d be biting my tongue.

    I’d bet this is part of the problem, part of the reason that guys like this continue to exist in their own inaccurate self-confidence. Because they live in a face-to-face world where women don’t call them on their shit. And this makes them think that they’re right, when they aren’t.

    Thank goodness that we do have communities like this one in which we can speak our own truth. It increases the probability that we will do the same when faced with a “Richard” in person. So, thank you, Kate, Sweet Machine and Fillyjonk, for everything you do for making that possible.

  91. All the way through secondary school, guys would fake-ask me out and then fall about laughing. The one time I started dating a (very sweet and genuine) guy, they made me so miserable that I ended it with him because I couldn’t bear the horrible attention we got. They called me the Ginger Minger. They grabbed my arse as I walked past. They turned my name into any word they could think of that would mock me for having sexuality because I was clearly so unattractive.

    Guys have told me that I need to make more effort with my appearance. A guy told my friend that she’d be quite pretty if only she wasn’t fat. Guys have yelled that I’m a fat bitch from moving cars. Guys have forcibly tried to kiss me, put their hands down my trousers, pin me up against walls and enter my home because apparently I owe them sex. Guys have insulted me because I would not have sex with them.

    Other women? SO not my biggest problem.

  92. I just remembered one from last spring, walking home from the train there were these two kids behind me, maybe 13, tops. And the one kid was all “See that, now, that’s too much woman for me.”

    FUCK YEAH I’m too much woman for you kid. At this point, any woman is too much woman for you. GRRR I still wish i’d have dragged them home to their momma’s by their ears.

  93. I think I may have seriously injured a gentleman once by squeezing the crap out of his hand. I found his hand on my ass, and I just forgot to take it as a complement. I heard a “pop” and an “ow!” I tried to care.

  94. Wow, the more I read the more fucked up shit I remember.

    The click of boys in Jr. High who I could not sit in front of, or they would unfasten my bra. I ran from the room holding my arms over my chest more than once.

    The countless pinches, grabs and bra snaps in the halls of jr. high and high school.

    When I was 12 we spent a summer living on a job site in the middle of freaking nowhere. After I went to greet my dad at the site gate, and a bunch of the construction workers wolf-whistled and catcalled, I wasn’t allowed to leave the area right around our trailer.

  95. Oh God, I forgot the fucking funeral director who groped me from behind while I was at my boyfriend’s grandmother’s funeral! I forgot it because I’ve been trying to forget it ever since.

  96. *raises hand*

    -In middle school two boys on the bus told me every day that I was horrible, stupid, ugly, you name it. One day they beat me up enough to bruise two of my ribs. The administration at the school did nothing because “boys will be boys” and “it’s just a little teasing.” My mom had to threaten a lawsuit to even get them to make the boys apologize.

    -In college I broke a guy’s nose at the bar because he wouldn’t stop groping me, rubbing me, and making comments about how he was going to rape me on the way home. I told him repeatedly to stop, got the bar staff and security involved and nothing was done. So the next time he did it I turned around and threw the best feeling punch of my life. I was then told I was hysterical and overreacting. For the rest of the semester I had women coming up to me to tell me that he had done the same thing to them. I’m not advocating violence, but threatening bodily harm and refusing to back off warrants a strong reaction in my opinion and I’m happy I did it.

    -One of the roommates I’m stuck living with until the end of November is a drunk. An angry, belligerent, aggressive drunk with a nasty temper. I made the mistake of actually telling him that the way he acts when he’s drunk makes me uncomfortable. His response? He told me that he didn’t like that I used the world “uncomfortable” because he didn’t actually make me feel that way and told me I should “think about choosing another word.” Unfortunately I don’t have the money to move out so I’m staying in my room and keeping my head down until Dec. 1.

  97. After about 3/4 of these I had to skim, so I’m sorry for the comments I’ve missed. This is cathartic, but also so triggering I can’t read any more or write out examples now. But my hand is raised, and I’ll just say that the harrassment and insults I got from girls and women growing up were nothing compared to those from men. Fuck you, Richard.

  98. oh boy. how about:
    – my exbf not supporting me when i…
    – confronted a former boss about sexual harassing me (every action of which he admitted he had done and apologized for; gee thanks, now can i have those months of abuse back?)
    the exbf had seen me get more and more depressed and fearful and stressed out as the abuse wore on, but kept saying things like “but he’s not actually TOUCHING you, what’s the point of bringing it up?”

  99. A remark made in an employee evaluation meeting about someone whose performance had fallen off because he was going through a divorce: “It’s always because it’s a woman, isn’t it?”

    Being the only woman in that meeting, everyone looked at me. I’m still proud of my reponse: I sat there and looked back with a small smile on my face. Eventually my boss coughed and asked if I’d like to respond to that remark. I just smiled some more and said “No, I don’t think I’ll bother”, then said something that took the discussion back to what we were supposed to be discussing. It was professional, neat, and left NO room for excuses or discussion, all the man who said that could do was sit and stew.

    If I go into all the comments made by boys/men during school, I’d be here all day. One of the lowlights: being told by someone who I thought was my friend and who had earlier told me that he really enjoyed hanging out with me: “I’m sorry, you’re just not pretty enough for me.”

    To this day, I really wish I’d had the presence of mind to retort: “It’s a damned good thing that being pretty enough for you isn’t on my list of life goals then, isn’t it?”

  100. Well, let’s see….setting aside the usual obnoxious parade of jackholes practically inserting their eyeballs down my shirt as I go about my business (and the – multiple – dudes who have harassed me sufficiently that I’ve threatened to call 911 to get rid of them), there’s still plenty of unappreciated body-based commentary from dudes in my life.

    My favorite was the guy who literally told me “You look like you would make, you know, really *healthy* babies.”

    Or maybe the dude who kept trying to get into my pants, and when I turned him down, came back with “You’re so fat and disgusting, you’re never going to find anybody to take you on. Oh, and you can’t sing.”

    Can’t sing? Whatever, asshole.

    So, yeah, Richard? You’re full of shit, and you might want to look into getting a fucking clue.

  101. Oh, I thought of another few.

    – The male ‘friend’ who I was admttedly half in love with at the time who would start our every phonecall and IM with “What are you wearing?” and get seriously pissed off sometimes when I refused to have that sort of conversation. I’d known him for over 5 years. We couldn’t have a conversation about, I don’t know, work, people we knew, movies we’d seen, politics, whatever? Nope. He just wanted to talk about sex. Finally I told him I would never have that sort of conversation with him, that sending me text messages asking if I’d blow him if he came over was inappropriate and, uh, no. I also called him a slut because he tried the exact same thing with every female I introduced him to and most of our mutual female friends. Strangely the reply was all about how I was the one with a problem. He was sick of my shit. And, oh, all of us (as in the mutual female friends) were sluts, even the one who was a virgin at the time, and he was perfectly normal and had been doing nothing wrong.

    – Or the boyfriend who assumed I’d do laundry for him or sew on buttons or cook for him and seemed not so happy when I refused (on the grounds that he was an adult and was perfectly capable of doing them himself).

    – Or the boyfriend (the first boyfriend) who repeatedly guilted me or scared me or pressured in some other way me into having sex with him but who, when I started not letting him pressure me (because, you know, it’s my fracking body) and started saying no, dumped me and took up with someone else who was more properly submissive.

    – Or, getting away from boyfriends, my male cousins and uncles who used to call me fat and endlessly harass me when I was visiting them, to the point that I will not go see them unless I have a clear way out any more. (On a related note, what about tickling children until the cry and scream and become very distressed? What does that come under? Because my cousins and uncles used to do that and it is part of the reason I physically don’t like being within reach of them and why, in the past, when people tried to tickle me I would become very distressed and usually try and hit them. But I don’t know what, if anything, that comes under. I felt physically threatened by it. I was held down. I was not listened to when I protested. And I was pushed to a trauma by it..)

    This is a very depressing thread. :'(

  102. **Raises Hand**
    Junior year, the cruelty squad got ahold of my yearbook and drew foul pictures with “captions” like: get laid already. The world needs another breed of dog.

    This was when I was actually pretty thin. Awkward, sure, but looking back, I was kind of cute. Actual physical attractiveness had nothing to do with it. I had low self-esteem. They knew it. They pounced. Evil little shits. By the way, this cruelty squad: almost 100% male.

  103. Obvy I could write a book here so I will just give you three of my all time favorite concern troll comments, all from men to whom I was either related or closely acquainted and all of which were unsolicited and premised on the idea that my sole goal in life was pleasing or acting as decorative accoutrement for men. Not to mention that I would give a fuck about their opinions on the matter:

    1. Coworker and friend informing my 17 year old self, out of a clear blue sky, that I should really shave my legs because men in college weren’t going to date me if I didn’t. (Translation: I kind of like you but you terrify me with your unwillingness to conform to societal standards and I am uncomfortable with women over whom I am unable to exert control.)

    2. Good friend of mine telling me over omelets during a drunken late night diner run that I should really try to lose some weight because “guys like girls who glow.” (Translation: I have a crush on you but I’m too insecure about myself to date a fat women, so I’ll just insult you instead.) (And I’m sure any lack of perceived “glow” was totally unrelated to being shit ass drunk under fluorescent diner lights at 3 am.)

    3. My dipshit cousin telling me that I would be really hot if I would lose some weight and maybe shave my armpits. (Translation: I am a complete and total asshole.)

  104. In sixth grade social studies class, we were studying European geography. A boy in class then made the brilliant comment, “Hey, Kathy, you’re as big as the Caspian Sea!” Within a matter of weeks, my nickname for the next three years was solidified as “Kaspee.” I’d bet that nobody, including that boy (who later became pretty good friends with me), remembered where that nickname came from a year later. But I did.

    For a more recent example, I was flying home from vacation this past April, and noticed as we were pulling away from the gate that the only open seat on the plane was between me (on the aisle) and the older man sitting in the window seat. I said so to him, and his response was, “Well, you needed that extra space.” He then reached over, slapped the back of his hand on my belly, and asked, “So, what are you doing about that?” I was so flabbergasted that I stammered something about diet and exercise, and he said, “Well, I’m a doctor–I was just wondering. How much do you weigh?” I then got my brain back and said, rather coldly, that I ddn’t feel comfortable discussing such matters with someone who was not my own physician, and he left me alone for the rest of the trip.


    I’m betting he would never have done that to a man.

  105. It just floors me how somehow males think that if a woman is walking outside without a chaperone she is ripe for being hooted/honked/whistled/leered or have any number of derogatory phrase thrown at her.

    Where do they get these ideas from? Do they get a special class on how to be a total asshole? It’s no wonder so many women stay inside and refuse to get exercise. I’d rather sit inside than have people drive past me and honk loud enough to scare me out of my running shoes.

  106. Adding my two cents to the pot here…

    In middle and High school, I had my bra straps snapped a lot. It was always a guy. And then they’d laugh when my back fat jiggled. (Late high school, some jerk tried it, I whipped around and asked if he’d like me to pull his underwear tight and snap it against his crotch, he just kinda stared like he didn’t understand why I could possibly be so upset.)

    I had books slammed into my back by guys. I had nasty comments about how I’d be “fuckable” if I lost a hundred pounds. I remember being told by the male director of the school musical that year that I “could still audition, but the likelihood of getting a part is low, because of your weight.” I can understand wanting a certain look for the main cast, but you’re telling me that none, NONE of the extras or other characters could be fat?

    When I’m out walking alone, I get GUYS(It’s never girls) yelling obscenities at me, for daring to be in public. I’ve gotten some catty remarks from women too, but I’ve noticed it’s always internalized self-hatred that rears it’s head when I remind them of it.

    I had my friend tell me, “You wimminz are so crazy!” when I was relating a story of one of my friends having her boyfriend harassed by an ex of his. Like it was solely because the ex was a woman that she would possibly harass her ex-boyfriend. And then laughed and said it wasn’t a serious matter- women are equal to men, so who cares if he jokes about women being nutty, crazy people? Sorry- “Wimminz”.

    If there’s anyone reading this thread who doesn’t think feminism is important, they should just stick their head back in the sand like a good ostrich. =_=

  107. You guys aren’t going to believe this, but in between my first comment and now, one of these incidents happened to me.

    I was driving to an appointment and had my window rolled down. While waiting to make a right turn onto a busy road, a man who was crossing the street in front of my car stopped, turned around to me and said, “Hey, baby, I’m single. Are you single? You wanna talk to me about it?” I was so stunned that this was going on, considering today’s discussion, that I could summon no words of disapprobation.

    You guys know what’s next….when I refused to engage him in conversation he started in with the “Stupid cow, doesn’t want to talk to me…slurslurburbleburble” bullshit.

    On this very day, ladies.

  108. Wow, both hands up, and all the hands I can borrow!

    -The school nicknames: Frobie (because I supposedly had an Afro), Muffy (ditto), dyke, whore, slut…

    -The simultaneous high school rumors that I was pregnant AND that I was a lesbian

    -The songs (libbyblue, you’re not alone)

    -Being mocked viciously for years because my shirt rode up and a little bit of lower-back hair was visible

    -Being chased down by a car (boys and girls) and screamed at and threatened with rape

    -The boy in sixth grade who pinned me against a wall at recess and said he was going to “do” me

    -The so-called feminist boyfriend who told me repeatedly how disgusting my body hair was, and how I’d be so much hotter if I got a Brazilian wax and lost weight

    -The doctors who told me I was crazy and should lose weight and handle stress better, when the ACTUAL problem was Crohn’s disease

    -The other ‘feminist’ who told me I wasn’t very interesting with clothes on, then gave me weight loss tips and suggested I learn how to clean my house better

    -The teenage boys who pointed me out and followed me home at 3 am in Queens– luckily I got inside before they got me

    -The men on the street who have harassed me in every major language

    -The lawyer who suggested when I answered my work line that I should really consider doing phone sex

    -The judge who grabbed my friend’s ass in the office, and then left to preside over a sexual harassment mediation…

    I’ve got lots more.

  109. I’ve been very, very fortunate in that I have a tendency to block unpleasant personal memories (and in some cases pleasant ones). My biographical memory is seriously hole-y… I can remember what places I’ve been to look like, but things like how I felt about something someone said are just lost. (It’s not entirely a good thing but it leaves more room for memorizing sketch comedy, I guess… plus I can’t hang on to shaming things people say to me) Also I was kind of aspie until I was 12 or so, so I genuinely didn’t mark insults… I had no clue people were picking on me.

    But I’m raising my hand, of course, even though I can’t rattle off a list. I remember enough to know it belongs up there.

  110. Kathy A. I am terribly afraid of something like your story happening to me. I live in a mild level of fear every day that someone will do something unexpected like that and I will end up breaking an arm or worse. My real fear is that instincts will kick in and I will actually kill someone. I should also say that I have PTSD and apparently this is relatively normal but seriously, I am so sorry that happened to you.

  111. Oh, and how can I forget the boss who told me, when I was looking at wedding dresses, ‘You should get one with a feedbag on it, because you can’t go that long without a snack!’

    The next day, he sent an email congratulating my team for a job well done, and I joked that he should buy us pizza. Later, in a staff meeting in front of two dozen people, a coworker singled me out for congratulations on a project. The boss said loudly, ‘You shouldn’t congratulate her too much, she’ll want food!’

  112. I’ve always had a hard time making friends, and in the third grade up through fifth, I truly suffered for it. I came to a new school and the teacher called me ‘Becky’ despite my requests that it be ‘Becca’. During a game of tag during recess one day, the sole-leprosy began. I was dubbed ‘Big Becky’ and a person couldn’t talk to, look at, or be nice to me in any fashion or they were rewarded with my ‘disease’. So, in the time when one learns to be social and a whole class is usually invited to a person’s party, I was often left out of the situation.

    In the middle of sixth grade (I got to middle school and actually made friends and was happy; I moved in March of that school year) I ended up in a beach town. Where I used to live the whole ‘Punk’ stereotype was common, and I ‘filed’ under that category. My hair was dyed black and on the first day of school I wore an Ozzy t-shirt with him grinning on it that said “Got Blood?” a play on the ‘Got Milk?’ franchise, obviously. Almost immediately, rumors started about me. I was supposedly satanic, I killed baby bunnies, I did drugs, and APPARENTLY, I was also a CANNIBAL.
    Oh yes, that one followed me through to high school. It still is following me. People would say that I had threatened to eat them, when in fact, I was a vegetarian most of my middle school years. And just last year, my first year in high school, a girl from my previous school decided it would be nice to say that ‘Yeah, she threatened to eat me once. Isn’t that right, Rebecca?’
    I am not exactly a violent person, but if my teacher wasn’t a friend of the family and recognized the attack, I would have killed her had he not written her up for the insult. Thankfully, my class didn’t take it to heart. Or too many of them anyway.

    With those wonderful memories have also been remarks of being ugly, geeky, unfashionable (lets see people be fashionable when you always need to get XL shirts to accommodate your chest), a bitch, a druggie, and a whore.

    Unfortunately, I have three more years of HS ahead of me, and I am by no means looking forward to it.

  113. Unpleasant male commentary? Let’s see. Starting around first grade, and going on through high school there were the fat comments (Hey, sherman tank! You’re so fat and ugly, why don’t you just kill yourself? Etc.) Although beginning around 7th grade the comments were leavened with a touch of sexual harassment (You’re fat and ugly, but your big tits sure would be fun to fuck! Don’t worry about being a fat cow–the bigger the cushion, the better the pushing! [The latter was said to me by a boy at a church youth group meeting. Ah, the safe, respectful space created by religion.]).

    Now a days it’s mostly the occasional “Hey fat bitch” cat call from passing strangers in cars.

  114. There are so many examples…here’s an old one and a newish one…

    At age 8, my 23 year old brother used to repeatedly call me “Shelly-welly with a big fat belly.” Now, who was acting childish there?! It only took him 20 more years and some seriously stern words from me to finally get him to stop insulting me.

    Earlier this year I had a male coworker repeatedly call me a hooker because I sometimes officiate weddings, hence I ‘hook’ people up. He thought it was the most amusing thing to call me a hooker. He was the only one who ever laughed. I told him to stop repeatedly and when he didn’t I reported him to our boss and filed a complaint. Which, of course, resulted in him coming into my office and trying to flip the blame for his insult around on me. “You didn’t have to do that,” he said. Um, asshole, yes I did have to do that because you wouldn’t stop calling me a hooker. Your misogyny is not my fault!

  115. My hand’s in the air, too. I’ve been groped (in Jr. High, when I got to the bus station too late to actually get a seat), had my breasts grabbed, been whistled at and propositioned while sitting on the street waiting for a friend to pick me up. And that’s just what I remember.

  116. remembered another one: going for a walk with my dad as a teenager, complaining about the guys in my algebra class who constantly asked me if i was a dyke, dad piped up “well, if you wore brighter colors and more skirts that probably wouldn’t happen. and don’t forget, men don’t like big women. they broke the mold when they made me,” because he, ironically enough, is a fat fetishist.

  117. Throughout high school, it was men (boys) who made my life a living hell, not women. Girls made snide little comments that stung, but when a group of men is bellowing insults at you and gesturing and laughing–feeding off of each others malicious and violent energies–your self-esteem is not the biggest concern; there’s a deeper, more dangerous threat implied. (I was eventually molested in 12th grade.)

    I think this quote by Margaret Atwood applies:

    “Why are you afraid of women? I asked a group of men.
    “We’re afraid they’ll laugh at us,” replied the men.
    “Why are you afraid of men” I asked a group of women
    “We’re afraid they’ll kill us,” replied the women.

    I don’t care if women make fun of my hair or my clothes or whatever, because they’re probably not going to follow me out to the parking lot and assault me.

    My point is: Yes, men make cruel and sexist comments–in my experience they make them more than women do–and they are much more likely than women to “back up” their verbal abuse with physical abuse.

  118. *raises hand*

    Two specific things pop to mind

    Freshman year in high school on the bus, a group of guys started having a “private” conversation trying to figure out if I was a boy or a girl because I had no boobs yet – the one phrase that I remember was “It must be a girl, it’s carrying a purse”

    After college, I worked in a library next door to bodega and every.single.time I walked by, they’d make rude comments probably not knowing that I took 8 years of Spanish and knew what they were saying. It was particularly bad the day I wore a pair of cowboy boots – I never wore them to work again after that.

  119. *Raises hand*

    Let’s see…

    The dumbass in highschool who said he really wanted to touch my “sweater meat” (and he was surprised when I punched him in the gut….)

    The guy in high school who told me he didn’t date girls who didn’t wear tight jeans.

    The other guy (who, after I rejected him) said that I had a moustache.

    The many random carloads of guys who yell/catcall at me (why do they do this exactly? There doesn’t seem to be a reason)

    The guy on the bus who tried looking up my friend and my skirts (we were 12 and on our way to a choir recital)

    The many men who have either stared at my tits blatantly. My friend’s boyfriend who had the audacity to tell her that he thought my breasts were better than hers. (WTF???)

    I have gotten some comments from women but they are generally out of jealousy or anger. At least they have reasoning besides being general assholes who want to fuck me. The worst I have gotten from a woman was at a party. I was wearing a dress that shows a little cleavage, and I was feeling pretty exposed & nervous. I was standing 3 feet away from her when I heard her call me slutty. I was pissed & hurt but it’s rare that women insult me (to my face/nearby).

  120. Both hands up.

    I’ve been subjected to pretty much everything you have, Sweet Machine. I’ll also add that, when I’ve been subject to cutting insults from other women, it was usually in the context of a long-standing personality conflict, such as being the victim of a group of bullies in middle school or fighting with acquaintances and even friends. Meanwhile, most of the insults I’ve garnered from men have almost all been unprovoked and most were from men I had never seen before. And all women are subject to this crap. Everyone from “ugly” women to average women to beautiful women.

  121. Let’s see. There was the time when I was walking through a little downtown area in northern NH, and a guy whistled at me repeatedly, until I was out of sight. And then when I told my male “friend” about it, he said, “excellent,” and couldn’t understand why it wasn’t a compliment, even when I explained why not.

    Or just last weekend, when I was at a picnic and my father said “You shouldn’t eat too much, you might get fat,” to my 12-year-old autistic beanpole-shaped cousin who had a plate of macaroni salad. Class act, Dad.

  122. *not having read the whole thread yet*

    The one that sticks out most in my mind was the time my brother had me pinned to the floor while trying his damnest to lean his knees into the pressure points in my arms. My flailing had ending up kicking my skirt up around my waist revealing my not inconsiderable bellyroll. He turned and looked and then said “That’s disgusting” in a completely indescribably tone of voice.

    That was 20 years ago, but the memory is still vivid. What is (thankfully) less vivid are the years of constant comments and insinuations from family and other kids about how unacceptable that is.

    What I find most interesting is that while the episode with my brother is most vivid, it is also the most easily discountable for me. But the low hum in my head of the comments over 30ish years has left one incredible echo that is near impossible to drown out.

  123. Not enough hands in the state, dude.

    Here is a random sampling

    -The boy who was my friend when we were alone but called me “elephant ass” every chance he got for all of 5th-8th grades (he never got in trouble even when adults heard him, though I did get in trouble for calling my best friend a bitch once. Go figure).
    -The middle aged men who tried to get me to get in their car and drink with them when I was 13
    -The street musician that I had been enjoying (and tipping) until he started singing a song to me about my big legs (Don’t get offended, honey!)
    -Being told “You’re not exactly a supermodel” by a male friend when I was talking about what I want out of a relationship (financial stability, to be treated nicely, etc)
    -Driving alone in the middle of the night terrified of the strange man in the windowless van who had been following me through the neighborhood, even down dead end streets where I was turning around

    Let’s not even get started on issues where athletics come into play or all of the vengeful “fat bitch” “stupid cow” references that happen so often throughout my life I sometimes barely notice them.

    Do women say hurtful things? Sure. But barring childhood (which is another matter altogether) I can’t think of a single time that a woman intentionally did/said something that was meant to be overtly hurtful or threatening.

  124. I was carhopping when I was 15 and had a guy hold his money inside the car so I had to lean in to get it and he was sitting there, exposed. When I was 18, I worked as a dishwasher at a truck stop (the sinks were off to the left of the counter where the customers were served) and the dishes were on shelves on the wall across from that counter. I don’t know how many of the truckers/farmers who came in got pissed at me because I didn’t wear a uniform dress (I wore white uniform pants and top). And they commented about it. Even then, I didn’t take any shit from men, I told them that what kind of underwear I was wearing or what my ass looked like was none of their damned business, I wasn’t there to entertain them, I was there to see that they had clean dishes.
    And I remember the first guy I ever had sex with telling me that I was big enough to drive a semi in there and turn it around. I told him that if he didn’t have such a pencil-dick, it wouldn’t have been a problem for him (yeah, even at 17, I was a mouthy bitch, another epithet I heard a lot, but I don’t see that as always a bad thing).
    I also met one guy when I was online dating who just knew that my fat was going to kill me right away and he knew that if I dated him, he could take charge of my life and make me thin and healthy and fit. Asked him if the letters “F O” meant anything to him, and blocked him from my email and IM.
    When I lived in Spokane (I was 19 at the time), I had a guy follow me for several blocks one night (after dark, I was walking home from the roller rink). He kept asking me if I needed a ride and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I finally made it to my apartment and called the cops, gave them a description of him and his car, but they didn’t find him, or so they said. I wasn’t all that afraid, after all, I had a pair of booted skates slung over my shoulder, and figured they would make a formidable weapon if need be.
    I’ve had boyfriends who, when they didn’t get exactly what they wanted (or when I defended myself from their abuse), told me I was an ugly fat bitch (needless to say, they were out the door that night, if I’m such an ugly fat bitch, you obviously don’t want anything to do with me and apologies won’t change that). Not to mention all the trolls and their hatred/vitriol online.

  125. From what I can remember (I have a shit memory), I’ve received more derogatory comments from women than men, but in my opinion they all come from the same mindset, so I’ll mention them regardless:

    – My babysitter of ten years once said to me (maybe I was 8 or 9, right after I started gaining weight) that I was going to have to wear a tent.

    – A girl on my basketball team referred to me as a horse. I therefore hated her all through high school, and when I re-met her years later because we worked together, I actually became pretty good friends with her, and she insists the event didn’t happen. I may have a shit memory, but that one was definitely not made up.

    – A peer in elementary school called me a cow (I’m from Vermont, so the farm references are never-ending). I don’t even remember in what context, but I do remember he was running away from me and making fun of me because he said I couldn’t catch him.

    – When I was on the (very crowded) T in Boston, a stranger spent a good portion of the ride rubbing his erect self all over my ample backside, and because I was shy and there was nowhere for me to go I just tried to move myself forward slightly so he couldn’t do it. When he was bored with me, he moved a few feet down the train to do the same thing to my best friend. That one moment is the moment I wish I could go back to and turn around and knee him right in his crotch.

    – In the same vain as the previous guy, all the creepy men who have rubbed themselves up against my girlfriends and I at clubs while we were dancing. Um, we’re just dancing; it’s not an invitation for anything other than maybe dancing with us? Not grinding on us?

    – My first boyfriend referred to me as having a buddha belly. He also, right after breaking up (we were still hanging out for some stupid reason), mentioned me as being “pleasantly plump”. Not that these were the most horrible things, but why even mention it? Also, the assmonkey pinned one of my best friends on her couch and tried to kiss her at that same party. A week after we broke up.

    – Also in reference to that boyfriend, when I first started going out with him, this bitchy, skinny, cheerleader girl in my class told me that the only reason he was with me was because she told him no.

    – At my last job, we were ordering shirts for the whole department, and my supervisor quietly asked me if I thought an XL would fit. The thing that shocks me about this to this day is I was hardly the largest person in the department. Also, he later told me–probably to make himself look better–that he was asked to do so by “someone else”.

    – A few weeks ago, at my current job, we were all going out to lunch together, and were getting into my boss’s Escalade. I was getting into the very back seat with my supervisor and another coworker (the CEO’s wife and co-owner of the vehicle we were getting into), and the latter said, “wait, maybe you should…can you fit back here?” I was dumbfounded but sat back there anyway. Also, at that lunch–which was a farewell lunch for a coworker–much of the time was spent lamenting the fact that she was leaving because now all the delivery guys wouldn’t work as hard for us because “Hot Raquel” was leaving. Um, ouch? Clearly they won’t respond to my requests because I am not as attractive as her?

    I hate to mention a lot of this because I feel, in many respects, that I haven’t had it as bad as many of you. But I know that you can’t quantify this kind of experience. Also, as many have said, I’m glad there is a forum for this so that we can see that we are not alone.

  126. Oh! I know what I left out.

    As a middle schooler, I really shouldn’t have had to worry about inappropriate advances from my friends dads. But I did. All the time. Especially one during 8th grade who was freaking ALL OVER ME, touching my legs, flirting, saying inappropriate things all the time, including in front of his step-daughter. Her teenaged brother did the same damn thing.

    But apparently since it didn’t happen in front of other males, shit like that doesn’t happen.

  127. Also, the father of a friend of mine referred to me as “Big Mac-Murtry” when we were ice skating once. I hardly even knew the guy, but if I remember correctly, his daughter was a little chunky as well. I imagine her later weight loss was a result of similar ridicule.

  128. Just a few:

    -A boy in grade school commented leeringly on my “huge breasts”.
    -Boys regularly going around snapping girls’ bras and looking for ways to see up their skirts. Trust me, this isn’t just harmless fun. It’s embarrassing and threatening.
    -In high school a boy who said to me, out of the blue, “I’d like to take you up into the hills and fuck your brains out.” I hadn’t even kissed a boy yet.
    -I got barked at (message: you’re a dog) by a man out the window of a passing car, and my body reacted as if it had been physically assaulted.
    -A boyfriend telling me that I needed to start working out because he wanted me to “look like a model.”
    -I was with a guy once (a friend of a friend getting a ride home) when he told me to quick roll the window down. I was like “what?” so he leaned over me and rolled it down himself, so that he could yell “you look like a whore” at a girl waiting at a bus stop.
    -My dad who angrily told me that if I quit playing sports I was going to get fat.
    -The fellow who advised me that my best plan of action would be to find a rich husband to take care of me.
    -The man who slowed down to check me and a friend out when we were walking in our neighborhood and then circled the block to do it again.

  129. *hands up*

    In high school, on the bus on the way home, a group of boys sitting near me started yelling at me, “hey, look! it’s a bearded lady!” And they kept. On. The bus ride was probably half an hour to 40 minutes long, too. At one point we drove by something that smelled awful, and they yelled, “hey lady with the beard, close your legs!” I think it was around that time I started shaving or waxing every square inch of my body and I haven’t been able to let go of the shame of that bus ride long enough to stop.

    Also on the bus, but this time in middle school: a guy I was somewhat friends with poking a dimple in my thigh and yelling, “cellulite!”

    My dad saying to me when I was about 10, “on you, I can pinch an inch. But on mommy, I can pinch a MILE”. And not meaning it in any sort of endearing way.

    My ex-boyfriend, who I dated for 2.5 years, refusing to have sex with me and alternating between telling me it was because I was too fat and because my zomg scary libido pretty much made me male, so of course that wouldn’t work. Realizing how long I put up with that and even believed it on some level is a semi-constant source of shame for me.

  130. Oh let’s see…

    -I was 11 years old, and I was standing outside a reception hall with my family, when a man (who had obviously been drinking), approached my family and started up a conversation. Soon, he told my father, “Your daughter weighs more than I could ever eat!” My dad said nothing.

    -My dad has also said that no one will ever love me because I’m fat.

    -My favorite (and I think most creative) was in middle school when a boy said to me, “Shouldn’t you belong in salt water?” Oh, I get it, because I’m some kind of whale, right?

  131. Sorry for the triple posting, but the other thing that ALWAYS gets me is that whenever I tell people that I am a massage therapist, the question I eventually get is, “Do you give happy endings?” I once got into a LONG conversation with co-workers where I had to explain WHY I didn’t do it. They’re reasoning was that it’s extra money. My reasoning was that it’s my PROFESSION, and I don’t feel the need to fulfill THAT desire for them just because it may be their fantasy. I have never been asked if I give women happy endings.

    I do get this question primarily from men. Again, it’s THEIR fantasy.

  132. needless to say, they were out the door that night, if I’m such an ugly fat bitch, you obviously don’t want anything to do with me and apologies won’t change that

    You are my hero. Brava.

  133. I am raising my hand and I am pointing at;

    the man who shouted “you are the ugliest bitch I’ve ever seen” every day for 10 months at highschool. until one day he caught me alone and grabbed my breasts and then avoided me. I did nothing and I still feel ashamed writing this out.

    the man who asked me to come home with him as I walked to buy milk on a sunday morning, and who, when I ignored him, followed me shouting, screaming that I was a bitch and an uptight whore, and that I would get what was coming to me. He followed me all the way to the shop. he waited outside and he followed me all the way home.

    the men I meet everyday whilst running who shout and hate. The men I know will be there every single time in some guise or other.

    most most most strongly at that man, a housemate (a friend even) of my sister’s (my 18 year old sister). who came home drunk with his friends one night, and shouted up to her room that they were going to “rape that dyke bitch and show her what she’s missing”.

    and the thing that I hate most about this list is that I know it is not at all remarkable. I bet none of the me I am pointing at now remember one bit of this.


  134. After I went to greet my dad at the site gate, and a bunch of the construction workers wolf-whistled and catcalled, I wasn’t allowed to leave the area right around our trailer.

    Because, of course, it was your fault and those men didn’t need their attitudes about women adjusted.

    Oh, wait. I have that backwards. Sorry

  135. Hand raised. In college, the guys who lived in the apartment above mine would yell insults at me out he window as I walked to class. I’ve been called both a tease and a virgin whore. I’ve been paid by my father to lose weight. In my career, I have had conversations with male superiors in which my words and opinions were totally disregarded, in which I wasn’t even acknolwedged.

  136. The two ex-boyfriends who I thought were still my friends who suddenly stopped the entire roomful of conversation at a party by turning to me and telling me how threatening they found me.

    OMG Twistie, I get this all the time. In the past year, I have had three different men take me aside and tell me that their wives/girlfriends/female friends found me very intimidating. I am fairly opinionated and unafraid to speak up, which I understand some people might consider intimidating. I am also a strong believer that women are stronger working together than fighting each other, so I immediately went out of my way to be kind to the women in question because it upsets me that other women, specifically, would be scared of me.

    In the course of doing so, I became better friends with these women and learned that they had never felt threatened by me. But their husbands/wives/boyfriends had. One woman did admit to worrying that I was going to judge her for dancing in a burlesque troop, but she said she didn’t exactly lose sleep over it.

    Similarly: an old roommate, who I truly believe was dangerous and psychotic, who called me Broadzilla because I was willing to stand up to him (probably not the smartest thing to do, actually, but I was younger and rasher then and it worked out okay in the end). Now I actually kind of love that nickname and think it would make a good fatosphere handle.

  137. Douchehound Richard just can’t get his head out of his ass, y’all. We might have to take up a tip jar for his cephalectomy surgery fund. Despite over 140 comments demonstrating how wrong he is, and despite being banned and publicly mocked, he’s still emailing. Some choice examples of his assholery:

    I simply said I have never heard guys say near as much damaging, mean
    spirited things towards women compared to what women say. Perhaps I
    picked better friends or I hung out with smarter people gifted with
    empathy. I guess being scrawny as a kid made me feel compelled to not
    make fun of others.

    You guys, don’t you feel BAD for Richard? He was scrawny, for god’s sake! You ladies should quit your hysterical yapping and focus your sympathy where it SHOULD go: to men.

    I have a daughter that
    tells me some of the things she hears in the hallways at school and it
    makes my flesh crawl. She told me if a boy had said that he would be
    expelled but with social trends it seems girls are allowed to be more
    expressive. It was the “C” word for crying out loud!

    Well, of course, if one girl once hears another girl say “cunt,” then that negates the decades of harassment that hundreds of women are documenting here.

    And, of course, the coup de grace: you’ll be happy to hear that

    I am not sexist

    Hear that, ladies? He’s not SEXIST or anything. He just doesn’t think that women should be listened to or respected, and that our experience doesn’t “hold[s] up to scrutiny.” But he’s not sexist!

    Learn to feminism, Richard.

  138. hand up. but i can’t write, or post, or even think about it any more. trigger. everywhere.

    BeccaBoo, I wish you had an email address. It’s just high school. You will survive it. It will hurt. But you will come out of it. Ignore anyone who says this is the best time of your life. It’s not. That’s still waiting for you. *hugs*

  139. Yeah, can’t remember a time when I wasn’t getting harassed. The popular game on my kindergarten playground was a play-rape where groups of boys would hold you down and put their hands in your panties. When I was 8 some ass threw porn mags out the window of his car at me and my friend- we were selling girl scout cookies and were in uniform at the time.
    It’s never stopped since.

  140. Richard – Since you are clearly still reading, you obviously haven’t taken in what meg said above…

    “Girls made snide little comments that stung, but when a group of men is bellowing insults at you and gesturing and laughing–feeding off of each others malicious and violent energies–your self-esteem is not the biggest concern; there’s a deeper, more dangerous threat implied.”

    Your daughter is able to tell you that a girl called her or another girl – a cunt. She is probably either incredibly lucky or terrified to tell you about the times she has been threatened with ACTUAL bodily violation by a male.

  141. In eighth grade, I actually went out with a guy who would tell me I was pretty, then follow up by reminding me that all the other boys thought I was ugly as hell. He would even give me their names so I knew who said what. They would say things like, “Why would you go out with Dolly? She’s like the ugliest girl in the entire school.”

    I also had a guy in middle school pinch my ass and then push another guy behind me to make it look like it was him. The other guy was a class “geek” so I guess it was a way of putting us both down.

    Then, of course, there’s the unwanted “attention.” This one time my friend and I were sitting in a mall cafeteria when this guy came up to us and started petting my hair. When we went to the cops, he and his friends started shouting at me that I was a liar, that he’d been in the bathroom up until that point, why would he hit on such an ugly girl like me, etc.

    I also had a time when I worked at a mall, and this guy from the store next door would come in and bug me. He would call our store phone and harass me or he would take merchandise off the shelves and mess with it. One time, when I didn’t notice a jewel was missing on a watch, he laughed at me and said, “You’re such a dumb, ugly cunt.”

    Yeah, I’ve heard some nasty shit from women, but the worst of it, the most embarrassing and degrading, came from men.

  142. The male ‘friend’ who I was admttedly half in love with at the time who would start our every phonecall and IM with “What are you wearing?” and get seriously pissed off sometimes when I refused to have that sort of conversation. I’d known him for over 5 years. We couldn’t have a conversation about, I don’t know, work, people we knew, movies we’d seen, politics, whatever? Nope. He just wanted to talk about sex. Finally I told him I would never have that sort of conversation with him, that sending me text messages asking if I’d blow him if he came over was inappropriate and, uh, no. I also called him a slut because he tried the exact same thing with every female I introduced him to and most of our mutual female friends.

    SLW, I think we knew the same guy.

  143. ::Hands up::

    I’m almost 26, and I still have days where I can hear guys in high school and middle school making fun of my :

    Hair (“Is it wet? Oh, oops, that’s just grease.”)
    Skin (“You forehead is so oily I can see myself”)
    Fingers (“They’re so weird-loking! Eew, it’s scary.”)
    General looks (“Someone got hit by the ugly stick.”)

    As well as the instances where a “popular” guy called e to invite me to a dance so that I would say yes and he and his friends could mock me (I didn’t fall for it, mercifully), and the time when a guy had heard something or other about me, walked up to me, tapped me on the shoulder, and when I turned around, he said, “Ugh!” with such disgust not even worthy of a moldy cheese.

    And people wonder why I reuse to work anywhere other than my woman-run, feminist workplace.

  144. I don’t have enough, you know, hands.

    Basically, the harassment started from within my family and went on from there.

    The worst was always dealt from male hands.

    My girlfriend carries rocks whenever we go for a walk, because inevitably, a carload of guys — college, we live in a college town — drives by and yells nonsense.

    My GF throws rocks at their beautiful SUVs.

    I have so trained myself to believe that it’s a group prank any time a man hits on me — which isn’t often — that when it happens, I freeze in terror. I’m terrified there is a club of guys playing “Dogfight” somewhere waiting to erupt in laughter.

    I’m more frightened of their interest – sexual or verging on sexual — being real, however.

    I won’t give the details, but there was a summer I was teaching children how to swim at the local pool, and a group of guys made it their summer project to torment me about my body. That summer, any pleasure I could ever feel in my own skin with anyone male was strangled by these boys. I was 13 and a nice, happy kid.

    I’m 36 now. Late last year, a guy in his 50s sat down at my table at the local coffeehouse and started talking to me. He was very decent, did nothing inaapropriate… and also very interested. I was cordial. Afterward, at the office, I threw up and spent the rest of the day shaking.

  145. Your daughter is able to tell you that a girl called her or another girl – a cunt. She is probably either incredibly lucky or terrified to tell you about the times she has been threatened with ACTUAL bodily violation by a male.


  146. I have to raise my hand here.

    The very recent ex- boyfriend who applauded my losing weight because according to him, “sex with the lights on was getting disgusting.” Are you kidding me?!

    Another time I was at a party with my ex when some guy told me I had too much ‘junk in my trunk’. When I looked to the ex for support all he had to say was, ‘well you do.’

    After losing a large amount of weight and developing an eating disorder my ex mocked me for losing my ‘tits and ass.’

    There was junior high, when this particular boy (who by now, as sad as it is to think and relish in this fact… 8 years later he is probably still a virgin) followed me around and called me fat ass for the entirety of 8th grade.

    Or a local business owner drinking at the bar I work at with his buddies blatantly asked me if my boobs were real.

    Or the guy who asked me if I wanted to play naked twister with him… I was so baffled I had to ask if he actually ever succeeded with that line.

    There was a customer who was trying to pay a busboy to give him my telephone number, to tell him which car was mine and when I was leaving. I had to have my boss walk me to my car that night.

    There’s so many more, but when I think of how many times another girl has truly offended me, I think it’s maybe once, that’s being generous.

  147. The ex-boyfriend who got the whole school to call me the Felatio-Queen, and me stupid and sad enough at the time to think it was a compliment. Sob

  148. I have so trained myself to believe that it’s a group prank any time a man hits on me — which isn’t often — that when it happens, I freeze in terror. I’m terrified there is a club of guys playing “Dogfight” somewhere waiting to erupt in laughter.

    I feel you. My situation is different then yours, and certainly not as severe, but I have trouble believing anyone is actually interested in me as opposed to being interested in hurting me. Any time a guy talks to me I assume he’s after a friend or making a joke, or somehow just mistaken…and the times when I can’t convince myself of that, I often am left feel very dirty.

    Even reading through this post, as cathartic as it is, has left me feeling all the more certain that I probably won’t get much chance to move past it.

    Just know that you are not alone.

  149. Your daughter is able to tell you that a girl called her or another girl – a cunt. She is probably either incredibly lucky or terrified to tell you about the times she has been threatened with ACTUAL bodily violation by a male.

    Yes. For our male readers (well, all readers but especially men), if you haven’t read Chris Clarke’s “How Not to Be an Asshole: A Guide for Men” (linked twice in the post), please go read it right now. We’ll wait.

  150. Watching men at a party claim they should have fish bowl that all the women had to put their name in. At the end of the party each guy would draw a name and that would be the girl “lucky” enough to fuck him (but I was one of the cool ones so I could stay out of the fish bowl, lucky me)

  151. I have been, recently, since I was riding on the bus been
    – called a fat bitch on the bus, when I told someone I would rather read then talk to him
    -recently, several times, have had men tell “fat ugly bitch” out of car windows at me when I am standing at the bus stop
    -had someone come on to me on the bus by saying I “looked like I would be a good provider???”
    -have had men be very insulted and angry with me when I do not respond to their random come ons that include asking me how old I am (I get that one a lot. I am 35.)

    In my real life,

    – one of my very best male friends in high school refused to sit with me at church because he didn’t want his cooler friends to think we came in together
    -This same friend would hang out with me for hours, talk on the phone, on and on about our deepest secrets and dreams and pleasures. He hated being alone, and I would basically hang out with him until his much more attrative girlfriend would get off of work and they would go be attractive together, but he really didn’t want to be seen in public with me
    -In 9th grade, a male teacher got so angry with me he threw a chair at me
    -a live-in boyfriend broke-up with me saying I was “not cool and would never be cool” and while I was crying and desperately trying to prove my coolness said “And while your at it, you would trim that one nose hair because it is the most repulsive thing I had ever seen.
    -The same guy also told me a story (I was really slender when we dated) of a girl he met at a wedding and was going to have sex with her, but when she removed her controlling undergarment, he was so disgusted that he couldn’t do it. he felt it was false advertising
    – This boyfriend, or one of friends, left a tape of very bad porn on my doorstep after he moved out with ‘For myname XOXOXO” written on it.
    -He was also very religious (Mormon) and talked often, while we were living together in sin, about how he could never love or marry a woman who had sex before marriage.
    -in 6th grade my best male friend nicknamed me Jello because when you pushed the skin on my arm, it jiggled. He also called me “Moo”, although I don’t think that was weight related, but because my real name actually sounded like “Neigh” and he called me “Neigh-Moo” for awhile. This nickname stuck, and people who were in high school WHILE I WAS IN COLLEGE still called me this like it was just a normal nickname
    -This same friend also helpfully pointed out my moustache. I am willing to give him the biggest pass, though because we were in 6th grade, and he was really hyper/had some issues, which I think were later worked out.
    -also in 6th grade, my friend’s dad said I “looked really good in a bathing suit” and should swim there more often (In interest of fairness, her mom looked at me and said to her daughter “when are you going to get boobies”)

    Although I was not fat in high school, I was a “butter face” and mostly called “ugly bitch”, not “fat bitch”. Also, people would yell things like ‘DO you know you are ugly?” out of bus and car windows.

    And I am sure there is more stuff I do not remember

  152. Being called a fat whore and physically pushed in front of the grocery store when a man thought I took “his” parking spot.

  153. I don’t get a lot of deliberately malicious comments from men (or women) because I tend to be invisible. I don’t get a lot of compliments, either. But I sure as hell see men being nasty all the time–commenting on women being too fat, breasts being too saggy (I mean, WTF! Breasts don’t defy gravity without surgical enhancement, which they claim to disapprove of. Get OVER it. I have tiny breasts and they still aren’t vertically symmetrical, thanks to gravity. You cannot escape the laws of physics. They’re just lucky women don’t expect perky testicles or something), clothes being too trashy, etc. And I use to get comments from male friends all the time about how I “should” grow my hair out–which wasn’t intended maliciously, but dammit, my body, my haircut, I like it, STFU I am not public property.

    And I all but stopped wearing skirts in PRESCHOOL because the little 4-year-old boys would flip up my skirt or run under me on the monkeybars to look at my underwear. A little boy down the street scared me into jumping out the window of his treehouse when I was six or so because he kept pulling his pants down (and yes, flashing is aggressive). The boys at camp didn’t mock my appearance, but they SPIT IN MY HAIR and the counsellors said “boys will be boys.” One of my best friends growing up and her sister and I were regularly groped, violently, by her little brother (6 or 7 at the time), because the reaction amused him. His parents did nothing. He punched me in the mouth once (I had braces and it split my lip), and his dad blamed me. He threw a ROCK at my dad, no consequences, because BOYS WILL DAMN WELL BE BOYS.

    And yeah, NOW I don’t get harassed on the street or insulted by strangers–because I’m invisible or project an air of hostility, take your pick. But that doesn’t make up for the fact that boys did their best to make my life a living hell for no damn reason until I was 12 or so, and probably would have done so through high school if I hadn’t gone to an all-girls Catholic HS (which, while not perfect by a long shot, wasn’t catty and backstabbing, but generally supportive and a safe environment to be a girl…albeit not a queer one). That doesn’t change the fact that boys are taught young that there are no consequences for sexually intimidating and harassing girls and women (babysitting little boys = also fending off groping hands, hooray). It doesn’t change the fact that many men believe women’s body’s are public properties to critique, that they have the god-given right to tell us how to dress, how to wear our hair, that we should lose weight or gain weight or get implants for their goddamn viewing pleasure.

    …okay, clearly I’m a little angry about this..

  154. I’ll put up 2 hands….my brother consistently pointed out that i had a big ass and i was fat, not to mention that i had facial hair. my father made little side jokes about my being fat, i remember one in specific about elastic waist bands. i refused to wear my favorite shirt from sea world with whales on it because i knew i would be called a whale at school. i’ve been told many, many times i could not do something because i was a “girl.” i had a college professor comment, when standing n a group of girls, oh “such and such singer” is pregnant, i guess that means no more sexy middrift. when i moved to pgh, pa, which i believe is one of the most sexist places in the world, i was antagonized by co-workers about my size, specifically, my “cottage cheese ass” and my “jugs.” Don’t get me started on all the anti-feminism problems that existed at that place. Not to mention many guys in this town believe the way to hit on a girl is to ridicule them and point out anything that makes them less than fuckable. (wow, sometimes, i really hate this town) anyway, yeah, sexism exists in a huge way.

  155. oh and PS. all the guys that think i’m going to immediately fuck them because i’m fat, because i apparently will take the chance to get laid whenever i get the chance. and a big fuck you very much to them.

  156. Oh, yeah–and there was a guy in chem lab my freshman year of college who kept “hitting on me” solely to watch my discomfort. I don’t think he had any actual interest in me, and god knows I had none in him. I should have dropped acid on his foot when he put his arms around me from behind in lab. Yuck.

    I vaguely recall my girlfriend at the time hitting him with her pride rings, and I am ashamed that I didn’t tell him to fuck off myself. Now I would–and I suppose guys like that sense it and don’t harass me because I don’t look “fun” enough.

  157. Ah, I do remember ONE comment from a woman who I had a huge crush on back in 1991-92. She said to me-and I quote-“I’d love to go out with you, but I’m afraid I’d get fat.” What was really funny about that-and not funny haha, but funny strange-is that this woman went off to Navy boot camp about a month after she said that to me. She was with a cute little (THIN) girl, but when she came back from boot camp, the woman who said that to me was fatter than I was.
    It’s amazing how ignorant even some WOMEN can be. But-yeah, the men are WORSE.

  158. Couple thoughts that just hit me…

    Even my dad, who never really gave (or gives, for that matter) me shit about my looks and such, once bought me the most HORRIBLE skirt and sweater set in Pepto pink, because he was convinced no dude would ever be interested if I kept wearing nothing but jeans and flannel. We argued about it for a week before he finally let me return the outfit, after I promised to buy a replacement that included a skirt and wasn’t black (it was black and red!).

    Also, I was just thinking of the all the bazillions of “journalists” and bloggers complaining about women’s bodies….you know, the ones upset about smooshed swimmers’ boobies and appalled at the Dove girls in their underwear right out there for everyone to see in plain daylight. I imagine there’s plenty of that body-bashing bullshit out there, if Richard wants to see it, er, from the douchehound’s mouth, so to speak.

  159. Another thing that occurred to me (damn this blog, making me think) — and I apologize in advance if I’m not getting into the proper spirit of this thing — even if it was true that ALL WOMEN make catty remarks about other womens’ appearance (see my earlier comment about why that’s a load of shit), what does that have to do with whether feminism is a legitimate movement or not?

    Does it logically follow that because I am judgmental about someone’s appearance, I should be banned from voting? If I don’t like Nancy Pelosi’s face lift, does that mean that I should get less pay than my male colleagues? If I find my sister’s breast augmentation alarming, does that mean I have to endure uninvited sexual advances from men with a demure smile and thank-you?


  160. ***Raised Hand***

    When walking home from GRADE SCHOOL (ie. I was not even 12 years old) a High School boy blocked my path and asked if he could have “some milk from those titties”. I was a C cup by third grade.

  161. Oh my God, Andrea, i am SO SORRY. That is an amazingly shitty experience.

    Meg, Vesta (well everybody, I guess) – here’s a question – is it *always* intended as a threat when a guy exposes himself? I mean, it’s always inappropriate to pull it out in public. But so often it’s backed with a really creepy undertone of violence/power play. Do you think men who do that really see their dicks as weapons and their sexuality as attacks?

    When I was 13 or 14 I was walking home from a middle school dance with two friends and some dude out on his stoop with his dick in his hands called to us to get our attention…we just laughed at him and ran away but in light of other, later experiences, I always wonder if he realized that most women would find it creepy and threatening.

    Other dickwavers I’ve met have clearly intended to be disgusting and, several of them (jeezus, how many strange dicks am I going to have thrust into my attention in my life?) threatening. What the hell has to be wrong with your self-image that you intentionally invite horror at the sight of your own genitals?

    (I’m not going to list the number of men and boys who have felt the need to follow me and comment on the size of my ass, starting with a startlingly clear memory from 9th grade, but I will say that the last crew was half my age and I shamed them harsh enough I have some hope that they will not do that again, for fear of a grown woman turning on them and threatening to follow them home and talk to their mothers – the drive-by assholes are brave because they’re in their cars, boys on foot are at less of an advantage.)

  162. You cannot escape the laws of physics. They’re just lucky women don’t expect perky testicles or something

    Okay, this is the only thing on this thread that’s actually made me LOL. Except for Richard claiming not to be sexist, of course.

  163. I find it odd that there seems to be a assumption (on the part of that guy, and others) that women are catty and nastier to each other than men are to women. I’ve certainly never seen that to be the case, personally. Its usually men who feel compelled to say things.

    My own experience – there are really too many to mention – but some highlights – There have been several instances where men who didn’t know me approached me in public and told me I’d be pretty if I: lost weight, smiled, changed my hair, wore different clothes, makeup etc. What I’ve always wanted to say in response is, “you’d be a real nice guy if you weren’t such an asshole”. However the possibility of how the man in question would react if I actually said something like that has made me think twice about it.

    I was once followed by two creeps in a pickup truck while I was out jogging, with them yelling and whistling and saying nasty things about my ass, out the window. [oddly enough no one has ever said nasty stuff to me at the gym – I only got it when I was out in public exercising. That wasn’t the only instance, just the most threatening and scariest]

    When I was in elementary school I went through puberty early, and got giant hips. For which I was teased mercilessly for being fat, even though my hip bones stuck out so far you can see it through my clothes, and I was actually underweight according to the charts (courtesy of my growth spurt). There was one boy in particular who was particularly nasty.

    Since I am fairly pear shaped and am pretty well endowed in the butt department I get a lot of comments about my ass.

  164. My male gym teacher in elementary school mocked me every day about being fat. If I was bent over tying my shoe or doing some sort of bullshit “exercise”, he’d crow “it (my ass) is bigger than the Empire State Building!” I complained, in tears, to my teachers and nothing was ever done.

    My entire homeroom in my freshman year of high school decided that I sucked. Tacks would be left on my chair, signs would be stuck to my back, and one guy said, “if I looked like you, I’d kill myself”. Thankfully, I discovered the school’s radio station and theater program and was free from that congregation of shitbags starting sophomore year.

    I was walking to my car after work and another car was pulling out of the lot and it was filled with young late-teen/early 20’s boys, who started cackling and howling at the sight of me. What made it worse was that a co-worker (a woman) was sitting in the front seat and all she could muster up was a weak “Shut up, you guys.”

    I was DJ’ing a little dance for Jobe’s Daughters (though I never was one myself) and a guy asked me to dance. I quickly realized that a group of his friends were giggling and I asked him if they had paid him to dance with me and he admitted that they, indeed, had.

    Anytime I cut my hair short, my father reminds me I should wear earrings so I don’t look like a man. Another time, he was talking about Dawn French (who has a body similar to mine) and he said that she’d be pretty if she’d just lose weight.

  165. In my experience, women can be nasty or clueless, but men have an enthusiastic, no-holds-barred physicality to their nastiness that women don’t seem to match.

    I won’t bother with enumerating all the insults and beatings at school that went on and on and on and on. Nor do I want to catalog the vicious insults guys have hollered out of cars, on the street, or used in discussions instead of real arguments.

    But getting hit in the back of the head with a rock thrown by a random guy after he’d unloaded an insult or two? Man, that hurt. Glad I wasn’t knocked out to discover what would happen next although it was touch and go for a few seconds, there.

    Another one that stands out in memory is the weird little dude who cornered me and said he had an herbal treatment that would thin me out, even as his wandering hands made clear the repayment he expected. Ugh, slimy.

    I don’t think I’ve been left so much fearful as pissed although low-grade anger’s no fun, either. And I do wish these guys would stop making me happy, for the wrong reasons, that I’m gay. I shouldn’t be thinking it’s nice to go home and have a vacation from the male half of the species, but sometimes I do.

  166. Richard, all I ask is that the day your daughter comes to you and tells you a story like the hundreds you’ve read here, listen to her and believe her. She is telling you the truth and coming to you for help. Nothing could be more wounding than if you respond to her as you’ve responded to us, by saying that YOU’VE never witnessed such a thing, therefore implying that it either didn’t happen or was unimportant.

    Your behavior toward us doesn’t matter. But by-god don’t let your daughter down.

  167. *hand up*

    The boy who sat behind me in English class in 10th grade and kept shoving pencils under my ass and then he and his friends would all laugh. I was too mortified to tell on them.

  168. I have never had a woman bark, moo, yell at me from passing cars, or throw crap at me from a moving vehicle.

    Men have.

    Furthermore, while women have occasionally called me inappropriate pet names (dear, honey, baby), so have men. Men then upped the ante by indulging in inappropriate touch (“drive by groping”, we call it). Women have not.

  169. I should add: I have never made a catty remark to another woman about her. I admit that I have made catty remarks about people I see on tv or on movies – but it’s usually more about the roles they’re in (the characters) than the actresses/actors.

  170. I don’t even know where to begin. So … rather than attempt to describe the insults, obscenities, and threats I’ve been subjected to by men and boys over the years … I’ll say this:

    Yes, I have been insulted by other women, and sometimes grieviously. I have never, however, had a woman threaten me with violence or hurt me physically. I cannot say the same of men.

  171. Holy shit have I ever been picked on. Random sampling:

    -Repeatedly harrassed by a group of boys in Jr. High who followed me around at a school dance, called me bitch, fat bitch, stupid bitch, ugly bitch, bitch-bitch-be-yotch — and then I got phased into the smart kid classes and never saw them again.
    – Walking with my male roomate and three other male friends late at night, had a man lean out a car window and scream “WHORE!” at me (especially confusing as I was wearing my oh-so-enticing… blue jeans and baggy sweatshirt)
    – Out for a bikeride, a group of random douchebags mooed at me.
    – Out for another bikeride, a car full of teenage boys honked at me, flipped me off, did a Uturn to come back again, honking and flipping me off (ladies and gentlemen, that’s commitment to douchebaggery)

    And it’s not just happening to me. My (female) roommate and I were out for a walk one day, and a guy said to her, “Hey, how’s my ass look from here? Because yours looks pretty good from here,” and she muttered to me “Take me now, stud.”

    And let’s not forget the time my mother and a bunch of other women at my former church sent a letter of protest to the bishop concerning the unfair firing of the youth director, and the bishop sent her a letter back basically saying, “There there, this is a complicated church matter and it’s not a woman’s place to interfer.” My mother sent copies of this letter to every other woman who volunteered time for the congregation, and they all resigned. No sunday school that year.

    Oh, it happens.

  172. This thread has made me remember that one of the “Bigote” guys from Spanish class used to sit behind me and touch my hips when the teacher wasn’t looking. He was about twice as big as I was, and our teacher was an idiot, so I never said anything — just squirmed. Damn, I had managed to completely block that out.

  173. This: If I had enough hands to raise for all the times I’ve been called names by men, I’d be Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Destruction.

    And this: Wow, the more I read the more fucked up shit I remember.

    Me, too. I don’t even want to get into the actual sexual assaults (yep, more than one), but my list just keeps growing…

    The co-worker who wouldn’t stop talking about picking up hookers on his vacation. The boss who hired me for my tits. The guy I lived with who made fun of me for wearing a dress to a club. The high-school counselors who rearranged my schedule because — I should be a teacher. Girls can’t be designers.

    My grandfather, who refused to acknowledge or attend any of the celebration of my college graduation even though I was the first one in the extended family to get a college degree…because girls don’t count.

    The drunk attorney who called me a c*** because I politely asked him to stop stomping on my feet.

    I could go on, but I’m feeling kind of barfy now. :-(

  174. Hands up! When I was a kid and had to stand up on the bus (city bus) because it was so crowded, I was groped or rubbed up against more than once. Cat calls from construction workers used to scare the shit out of me – especially when it was of the “We’re gonna come out there and fuck you,” variety. Having spent my childhood being raped by my father the idea of being gang-raped by a bunch of men scared me even more than it would have otherwise. My father always telling me that “Women are only good for one thing.” When I was an adult and working, having male co-workers or bosses “accidentally” brush my butt or boobs. Not to mention the asshole boss who (after sexual harassment laws) asked me if I wanted to fuck, “Oh, it has nothing to do with your job…” Except when I turned him down I got treated like shit in my job.

    I’m not even going into my ex-husband or boyfriends obnoxious remarks (things they would never have said to a guy).

    Anyway, hugs to all! And for those of us who feel ashamed when we didn’t fight back…we are programmed by society to put up with this shit. Not to mention that the men doing this shit are usually much bigger or stronger than we are and this shit sometimes escalates into violence if you turn it back on them.

  175. I think we’ve commented before on the weirdness of that moment when you reject a strange man who’s propositioned you and suddenly you become the biggest fat bitch. WTF, anyway? Either I’m that good or I’m that bad, which is it?

    Anyway, I’m raising my hands very, very high and waving them to be included on this list. And I’m going to toss in a few examples, too. I agree with some other writers that maybe it’s the element of personal harm when men say things that make it more… serious? I guess. A woman I can disregard, because ultimately she’s going to have to be armed if she wants to rape me.

    Disregarding the myriad “fat” comments, because I’ve pretty much been fat all my life, and the crap from that is never ending, there are these:
    – when I was in school and I changed the style of my damned glasses from tortoiseshell aviators with tinting to bigger lenses and a more open frame and a male acquaintance said, “Now that’s the kind of feminine look a guy can get behind… if ya know what I mean.” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
    – when I worked at a radio station and got propositioned by a famous Southern rock star and I turned him down and he promptly tried to get me fired.
    – when I was at a bar with friends and a guy sat down next to me and started groping me… aggressively. I told him repeatedly to stop and he refused. When he put his hand between my legs for the second time I reached down and grabbed his pinky finger and told him to take his hands off me or I’d break his finger. He didn’t. You should have heard the words he called me as his friends took him away to the hospital to have his finger set.
    – another time (different night, same bar) where a guy sat down and propositioned me. After several no responses from me and more aggressive filthy, suggestive language from him, I picked up a beer bottle and hit him in the face with it, breaking his nose. Once again, quite a change in the tune of his comments after that.
    – having (male) friends of a friend give me two lewd cards, one with a naked man and the other a naked woman, because I was “pretty old, and never give an indication which way you swing.”

    Hugs to everyone using this thread to let some of us share the burden of these stories with you.

  176. I was 17 and working at a car dealership…my manager came up to me and asked if I was wearing underwear under my clothes. That’s just the first example that felt really traumatic.

    I’ve had friends who were stalked (although that does happen occassionally with female partners, as well). And every time there is a murder suicide of two people in a relationship (and sometimes their children), you can guarantee that there was verbal and physical abuse happening regularly.

  177. Richard might also want to consider that if ‘cunt’ is the worst insult his daughter’s friends can come up with, that doesn’t exactly speak to the non-existence of sexism.

    That girls are sometimes cruel to each other doesn’t mean sexism doesn’t exist. It often means internalized sexism does. In my case, I did get teased a lot by girls, *always* about why I wouldn’t be able to get a boyfriend, ’cause that’s the worst thing that can happen to you, I guess. Same shit, people, same shit.

  178. While I’m not keeping a scorecard, it seems that every single regular and even irregular female commenter on Shapely Prose has posted a story or two of harrassment at the hands and voice of men.

    What’s become clear to me: it’s that EVERY LAST ONE OF US has an incident to report, and probably not one that she had to think about to recall.

    ALL OF US.

    It’s not that it’s not happening. It’s that the douchehounds aren’t looking or listening.

    (And if there are any guys still reading this thread, maybe this might explain a little bit about the women you meet.)

  179. Oh, and I’d pushed it out of my memory – there was the phone call at home, when I was about 14, from a guy who claimed to be doing a marketing survey about products for teen girls, and who asked about 3 minutes’ worth of fairly innocuous questions, then asked about how much body hair I thought I had relative to other girls of my age, and then asked if I would feel comfortable taking my clothes off for the next part of the questions. I stuttered out a no, completely upset, and he hung up.

  180. I have so trained myself to believe that it’s a group prank any time a man hits on me — which isn’t often — that when it happens, I freeze in terror. I’m terrified there is a club of guys playing “Dogfight” somewhere waiting to erupt in laughter.

    I’m more frightened of their interest – sexual or verging on sexual — being real, however.

    It isn’t as strong for me as you describe, but yes. This.

  181. Richard might also want to consider that if ‘cunt’ is the worst insult his daughter’s friends can come up with, that doesn’t exactly speak to the non-existence of sexism.

    Excellent point.

  182. ” “Your daughter is able to tell you that a girl called her or another girl – a cunt. She is probably either incredibly lucky or terrified to tell you about the times she has been threatened with ACTUAL bodily violation by a male.”


    Or worse, having the threat acted upon.

    Six men from the time I was 15-19 made it their business to be up in mine (when I didn’t want it). And yeah, I don’t mean they just asked me out when I wasn’t interested. And when I was 23 I was beaten, raped, and abused daily, for three months straight, by a fucktard who squashed my brain into ground beef because he was a male genius mathematician and I better worship his superior ass.

    No woman has ever done anything like that to me. Except, I have to say, a few of them made me feel like everything that happened to me was all my fault. But for the most part my Aspie brain shut out that stuff and just reinforced the behavior which made me so easily manipulatable.

    Richard, we are *not* trying to say there aren’t female jerks, abusers, etc out there. And maybe you hung out with a particularly large concentration of them. But, like I quoted above, while those (probably low self-esteemed and in the midst of being harmed themselves — there’s a reason why teenage girls lash out, yanno) girls call your daughter the c- word, there are boys who are putting other girls into very real states of physical terror.

  183. **raises hand**

    You know the “women do it to themselves” argument is just a veiled version of the “women are asking for it” argument regarding rape.

    Which is basically saying, we deserve to be unequal, underpaid, violated, harassed and beaten for no other reason than because we’re women.

    Because in the end, it’s male entitlement to our bodies, our power, our rights that is at the heart of every anti-feminist argument.

    My entire life men–all types of men; gay men, drag queens, close friends, total strangers, nice guys, assholes–have felt they have a right to touch my breasts anytime they want to.

    I have very large breasts and I have the type of personality that I’m open and frank about my sexuality. Being a confident, sexual, big breasted woman makes ALL MEN think they have a right to touch me without asking. Its one part curiosity (even gay men seem to have a boob fascination) and one part dominance (they touch because they can).

    Ever since sixth grade, when I was the first girl to develop breasts and the boys would find excuses to grab my boobs, men have believed they are entitled and taken a squeeze.

    Most of the time its jokingly, not malicious–but the point is they believe they are entitled.

    And that doesn’t even count the things that have been said.

  184. It’s not that it’s not happening. It’s that the douchehounds aren’t looking or listening.

    I wish this were true, but in fact, I think they *are* looking and listening. How else do they learn?

  185. The worst sexism I ever experienced was in church, actually. I sat through a forty minute sermon of which the upshot was “if your wife’s unhappy, buy her a frock…” Cuz, you know, nothing will soothe any woman’s mood like clothing. It isn’t important to, I don’t know, listen to her or anything.

    And I sat through bible studies in which I would make a point and have every single male in the room literally turn their faces from me and ignore me, because women aren’t supposed to teach men.

    And I had one of my closest friends, a young man I was desperately in love with at the time, tell me that I was threatening and should have less to say.

    Oh, they didn’t call me names or grope me, nice religious boys that they were. But they believed from the bottom of their hearts that the only appropriate place for me and my entire gender was subservient to them. And yes, all the girls went along with it, because we were part of a culture which said our highest goal was marriage, and no one was going to date us, let alone marry us, if we had too many ideas and said them out loud too many times. I, certainly, was a case in point.

    The thing is, Richard, you can tell yourself that it’s all the faul of teh womenz if it makes you feel better. But the misogyny of women didn’t appear in a vacuum. We’d have no reason to be misogynistic if it didn’t appeal to the dominant culture. But we get points for it, you see. Men like you really love it when women agree with you that women are so terribly catty and much worse towards each other than men are towards them.

    The funny thing is, people in the west get terribly indignant about the fact that, in Muslim countries, a woman’s word is worth very little in court, and yet we see a consistent pattern, even from the allegedly concerned, which says that our word doesn’t count, that what we say happened to us can’t really have happened that way.

    Unfortunately, it is very, very difficult for men to relate to the experiences of women. Not to say they can’t or never do, but they don’t do it automatically. It has to be learnt. So when a man reads or hears a story in which the men are the villains, he does not immediately empathise with the experience of the woman in the story – the only subjectivity he can project himself into with ease is the subjectivity of the men. And then he thinks, well, I would never do that, so it can’t possibly have happened that way. And if it can’t possibly have happened that way, the woman must be lying or hysterical or crazy or vindictive, something, as long as it doesn’t mean that the only person in the story he can actually relate to is simply a fucking asshole. And yet, all he has to do is have enough imagination and empathy to understand what it would be like to be on the receiving end of such treatment, and suddenly it all makes sense. But the world becomes scarier.

  186. I don’t find this thread depressing. I find it infuriating. I am so pissed off right now that I want to go out and beat everyone to death with a baseball bat.

    I can’t even begin to list the harassment and horrible comments I’ve received, since grade school. Add to that the male “friends” who tell me to get over it, brush it off, it can’t be that bad – or that it’s well-intentioned, or complimentary. TF? (And these are the same guys who sit around at bars commenting that movie stars’ asses are too big, or their boobs aren’t big enough. They mercilessly critique women who are beautiful for a living, then tell me I am paranoid about my looks.)

    In the meantime I would never, ever go out alone to a bar or club, and I have to leave when my male friends leave, whether I want to go home or not. I would never walk my dog after dark, and hesitate to in broad daylight. I also won’t wear my long hair down in public because it somehow incites random strange men to shout things at me. My breasts are apparently communal property, and one of the VPs at work thinks I talk from them. (at least by the way he stares intently, I suppose that’s what he thinks. No one says anything, because they don’t want to embarrass HIM.)

    I get hit on by guys in the most crude and disgusting ways, and of course if I turn down their advances I told that I am a fat ugly cow.

    It all lends itself to a pervasive atmosphere of potential sexual violence. It makes me not want to be part of the world. It makes me hate and distrust men, and feel betrayed by the ones I do befriend who don’t get it.

    OK, now I am a little depressed, too.

  187. *puts up hand*

    I know I’ve had this kind of shit happen to me, but I couldn’t think of anything specific (not the memories you want to hang on to, y’know?) until I read through the comments. So here’s just one:

    When my husband and I were moving this weekend, two different guys leered at me and offered to help me carry things in — one at the old house and one at the new apartment.

  188. I’ve heard all the usuals. Plus this summer my ex-boyfriend choked me and would have kept choking me if my iced-coffee hadn’t met the side of his face which allowed me to run away. Bonus: Fearful that I would have him arrested, he called the cops first and claimed that he had “restrained me with necessary force” while I was on his property (except that um, “his” “property” was an apartment that I was still paying rent on, and I wasn’t doing anything necessitating force besides just standing there). So that was pretty awesome–being assaulted and then blamed for it by both my assailant and the police, all within the same half-hour.

    Yes, sometimes men really scare me.

  189. SW, I apologize. Is asshat better? Or I’ll just leave it up to everyone’s imagination, because frankly I can’t think of a proper adjective to describe that person.

  190. Oh, and another one! I had a series of feminine internet nicks for a long time, which I picked because I was sick of people assuming I was male. I finally went back to one that’s not gender-specific because I was sick of getting hit on and/or the online version of catcalls.

  191. *raises hand*

    The “friend” of my husband who, on being introduced to me, looked me over and said, “I’d call you the little woman, but I don’t want you to throw me out of that window.” (I should have done it. Luckily the friendship didn’t last.)

    The boyfriend who told me “I love fat girls…because they’re so desperate.” He later date-raped me because I wasn’t desperate enough to put out for him as a thank you for the coffee and donut he bought me.

    The former boss and former coworkers (all male) who constantly made insulting remarks about my weight and my supposed obsession with food within my earshot, and who actually spied on me while I was in the break room and reported to one another on exactly what they saw me eat.

    The uncounted number of young men who have shouted insults at me from passing cars, from sidewalks on the other side of the street, from businesses I was walking past.

    I could go on; I won’t. Point made, hand raised.

  192. I can’t contribute a personal story to this thread because I am really really trying not to cry or rage right now.

    This reminds me of the thread at LGM where Scott suggested that perhaps there didn’t need to be police officers posted in bathrooms at the Minneapolis airport because solicitation for consensual sex is not such a serious crime and dudes railed about the indignity of being *touched* (on the foot) by or hit on by another dude and when women responded that we experience this regularly (if not daily) the dudes simply responded–I don’t believe you. And I’m sure this entire thread will not convince the douchehound because he will see it when it believes it. And he seems very set in what he believes.

    I think the point that women’s experiences of harassment are often qualitatively different because of the implied threat is so so important. I have never been raped or assaulted by a woman. I’ve had my feelings hurt but I would take that any day. So many of these stories involve wielding power in some way or another; whether belittling our bodies or sexualizing them we are made to be objects for others. Either we are not sexually desirable and worthless or we are sexually desired and thus worthwhile only as holes. Hence why “cunt” is the ultimate insult. So many of these stories are about power–wielding authority and power over others, putting women in their places, etc. This thread is such a horrible reminder of what a normal experience this is for women.

  193. Holy crap, Car. I’ve been reading this thread and thought the experiences I’d had were pretty mild compared to many of the heartbreaking stories so many have posted. But you just reminded me of a guy who came to my front door when I was eleven years old selling magazine subscriptions … we talked for a while (my Mom was upstairs sleeping) and then he leaned over and kissed me. There were about 3 years of an occasional prank call from him after that. Wow. I had totally blocked that shit out. I remember being afraid to tell my Mom (and never did, and have never told anyone until now. Weird.), because I thought I would get blamed for being stupid enough to talk to him in the first place.

    So many of these things unavoidably happen to girls while we are too young to even recognize them as anything other than a creepy feeling that something is not quite cool, or that our feelings are obviously really hurt and that we somehow are responsible. How do we educate our very young daughters, nieces etc that the kind of situations being discussed here aren’t their fault and that they needn’t take on the shame or blame?

  194. P.S. By talking about *young* girls in my previous comment, I by no means wish to diminish or marginalize anyone’s experience who was harassed or abused as an adolescent or adult … please excuse my poor choice of words or ability to make a coherent point. *slinks away*

  195. I’m trying to remember if a woman has EVER made a snide comment about my looks within my range of hearing. Not since we were nine or ten, I think – which made them girls, not women.

    Men, meanwhile, seem to have no problem whatsoever informing me that my skirt is too long or my boobs are too small or I should “just smile more.” And they never have. Because my body, as we all know, is a product intended to please men, and it is therefore their sacred duty to inform me when I am Doing It Wrong.

    *raises both hands*
    *and a foot*

  196. This thread is overwhelmingly sad.

    But you make such a good point — men DON’T understand it, to the point of dismissing stories and experiences outright.

    I have a couple of triggering memories. Several years ago I was walking down the street when, from a block away, some jerk at a party started shouting threatening insults at me for being fat. Then he saw a black man walking and got even more threatening with him. I now don’t go out walking without a knife of some kind, and on more than one occasion I’ve taken it out of my pocket because I felt threatened. (Guys hiding in bushes, behind phone booths, hunkered down in their cars, etc. I just wonder about the guys I DON’T see.)

    Unfortunately new people moved into my neighborhood, very stereotypical white male wingnuts. The other day these wingnuts loudly stood in the middle of the street drinking beer and calling me fat and ugly in a stage whisper. When I looked right at them, they acted like they hadn’t said anything. These are not 12 year olds, they are in their 30s.

    My obgyn retired, so I went to a new one a couple weeks ago. She was so psycho that a friend said my recollection of the appointment sounded like a Mad TV skit. She refused to treat me because of my weight, actually said no doctor would ever treat me. Even after I told her what my retired obgyn was doing to diagnose my problem, she refused treatment. She’s fat, too, and interrupted me constantly to talk about her own self-image issues (although I don’t think she realized that’s what she was doing). After a full-on argument she begrudgingly ordered an ultrasound, which proved that my weight isn’t the problem, it’s a huge endometrial polyp. I’m pretty sure she’ll tell me that I got the polyp because I’m fat.

  197. A story of a different nature:

    I used to work for a tiny web-hosting company. At least I *thought* it was web-hosting that paid my salary. After a year, I found out that the web-hosting business was a front, and that all the money was actually made by the OTHER business – a forum for men to discuss where/how to pick up hookers in Thailand, comparing “services” and even the hookers themselves, and publishing low-cost porn. The man running this company didn’t feel it was necessary to tell the three women working for him (at the web-host) about that part of it. The guys who worked for him, of course, were given free subscriptions. It was all about objectifying the Asian women; the three women who worked for him only were there to “legitimize” his false business.

    The man who ran the company never said sexist word one, but actions speak a hell of a lot louder than words.

  198. Hands up, feet up, toes up, etc.
    No woman has ever made a troublesome comment about my looks, but men? Oh yeah!

  199. *raises both hands as high as she can…and one foot.*

    When I was in elementary/middle/high school, the majority of my bullies were guys, and most of the insults had to do with my appearance. I would share some stories, but I’m in no mood to bring up that awful period in my life. I didn’t know what it was like to have a guy treat me like a human being until I went to college. (You should’ve seen me the first time a guy opened a door for me, I freaked out!) I’ve had guys treat me like dirt for the majority of my life, and it sucks. Fortunately, I’ve made some great guy friends in college and grad school, which has been a source of healing for me.

  200. Sweet Machine, just fyi, I checked out the Shakespearean insult generator and the fifth or so that came up was “you’re as fat as butter”. The others were amusing and a few would be useful, I just wanted people to know that there are some potentially personally hurtful ones as well.

  201. Lots of comments about my breasts (particularly disbelief that I was wearing a bra, since apparently they were hanging too low?)

    Lots of inappropriate teasing and flirting by older men in power situations (e.g., the dad I used to babysit for, while he was driving me home, would basically always suggest that we go someplace and make out. “Jokingly.” Right.) My former boss did this pretty frequently, and I know I wasn’t the only girl in the workplace who was on the receiving end of it.

    In high school I got nicknamed “Herpnuts” because I had a boyfriend? Or something? I also got “Trout” after the name of a musical piece I had been assigned to play.

    Today I work in an environment with mostly women, and am happy to say not one of them has sexually harassed me or given me a cruel nickname. I do get the occasional catcall or inappropriately familiar greeting at the bus stop, but that’s about it. So I consider myself relatively lucky after reading all these.

    *hugs you all*

  202. This is breaking my heart, and yeah, making me angrier than angry.

    Similar things, the details seem unimportant at this point. I got voted best Tittie Hard On by the group of boys my junior year of high school who took it upon themselves to rank the girls. Oh, and one of my girl “friends” got angry at ME for being on the list, because apparently it was such a great honor to – I dunno – be on that list or something. It was worse being on the list, though, than having her mad at me for it.

    My breasts got talked about a lot. I didn’t have a boyfriend until my senior year, a 21 year old, so I have never dated a teenage boy (go me!), but my breasts were big, so clearly I was a slut. I had no idea, but apparently several members of the volleyball team had felt me up at one point. And two boys used to amuse themselves during English class throwing bits of paper down my cleavage. Apparently I sucked one of those guys off, as well. Don’t remember that, either, but everyone else knew about it. *eyeroll*

    I get yelled at a lot when I’m walking around, a bike messenger yelled “nice hooters” at me last summer and almost got hit by a taxi, so that was funny. I hate the summer so much. Stupid fucking hot weather, tank tops and ogling assholes.

  203. *delurks and raises hands*

    This thread is so sad, I just want to hug you all. Serious asshattery abounds, and I literally yelled in exasperation at my computer screen at Richard’s willful obtuseness.

    On a different tack, but one that feeds into the “women as chattel” meme, a co-worker today had a sheet of little tags advertising a financial company. The ad said “what are you saving for?” and each of the tags had something large and significant that typically people save up for (house, car, education, etc). I’m sitting at a computer in a common area when out of the blue he walks up to me and passes me the tag that reads “a new bambino” and says “Here, this is for you.” Total WTF?! moment. I sputtered a “What?!” as he walked off. He’s made sexist comments before, and simply does not listen to anyone, and in particular women (or at least me, because I’m not willing to put up with his nonsense), so I’m reluctant to waste my blood pressure on getting through to him. But hey thanks for reminding me that no matter what I accomplish (my MSc defence is in less than a week! :) ) it’s aaaaaaaaaall about the babies I don’t want but am expected to have!

  204. Lucizoe,
    I was the school slut, too. Unbeknownst to me I had fucked the entire football team, sucked off teachers and let anyone who wanted to feel me up.

    Fucking assholes.

  205. *Hand up*

    I was at an all-girls secondary school, so for the most part I managed to avoid it there, though there were still occasions on the way to and from school. I fondly remember the two boys who approached me, a complete stranger, to say they had seen my film and wanted my autograph. I asked what film; they said “Shrek”.

    Here’s my favourite, which wasn’t a comment but really shook me all the same. One time I was riding the bus home, gazing out of the window and lost in thought, the way I usually am (thanks to motion sickness, which then triggers migraines, I can’t read on the bus), when movement from inside someone’s window caught my attention. There were three guys in there, staring at me intently, pulling hideous faces and making rude gestures. I pretended not to notice them, but it made me really uncomfortable and I spent the rest of the bus ride looking steadfastly down at my hands. It made me wonder if they just wait for buses to go past and do it to everyone, or whether I was special.

    There’s more than that – the fake-asking-out, guys in cars screaming at me as they go past, customers in the bar where I used to work commenting on my big arse, etc – and judging by these comments, I’ve been lucky.

    So basically, fuck you, Little Dickie, and stop sullying the name Richard for decent guys.

  206. Lovely Lentilla raises a hand.

    I haven’t had that much harassment about being fat. But the little I have had has come from men. Who don’t know me. Who think that it is okay to comment on a complete stranger’s appearance.

    However, I’ve never been sexually harassed by a woman, or had sexual viciousness hurled at me from a car by a woman, or raped by a woman.

    What kind of idiot is this latest concern troll?

  207. Too many to mention. It becomes part of your psyche: you notice it, of course, but after a while it becomes expected and you start to try to steel yourself against it. You can’t of course. Not really. But you’re right, guys don’t pull that shit in front of other guys, unless it’s the pack mentality. If you’re with a guy, other guys leave you alone.
    Have I ever been tailgated, harassed, or cut off while driving when my husband is with me? Hell no! Have I been groped, followed, called names when my husband is with me? No. Do I get that shit when I’m either alone or with my 2 very young kids? HELL YES.

  208. *hands up*

    I do take a LOT of negative, hostile comments and actions from women (for whatever reason — I’ve never quite understood why), but the ones that really scare me come from me.

    I’ve been felt up more places than I like to think of (let’s see, off the top of my head: in a taxi cab by the driver, in a temple, multiple times on the street, all the time on subways and on busses, at school both by male students and a TA, at my last retail job, at the gym and on an airplane).

    There there are the random breast-grabbings — no idea why, I don’t have a chest to write home about and ass smacks. No! It’s not cute when you smack my butt when you walk by and it’s even less funny to say “oh, I was just joking, chill”.

    I was followed around by a group of both girls and boys all through middle school, whispering about how I was hideous (especially odd since, once these girls dropped out of that group, most of the boys were fawning all over me in HS), a slut, I ought to get raped. One of the boys later pushed me up against a wall and rubbed up against me as he talked about everything he’d like to do to me.

    There was the guy at college who would always tell me how much he wanted to fuck me — he then switched to coming around to my door at odd times. I took to locking myself in my room. I was too afraid to answer my door so I’d just hide in there and check to see if there was a shadow outside the door before I’d venture out to the bathroom.

    These are just off the top of my head. Honestly, my boyfriend had a hard time believing how awful guys can be to women at first but he’s definitely come around since we started dating. I think at this point he gets angrier about it than I do — at least I’m used to it.

  209. Oh, I forgot a really good one. When I was in 4th grade I signed up for summer softball, my third year in a row. There weren’t enough 4th graders so they put us in with the 6th & 7th graders, many of whom had been in real school-sponsored sports for years. I was a short chubby 10 year old on the same team as very tall, athletic, thin 14 year olds. It was a disaster, and the coach was such a jerk that he almost refused to let me and the other chubby 4th grader play. In fact, she quit because she was so embarrassed.

    I was good at softball, though, I loved it. In 5th grade I moved to teeny tiny backwards Alma, Kansas, and the PE teacher that year refused to let me participate on several occasions and constantly flunked me, and justified it to the principal by saying I was “too fat” to do gym. Which wasn’t true. Playing at recess was the only exercise I got, but unfortunately I was put in “gifted”. One day we’re playing softball at recess when my “gifted” teacher walked right through the field, interrupting play just to force me to go to “gifted” class instead of play softball. Then the 5th grade teacher said “Well no wonder Stacia’s fat” to which the gifted teacher told me “You may be fat, but at least you’re smart.”

    The next year I moved to a town near Alma, but the incident followed me. I gave up on softball after that. I gave up on ALL sports after that.

  210. Indeed, Richard. If it is not personally observed by your formerly-scrawny self, members of your own family, and your incredibly intelligent and empathetic friends, it doesn’t exist. This is how the rest of us know there is/are/was/were no:

    a) dark side of the moon
    b) seventeenth century
    c) electrons
    d) dinosaurs
    e) molten core of the earth
    f) backside of your own eyeball
    g) Shapely Prose comments policy

    Or, how about this: At some point you just have to frickin’ BELIEVE what people are telling you about what they have personally observed and experienced, because enough people have said it that it’s asinine to think they are all lying or mistaken! At least that is how we USUALLY like to think we treat other competent adults who are reporting things about their own lives. And yet… you don’t seem to extend this courtesy to that odd group that we call “women,” and that you might want to call “the set that my daughter will one day be a member of, which I am currently teaching her to code as ‘unreliable’ and ‘not worth taking seriously.'” Stop it. Right now.

  211. If I really get started listing I’ll be in a foul mood the rest of the day. So I’ll just remark on one old thing —

    When I was in middle school, this one guy in the year ahead of me used to harass me a lot. So did his friends, male and female (his girlfriend threatened to beat me up after I got fed up and told her to shut up one day), but he was by far the worst. I had this one part of my schedule where I moved from one room to the one directly above it. He always got behind me on the stairs and snapped my bra. Every damn day. I started taking the next staircase over. Three days later he was following me on that one. I moved to another staircase, and another, until I was literally walking the entire length of the school both ways trying to avoid this guy. He always found me. I had to start taking a different route every day to throw him.

    When I complained of him to the (male) principal and the (female) psychologist, they both told me that he was ‘harmless’ and that it “just means he likes you.” Wasn’t until we got a new (male) vice-principal who was a very decent fellow that anything was done.

    Where did the “it means he likes you” meme come from, and can we please kill it dead?!

  212. *hand in the air*

    Let’s see – mooing (obvs a favorite around here), 240 (yelled from a window, when I was nowhere near the weight they guessed), fatty, fat cunt, fat bitch, fat dyke, “are you sure?!” said by waiters when I ordered something at a restaurant, pointing and laughing, wide load coming thru, the backup beeping noises that trucks make.

    So, yes. My body gets comments a lot.

  213. Wow, this thread is awful. In a good way.

    SM already linked to my most recent jaw-dropping example, and my million others have more-or-less been covered by people here. But I will share one extra. After I was raped, I told a male friend about it, and his kneejerk response was, “Are you sure?”

    I didn’t talk to him again after that.

    So yeah, both my hands are in the fucking air.

  214. Both hands up, both feet up, nose up, etc.

    – In college, walking in front of a frathouse a glass beer bottle whizzed by my head, and a guy bellowed, “Why did the ugly bitch cross the road?”
    – When I jogged outside, I was repeatedly harassed – “ugly “comments, “fat “comments, comments suggesting I was a hooker, and once an entire cup of orange soda tossed at me from behind (apparently I “invite” a lot of drink throwing)
    – A guy I dated explained that I didn’t fit his “image” and his friends wouldn’t “get” why he was with me, so he couldn’t be seen with me in public
    – with no provocation, a male trainer in my old gym told me I could “drop 15 just like that” if I “stopped crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every night”
    – a guy told me the body type I listed for online dating was “false advertising,” commented on my “big appetite” and snuck out and left me with the check
    – a guy in school called me a “frigid bitch” because I didn’t react with thrilled gratitude when he fell on top of me and kissed me WHILE I WAS DRIVING. I basically had to push his drunk ass out of the car
    – a realtor explained that I could feel safe in a street-level condo because no one would rape me anyway

    I’m not fat, so I’ve been protected to some extent by my thin privilege, and I can’t even imagine going through some of the things you guys have. But the fact that I could think of like 9 examples in less than a minute…not a good sign.

  215. And let’s not forget the time my mother and a bunch of other women at my former church sent a letter of protest to the bishop concerning the unfair firing of the youth director, and the bishop sent her a letter back basically saying, “There there, this is a complicated church matter and it’s not a woman’s place to interfer.” My mother sent copies of this letter to every other woman who volunteered time for the congregation, and they all resigned. No sunday school that year.

    BEAUTIFUL. God, that’s just so gorgeous I can’t even stand it!

  216. BTW, mods, I’ve sent the link to this post and its comments to a local radio show (Kathy & Judy on WGN in Chicago), because I’m interested in hearing their (and their listeners’) take on this subject. For those not familiar with their show, they call themselves “The Girlfriends” and are very female/feminist friendly and are the most liberal hosts on the station. So, if they do end up mentioning it and linking here through their website, you might be getting an uptick in hits.

  217. Omigawd. Reading these reminds me that I have more to add:

    – My dad used to threaten to marry me off to a Mennonite when I turned 16

    – Being the only single woman working in an isolated location, being 19 at the time, and sharing my on-site living quarters with my older male co-workers, who frequently propositioned me, told me very personal stories, left their porno mags lying around, and put condoms over the gear shift of my truck “as a joke”. The only other woman on-site was the married co-owner/co-boss, so she was unavailable for harassment. And oh yeah, despite having exactly the same job description as them, I was expected to clean the bunk house (and cook when the cook was off), because I was a woman and they were not. I quit after 3 months.

  218. I still believe that women are their worst enemies. Seriously, how many times has a man said something cruel or sexist about your appearance compared to a woman?

    Well, if Richard really wants to know about my experiences, at least 9 times out of 10 those comments come from men. Probably closer to 99 out of 100.
    Particularly memorable was my ex who when he broke up with gave me a list of everything wrong with my body that I would need to fix for him to want to date me, it was basically and inch by inch list.
    My next boyfriend thought I was beautiful exactly how I was…. but I really needed to lose weight or I was going to DIE. (this was actually at the time when I weighed 135lbs- and I’m 5ft. Overweight BMI, but I was not going to DIE from not losing weight. Which I think is obvious in that I have gained weight and still live years later!)
    My dad, in the short time he’s been active in my life, has never said anything direct about my appearance- he just sends me annoying internet fwds about how all men want is a “deaf-mute nymphomaniac with huge breasts”. Yeah, nothing sexist or negative about my fat and still small breasted there.

    And that’s not even touching on school, random men out walking, driving, or trolls on my blog or on lj, or even the other weight related, body related and sexist comments in those past relationships, so yeah…

  219. I’ve been lucky – after being harassesed mercilessly by classmates through, oh, freshman year of high school things have been relatively calm for me.

    The major thing that stands out is once, after my picture was published in the law school newspaper for a minor reason, was a thread on a law school message board mocking it. (I didn’t read past the first post so I didn’t get all the details, for which I am grateful.) It was really paranoia inducing to wonder which of my classmates were reading and writing it and really depressing to think that this is how fucking LAW STUDENTS are behaving.

  220. I’m sorry, Suzanne. It was another one farther up that made me me remember that one. It’s just a whole thread of “let’s trigger each other”, isn’t it?
    Hey, look, Richard, sometimes the reason you don’t hear about it is because we’ve fucking repressed it because it was such a shitty experience. And we have no reason to tell you about it, anyway.

  221. (I’ll add, after a year I spent in Cairo – where all the catcalls were essentially “positive”, but still – I got really, really good at walking down the street without hearing a single thing anybody has said to me. Reading this thread has made me think about how much I probably miss because of that which is . . . disconcerting.)

  222. Oh geezee *hand raise*

    I once had a man pull over on the side of the road and try to pull me in his truck -_-;

    In high school the guys used to do “Oh my friend wants to go on a date with you!” then laugh as the guy screamed “Ewww I don’t want to date that fat ass!” hysterical right?

    Being called Ms. Piggie, Dog, fat ass, Gums and Guts to name a few wonderful names all thought up by men.

    My favorite by far is the man who raped me saying “Don’t bother telling anyone, no one would believe I had to rape a fat bitch like you…”

    And guess what? He was right! I told and every person I knew called me a liar then a slut and whore, pushed and kicked me up the stairs. I was 15 fucking years old and he was 21… yeah fuck off douchebag -_-‘

  223. My father goes out of his way to comment on my weight every time I see him (and wonders why I don’t see him very often). Even when anorexic, and living off of about 200 calories a day, my weight and eating habits were still getting criticized.

    My ex fiance described my to his friends, in the later years of our relationship, in terms of how attractive I COULD BE, if only I tried (read: lost weight). I was classified as a healthy weight by the BMI, and I weighed 60lbs less than I do now.

    When walking down the street in this town, street harassment is considered par for the course if one is female (or in the case of some of my longer haired male friends, even looking somewhat feminine will do it). If you respond to the cat calling in any negative way, you will either be threatened, called ugly, or both.

    I’ve had numerous boyfriends (or guys I’ve gone on dates with) recommend that I lose weight “for my health” when my health was not the topic of conversation.

    As a teenager, male family members, friends of family, dates, or friends frequently told me to eat less (often at restaurants and other public places) lest I get fat.

    So yeah…*raises hand* That’s not even touching what I’ve had men say to me online after seeing pictures of me.

  224. I went through several years of high school teased with the nickname Fatlegs, because of my muscular calf muscles. It took about 10 years to stop thinking of my legs as ugly and start thinking about the cool things I could do with them (by that stage I was kickboxing for fun and fitness). Other guys in the class used to do “leg hair checks” and tell us off when we hadn’t shaved.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard guys in my presence call women moles, pigs, cows, or dogs, say that they “shouldn’t have been let out” or complain that their eyes were hurting/blinded by the sight of a particular woman. On the occasions I’ve been in the position to call them out on it, I’ve usually been “comforted” with assurances that I needn’t worry, I was prettier or thinner or better dressed, so they wouldn’t say that about me. Gee, thanks, everything’s ok with my life now I know that you think I’m attractive enough to deserve space on this earth.

  225. Seriously, how many times has a man said something cruel or sexist about your appearance compared to a woman

    The ratio appears to be about 100:1, men, of course, being the 100 and women the 1. That’s over my lifetime thus far. Over the last 5 years, it’s more like 500:1.

  226. well hell.

    I can’t do any more. I couldn’t even read all the responses. I started remembering things I successfully forgot for years.

    Fuck you, Richard, and the horse you rode in on, too.

  227. Good! I was hoping I wasn’t stepping on any toes by sending it in.

    I’ve loved their show ever since I heard them ask for five women over 21 years old to call in at random, and then ask each of them if they owned a “personal toy” (posting from work–better not use the v-br-t-r word to be safe). Four of the five did, and the only one who didn’t was a 62 year old who wanted to know where she could buy one.

  228. Oh, and WRT guys who are all like, “But I’m so different! Give me a cookie!” (or a BJ…) The last guy I was with went on and on – to me, and to others in front of me – about how he was such a great guy for not caring if a woman he dated was physically attractive…he didn’t phrase it that way but he clearly wanted to be thought of as noble. It seriously never occurred to him that he was not going to get points for this sacrifice from me or that it might be hurtful when he basically described being with me as a sacrifice.
    (He also turned out to have a fiancee out of town, so overall not a winner, but this used to make me so furious!)

  229. I will say that years of being mocked for being fat as a kid and teenager left me very insecure. On my 21st birthday, my best friend and I went out dancing at the club we went to every Thursday. Since it was a Tuesday, the club was pretty quiet but there were still several people there dancing. A rather cute guy asked me to dance, and since it was the only time I was ever asked to dance in the two years we went there, I’m still convinced to this day that my friend went over and talked him into asking me as a birthday thing, even though she swore she had nothing to do with it.

  230. Oh, man, I wish I had a bunch more hands.

    My favorite are the drive-bys — the ones that start out “Hey, baby,” and quickly turn into “Fat cunt!” when I don’t respond. A couple weeks ago while I was taking a cab with my boyfriend some guy at a stoplight wanted to know if I would “suck a cock for a ride home,” then called me an ugly bitch.

    One time a coworker told me, while a group of us were walking somewhere single-file with me in the lead, that sometimes if he was walking behind a girl with “a really fine, I mean really great ass” he would snap a picture on his cameraphone. He then rushed to add, “Don’t worry, though, you have nothing to be concerned about.”

    Then, of course, there was all 13 years of public school, where I heard every day about my hair, my skin, my teeth (before, during and after braces), my too-big boobs, my too-small boobs, my clothes, the way I walked/ran… everything. Yes, it started in kindergarten. Yes, these were people I’d known my whole life, people I’d gone to play groups with as an infant. I wasn’t a weird-looking kid, I was just unpopular, and even at 6 boys knew that if you didn’t like a girl’s personality, you made fun of her appearance. And like AnotherKate, I’m not fat, so I was probably insulated from the worst of it.

  231. Um – one hand up and one raising a contentious point.

    I’ve never, thank God, been raped or physically abused – though I can certainly identify with many of the more everyday kinds of sexism others here have been exposed to. All the cat-calling; blokes insulting me when I rejected their advances, some of which were made in lewd and disgusting ways, etc. (One guy yelled out of his car that he wanted to bugger me after I gave him the finger for yelling obscenities about my tits. Another complete stranger took it upon himself to tell my best friend she was ugly when we were making our way home from a concert one night). I also got snogged by the disgusting old bastard next door when I was about 12. I’d known him since I was 8 and looked on him as an honorary grandfather, so when he asked me to give him a kiss I’d thought nothing of it. (I haven’t thought of that in years. Thanks, y’all). My stepfather telling my mother he would never have “allowed her” to reach the weight she was when they first met is a memory that particularly sticks in my craw too. Quite what he thought he could do to disallow her body to weigh what it wanted or why he though having a dick imbued him with the right to pontificate about it is beyond me.

    I did get teased a lot by girls, *always* about why I wouldn’t be able to get a boyfriend, ’cause that’s the worst thing that can happen to you, I guess. Same shit, people, same shit.

    I was fortunate in some respects that I went to an all girls school so, growing up, managed to miss out on a lot of the crap people here went through. Likewise, though both my parents were fat and taught me shame by example, but my father never berated either my mum or myself.
    But, while it protected me in some respects attending an all-girls secondary school meant that I was liberally exposed to the cruelty of girls. They may not be violent, (although I was bullied by one quite unpleasantly at my junior school), but they can be just as verbally vicious as boys – and, yes they’ll do it about exactly the same things – your looks, your weight and your ability to attract a boyfriend. They’ll put horrible rumours around school about you; they’ll call your new perm “the grease-curl snot-whirl”; they’ll use the fact they’re sexually active to belittle you if you’re not. Believe me when I tell you girls made my adolescence every bit as much of a living hell as boys made some of yours. And yes I’ve had grown women be nasty to me about my weight from time to time, like the one who asked me whether I’d “ever wondered what it would be like to be normal”.

    So – actually – trollboy’s got a point; but so has It above. We do it because, even after decades of feminism, it’s still all about our looks and our ability – or inability – to attract men. And it never ceases to amaze and depress me how much women collude in their own oppression. There are racks and racks of cheap puerile magazines encouraging us to do just that on a weekly basis and they sell by the shedload. These godawful rags tell us certain women are beautiful and make us feel like shit for not looking like them, then they encourage us to vent the dissatisfaction they deliberately create in us on the same women. And, most of the time, it’s women who are the driving force behind these publications – and over and over again they defend themselves by telling us – and themselves – they’re only giving us what we want. And women prove them right by buying the fucking things.

  232. Feminism isn’t needed? Girls are the meanest to other girls? What PLANET is this asshole from?!

    To begin, I have a bumper sticker (which I keep in a folder) that reads: “I believe in dragons, good men, and other fairy tale creatures.” The sad part is sometimes I have to look at it and remind myself that it’s true. They exist. They’re out there… somewhere. And I almost hate myself for thinking something so “sexist.” But…

    Let’s start with my dad. A great man. I love him. Yet he thinks feminism is just “whining,” because “we’re almost entirely equal now, there’s nothing left for them to do, it’s really damaging.” And this is a man who watches the news all the time. He doesn’t see all those girls getting raped as violence against women? What the hell does he think it’s about?! My MOTHER backs him up. My entire family is the same way.

    My boyfriend sometimes makes comments about how I’m completely “irrational” and “crazy” and “a giddy girl.” He insists I back up anything I say that he doesn’t agree with, with “logic.” Even when I successfully do, he often dismisses it, especially if it’s something he really doesn’t like. Apparently, it’s not HIS definition of logic, or something. He insists he’s completely rational and logically backs up everything he thinks… though when we were talking about getting a dog he based all his potential breed choices on looks alone, while I was trying to think of, you know, a dog we could live with, and whose company we’d enjoy. He has loud things to say against feminism but judges women on their looks without realizing it, more often than I think he’ll ever figure out.

    My male friends often have really “interesting” things to say about women (women I know, women I don’t know, women in general), feminism, me, and my experiences as a woman. Things that are shocking to me in their hurtfulness as they are supposed to be FRIENDS.

    A few more fine examples of the “nice” guys in my life:

    -I had a crush on a guy I was talking to online. He said he wouldn’t have sex with me unless I weighed 100 pounds or less, but hey, you know, we could meet. (this was a darker time in my life and I felt I deserved that, so I continued my interest in him until I met him in person and he was really, really boring and no fun to hang with, but hey, at least I was too “fat” for him to potentially attack me and make the whole thing REALLY traumatic… er, btw, I weighed 120, at the time.)

    -I had been talking to a male friend of mine pretty frequently (a friend of the current beau) in a time where I was going through some rough stuff, and many of our conversations became times when he’d just be listening to me vent. In a moment of insecurity, I apologized to him for complaining so much lately… he said, “yeah, well, if I were still single, I’d be expecting something in return, but I have a girlfriend so it’s cool.”

    -an ex of mine told me feminists are so whiny because men have it way harder than women now, but also made frequent rape jokes and was pretty free with the term “bitches.”

    -At the time in my life where I was most vulnerable and insecure, I had an acquaintance whose relationship with me could only be summed up as “fuck buddy.” When I decided that was no longer for me and made it clear to him that I wanted to end that association, he threatened to rape me.

    I was going to go on, but honestly, I’m getting so damn depressed I have to stop. Between some things I’ve read in blogs lately, conversations with people, and this post and its comments… but maybe most of all thoughts I’m starting to have regarding a man I thought I’d be happy to marry, the best I’d ever find… now I’m wondering if love’s even as great as anybody says it is. Maybe the sad part is that we ARE the best each other will ever find. Maybe, really… we’re all just better off alone.

    It’s been a standard joke of mine for years that “when I am an old woman, I am going to die naked and alone in a house full of cats.” Lately the idea sounds better and better, except replace “when I’m old” with like, “now.” Not the dying part, but the house full of cats and minimal human contact part.

    I feel super-defeated these past several days. I’m remembering why I turned my back on feminism after starting to learn about it years ago… the burnout is major-league harsh. There’s nobody to turn to for support! (nobody of flesh and blood, anyway… at least now I have a computer and you guys…)

    Blargh. Thanks Richard, you make me want to take up drinking. You fucking prick. (why does “fucking prick” not have the same raged, hateful oomph as “fucking cunt?”)

  233. *raises both hands*

    The majority of people who catcall at me from their cars as they go by, and the majority of people who fucked with me when I was in school were MEN.

    Sorry, Dick, but your trolly non-logic fail all and everything.

  234. both hands, way up.

    too many to recount. One that still galls me:

    In 9th grade, I had a *completely undeserved* reputation.

    I went to the school counselor to ask that something be done about the constant harrassment.

    His response was “Well? Is it true?”

  235. “I still believe that women are their worst enemies. Seriously, how many times has a man said something cruel or sexist about your appearance compared to a woman?”

    Richard, are you getting the point yet? I never told my father any of what happened to me. There wasn’t a damn thing he could have done about any of it, although I think he would have taken it more seriously than you appear to. How do you know your daughter would ever tell you the full truth?

    Maybe your daughter has had unprovoked filthy things said to her by a varsity football player while on the way to color guard practice (happened to me), or has to sit through a class full of football players that is taught by an assistant football coach, who rather than actually teach his subject, prefers to earn street cred with the guys by detailing his latest outings to the local strip club with the head coach (US Government, senior year). Maybe she’s got a science lab class of mostly guys who talk to her chest very slowly and in simple terms because she couldn’t possibly be intelligent enough to understand the class (1st semester organic chemistry lab- I earned a 4.0 despite the wankers). Maybe when she goes to dances, she has guys grabbing her from behind and grinding their erections into her backside, holding on with strong enough grips that she can’t get away (too many instances to mention).

    I never told my father any of this, and the harassment rarely happens if I am escorted by a male such as my husband or father. Just because they don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Get a clue.

  236. Well, I get touched constantly. Constantly.
    At work, by strangers, in bars. Constantly. I get touched so much and so often that I pretty much let it go if I know the person, they didn’t touch anything between the knee and collarbone, and I’m not physically intimidated by them.
    I get my glasses pushed up my nose, I get my hand held and stroked and patted, I get my CAVES touched for Christ’s sake. I get my feet stroked (for the first time, by the gardener when I was 12), my back rubbed and patted, and one creepy time I got my bangs brushed out of my eyes ON THE SUBWAY.

    I get all of the usual boob and ass grabs, and stomach strokes, and skirt flips, too.

    I throw punches every time I can call it ‘sexual’ rather than ‘personal’, but it is never, never nice.

    And my cousins drunk husband went on and on at
    Thanksgiving, IN FRONT OF HIS WIFE, about how he wanted pictures of the back of my pants so that he could show them to his friends and tell them “that’s my cousin”.

    And in a stunning throwaway comment that has been burned creepily into my self-image forever, the first thing one of my parent’s friends said about me after meeting me as an INFANT was:
    “wow, sexy mouth”.

  237. And in a stunning throwaway comment that has been burned creepily into my self-image forever, the first thing one of my parent’s friends said about me after meeting me as an INFANT was:
    “wow, sexy mouth”.

    I hope your parents kept you far away from him. My father probably would have decked him.

  238. OH! And when I was in college, I was voted “one of the top ten girls who should be slapped” on a bathroom wall.

  239. Whoa. My experience is AT LEAST 4 to 1, men to women, in terms of negative comments on my appearance.

    At least.

    And most of the comments from women came from a particular mentally unstable female relative.

    What I find very interesting is that, as I’ve gotten fatter and older and more traditionally hate-on material, I’m getting way less harrassment of the “you’re fat and ugly” type. I’m more invisible. When I was young – and, although I didn’t see it at the time, pretty – there were some very threatening, painful, and sometimes violent comments aimed at me for being disgusting. Oh, and the stalking: 6 months of constant harassment from a customer who followed me home that went back and forth from “you ugly bitch” to “we belong together”. That’d be the worst one.

    And that’s just personal. That doesn’t even begin to cover all the male comics doing the “I hate my fat ugly bitchy wife and ALSO she doesn’t put out enough” routine, or all the zillions upons zillions of douchehounds who pick on someone really beautiful – Natalie Portman, Angelina Jolie – and then call them fat or ugly or disgusting.

    Which, you know… I count. Because each of those comments about other women landed a blow to my solar plexus.

  240. Is it like that in the U.K with all the street harassment? Where I live I have never heard anyone yell out except for an occasional bunch of dorks in a truck.

  241. I hate to double post, but after going back and reading some of these posts in detail, I have to give some examples. In the span of a half an hour, I’ve gone from sad to furious.

    -In the summer before my senior year of college, I worked at a pretzel place at the mall called Auntie Anne’s; the majority of the crew there were female. I can’t even tell you how much we were harassed and leered at by men of all different ages. One time I handed an older guy change, and instead of taking it he held my hand and talked about how long he had waited to hold my hand. Another time I had a married guy wink at me and look at me in a very suggestive way…while his wife and kids were standing next to him!
    -My freshman year of college, a drunk guy hit on me and the experience left me terrified. To add insult to injury, one of my (female) friends told me I brought it on myself because I was wearing a low cut shirt. Sadly, I believed her.
    -In middle school, I had guys pretend to ask me out/flirt with me all the time, getting my hopes up just so they could slam me down. Sometimes, a guy would come up to me and try to to convince me that one of their friends were interested in me; I eventually wised up to their scheme and ignored them. But now, I’m scared that if a guy is genuinely interested in dating me/flirting with me, I won’t even know it because I’ve been so scarred by past experiences.
    -Being followed around by a group of guys as I walked to my classes; they would yell terrible things at me all the time. What did my teachers say? “Oh, they just like you! Ignore them and they’ll leave you alone.” WTF? Calling someone a fat bitch is a strange way of letting them know you have a crush on them.

    Yeah, I’m raising my hands…I’m raising them in order to flip off all those douchebags.

  242. I just realized I didn’t mention any concrete examples. Not that we need more, but-

    Being chased at age 18 through (foreign) city streets running at top speed by a man fifteen years my senior who was angry at me for refusing him. He was cursing and threatening me as he ran, and I was shouting for help. Finally, I lost him, but when I went back to my hostel, he was sitting there on the steps, waiting for me. I hadn’t told him where I was staying; he must have deduced it from conversation.

    Being stuck alone in a car late at night driven by a much older man who refused to take me home and wanted me to sleep with him. I’d gotten a ride to a party with some acquaintances- when we were going home, he dropped everyone else off first and then started cajoling, then threatening, me. (I talked him out of it, but who knows what could have happened?)

    Yes, these two I’ve listed are maybe examples of being young and stupid, and I (would hope I) wouldn’t end up in these situations today. But I think some men (hi, Richard!) just choose to be willfully unaware of the physical and emotional threat women can find ourselves in through mundane actions.

  243. I was miserable in middle school and basically hated myself, and I remember one boy in particular who made life hell for me. He sat behind me in one of my classes and took the opportunity to make a sign labeled “heavy farter” and held it up for everyone behind me to see, then left it on the desk so that I could find it when I left the classroom. One time I thought my hair looked nice for the first time in a long time, and I had this hair tie with furry puff balls on it. He spotted it and kept saying, “You have BALLS in your hair! Those look like BALLS.” etc. Another time in 4th grade gym we were running laps, and one of the boys shouted to to me across the gym, “So-and-so likes you! He wants you to be his girlfriend!” And of course so-and-so is screaming that no he doesn’t and he’s lying, etc. In high school I did get a lot of fatass comments. I was the section leader in our marching band, and the boys who I outranked constantly ragged on me, talked about me behind my back, and encouraged others to be disrespectful, even though I had beaten them time and time again at auditions, they still felt like I shouldn’t be leader.

    Eventually I took a page out of my own history and turned it around to my advantage I think. I started telling them and everyone who would listen that they were hot shit and that they made me go weak in the knees, and I’d talk about how nice their ass was if they were in front of me in formation or compliment their eyes or whatever. I don’t know why I did it. Surprisingly this worked quite well, and they stopped being idiots. They were humiliated at a fat girl like me wanting to get with them, and I think we formed a silent truce after a while because they started cooperating.

  244. emilymorgan, even if you were “young and stupid” it wasn’t your responsibility to not end up in a car with a potential rapist, it was that man’s responsibility to not be a fuckneck potential rapist.

  245. Oh wow now I’m sad. This thread is reminding me that even the little things that you brush off on a daily basis are a form of violence.

  246. Hand up. No reason to say any more, from my perspective.

    It amazes me, the number of men who really believe they get to define someone ELSE’S experience. They really really think their *objective* outlook is more valid than the REALITY of the person experiencing the harassment. Astonishing.

  247. What little things are those Tangerina that would be considered violence.

    Sorry for being clueless on this.

  248. I had a very… rarified? upbringing, with a supportive family in a small isolated community. I did mostly distance education/school of the air until the end of year 10, so by the time I hit the “real world” I was definitely sure of who I was. Being an introverted and oblivious person, I sometimes wonder if these things don’t often happen to me, or if I just don’t notice when they do, and I suspect it’s the latter.

    But even I can list:

    When I was fifteen, I visited a friend and went to a “real” school with her for a week. It was in the middle of a bad drought and people in the cities were sending drought relief packages with food, gifts, etc to country people. One of the boys looked at me and send, “I can see where all the drough relief is going”. So my friend hit him on the head with her science textbook.

    A guy on a train platform who shouted out “How’d you get them so big?” and another friend just snarled at him and dragged me so I didn’t have to work out how to react (I have good friends).

    A guy at a convention who was drunk and sitting behind me in a movie screening. He kept touching my shoulder and I’d just move or shrug or push his hand away. Yes it bothered me, but I had no idea how to deal with it.

    Barking, shouting etc occasionally.

    Strange men asking me if I’ve got a boyfriend? Single? Engaged? Why not? Once again, it doesn’t come naturally for me to tell them off, and I’ve been fortunate that most of them are little, grandfatherly taxi drivers who tell me that they will keep an eye out for a nice Macedonian boy for me.

    A guy who, when I stopped seeing him, told me that “I’d have to get married sometime”. Which was just… odd.

    I’m really grateful for a strong grounding when I was growing up, but I admire all the women (and their mothers and friends) here who react with such dignity and grace… no, wrong words altogether – fire and awesomeness! And women like my little sister, who witnessed in a friend’s molestation trial and told the lawyer off for talking down to her, and my big sister who (when she was at school) sprayed a naked intruder into their dormitory down with a fire extinguisher, and my mother who told my father (her second husband) before she married him that if he ever laid a hand on her she would leave and take the children (my father is the sweetest, most respectful guy, which makes my mother even more awesome for saying it to him anyway – he still says the best thing that ever happened to him was marrying her).

  249. A guy in junior high signed my yearbook “TORPEDOES!!!” referencing my larger than average bust at the time (I was damn near the size I am now at age 13 – 36DD).

    When I started working at a call center at age 16 (then the legal working age in Texas), I had men all the time asking me if I was old enough to even be working. But the worst call was a perv call. Why didn’t I just hang up on him? Because the powers that be had told us in training that even if we got a perv call, we had to see if they really DID need assistance or were really just a perv. So I ended up having to stay on the phone with this idiot for over 20 minutes while he was talking about whether or not girls deserved spankings because my bosses had told me I couldn’t hang up.

    In more recent times, I had a stalker shortly after I separated from my (now ex) husband. He was actually introduced to me by a friend. He would call me at all hours of the day and night to set up “lunch dates” and send me weird emails. Did I mention he was married? And did I mention I couldn’t really do anything about it because he was the fucking DISTRICT ATTORNEY?? I’m sure karma will kick my ass in some (hopefully small) way, but I was never so glad when I heard he had died of a heart attack. That was the only way I could be sure he would never bother me again.

  250. *raises hand*

    I’ve known so many men like this (including my current boyfriend to some extent – he doesn’t think feminism is “necessary” anymore).

    I was harassed constantly as a kid for being “fat” and “ugly” and not having nice enough clothes. I could write a book on all of that.

    A man exposed himself to me in the middle of a YMCA. I was so flabbergasted that I actually stood there for a minute before finding an excuse to run away (I was about 10).

    My first boyfriend told me that he wasn’t really interested in dating me until I lost some weight, and commented later that I “used to be so skinny.”

    My stepfather was merciless, calling me a fat bitch and the like. He knew that was the most cutting remark he could use and it eventually led to a serious eating disorder (hence my losing a bunch of weight).

    In college, one of my best guy friends took advantage of me when I was piss drunk and literally cut me up inside with his fingernails. He then called later to make sure I wouldn’t press charges.

    Random guys approach me constantly and make sexual comments, wave out their car windows, etc. Other guys say I should be flattered or that it’s funny, but ultimately it worries me. I don’t trust men as a general rule.

    I don’t feel safe going out dancing or drinking without a male escort and tend to frequent gay bars (though even those aren’t always safe – I’ve been humped by erect assholes more times than I can count).

    So many more hurtful comments and actions, and many many more that I’ve heard/witnessed from others.

    I’d say about 75% of the women I’ve known have been raped.

  251. Strangely, when I was young I suffered more from my mother calling me fat than from any man. The truth was I wasn’t fat at the time, just not built like an ironing board like she was. The cruelest remark I ever heard was one husband that told his curvy, not overweight wife that her ass was so big that when he told her to haul it she had to make two trips. And you wonder why women are so concerned with their bodies.

  252. *raises hand*

    A lot.

    And a lot I’ve tried very hard to forget.

    But, like SingOut, it’s actually kind of a relief to hear it’s not just me.

  253. Okay, it’s 2 a.m., I just got home, I’m drunk, so bear with me.

    But something just happened to me while I was out that SO ties in with this it’s not even funny.

    Me, my Best Friend, her sister, and her niece were all sitting outside one of the nightclubs in town. We were just sitting there, talking, when a couple of middle-aged men walked by, took one look at us, and said (very loudly) “BIG TIME!” (Best Friend got really pissed off, I just said [as loudly as they did], “that’s okay, they just WISH they could HANDLE it!”)

    If that’s not a good example, I’ll eat your hats with salt and pepper.

  254. Raises both hands!
    I was called fat from about 3rd-8th grade, teased constantly, called hairy my name is Vanessa so there was a lot of “hehe Fatnessa!” because they were CLEVER. some asshole punched my breasts once, shoved my into the closet to hit me, and just was generally a big asshat. I was also usually termed dumb, ugly, more ugly, even more ugly, stupid as fuck, etc. It doesn’t take long for these taunts to feel like fact.


    I was at a club with my husband and dancing in front a large speaker. This drunk fratboy started getting my personal space, and I tried to “do-si-so” a bit to move away but he was right on top of me, flailing and pawing and boxing me in.

    That was IT! I had HAD IT. I reared back and shoved him right in the sternum with all my force, yelling “EXCUSE ME!” at the top of my opera-trained lungs. He careened back into the speaker and almost fell on his ass, making quite a spectacle of himself.

    Meanwhile, I stormed off the dancefloor and sat next to my husband and once the dude saw I was with a man he walked away (of course), but not before he informed me, “You’re a woman-man, BITCH!” (Guess he didn’t liike getting beaten up by a chick in a dress and heels and pigtails.) Oh, okay — I love how I get called a bitch when it was HIM who started the whole thing!

    Because I have a demented sense of humor, I actually STARTED LAUGHING at being called a man-woman-bitch, which infuriated him even more but luckily he stomped off to get another drink no doubt.

    By this time my husband was about to get to up and personally address the dude, but I told him to leave it alone. Of course the night was ruined and we left shortly thereafter. Asshole!

    I am THIRTY FOUR and still dealing with this shit! I have been harassed like this at nightclubs for years – -a smilar incident occured in April, and this time my husband had to step in to make the dude stop fucking with me!

    At this point, I am so irate by all this buffoonery I will, as evidenced, fight back, assuming I am in a public place. I am so sick of this rampant aggression and am quite happy to SHOVE BACK!

  256. I’ve never had a woman comment about my weight in my entire life. I’ve had plenty of men do so. More times than you’d imagine, men have said to me that I “don’t need a meal” when I am out to eat. I am a size 16. Women tell me I’m gorgeous.

    Even when women talk behind each other’s backs (which I see a lot less often than men doing the same, from what I can tell), my experience is that women don’t typically talk about weight. We might talk about her attitude, something crappy she said, and that sort of thing.

    Maybe that happened in high school a lot, but men don’t seem to outgrow the delight of mocking women for being fat or otherwise not meeting their fuckability standards.

  257. Belinda–harassment and abuse *are* violence, whether it’s physical violence or verbal violence…it’s violence against our bodies, and violence against our minds and self-esteem and self-worth.

  258. Belinda… I’m just saying that most women experience so many instances of actively sexist harassment in their daily lives that we just tune it out and forget about it and it is the really mean or hurtful or threatening things that we remember, but reading about all of these experiences reminds me that it is never ok or “not a big deal” and even though a catcall on the street probably doesn’t have any real intent of action behind it, if it makes you uncomfortable or afraid then that is a form of violence in my book. I’m not saying that emotional harm is the same as bodily harm, but none of it is ok.

  259. Hell yes, hands up.

    You know, I’m pretty sure that if Richard experienced any one of the things described on this thread he would never stop talking about it, ever. Since the (unfortunate) women in his life have learned that he can’t be trusted, and therefore keep quiet, he assumes that he knows all there is to know. Typical ass-beret.

  260. *Raises hand*

    I can’t even list all the names I was called in school as a child, but there was a boy a year ahead of me in school who called me “The Creature” for years. He used to spike rubber balls at me during the nightmare that was PE class and tell me the balls were attracted to me because we were both round. I had my ass grabbed in crowded hallways in junior high–I never did figure out by whom. From the ages of nine through fourteen I lived in a house across from a high school, and the high school boys would snicker at me when I hopped on my bike to go to school (making comments like “you sure need the exercise, you cow.”) I’ve been yelled at from cars since I developed boobs at age eight, and once, a charming gentleman in a McDonald’s told me my ass was better than J-Lo’s (thank you, but I already knew that). Just last week, I dared to wear a sleeveless top because it was so hot out, and I got catcalled from a car stopped at a red light while I was waiting to cross the street.

    Those are just a few examples. My husband, who understands me better than anyone, is still flabbergasted when I tell him this kind of harrassment is constant and ongoing.

  261. I mostly have gotten guys honking or whistling at me. And no, it really doesn’t matter what you wear.

    One time I was walking and some guy went “You are so be-yoo-ti-fullllllll!”

    I’ve never dealt with anything really from boys at my school when I was there except an occasional comment on how skinny I was. Most people never talked to me though.

    My dad has said creepy/sexist things to me (and about other women) at times. He’s said more than once something about me having large thighs (and I’m rather thin), and made comments about my breasts a couple times. When I expressed discomfort, he apologized, but did so in a “I’m sorry you were offended” way. I never really put much thought about how damaging that is until now.

    And seriously, hugs to everyone in this thread. It is depressing how common it is (and how common to have really bad harassment).

  262. Oh, I should have mentioned in my comment earlier: The guy who was negging my ass after bragging about his street harassment? Was my subordinate.

  263. Oh, here’s another chestnut — while wearing spectacles, I was yelled at by primo cheesedick, “I’m gonna fuck you! I’m gonna fuck you so hard your GLASSES FALL OFF!”

  264. ::raises a hand::

    Granted I’ve got race intersect here, but in Junior High I was called Fat and Frizzy and also made fun of for being a Jew. My father has called me fat in arguments as if this is the final pronouncement on me as a person. Even in elementary school I was called fat, but I was also called weird (I may have been sneered at for being a Jew in junior high, but at least I wasn’t *weird*) When I was 16 and walking home from school some guy leaned out of a passing car and yelled “hey fatso!” as if this was original. I was shocked, and wrote about it on my Italian quiz that week. (writing something I felt passionate about always helped with the vocab) It’s a bit of a trial to walk in certain areas of town and here my ass talked about in English, Spanish and Portuguese (the comments in Spanish are by far the nicest, I much prefer “mira bonita!” to “mira bunda”) And last year I had a treat when a visiting cousin sat me down on the metro and decided to have a discussion with me about my weight, because he’s so concerned about my health. Granted he was treated to about a dozen dirty looks from other women there, but still, the kicker was that part of his concern for me was male attention and my apparent lack of it. According to him, I could be a real knock out if I just lost 20-50 lbs. This was before I learned there was such a thing as FA but still looked at him and told him that my weight had remained in the same 20-30 lbs range since highschool and that it is far healthier to remain the same than it is to yo-yo back and forth, and then told him that it was none of his business what I weigh and what exercise I do.

    These are selected incidents that I remember off the top of my head…

  265. Oh, fuck; I can’t believe I remembered more.

    1. I work at a feminist women’ clinic, ad a client’s driver was once wearing a shirt with a cartoon of a nearly-naked woman with her legs spread. I said snidely, “That’s quite a feminist shirt.” I didn’t want to make a scene, especially because I was, you know, working. And for the rest of the time he was there (several hours), he would keep giving me nasty looks and talking loudly so that I could hear him disparage me.

    2. At a concert a few years ago, this guy who was definitely older than the average person there sidled up next to me, and then placed his hand on my hip/ass. I turned to him and said, “What the fuck are you doing?!” He actually looked started and said, “Sorry! Sorry! I didn’t mean to!” And I said, “Yes, you did. Stop.” And he did. It was at least empowering.

    3. At a more recent Radiohead concert, a very drunk guy was flailing his arms wildly and “dancing” really close to me. Mind you, I was sitting in SEATS. He hit me with his arm, and I said, “Don’t touch me. Please.” I thought it was reasonable. Instead, he got all puffed up and yelled at me that he wouldn’t DARE try to touch me and I was crazy for thinking so, and telling everybody around. I got angrier and angrier because I actually felt endangered. At the end of the show, he apologized and hugged me…not realizing that still, I DON’T WANT TO BE TOUCHED.

    4. The other day, I was working out outside in a sports bra and short shorts because this is Atlanta and it’s hot and I like to work out. A guy painting a mural in my neighborhood called to me, “That guy thinks you’re hot!” “What was that?” I asked, just because I wanted him to have to repeat it to my face. And he did, to which I said, “Well, he shouldn’t.” It wasn’t my best come back, but it took him by surprise and made him laugh and hopefully, see that I’m human.

  266. This post (and the CiF article) is really, really depressing.
    For some reason I find it hard to respond to the “well, if you’re going to dress that way it’s not our fault” argument. But when I think about my own experiences instead of approaching it like some abstract logical debate it’s easier.

    I’m seventeen. A few months ago while walking to university I ran to catch the pedestrian lights at a crossing. For some reason ute full of idiots found this endlessly titillating and starting cooing “oo, oo yeah baby, yeah!”
    Now, that was *anything* but flattering. My first response was shame. What was I doing wrong? What was I wearing which made me deserve this public humiliation? I felt embarrassed and violated. Then angry.

    It doesn’t matter what the fuck I was wearing. I shouldn’t have to study my reflection in the mirror every morning to gauge whether I’m *worth* being harrassed on the street. I could have been wearing a tracksuit or a fucking miniskirt, but neither gives a guy the right to be a dickhead. I’m just thankful I’m aware enough of feminism to know acting like they did isn’t “normal” or right, and dressing the way I want doesn’t mean I deserve the way they treated me.

    So when men (not all, just the multitude who decided to comment on the CiF article) act like women bring the comments and cat-calls on themselves, because they flatter us and boost our self-esteem, they forget (or ignore) that what they think is complimentary actually received as embarrassing and invasive, even a little threatening. It might be a little difficult to get their head around, but the clothes I choose to wear have nothing to do with whether random strangers on the street approve of/are aroused by them.

  267. *hand up*

    The two most egregious examples are these:

    1995 – One of the friend of my then-boyfriend asked my boyfriend if he could “borrow” me when BF was “done” with me. BF said NOTHING. (I told asshole-boy “No, you can’t.”)

    2008 – I’m walking to the pool, and a man in his front yard starts talking to me, starting with, “Oh, I”m sorry, I thought you were someone I knew”, and then keeps talking to me, even though I’m Walking Away. He then proceeds to get in his truck and follow me for a couple blocks, offering me a ride wherever I’m going.

  268. You know, I’ve just realized who Richard reminds me of!

    Many, many moons ago, on a first date in a galaxy far, far away, a guy took me to see Excaliber. Afterwards, we went out for ice cream. Over our sundaes, we started discussing the film. I commented at one point on how incredibly painful the ‘conception of Arthur’ scene looked. My date looked puzzled and asked what I meant. My jaw dropped a bit. When I managed to scrape it off the floor, I reminded him that it was a scene of a completely naked woman with a man in full plate armor on top of her in the missionary position. He hadn’t so much as raised his freaking visor! Ouch!

    It was at this point that he said he’d seen the film THREE TIMES and hadn’t noticed that! He thought it was a really erotic scene because the girl was naked.

    If I had been at all as smart as I am intelligent, that would have been our last date as well as the first. Two years later, he was telling an entire roomful of people completely at random how threatening I am.

    And that’s who Richard is reminding me of.

  269. Nothing unusual — more’s the pity — but I’ll add my two
    cents to keep building the evidence.

    Age 8: Walking home through open land; an older boy saw
    a snake, picked it up and threw it at me. (As my dad
    pointed out, probably harmless — but damn, isn’t that a
    threat? I certainly thought so.)

    Age 11-12: The older stablehands (19? 20?) who carefully
    pointed out each time a male horse ‘dropped’. (Male horses
    occasionally extend their penis from their sheath, even if
    they’re not aroused — airing it out, or something like that.)
    I had no idea what it meant, or what they wanted me to
    know; all I wanted to do was clean horse stalls and brush
    horses so that I could ride occasionally.

    Age 12-13: My boobs were the largest in school; I was
    sexually teased daily by a cadre of boys who were about
    four years older.

    Age 12-13: Molested by my music teacher.

    Age 22: A boyfriend who had to have written PROOF
    every time I mentioned a fact that he’d never heard of.
    (Like, deer shed their antlers and grow new ones each
    year. He insisted on looking it up in the encyclopedia.
    {Years before the internet.}) True, it’s not harassment,
    but I include it as an example of how often women’s ideas /
    knowledge / opinions are belittled and disregarded.

    Age 22: The male friend who visited one day with a cup of
    soda from Sonic or wherever. As he started to go, he left
    his empty cup on the coffee table. I said, “John, throw your
    cup away.” He said — and meant it in all seriousness —
    “You’re a woman; you can do it.” Again, automatic relega-
    tion of women as ‘lesser’ and ‘inferior’ beings.

    Age 23: First date with friend of a friend; I was assured he
    was a ‘nice guy’. Without a word of request or indication
    what he was planning, he reached across the space
    between us and shoved his hand down my shirt and
    inside my bra, cupping my boob. (That was also our last

    Age 24: My dog was in a community theatre production.
    The cast lined up in the lobby afterward to meet the theatre-
    patrons; I was there with my dog on a leash. Later, my boy-
    friend was totally pumped a number of men had remarked
    on how ‘hot’ I was; he regarded it as a personal triumph to
    have a girlfriend that other men judged ‘worthy’.

    Age mid-20’s to mid-30’s: Any time I visit a big city,
    “admiring” wolf-whistles if I walk past a construction site.

    Here’s a clue Richard — wolf whistles are not admiring
    because they tell us that our bodies are being judged.
    What else in our society gets judged on looks? Horses,
    dogs, cars, livestock of all kinds, artworks — in short,
    THINGS are judged. The judging wolf-whistles, whether
    or not those men ‘approve’ of our bodies, relegate us to
    the status of things.

    Such ‘admiration’ also leads to an uneasy insecurity — it’s
    not likely that we’ll be directly accosted (at best) or
    followed and raped (at worst), but the possibility is there,
    and that possibility is always a source of unease.

    Even the guy who said, “Nice hair!” a couple of years ago —
    it was kind of flattering, but still… does a guy make such a
    remark to another guy? He was watching my person, and
    evaluating it, and judging it. Even at so mild a level, that’s
    kind of ‘ick’.

    And — I live in small town / rural areas, and have almost
    zero social life, which simply means that I’m not exposed
    to the potential for most of the harassment that other
    women have experienced.

    Add another woman’s voice (my friend doesn’t do internet,
    very much). At her older sister’s engagement party, her
    future brother-in-law hit on her, because a ‘crippled girl
    should be grateful for the attention’.

  270. I delivered pizza in college, mostly to campus & surrounding area. When delivering to a bunch of drunken guys, one said, “Hey, if we’d known a girl was going to deliver we woulda had money for a tip. Sorry ’bout that. How ’bout we gang-bang you instead?”

  271. Oh, so many stories, so little time. My hand is way up on this one.

    When I was 11, an old man at a retirement home asked for a hug and grabbed my (just budding) breast. My neighbor saw, and laughed. He’d done the exact thing to her moments earlier and she wanted me to have the same “fun” experience

    Around the same time, a man went out of his way to drive past me and flash his tongue through his fingers, with his children in the cab next to him.

    I was called fat, whore, slut, bitch, all through junior high, and got in a lot of fights. Where I kicked my fair share of ass. :)

    My junior high science teacher said in front of the whole class that his wife was so loose he could throw a garbage bag over his head and crawl right up inside.

    The turning point was when a coworker saw I needed a ride home and did the leering “I’ll give you a ride” (eyebrow wiggle and gross grin) and I sighed, looked him straight in the eye, and told him he was going to have to censor himself with me for sure. Since then I’ve had plenty of opportunities to call people on sexism and obnoxiousness, and I’ve stopped caring how they feel about it. My boss sent everyone in the office a joke email about bad women drivers, and I called him on it in front of them all. He doesn’t send them to me anymore.

    The thing is, if you’re not able to get over being called on your asshole behavior and change how you treat me, then you need to get the hell out of my way. I have no problem filing a lawsuit or, as in the case of that guy on the L the other day, shoving you away and yelling that you’re disgusting and need to apologize to me. Idiot.

  272. BTW, there was a troll named Richard who engaged in lively “debate” with the amazing Lizzie of the fabulous Diary of a Fat Teenager. I wonder if it’s the same jerk?

  273. This is for:
    -the random men in cars, who while I was riding my bike, felt compelled to slap my ass, as if it belonged to you by default. I used to pull off the side of the road when I heard a car pull up behind me. Still “men” would feel the right to slap me
    – the boss who grabbed my and my friend’s ass until we backed you into a corner and did the same.
    -the man on the bus who felt the need to grab the “fat ass” he felt so repelled by and then pull a knife when I told him to keep his hands off me.
    For my feminist ex husband who:
    When I was followed home by a man who was trying to force himself in to our flat whom and was shouting at, didn’t bother to come to the door to see what was going on. He was on the phone, so quite understandable.
    Who told me once when I told him of a taxi ride that didn’t cost a penny [with absolutely no wink, nod\, insinuation, or irony] told me that “women live in a different world ”

    Ya think?

    And, for the man in a bar that I misread signals for who asked me to stop grabbing his ass. I’m sorry, I was out of line.
    I can’t help but feel that a man, for once, felt what I lived through for a good portion of my life.

    Big hugs to all of you, we’ve been there.

  274. I thought of just sighing like I usually do, maybe with the associated shake of the head at the cluelessness of it all, but I think I’ll share.

    I’ve had men be rude to me, I’ve had women be rude to me.

    The absolute epitome of humiliation for me was when my 5th grade teacher bemoaning a dull day (I presume) decided for the fun of the class to have a race between the two slowest kids in class to find out once and for all who was the absolute worst.

    As the slowest slug of them all, my self-esteem what little was left after the other fatty fatty fat fat taunts of my lifetime has taken years to regrow.

    All thanks to a man who was in a position of power, who should never have done such a thing to any person but particularly not to a sad little girl who’s only crime was genes.

    So don’t you dare Mr. Trolldouche for a minute try and claim that men don’t do the ripping.

  275. And, I vowed not to come back in here and get all depressed again, but I felt for some reason I should share the really great and comforting thing one of my male friends told me once when I was upset about something and said I wanted to go cry in a corner:

    “Aw, don’t cry in a corner, why would you cry in a corner when you could be crying with your mouth around my cock?”


    Now I want to go cry in a corner again, except I can’t because maybe some random male will think I should be doing so with my mouth around his cock.

    You know…

    You know…


    I just…

    Maybe I’m going to break up with my boyfriend.

    I dunno.

    Is he great but ignorant and needing a wake-up, or is he beyond help? Man. I can’t figure it out.

    I need to be comforted today. I wonder where I can go for some comfort? Can you buy that? Do they sell it at Wal-Mart? I wish they did. I wonder how much comfort I can get for ninety-seven cents?

  276. *Hand up*

    I once had a guy go as far as “asking me to the prom” for me to later find out it was a “joke” because who would go out with anyone as ugly as me?

    I wish I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have spent anytime crying in my pillow at night wondering why people were so mean.

  277. 5th grade: hit in the back of the head with a rock by some asshole 6th grader walking behind me on the way home because I wouldn’t turn around and pay attention to him.

    High school: small tits. You got a joke, I’ve heard it.

    Last year: standing in line at a large concert to buy a shirt. Some guy behind me clearly grabs my ass (not just a brush, but a full on squeeze) and seemed offended that not only did I notice, I turned around and informed him that if he touched me again I’d beat the living shit out of him (I’m tiny, btw) in front of all of these people and that sure would look silly, now wouldn’t it? He disappeared.

    Last week: at a different, smaller, local concert. I am wearing a skirt which by proxy makes me meat for sale. I get the up-and-downs. I get the offers for drinks. I get the sleazy looks. If it weren’t for the fact that it was very clear that I was friends with the bartenders, doorman, and half the people on stage, I’m sure I would’ve had some people with wandering hands. By the end of the night I was wondering why the hell I didn’t wear a hoodie and jeans… but that still doesn’t stop it.

  278. Thank you, Aproustian! :)

    That actually did perk me up some. I still feel down, but it’s really nice to know we’re all here listening to each other.

  279. I don’t know which scares me more: a strange man yelling “You suck!” at me, or a strange man yelling “Suck me!” at me.

    I think I’m more comfortable with the former, because I can fight back if I have to. I can’t rape back.

  280. I haven’t read all of the comments, but this topic reminds of Janis Joplin’s youth:

    Soon, she was subjected to the same kind of hurts she experienced in high school, only this time there was a far more cruel edge. The torments reached a height when fraternity members sought to have her recognized as the “ugliest man on campus,” a highly visible campaign carried out in the college newspaper.

    I was pretty much equally harassed by girls and guys in school, so I can’t say that the boys were worse or more aggressive than the girls. I will say that I always hated the unnatural and confining social dynamics of school and nearly dropped out altogether because of the environment.

  281. You know, Jupiter, that brings up an interesting question. Would a man be more frightened of me if I pulled a dildo out of my purse instead of a stun gun? What would a street harasser do if somebody threatened them back, also with sexual violence? “What’s that? You want me to suck your cock? Oh honey, come on over, I’ll tie you down and stick this thing where the sun don’t shine! COME AND GET IT BIG BOY.”

    Of course, if I tried something like that, then I’D be arrested, thanks to Murphy’s Law of Reverse Harassment. DAMN. There really is no win.

  282. Oh, and I totally forgot about the guy who followed me around a nightclub (a gay nightclub) trying to grab me and trying to get me to come home with him. I finally had to ask the security guy to help. As he was getting thrown out? “You fat cunt!” I was more baffled than anything else as I’ve always been thin and protected by my stupid privilege.

    I just can’t stop coming back to this thread. In a way, it’s extremely comforting to know that I’m not alone and in another way, it’s made me so angry I doubt I’ll sleep tonight.

    What rock do these people crawl out from under? I’ve known so many amazing, sensitive, funny men who’ve never once made me feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable but it seems like they’re the vast majority.

  283. I would say that while I have heard hurtful things from women, I didn’t feel my physical self was ever in danger.

    When I was a kid and walked home from school by myself, a man drove by me and literally asked me if I wanted candy. I must have been 8 or 9 years old. I was scared to death, and locked myself in the house, closed all of the blinds, and felt my heart pounding in my chest until my parents got home.

    No woman ever did that to me.

    I was teased incessantly from Kindergarten through 6th grade by a group of boys (who I now understand were certainly going through quite a bit of shit themeselves). Not girls, boys.

    There are at least 50 examples I could give, but mainly, I’m realizing that the deep, internalized fear I have of being “different” (fat, large chested, Jewish, short, etc.) is not unjustified. No wonder I haven’t “gotten over it” yet.

  284. SugarLeigh, we are all listening.

    And you know what? There may be metric buttloads of crap excuses for human beings wandering around with penises, but there are also some really terrific men in the world who do get it…or at least get how much they don’t get it and make it their mission to listen.

    If you decide your guy isn’t one of them, there are also worse things in the world than being a solo act.

    Having found one of the greats, I’d rather be alone than be with someone who won’t even try to hear my stories.

  285. I was a skinny girl, but my parents are both fat. Long before I became fat I was told all the standard “Yo Momma’s so fat” so often I knew them all by second grade.

    It was an almost daily occurrence in middle school that some jock or popular boy would try and convince me and everyone how one of his buddies was totally hot for me. Always to his friend’s loud and exaggerated rebuttal. I was called more names than I can remember from first grade until graduation by kids I had known my entire life. Bulldyke, lesbo, fatty, or, my personal favorite. “The Shredder” for my ability to emasculate the boys with my scathing comebacks. (To be fair, I actually did appreciate that one at the time. I rather liked being feared, it made them leave me alone.)

    My sophomore year I found out my best friend (a woman) was cutting because she couldn’t handle the pressure her Grandfather was putting on her for gaining weight.

    The worst are the compliments, especially the sincere ones. Unless I make a point of bringing it to the complimenter’s attention I get complimented on one thing: the size and/or relative shape of my breasts. That’s it. I’ve been complimented ONCE on my eyes by a non-family member, and that was a woman and my sexual partner at the time.

    Oh and let’s not forget the guy at work who enjoys blaming me for everything that goes wrong with his work space. Because I’m the fat chick and that weird smell must be my fault.

  286. Oh wait, to tie in to the “why people hate the gym” post, I partially stopped going to my old gym when a group of older teens/young twenty-somethings were on the treadmills behind mine staring at my ass, and one of them said, “Motivation!” As in, looking at my ass was motivation for them to stay on the treadmill and run. Uh, go fuck yourself?

    A few minutes later, one of them says, “We need better motivation.” Uh, go fuck yourself again, you stupid asshole?

  287. I love men, but they terrify me.

    I was teased through almost all of middle school and high school by boys and girls alike. The girls’ verbal barbs were the worst, but when I was surrounded by boys, that was the time that I feared for my physical well being. (Luckily, I never got anything worse than being tackled and having grass shoved in my mouth–because I’m a “cow,” get it?)

    The men who yell at me from cars scare the shit out of me. My own brother does this too, to random women. I don’t get what the appeal is.

    My ex-boyfriend and I were having an argument about what the last thing in Pandora’s Box was (he said Hope, I said Lack of Hope). He got so frustrated that he tore the front of his t-shirt. From that day on, I was waiting for him to hit me. He never did.

    However, he did say some things to me that got awfully close emotional abuse–threatening to hurt himself if I left him (alone, in his room, for one night); saying that I owed him sexual favors; constantly trying to get me to change myself, saying that other people thought I was stupid/awkward/annoying/etc.

    My current boyfriend is Chinese and I am American, and we speak to each other in Japanese, so maybe this is a communication issue, but he says things like, “You’re fat, but I don’t care,” and does not understand how hurtful it is.

    What scares me the most about men, though, is how dependent and subservient I feel about them. No matter how terrible they are to me, I work hard to make them happy. If I have issues with a woman, I have no problem dismissing her, but I can’t stand the thought of a man hating me.

  288. I just remembered another one: I moved to this state a couple of years ago and six months or so later, I was way behind on rent and needing to find a new place lest I be thrown out onto the streets. I’m out and it’s winter and I’m on my way home from spending a very long day riding the bus to do job-interview-related shit.

    I get to talking with this foreign guy who sits next to me and asks me the time. We’re sitting there talking for a good half an hour or so and then, finally, the bus comes. As I’m getting up to go, the guy asks me for my number. It’s basically the only time any guy has ever asked me that, but at the same time, I could *see* the hungry look in his eye – I got super-slimy vibes off of him and figured he couldn’t find anybody else to fuck, so the blimpy fat chick would have to do.

    Still, I was so stunned he’d asked for my number, I just gave it to him and hurried to catch my bus. As I’m on my way to the bus, he follows me and asks me if we can go out and I say no, that I’m kind of in the process of getting thrown out of my place, so I really need to find a job and another place to live. Out of the blue, he offers to let me stay over at his place ‘for a few days’. I just sort of uncomfortably laugh it off and hop on the bus and try to put the whole strange encounter out of my head.

    The very next day, the guy calls me and we have a chat — he asks me again if we can go out and I say to him that I have a girlfriend (which I did, at the time) and that I wasn’t interested in being anything more than friends. But so he goes on and on at me, yakking my ear off, asking me if I’d ever had sex with a guy and I said no and that starts him off on a whole fresh barrage — I cut him off and told him it was none of his business what I did or didn’t do and that if he couldn’t respect my feelings on the matter, the conversation was over. He started up again with ‘well, I could come over to your place or you could come over to mine and we could…” and before he even finished the sentence, I hung up on his ass. He never called back, thank goodness.

  289. *raises hand*

    I have never been harassed by men for my size, but I have been harassed and threatened because of my sexual orientation/gender expression.

  290. I’m a park ranger and about a month ago, while I was at work IN UNIFORM, a male visitor said “That’s a shakin’ girl! Those are some big old Suzy Q’s you got there.” In reference, no doubt, to my D-cup breasts.

    Of course, I was livid. I told the supervising law enforcement ranger and she found out who they were and left a stern letter on their car suggesting that they send me a written apology. Today I received the “apology”, stating that I he was sorry that I had MISUNDERSTOOD his statement (shocking, I know) and that when he referred to my “big old Suzy Qs” he was actually talking about my curly hair.

    Riiiight, asshole.

  291. We could probably start with my dad, who attempted to justify the harassment I received throughout school like this: “Kids pick on you because you’re fat. You feel bad, so you eat more. You gain more weight, kids pick on you more.” I remember asking him for a milkshake at five years old, and him answering, “is that allowed with your diet?”

    In middle school, boys pretended to ask me out on behalf of their friends, who were always in the background shouting “No! No! Don’t listen to him!” One boy came to school with a rose and pretended to propose to me in front of our whole math class. I was angry and humiliated: the teacher, also male, laughed right along with everyone else. I claimed that I was a lesbian (little did I know, at that point, that I actually WAS one) to stop the “my friend wants to date you” crap, but that just invited nastier things.

    I was pelted with basketballs in gym and slapped and punched on the bus. I quite clearly remember one boy telling me that he wanted to sterilize me by sticking an axe up into my lady parts and twisting it.

    A boy I dated when I was 18 reprimanded me for eating a few pieces of chocolate when I was PMS-ing. A group of guys on my college campus announced that I was “the ugliest girl” they had ever seen. Some random stranger on myspace once messaged me and asked if I was related to Jabba the Hutt.

    Now that I am out of the closet, I often get accused of being a lesbian just because supposedly no guy wants to have sex with me (yet they keep hitting on me anyway… how does that work?)

  292. My completely-unasked-for 2 cents, SugarLeigh: Dump him.

    It’s hard enough to deal with this shit on a daily basis without having to do it in our own homes, too. From men who *say* they love us, yet.

  293. And I just remembered another one (sorry!): my mother had purchased an armoire for my bedroom one time and there was no way we could get it put together ourselves. So my mom asked this guy desk clerk who worked at her hotel if he would come over and put it together. He was a nice guy, respected and appreciated my mom a lot, so he said ‘sure’.

    Little did I know, though, that he would be bringing this disgusting pig of a best friend of his to ‘help’. My father had passed away by that point, iirc, so it was just my mother and I in the apartment. Anyway, Desk Clerk and his buddy show up and DC’s buddy has his girlfriend with him. By the way she cowers and immediately hops-to and does whatever DC’s buddy orders her to do, I can tell that she’s used to being treated like property. There are frequent orders from DC’s buddy to his girlfriend to shut up – with him saying ‘you’re here to be seen and not heard’. I must have heard him utter that phrase about twenty or thirty times in the two or three hours they were at the apartment.

    Anyway, they were working on getting the armoire put together (but mostly DC’s buddy spent his time shooting the shit with DC and being a dick to his gf) – my mom wasn’t saying much, but I could tell she was about as thrilled as I was (that is to say, not at all) that DC’s buddy was acting like such a jerk. So they’re finishing up putting the armoire together and it doesn’t look right… I haven’t said much for most of the evening, preferring to direct my comments to DC and DC’s buddy’s gf and my mom and ignoring DC’s buddy altogether. I make a comment about the armoire – some suggestion about how to fix a door or something so that it would sit right on the unit and DC’s buddy moves over to me and jabs his finger in my face and says, “Button it! You’re here to be seen and not heard!”

    Me, having just lit my cigarette, looked up at him, pointed my first two fingers at him (cigarette held between them), stared him dead in the eyes and said in a very firm and serious voice, “There are NO MEN in this house.” Meaning that while he might be in possession of a dick, it didn’t count for anything with my mother and I.

    He didn’t laugh but neither did he get noisy and indignant. He, rather wisely, just shut the hell up and went back to finishing building my armoire. And I’d like to think that DC’s buddy’s gf seemed to come out of her shell a bit more after that.

  294. here’s what I don’t get: what on goddess’ green earth compelled Richard to get up, go out on the internet, find this blog, and compose this barrage of missives? Does he have a trust fund? Does he not work for a living? Does he not have friends, family, pets, hobbies to attend to? What compels someone to go somewhere and say, “YOU’RE WRONG BECAUSE I SAY YOU’RE WRONG AND YOU CAN’T BE RIGHT BECAUSE I DON’T AGREE and oh by the way i asked two women before i came here so I know I’m really right”.

    What compels these people? I do not understand this. I don’t have time to read about all the things that I truly CARE about, much less the rest of my life. If I decided to go troll, I would never ever get anything done in my life.

    Oh, wait. There’s my answer.

    When do we just get to start saying: Richard, STFU.

    Cyclists: It won’t make you feel any better, but I have known many triathletes and long-distance cyclists, women who have biked through India, etc. People harass people on bikes. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female or if you’re thin or fat. Seriously. I know it doesn’t excuse it or defend it or make it better, nor am i trying to say it is not threatening – but perhaps there is some comfort in knowing that asshats are global in their abuse of cyclists.

  295. *raises hand*

    When I got my upper pierced when I was fifteen, my own dad said I looked like a whore. I basically learned how to talk behind peoples’ backs from him.

    In fact, I think dudes do most of their insulting women behind those women’s backs. Isn’t that “catty”?

    Just the other day, a male coworker of mine insulted our female supervisor’s weight and imitated how she walked. I don’t like her but I also can’t possibly hate her enough to think that’s okay.

    I don’t believe for one second that Mr. Concern Troll has never insulted a woman’s appearance behind her back. That’s the first place dudes go when they’re threatened by a woman.

  296. *sputter*

    Yes I stuck around… glutton for punishment I guess, though also starving for some womanly solidarity, so thanks for feeding that need, everyone.

    Wish I had witty rejoinders or even intelligent things to say in response to… well, any of this. But instead, I offer e-hugs for everyone, and the fervent wish that there will be a generation in the future (if we’re very lucky, one we’ll live to see) that’s free of this kind of epic bullshit.

    I think I’m going to bed now. But I love you dearies, in the most platonic and friendly, internet love sort of way. :3

    (and maybe best of all ??? I do not demand head from any of you for my internet love… yeah okay so I’m still feeling a bit sad and bitter just now)

  297. SugarLeigh, I think I’m kind of feeling a bit what you’re feeling right now (>_<)

    What is it with men and head that turns them into abusive monsters, anyways?

  298. *raises hand*

    When I was 16 years old my father told me I’d better learn to cook because nobody would marry me for my looks.

    Yeah. And it was neither the worst thing he ever said, or the worst thing I’ve ever heard.

  299. (quick PS to OtherCara because I decided to read the posts that popped up while I was typing before turning in):

    Your 2 cents maybe “weren’t asked for” but I’m keeping them in mind. As well as a lot of other things. I’m still thinking. But he’s really going to have to start thinking about what he says because I’m going to stop making it so easy for him to get away with it…

  300. In the 8th grade, the kid that sat behind me in algebra class would spend an entire hour every day with his feet stuck in the basket under my chair, shaking the seat and muttering things under his breath about “look at that jiggle” and “see her shake” and “how do you fit into that chair?” I was painfully shy already and sat there, humiliated, five days a week, hoping the teacher would notice and say something to help me out or get him to stop.

    One day I’d experimented with eyeliner or blue eyeshadow or something, and I finally had enough and I turned to him, teary-eyed, and said “will you please stop? please?”
    I think it startled him, and he stopped, but the next day said something about “you know, you don’t need to wear so much makeup.”

    20 years later, I still don’t know whether that was one last jab, or if it was some sort of backhanded compliment because he didn’t know how to apologize. He pretty much left me alone after that.

    What I hate the most are the comments when I’m minding my own business, enjoying my life, and someone out of the blue yells something out a car window that levels me. I was working in Atlanta during the Olympics in 96, and having SUCH a great time working with athletes from Spain and Brasil and Turkey, who all flirted like mad with me. Late one night I was walking to meet my brother for dinner, down a deserted street, and a pickup truck full of dudes did a U-turn around me and you know, I don’t remember what they said, exactly, but it ruined me for a couple of days because it was so very out of the blue.

    My brother, during the same Olympics, in the middle of the crowded CNN center, decided that was the best time and place to tell me that when we were kids, playing with the other kids in the neighborhood – when they’d gang up on me and make fun of me for being fat, he didn’t know whether to stick up for me or join in with the insults. When I got upset with him about TIME and PLACE and RANDOM SUBJECT OVER LUNCH, *I* was the one being “too sensitive”! I still can’t figure out if he wanted my forgiveness or for me to support his decision, because yeah! I totally deserved for my FAMILY to turn on me when the peer pressure set in…

    *raises both hands*

  301. I dont have the time or the emotional reserve to read through this at all today. But i will print it out & read it later, & as much as it will sicken me, it will enevtiably elevate my spirit to know that so many have gone (& continue to go) through these experiences. This blog is one of the most uplifting & life affirming things i have found *in my life: A million thanks to kate, sweet machine & fillyjonk –as well as every contributor to these comments– cannot express how profoundly i appreciate & am grateful that you have brought this blog into existance.

    Just a few instances, off the top of my head: the loser bully who singled me out & called me an elephant as i simply walked down the hall with the rest of our 8th grade class. he did it deliberately & like every other man who does this, he wanted a devestating reaction of my dying inside as the words ricocheted & shattered my insides. I pretended i didnt hear (he kept saying it & watching my visage greedily for any signs of pain he could get off on).
    The same thing for the boy in my class who, when i finally got up the nerve to wear a dress for my graduation from gradeschool day & was feeling pretty (& relieved that i was finally escaping that isolating hellhole of a place so rife with male bullying that it left me emotionally crippled for life), also took the time to deliberately tear me down –in line as we were waiting to walk in procession to get our diplomas– & look my slighty chubby body up & down & cluck, “Tsk, look at you; you shouldnt have bothered, ugly.”
    The boy i had a crush on in gradeschool who was macking on my best friend as we waited for her mom to pick us up & who was so late that i suggested that we walk across the street to MacDonald’s (to call her), who also looked at me digustedly & said, “Always thinking about food & stuffing your face.” I couldnt stand up for myself then,as a shy kid, & it only snowballed from them on …his words stuck, even to this day: that i would never be understood as anything other than ugly & fat & gross & disgusting; everythig else about me was invisable. i wasnt a real person, & i defly wasnt worthy of dignity, respect, or love.

    The boy who, at the start of my freshman year in highschool –when i thought i could turn over a new leaf & become a real person; a worthy person, a person who wouldnt be hurt or abused– who deliberately ignored me in favor of every other girl around me… i stood with my glass held out to be filled at a party & he stiffed me, the last one, deliberately. I dont think you could find asymbolism more on the mark than that one about how i was to be treated the rest of the 4yrs that followed. As a shy chubby kid fromage 8, all of this kind of treatment &more, by boys who didnt have a clue but who were following the invisable directives of the culture around them on how to treat females, i internalized all of this abuse & more i mymind has blocked & squirrelled away..&it robbed me of a entire LIFE. I am STILL trying to pick up the shards of my personhood & put myself together. It is a job that will never be completely finished. It has left me with a lifetime of managing chronic (& now that im older, some small but major bouts of) depression.

    Male priveledge not only depresses me, it has had the effect of simultanreously enraging me.


    -Throughout childhood: Told by my father that my face was so pretty, why couldn’t I just lose weight?

    -Dad- Recommended that I wear my hair down around my face at the dance to ‘thin my face.’

    -6th/7th grade- Had the cutest boys dance with me at the dances, all to watch them laugh and get paid because they were bet that they wouldn’t dance with me.

    -8th grade- The boy that I was NUTS about for 4 years discovered that I had not yet shaved my armpits. I was wearing a Buffy tank top, and on the bus, he shouts, “If you love Buffy, raise your hands really high!” Within 5 seconds I caught on and tried to melt into the plastic seats.

    -All adolescence: Called Miss Piggy, Fat, Fatty, Ugly, etc.

    -The boy I first kissed (14) tried to double-team me with his friend (feeling me up).

    -Objectified by my best guy friends from 15-18 (both of whom I was later involved with) as having ridiculously large boobs, and having them always talk about them.

    -Frequently “accidentally” grazed by sed guys.

    -First boyfriend at 18- Earned himself a restraining order when he threatened that he would cut off my breasts if I looked at another guy, and also gave me death threats.

    -Second boyfriend- Told me he was less attracted to me when I gained weight, and said he didn’t find me as beautuful.

    -COUNTLESS FUCKING GAS STATION ATTENDANTS. The most recent of whom leered at me and down my dress, and smarmily said to me, “You have a very pretty shirt. You look so good.” I thanked him, tight-lipped, and peeled outta there.
    Another guy, years ago, begged to take me to Turkey.

    -NYC Horrors: Leered at and spit at by a guy when I was walking alone at night on 41st St.
    -Stared at, followed, and touched by a guy in the subway late at night, who I could only shake off by jolting fiercely when he touched my hair–and all the other riders took attention.
    -Followed by a creepy man on the street who very scarily said, “Baby, you are so sexy with that porcelain skin, give me your number, oh please you look like a doll.” He was practically running at me and it scared the CRAP out of me. I muttered ‘no’ and BOOKED it.

    I know there’s more…I just thank God that I can’t remember it. :-/

  303. Just this evening while waiting for the bus a guy was hitting on me. If he’d stopped after I said “I don’t think so” or even after “no thanks”, I would probably have thought of him as flattering and polite.

    But he didn’t.

    Instead he kept badgering me. Why not have coffee with me? We were waiting for the same bus, right? Why wouldn’t I want to go out with him? Why wouldn’t I want to have sex with him? Was it because he’s black? Had I had a black man? In time he got explicit in describing his physical attributes, discussing what he’d like to do, etc.

    Note, this is AFTER I had stated I was taking the bus to meet my boyfriend for dinner. AFTER I had told him “no” numerous times.

    I resented his badgering and the aggression underneath his veneer of flattering interest. I resented that he stayed just polite and flattering and flirtatious enough that it would have been rude to go silent. And I resented my fear that if I didn’t provide response to his verbal provocation he would move onto the physical.

  304. Men have said and done rude or sexist things to me many many many times. I am sure that is in no way unusual.

    The one that always springs to mind, because it has a happy ending, is when I was in my late twenties, this night I was out with my friends, both male and female, listening to a band and dancing. I went to the bar for drinks. A young guy, someone I had never met before, came up to me out of the blue and said, “You’re fat. I hate fat chicks.”

    I am sure he was gratified by the way my jaw dropped, not because of what he said so much as the shock that he felt it was ok to approach someone he didn’t even know, in a crowd, in such a rude and mean way. I honestly just stood there and gaped at him.

    I guess he thought I was alone, but I was lucky enough that night that one of my male friends heard him, and although he was much shorter than that guy, he came right into his face and said, “Is that so? Well, I think she’s cute.”

    And I got to see that guy’s jaw drop the same way mine had, and I got to see him backpeddle and make apologies. It was priceless.

    I am sure he never would have even made the comment if he hadn’t thought I was alone.

  305. Hands up.

    Male teacher at school telling me I was fat and disgusting and didn’t deserve to join in on group activities.

    Taunted with ‘Hungry, Hungry Hippo’ for years in high school.

    Having someone who I had been seeing for 4 months dump me by shouting on his way out ‘You know, you would really be ok if you weren’t so fat and disgusting’. Yeah, nice.

    Being told by an older relatives’ friend that I was so attractive I should do fat-a-grams. There really is no reply for this one.

    Stupidly (when I was younger) going off with someone I met in a club, getting assaulted and left on the side of the road an hour from home. At least he came back and threw by bag at my face, laughing and making mooing sounds.

    Whenever I am out exercising I get constantly beeped, laughed, mooed and oinked at. Of course there is the obligatory fat bitch thrown in for variety. I just purchased a treadmill for this reason because physical activity helps with my depression but I just cannot face exercising outside anymore.

    To top it all off, a male professor of endocrinology told me how much better my (very fine) sex life would be if only I lost some weight. He mentioned my husband would be appreciative. He was a fuckneck of the highest order.

  306. Oh boy, is my hand up. Gazillions of examples.

    If you want one fewer than 24 hours old: in a playground, in a group of kids who looked about nine, a boy said snarkily at a girl, “Well, I like your hair, but I don’t like your body.”

  307. Richard, if you’re still reading, I’m going to start by saying I think I am one of the lucky ones. I have never been raped, my father has treated me with nothing but love, my sexual relationships have been with men who made me feel special and safe and loved.

    I have the privilege of being close enough to our society’s screwed up beauty standard without being a bona fide ‘hottie’ (bit too chubby, bit too mouthy) that I don’t get regular street harassment. Sure, there was some sub-Mean Girls action at my highschool, and at one workplace with girls/women I worked with.

    However, it wasn’t a woman who exposed herself to me, masturbating furiously, screaming out ‘Watch me cuuuum’ as I walked to do my grocery shopping. It wasn’t a woman who shoved her hand up my dress and into my underpants as I walked past her in a crowded bar. It wasn’t a woman who spread the rumour I’d had anal sex with her in a shower cubicle (and this while I was still a virgin). It wasn’t a girl who reached down my school uniform in year seven to see whether I was padding my bra with tissues. It wasn’t a girl who poked me with a wooden ruler in my pubic area while I was leaning over a desk finishing up on gluing a project together. It wasn’t a woman who noticed me looking in the window of a lingerie shop while waiting for a friend who said ‘I’d like to see you in that.’ And when I replied indignantly, ‘I beg your pardon, I don’t think so’, it wasn’t a woman who said ‘You should be flattered, you fat cunt.’

    I’m neither a police officer nor a lawyer, but by my reckoning, several of those instances outlined above are criminal acts.

    Richard, I’M ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES. Wouldn’t you like your daughter not to live in a world where a woman who has had an anonymous man’s uninvited hand reach into her underwear just because she walked past him while being female counts herself fortunate?

    These stories are real. And this is why feminism is still important.

    (sorry if this is double-posted in part – computer issues)

  308. At my smallest, and at my biggest weight there was someone of the opposite sex throughout my life telling me that I was not good enough. That I was just not enough.

    After being 130 lbs and 280lbs (my current weight), I don’t even believe it is a weight issue anymore. Some men are cruel, and they find flaws no matter what a woman’s size is. Especially some men on the internet.

    Someone took a picture of me holding my 8 year old daughter off of a parenting forum, photo shopped it to make it look as if I were molesting my child then re-posted it back on the forum for the “lolz”.

    The dawn of the internet brought for me a place to get to know others without initial judgement on physical features. It was more of….basing one’s opinion on other’s knowledge and their soul. A place to share information and network.

    Now, the internet is full of sick bullies. A reflection of what society has become. That person on the other end of the keyboard harassing other women online, imagine how he is in the real world. I can’t post on forums anymore without being attacked, even IF I don’t post a picture. It’s because I’m a woman and this man is going to assert his power on me.

    Yes Richard, I have been made fun of at any weight. Offline AND online. At all ages. And guess what? I was a model.

    My life is very changed, and I think much of it has to do with the hate I encounter on the internet. I don’t go to my favorite old haunts because of the pain that trolls/ people like you enjoy inflicting on others. You do it for the lolz right? Or does it make you feel like a real man?

    I could post about 3 major forums right now that do nothing but harass and objectify women. It happens every day. Sure, other women hate on other women – of course it happens, but I don’t really have female “enemies to be quite honest.

    You are the one who is weak, you are the one who is heartless, and you’re the one who has to wake up every day with yourself.

    Good luck with all of that.

  309. In a dark nightclub with three very attractive, skinnier friends, a group of boys looked at us and decided they “wouldn’t touch [me] with a barge pole”. Then one of them grabbed my boobs and told his mates that they were all real, and maybe therefore I was “worth a go”.

    Just one example from 24 years of bullshit.

  310. @Sarahau, I totally relate. I can no longer play out in the front yard with my daughter, nor go for walks because there is a group of neighbor guys who sit outside all summer long. They drink, barbeque, play cards, etc. When I walk by, or if they see me out in my front yard, they cat call, make pig noises, cow noises and they say disgusting things I don’t want my child to be subjected to.

    Did I mention that my daughter is just a child? These men don’t even care. What has this world gone to when men don’t care what an innocent child sees or hears?

    These men have wives. They have children too. It doesn’t make sense.

    I walk on my treadmill inside the house because walking makes me feel good. But I feel angry that I should be contained to walking in my house. I should walk down my damn street without fear, without harassment….

  311. Hands up loads for me too!!

    “Fat Bitch” seems to be the jibe of choice levelled at me. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard that one. I think the first time was when I was about 4 or 5 maybe? Let’s see: most recently, it’s been gangs of men in cars screaming at me about how fat my arse is while zooming past (what is it about the summer that suddenley makes all the arseholes mobile?). Also, two horrible little boys, circling around me on the bicycles as I walked home, oh wait,… they called me “Fat Slag”, nice to have some variety I guess. Ummm… oh and the other day, albeit this is from a woman boss, as she handed me the birthday present that my work colleagues had clubbed together to buy me, she loudly announced “Don’t worry, there isn’t any food in there!” ROFL yes really!! Foolishly, a little piqued and bemused, I asked her to explain what she meant. Came back the reply “We’ll I thought one of us should be watching your figure!” Hahahaha what a moron!

    It’s definitely a power thing, I think. “I have power over you, so I can judge you and pass comment on your appearance, and you can’t answer back because a) I’m bigger and stronger, or b) I’m your boss or c) there are more of us than you and we’re moving at a faster pace (to the arsehole men in their cars!) or d) because I’m male and it’s ok for me to judge you because it’s been that way since the dawn of time, and how dare you parade yourself around when you do not look anything like someone I would like to bone, you fat bitch”.

    Also, WTF is it with Grandfathers? When I was 7 years old, my cousin’s Grandfather said the one and only sentence that he ever uttered to me for the whole time he was alive, despite my always coming into contact with him through regular playdates with my cousin……
    He said…..*drum role*… “You’re fat, you are”.
    Hahahaha what a wanker!

    Sarahau – “Fuckneck”, simply brilliant word! I might have to borrow that one from you :-D

  312. My father insisted that the only men who’d ever want me would be black. *eyeroll* The man is the biggest tool on the planet, I swear.

    The high school orchestra’s tuba player treating me to a rendition of “Jabba the Hutt’s Theme” every time I got near him.

    All of the dudes who insisted that my best friend and I were a lesbian couple, but both of us was “the man”. My friend had a fairly dark mustache and some sort of problem with one of her legs, so she didn’t have the requisite girly walk. She pretty much busted her ass to be feminine most of the time, which still pisses me off when I think of how much she had to offer that didn’t revolve around her looks.

    My college boyfriend who insisted that I gain weight to be fat enough for his sexual proclivities. (See, you can’t win, somebody will always find fault if you’re not their flavor of wank fodder.) Who, by the way, got engaged to a woman fatter than I am about a week after I dumped him. The other guys in college who though “he’s so into you” was a funny gag to play on me and their friends. You know, I wish I’d gone to Smith, college dudes aren’t ready to interact with real people.

    The dude who raped me insisting that it was a compliment, because how else would I ever get any. Strange that I was doing fairly well in that area before he came along.

    The many men who have thrown things from their car windows as they passed me, while yelling their cat calls. Beer bottles, shoes, and cell phones. Cell phones! I hope they broke down in the middle of nowhere and had no way to call a tow truck.

    The different groups of guys who have followed me in public places trying to “get my number” and being hostile. The group of young guys who surrounded me in a mall whilst mall security completely fucking ignored it. It was actually a woman who came to my rescue, someone working inside a nearby store who came out and told the jagoffs to get lost.

    Women may have said mean things to me, but they don’t hold a candle to the scary aggressive shit men have done to me because I don’t conform to the porn standard of femaleness.

  313. **raises hand**

    There have been far too many incidents where men have made aggressive, threatening or downright scary comments to me, particularly about my looks. The most memorable incident was in seventh grade, when one guy in particular kept telling me how much he wanted to “fuck” me and “tap that ass.”

    Keep in mind that both of us were all of twelve years old at the time. I didn’t tell anyone at the time, as I’d told adults about other harassment-based incidents (though not with such explicit words) and the ones I’d told just brushed it off with, “Well, boys have a funny way of showing that they like you.”


  314. *hugs* to EVERYONE. Seriously. I read all this, and know I’m one of the ‘lucky’ ones, if you can call it that.

    And ditto to the “but they only tease you because they like you” bullshit. NO. They tease you so they can show you they’re the powerful ones.

    Even the idiots in fifth grade who constantly pull your hair, so that YOU can’t pay attention in class and get in trouble with the teacher for turning around and telling them to STOP IT.

  315. I’m a long-time lurker here just delurking to raise both hands!

    I’ve had random sexual propositions from guys in the street and a nasty guy grinding against me on a crowded bus. A (male) friend once told me, ‘Fat girls are great, they give much better tit-wanks’ and expected me to be complimented!

    I’ve also heard plenty of bitchy comments from guys about the way women look and dress. Including a friend of my father who thought he was doing me a favour by pointing out how badly dressed all my friends were so I could learn from their mistakes!

    I once won a thousand pounds in a lottery and when discussing with people at work what I was going to spend it on nearly every guy said something along the lines of, ‘You should just blow on something you’ll really enjoy – like shoes or a really expensive handbag!’ Because I’m a girl, so I must want to blow all my money on accessories!

  316. *Hands up*

    All the yellers from cars and buses, the bra strap snappers and the guys who called me names all through elementary, jr and senior high, the co-worker who called me a dizzy broad when he thought he had the phone on mute but didn’t, the total stranger who followed me down the street yelling about how I should come back to fim place and the touched me while I walked away (if incandescent rage could kill he would have be reduced to ash on the spot), on an on… yes, yes, yes.

    It isboth infuriating and comforting to hear that this is not an unusual thing.

    Also, may I request that maybe there could be a companion thread for examples of times when we as women have busted the hell out of that stereotype that we are all catty and competitive and untrustworthy to each other?

  317. Oh, yeah, and the ex-boyfriend in college who stalked me for a couple of months post-breakup, following me around every time I went on a date, then calling me less than 30 seconds after I got back to my dorm room “just to see how I was doing”. That was a lot of fun male attention. Amazing what one can recall once you get reminded of it.

  318. When I was 12 years old, my brother paid his friend to have sex with me, because I would never get laid otherwise. His friend took this to mean he should get me alone and try to rape me.

    I’ve had a ranch packet, an empty soda bottle, a cup full of soda, and other things (mostly food) thrown at me from cars when I would ride my bike.

    A car full of men followed me through my neighborhood, until I drove to a gas station and parked. It passed by on the street a few more times, then left.

    There’s a creepy guy who comes into the store I work at and tells any woman in the line she “smells nice.” Writing it, it doesn’t seem as creepy as it is, but those women can’t get out of the store fast enough.

  319. “After being 130 lbs and 280lbs (my current weight), I don’t even believe it is a weight issue anymore. Some men are cruel, and they find flaws no matter what a woman’s size is.”

    I think Tabby is absolutely right. And in my experience, you get some form of crap for the way you look whether you 1) adhere to conventional standards of beauty or 2) don’t adhere at all.

    Unfortunately, it took me more than 20 years to figure that one out. For a long time, I truly thought it was somehow my fault, and I could find the magic key to make the harassment go away by being more attractive or less attractive or thinner or fatter.

    But there really is not a way to escape the bullshit, except maybe, you know, not to be born female. Or, optimistically, to radically change our culture. Because the onus shouldn’t be on us for the way we look; the onus should be on them for the way they act.

  320. **Hands up**

    I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been publicly humiliated by complete strangers, seemingly just because of my appearance. How dare I offend their eyes by not being a blonde, drop-dead gorgeous, pliable size 4!

    The first example that comes into my head: crossing the road with the pedestrian lights at a busy city intersection. Car full of young hoons, instead of waiting, guns it and turns (illegally and dangerously) directly in front of me, my sister, and a bunch of other pedestrians. The driver apparently thought that was hilarious enough in and of itself – but still took the opportunity to yell out “FAT SLAG!!!” at me before speeding off down the street. I was mortified and speechless.

    Believe me, Troll Richard – no woman has ever insulted me the way that many men have.

  321. 2 of my all time worst

    Me: walking down street – 3rd street between ave A & B
    Man on street: “I’d like to fuck the shit out of you”

    I went to a doctor because i was having excruciating menstrual cramps
    The doctor was kind at first. He told me to undress and put on the gown so he could examine me, and left the room.
    I put on the gown, which of course exposed my heavily tattooed arms.
    He came back in, looked disapprovingly at my arms, and before even examining me, said with contempt “you likely have these pains because you have gonorrhea”. I guess, you know, because all tattooed young women are ‘raging sluts’ with loose morals and STDs.

  322. reading all of your comments is bringing so much back to mind…
    and making me cry.

    One more: Riding the L train to work one morning, very crowded – PACKED – (for those of you who don’t know how crowded an NYC subway can get), and a man got up behind me, and pressed his erect penis into my butt the entire ride. I was too afraid to move, and too afraid that if i said anything (and it would have been overheard by many, we were all just that tightly packed) that he would have responded with a “yeah, right, you fat cow” or something else to dismiss his criminal behavior, while making me look stupid in the process.
    We got off the train, and i exited with my head down, crying. I was walking up the stairs, and he was still on the train platform, i looked down, and our eyes met. He WINKED at me.

  323. I have been mooed at by boys since 7th grade. I still get mooed at, and I’ll be 40 next year. Usually this is when I’m going for a walk, and a car of young idiots is driving by and feels the need to comment because I’m not a guy. Or they yell “Fat Bitch” because I’m out walking and they’re driving.

    My favorite though was being out for a walk, and a car of young idiots drove by me and yelled “FAGGOT!” at me. That was priceless. Pants with a big pink stripe, Strides Against Breast Cancer shirt with a big pink ribbon, and a ponytail, and, oh yes, 44D breasts. I stopped and laughed so hard I almost wet myself. I hoped they would drive around again so I could ask them if I was the only woman they’d ever seen who wasn’t behind Plexiglass but alas, they dd not.

    At this time in my life, I actually get more perplexed about these things than bothered by them. Why yell fat bitch to someone who is exercising? Makes no sense. Why moo at someone? Makes no sense. Why call a woman a faggot? Makes no sense.

    I think I get perplexed because I now have enough cumulative knowledge to understand that this isn’t anything to do with me, rather it lies with the idiots being idiots, and I am not responsible for idiots.

    *hugs to everyone who puts up with this bullshit*

  324. Let’s see —

    *the guys that barked at me every day on my way in the door to school for four solid years.

    *the guys that would ‘pretend’ to ask me out and then laugh their asses off.

    *the guy that, during an 8th-grade math class IN FULL VIEW OF THE OBLIVIOUS MALE TEACHER got up out of his seat, came three quarters of the way around the room, wrapped his legs around mine and proceeded to hump me no less than three times before I stabbed at him with a pen. (It was a blunt Bic — I don’t know if I even bruised him.) The class was snickering at this the entire time; at no point did the teacher even look up from his desk.

    *The creepy guy following me on the street that I had to duck into a bookstore for 20 minutes to ditch.

    I could go on . . .

  325. Hi. New here. I’d like to raise my hands too.

    I have been fat my whole life (well maybe not when I was under 6 years old….). I have been ridiculed, bullied and heard hateful words of all kinds since I can really remember. I have been married now for almost 5 years to a wonderful man who truly loves me and finds me attractive (even at a size 28 – who knew?!? not me.). But still, after so many men making a game with their buddies out of hitting on me, so many men leading me on, even for long periods of time, just so they could laugh it off day after day behind my back- I’m still not convinced that anyone could really find me attractive. My husband tells me everyday how beautiful I am and he has NEVER said or implied anything to the contrary, yet I still am convinced that it isn’t really true and he has just settled for me and says that to be nice cause he cares about me. Then, another, very small part of me knows that he is sincere, but it is so hard to really and truly believe it after two decades of being told that I’m only good for being a joke and not worthy of a real relationship where someone actually found me, ME, sexually and otherwise attractive.

  326. In college I finally felt vindicated one day when my male coworker finally “got it” about the sexual harrassment I was receiving from our supervisor. The 60+ year-old, toothrotting supervisor would constantly look down my shirt, stand too close, and ask personal questions. It quickly got to the point where I would where if I had to work his shift, (only 2 people on shift) I would wear several layers of clothing, no make-up and my ugliest glasses to work.

    On a day when the supervisor was supposed to be off, I went in to fill out time cards with my coworker. I was wearing a modest, but fitted v neck t-shirt and had to lean down to fill out the card. The supervisor placed himself in his ogling postion. I moved and stood against a doorway with the timecard on the wall to finish filling it out. The supervisor got up and moved right next to me so he could continue ogling me while I finished.
    It wasn’t until he witnessed it himself, that my male coworker understood why I was so uncomfortable with this guy. I know for a fact I was hired because the organization needed to prove that a woman could work under him without complaining about harrassment. Unfortunately, they were right. I never did anything official. And I’m still mad that I felt justified only when my coworkers witnessed it themselves.

  327. FUCK, Y’ALL!! Is anyone else being reminded of Andrea Dworkin’s assertion that women need land and guns?

    I just remembered two more:

    -I was maybe ten, at a birthday party at a roller rink. (For kids’ birthdays you could rent the whole facility, or for less money you could rent the party room and then have members of your party skate on the big rink that was open to the paying public.) Anyway, some big dude – in my memory he was huge, but realistically he was probably just a teenager – skated up behind me, picked me up without so much as a word, held me over his head, skated around that way for a lap, put me down, laughed, and skated away. I was so fucking scared – I mean, what? You’re ten, skating around, and suddenly you’re manhandled from behind and held aloft over some stranger’s head? I don’t recall there being any sexual overtones – then again, I was ten – but it was clearly about power. Fucker. Nobody did a damn thing, even to ask me if I was okay. They did notice, and were alarmed — but of course I only knew THAT because one of the grown-ups in charge talked to my mom about it in hushed tones when she came to pick me up. Yet still NOBODY EVER said a word to me, directly, about it. I hated the experience, and I hated the subsequent feeling of being “managed” rather than dealt with straightly as a real person.

    -High school, at a local carnival. One of the carnies was strapping me in to a whirly ride and asked me if I knew his friends Neil and Bob. Then he made it clear with his, ahem, body language that it was a pun on “kneel and bob,” i.e. a blow job joke. This was while he had his hands very close to me on the seat and shoulder restraint bars that were physically holding me in, and that he personally had to release from the controls before I could get free.

    -When I was getting my masters’ at Duke, there was a house full of real winners who would sit on their porch drunk all day long. (Not Duke students, I should add… they were probably in their forties.) My housemates and I would, if we were walking in the most direct fashion to campus, walk by their house… but of course the women in our house weren’t about to do so unless we had a male housemate with us. Most of the time we just took a slight detour to avoid the laughs and comments: “Hey, little girl… Are you goin’ to school?”

    -I’ve mentioned the math teacher who would make cracks about all the mistakes in the math book being due to “all the women who are on the editorial board,” and who one time said, in class, “Let’s make a list of all the things women are good at,” and then proceeded to tear off a tiny corner of a piece of paper.

    -A high school teacher who was giving some lesson in an assembly on good decision-making and used some incredibly inappropriate example wherein he was trying to choose which girl to go out with and wanted the one who had the best body because she’d make him look the best. (The fucker had a daughter at the school, ferfuckssake!) I walked out angrily. :) (And I didn’t get in trouble, to the credit of the other teachers’ present.) He was VERY apologetic to me personally, later, but in an incredibly creepy way… saying things like, “I was so sad to see that it was you who walked out, because you know I love you so much…” He later wrote in my yearbook, “I know we have a special understanding about each other… I think we love each other.”

    -Above someone mentioned that women are afraid men will kill them. My first serious boyfriend actually did go on to murder his wife and child before killing himself. That’s not my story to tell, though, so I won’t, except to say that my reaction — the feeling of, “Oh my God, should it have been me? Could it have been me?” — while mind-blowing and incredibly upsetting, had a very available space in my mind. That is to say, I didn’t have to create a new file called, “Reasons to be afraid of men, even those close to you.” That file was there already. To a degree that startled me at the time.

  328. *raises hand* Seriously, I think every woman in the world is raising her hand.

    Stuck in my memory:

    – the boy I worked with at the pizza place/italian bakery, who locked me in the cooler with him and then jammed the cannoli cream filled pastry bag down my top and squeezed (I have a lifelong hate of cannolis now)
    – the guy who followed me as I walked home alone across campus one night, and when I kept glaring back at him, he kept insisting he was seeing me home safely, despite his constantly getting closer and closer.
    – the countless guys at bars/clubs/events and airports/planes who have pushed themselves against me, or groped me, claiming it was unintentional when called on it
    – the ex-manager who held entire meetings with me (I was a manager reporting to him) and spoke at my breasts the entire time

    Gah. For anyone to doubt that this is a common experience for women is mindboggling. Truly.

  329. This thread has reminded me of a lot of things that happen, even on a day to day basis, that are essentially bullshit. Bullshit I’m too apathetic/scared to say anything about.

    Like my boss telling me my hair is “frizzled?” WTF? I don’t blow dry it to 70s ironed perfection for one day and I’m “frizzled”?

    If I forgo makeup for a day I get “Are you feeling okay?”

    Everytime I wear a dress to work I get the “Wow I didn’t even recognize you. You look good. Got a job interview?” *wink wink*

    The transient man who told my coworker I was one “hot coworker” while doing fieldwork. The fucker couldn’t even address me, he had to be creepy to my coworker.

    My husband not believing me when I told him some weirdo was leering outside our building when I left for a trip at 4:30 in the morning.

    Again, not being believed when I tell him someone threw something at my car trying to injure me and doing $900 damage to the car in the process. (I must have run over something.)

    I’m so pissed. It’s good though. Because I’m saying something the next time any of this crap happens and I’m going to make some guy feel really fucking small.

    I just want to say thank you to all of you for reliving all of this heinous shit. I know it’s helped me in some way.

  330. -at 12 a friend and I were at the park and guy exposed and played with himself.

    -father of a friend commented on my developing breasts to my dad. they were never invited over to our house again, but nobody ever talked to me about it.

    -co-worker described vivid dreams he had of me in front of several other co-workers, including my boyfriend at the time. the co-worker would also try to grab me or would make comments about what he would do to me if he were my boyfriend. when I told him to fuck off, he didn’t listen. when I told our boss, I was asked if I had asked him to stop, and it was shrugged off. i found out years later he was fired after 4 other women came forward with similar complaints.

    – bike riding with a friend we were getting on our bikes after a quick ice cream break, a group of business men sitting at a table started to snicker and make comments about our asses. this included pointing and laughing.

    -grocery shopping a man commented that he couldn’t get his cart around my fat ass. nice.

    – waiting for my hubby to pick me up after class, a man approached me and asked if he could touch my breasts and would not leave me alone. there were a lot of people around, and finally a cab driver got out of his car to help be rid of the man. i guess me yelling – get away from me, stop it, and trying to walk away didn’t get anyone else’s attention, including a classmates. can you say pissed off!

  331. And then there was the rather traumatic relationship in undergrad (the same guy who didn’t like large-breasted women because “they’re all fat”- then what are you doing with me, jackhole?):

    -the guy who would drive an hour and a half to show up at my college apartment without warning, to make sure I wasn’t cheating on him or lying about my whereabouts,
    -the guy who, upon learning that I had male friends, started calling me their whore,
    -the guy who threw a fit when I didn’t have dinner for him on one of the days that he showed up randomly, because as a woman it was my job to make his dinner (yeah, fuckhead, I was a full time chemistry major)
    -the guy who would try to monopolize my time when I came home for the weekend, act like a fuckwit if he couldn’t, and when I complained, would have the gall to say “but I LET you spend Friday night with your parents” (yeah, asshole, you don’t LET me do anything)

    It was such a relief to unload that one. I was worried that he would stalk me, but he was afraid of my father for some reason. He had a good 6 inches of height and probably 30 lbs on my father, but he was terrified of his own father so I think he transferred the fear. It worked in my favor so I’m not complaining.

    Oh, and Richard? I never told my father any of THIS either. Make of that what you will.

  332. Most of the shit I’ve gone through has been while I was a thin teenager in highschool, and always from other females.

    Now that I’m overweight, I haven’t had any problems with anyone…male or female…no fat comments, no sexual comments. Which is weird, because I live near Los Angeles, where, frankly, many people are very outspoken in their comments.

    In highschool, I got into two fights. One was because I was a white girl, and the mexican chica gangbanger girls didn’t like my Pink Floyd shirt, and the other was appearantly because I was thin, and thus small, and therefore an easy target. In neither case did I instigate. In the first case, the byotch basically sucker punched me while I wasn’t aware I was about to get beat up.

    So, yeah…I’m sure this shit happens way more often to fat girls than to thin girls, and I’m sure in most cases it’s men who are being asses to women, but I wanted to point out that it does happen to thin girls, and it does happen to women, by women.

  333. sorry, this thread has opened the floodgate for me.

    The last company i worked at, the PUBLISHER said to me, in front of other people, that he “gets off on seeing what i wear every day”.
    Funny, i never told my dad about that, Richard…..

  334. *both hands in the air*

    – at 8 years old, an “uncle” decided to touch me when and where i didn’t want to be touched….

    – at 10 years old, when my grandfather asked me “don’t you want to lose weight so you’ll get married?” i said that i may never marry or marry when i’m 40! to which he replied, “who will want you then?”

    – at 13 years old, i found myself being leered at by family members and friends who held the beloved title of “uncle”…

    – at 15 years old, i overheard my grandfather and mother betting on whether i’ll get knocked up before graduating high school (he didn’t say anything to my face…but i think it still counts)

    – at 16, being told that “i could make a lot of men’s fantasies come true” by some damn creep who was driving (slowly) in a car next to me while i was walking to school….

    – during my 20s: meeting someone through a personal ad who was surprised that i “actually expected someone to take me out and NOT expect sex right away, as i was a fat, black chick….; being told that i only deserved “pity f**ks or mercy f***ks” by idiots who were annoyed that i was with other (more attractive) friends at a club; after coming out of the closet to family, a male relative says, “all you need is some really good d**k and you’ll be fine!”

    – during my 30s/40s: being told by a gay male friend, that i’ll “eventually marry a man….because you’re not a total dyke…..you’re too feminine…..and dykes aren’t feminine….you’ll have to play along to get along…”; “why don’t you just conform and everything will be alright? men won’t hate you if you just behave like you’re supposed to!”

    yeah….behave like i’m SUPPOSED to! never!

  335. Oh man, I thought I didn’t have any.
    The guy I slept with in high school who said that I was one of the three girls he was interested in. One was pretty so he liked her for parties, one was nice so she met his parents, and I was the smart one so he liked to talk to me. But I wasn’t pretty enough to be with exclusively. And I slept with him. I am smarter now.
    The kid – couldn’t have been more than 18 – who slowed down and kissed out the window the other day as I walked to work.
    The statement about women sharing their fear is disturbing. I don’t know if my boyfriend really understands the fear and anxiety that we have as women sometimes. The low-level wariness that we view some situations so that we can be safe. Of course, he was never flashed on the subway or had some dude use the crowded train as an excuse to grab his ass. Because clearly, that is what I am here for.

  336. As others have mentioned, there’s no way to document ALL of the shit that’s said to the average woman. How about just the handful that were the more painful or scary?

    1) When I was 14, a boy stopped me in the hall at school, got very close as if to whisper something, and announced, “You have got the biggest tits I’ve ever seen.”

    Because every women needs to have at least one time in her life where she wants the earth to open up and swallow her, whole. Really.

    2) I stopped having (female) friends over for dinner the next year, because, as soon as they left, my dad would provide a cute-figure analysis of them (always in contrast to my non-cute figure. Can’t be busty and have a “cute” figure. Always skeeved me out and sent me into an OMIGOD, WHY is my dad leering at my friends?! freak-out.)

    3) A message board my SO frequented managed to find a house-blog SO and I had set up, then dug through the linked photo directory to find photos of me, which were then posted to said message board along with lovely comments about rhinoceri and how awful it was that SO “had to roll over THAT every morning.” The threads went on for several weeks before the mostly male posters got bored with tearing me down.

    4) A male coworker who would mutter “back fat” every time I would walk by.

    5) The drunken vagrant who demanded a kiss, then implied that I should be grateful for his attentions, “because you’re obviously not getting any anywhere else.”

    Women may say shitty things to one another, but BY FAR the nastiest stuff has come from men.

  337. from the time I was 12 until I moved out of my parents house, I cut the grass at least once a week in the summer. I usually wore shorts and a tank top because pushing our ancient, heavy lawnmower all around our huge sunny yard meant I got very sweaty indeed. EVERY SINGLE TIME I cut the grass, some asshole dude in a passing car or bike would make a comment… usually they’d just moo, but sometimes they’d get more hur hur hur creative. Sometimes I’d yell stuff back, but usually I’d just give them the finger. Sometimes I’d yell stuff AND give both fingers, ’cause I’m super fucking classy and shit.

    Here’s something that still bothers me, and I am ashamed and disgusted that it does. I’m even ore ashamed and disgusted that this is the first time I’ve ever told ANYONE about it:

    When I was fresh out of high school, I got a job working at a sandwich shop. Everyone who worked there was 16-19 years old, except for the manager, who was 22 or 23.

    Anyway, the manager was a total slimeball asshole who blatantly harassed his female employees. It was all fairly tame, as harassment goes– he never said or did anything explicit, but he would, like… flirt with them after they told him to knock it off, smack their asses with paper towel rolls or come up behind them and rub their necks and shoulders.

    Notice I say “their” instead of “our”. That’s because he harassed all his female employees this way… except for me. This was when I was at my most self-hating and insecure, and to me, his actions said I was so fat/ugly/disgusting/whatever to him that I wasn’t even worthy of being treated like the other female employees.

  338. i just remembered another one…..

    – my very first girlfriend (whom i loved fiercely) who after dropping 50 lbs and getting a steady boyfriend (all the while maintaining a relationship with me on the side) siding with her boyfriend who said, “if you lost 50 pounds, you’d be hot! i mean you’re black, but you’d really be hot!”

    and when i got offended (who’da thunk it?), she raged at me with, “all he’s trying to do is help you! you don’t want a man, do you?”

    and, when he dumped her…..guess who she called for “comfort”?

    epilogue: she married that boyfriend, divorced after 7 years; married some other jerk, had 2 kids…..and, at last conversation, is miserably (IMHO) married with children….i don’t mean to gloat….but she got what she deserved!

  339. The time I had my head shoved into a guy’s crotch when he did me the “favor” of giving me a ride home from work my senior year in high school.

    Countless incidences of my breasts being grabbed or purposefully being brished against in bars, at concerts, and at ball games.

    Being taught as a child that my greatest worth in the world was for my physical appearance and pleasing others.

    Being told (last weekend at the bar) by men and women that love and respect me that (and I them, usually) that women are worse to each other than men ever are.

    Hands way the fuck up.

  340. *both hands raised*
    Well, there was that ex of mine who told my mom I was “a whore who slept with him and dumped him”.
    There was the 50-something that followed me with his car, on my way to one of my friends place, and kept propositionning me(I was walking on the sidewalk; he had slowed down to match my pace and could talk to me).
    There was the guy, on my way to uni, while I was waiting to cross the street, who yelled what could be a french version of “those are big titties!”.
    There was the two guys who hit on me in a club, even after I said I wasn’t interested, who had to believe one on my guy friend was actually my boyfriend to stop. It was only after hearing “she’s with me” and “you’re stil sleeping at my place tonight?” coming from him, that they left me alone. There was all the comments in high school, the guys standing in weird places in the classroom to look down my shirt…
    Any of my girlfriend would have similar tales to tell. You don’t need to be bigger than society standards for them to happen; you just need to be a woman.

  341. Both my hands are up in the air, too.

    My experiences for the most part have been less frightening and less devastating than much of what has happened to other posters.

    But when I was fifteen, suddenly all of the women and the girl children in my town became frightened. We stopped going anywhere alone. I stopped riding my bike. My sister stopped walking to her friend’s house. Someone was murdering…us. I don’t even remember how many of us he murdered, seven maybe? The newspapers looked for what his victims had in common. Female. That was it. That was all.

    When the murders started it felt like the breath was taken from all of us — that we were all stifling. But when the murderer was caught none of us could go back to the easy breathing feeling we had never even thought about before the murders.

    The murderer turned out to be a man. I doubt that even Our Troll Richard would be surprised at that.

    (And guess what, Kate and Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine and Shapelings — I bought a bike a few months ago, my first bike since the murders, 40 years ago. And it’s because of Shapely Prose.)

  342. *raises hand*

    I’ve been reading and shaking, because I have stories to tell too. I won’t write them out here, but yes they left me terrified in some cases–and reading the comments here has actually made me remember some incidents which I had forgotten.

    It does make me think, though–I think one reason many men don’t understand that low-level wariness we have, that hypervigilence, is because most of the stories we tell, when turned around with a male protagonist and female antagonist, become attractive to them. The concept of a female walking up to a male at a bar and starting to fondle him and ask for sexual favors has become so pornulized in our society, and I think that takes away some of the empathy they may feel by mentally putting themselves in our situation.

    When questioned about this, many men will say that the reason they would respond so well to such a situation is because it happens so rarely. It falls into the “girls have it so easy because they can get laid whenever they want” school of thought. But it’s deeper than that. There’s a REASON many women with otherwise healthy sexual appetites don’t just go around propositioning random men for sex.

    I mean, I guess that yeah, if I really wanted to, I could probably walk into a bar, proposition someone, and have a pretty good chance that they’d want to fuck me, because hey, how often does a woman just walk up and ask you for sex?

    But how do I know that it would just end with a fuck? How do I know he wouldn’t want to fuck HIS way or no way? How do I know he would be interested in my pleasure, or indeed lack of pain, at all? How do I know he doesn’t have a bunch of buddies waiting outside, whom I have not chosen, who decide they want to fuck too? Above all, I am very aware that if I choose to change my mind, say no, and the guy rapes me, there will be nobody sympathetic to my voice, because hey, didn’t I want to fuck? What the heck was I doing there anyway?

    This thought pattern is simply not on most men’s radar. They’re not worried that the woman they’re taking up to their bedroom may have a knife and a propensity to use it. If he changes his mind and doesn’t want to have sex anymore, the most he has to worry about is getting laughed at, not assaulted. He doesn’t have to worry about the woman having a bunch of her friends ready to tie him down and take advantage of him, and not in a porn movie “rubbing their tits on his face and fighting over who gets to suck his cock” kind of way, but in a humiliating, scary, and brutal way.

    If a man gets catcalled on the street by a group of women, he may feel flattered, objectified, offended, or indifferent, but one thing he probably does not feel is threatened.

    Everything in our culture and media has been tied up in getting across the message to men that sex=pleasure in every way, shape, and form, that I think sometimes it’s almost impossible to believe it could be any other way. Any male who has been raped (by either a man or woman) or otherwise sexually assaulted could tell them differently.

  343. *raises hand*

    My experience has been that women have rescued me when guys have been cruel. The extremely popular girl who chased me down the hall to take off a sign that a guy had stuck to my back in highschool is one example that sticks with me (probably because it just made the situation that much more embarassing, but still).

    I can’t even tell you the number of times that guys have yelled something terrible at me. My favourite was when I was in university, coming home from a bar with a group of friends, and a car full of guys yelled “lose weight fat cow” at me while their car was stopped at the intersection. The worst part was, that no one else fully understood the words, so then I got to explain to the guy that I was crazy about what these strangers had just yelled at me.

    I can’t remember a single time when a woman yelled at me in the street in the same way.

  344. *hand way way up*

    I’ve lost track of how many time I’d been “helped up” in a mosh pit by my boobs. The girls just offered a hand.

    Random drive-by “Smile” commands by the dozens.

    A maintenance guy following me thru the halls at work muttering “shake shake shake” under his breath.

    I’ve been pretty lucky in this regard, because I’m one of those “invisible girls” and that’s just increased as I’ve gotten fatter. But it still happens enough to be a constant presence in my life and influence my actions. Name me one guy who worries his clothing choice might be “too slutty” for work.

  345. I started reading these last night. Tried to get through more of the comments today. It is just so difficult that I had to stop. That the world is full of so many women hurt physically or mentally; that so many have experience actions and words so much more violent and frightening than I can even imagine; just makes me so sad at humanity in general.

    I’ve also had my father explain that a woman’s legs should only touch at four tiny points.

    The cleaning guy at my current job expressed extreme disgust/sadness when I cut my long hair into a lovely style that I love.

    On the school bus back in grade school a high school boy that I had had a crush on would call me Barney (I had a purple raincoat that I LOVED but wore only the one time with the dark purple side facing out…glad it was reversible but I’m not sure that those stripes helped either); he also threw an empty wallet at me in my bus seat as a “token” of his affection to mock my little girl crush (I was like 12; he was a senior in high school). You know, cause anything a man has touched is intrinsically valuable.

    I’ve learned to never make eye contact with other human beings; especially in public transportation. Because you know, daring to look a man in the eye is exactly the same as grabbing their ass and saying you want to fuck them.

    I am at least a bit proud of how I must have given one guy a deeply bruised or broken foot from how hard I was stomping down on it when he was trying to rub off on my hip while we were all crammed into a subway car. I hope he limps.

    Mental hugs to everyone who has ever had to deal with even a little of the abuse listed in these comments.

  346. In my first class of my first day of college ( a well-respected and well-known university), I sat next to a guy in a crowded classroom of mostly (as in, literally, 294 of 300 students) guys. (I was a computer science major.) I introduced myself, and he said, “Are you in the wrong room?” I said, “I don’t think so, this is room 300, correct?” He replied, “Then you must have the time wrong. This isn’t Home Ec. Girls don’t make it in CS.”

    This happened in 2001, by the way. I wish I could say I had a quick-witted response, but I didn’t. I did, however, get the 4th highest grade in the class, whereas that guy failed it.

  347. Both hands up!
    When I was 12 my father and I went to pick up a pizza from the local pizzeria and when I came back out with said pizza, my father (who had been waiting at the car) informed me that I would only be allowed one slice because my ass was getting too wide and he didn’t want a fat daughter on his hands.

    When I was 14 I wanted to enter a beauty pageant (just for fun) but my father told me no because I wasn’t pretty enough and I’d only embarrass myself.

    When I was 16 I had been baking in home ec and was covered in cocoa powder, when a boy in my class asked me if the dirt on my jeans was from my ugly as dirt face.

    At 17 my boyfriend’s best friend convinced him to break u with me because he played football and could do so much better than a fat bandgeek.

    My first year in college a boy was telling a few of us that he had broken up with his girlfriend because she was too skinny. Horrified I asked how in the world that could be a good reason to break up with someone and he replied with “because I want to marry a girl with a big ass like you, because everyone knows that fat girls know how to cook well.”

    2nd year of college I was getting massive headaches and my period was skipping around, went to the doc (male, naturally) who tried to tell me I had diabetes. So we tested. Repeatedly. Everything came out perfectly normal. He actually accused me of not drinking the glucose liquid in its entirety so that the results would come back wrong. He said that it had to be diabetes because I was so overweight.
    I switched doctors. Oh guess what, I had PCOS.

    Skip ahead to age 21, went to a different doctor (I was living in Texas by then) with horrible all over pain and hair loss and a few other nasty things. His exact words? “If you’d put the fork down you wouldn’t have these problems. Next time you come in, I’d like you to bring your husband with you, maybe he’ll understand how dire your situation is and make you change.”
    And again I switched doctors. This time to a woman.
    I have fibromyalgia. Which has nothing to do with weight.

    I’ve gotten snide, nasty comments from women, but none of them were as nasty or mean hearted as any of the ones I’ve gotten from men.

  348. *raises hand*

    The notes on the back. The mooing our of car windows. The gang of boys in high school holding me against the lockers after school so they could violate me. The constant comments about my breasts right to my face, even in front of my husband.
    The comments from my own family members telling me my husband lied when he said I was beautiful the way I am.

    These are the nice ones. I cannot tell the bad ones. Too disturbing.

    Thank you douchebag Richard for presenting an opportunity for us to tell the truth.

  349. SugarLeigh, I wouldn’t tell you what to do with your relationship, you’re the only one who can guage the costs vs. the benefits you’re getting.

    But if I could tell one thing to every woman I have ever known, it would be that you should not make that decision based on the dude’s worthiness. You’re not a prize he wins by being a nice guy or whatever. It really doesn’t matter if he’s educable – it is not your job to educate him. If you like him enough to want him with his flaws, fine. But you’re not his mother. Make the decision based on your own feelings.

    Every single person deserves to be loved and desired FOR WHO THEY ARE. There are people out there who are going to think you’re hot EXACTLY AS YOU ARE – and some of them are probably people you are into too.

  350. Wow. I keep going from rage to tears and back again.

    A few examples from my past…

    I was dancing with a guy at a college party when he bent down and bit my breast hard enough to leave a bruise and teethmarks. My friends (at a women’s college) blamed it on my behavior and shirt.

    My sister’s ex-bf tried to have sex with me because we looked almost exactly alike. I’m 8 yrs younger than she is–I was 12.

    I have large breasts. Very large. There was a period when my guy friends could not stop talking about them–we’re very sexually open and talk all kinds of crap, so a few comments didn’t bother me. As they continued, I made it clear that it was unacceptable but nothing stopped them until I stood up at a pool party in the pool, yelled, “What will it take for you to STFU about my breasts? Here, assholes, take a good look and get over it!” I violently pulled down the top to my suit and glared at them, still yelling. Not one of them ever said anything else.

    One of my partner’s friends touches me when he’s drunk–“innocent” touches on the feet or arm–while talking abt how nice and hot I am. I’ve told him to quit and told my partner, who’d actually noticed and said something to him. (“Hey, M, exactly why are you touching my wife’s feet?”) Now, he complains that I “just don’t like him.”

    Living in NYC, I had a guy follow me from store to store. I had a taxi driver hit on me on the way to my stop and then wait for me outside the store. Both times I had to find different exits.

    Little kids on the bus screaming out the window about my “fat ass.”

    I could go on as we all could–there’s the rape and the random touching and the stalking and the name calling–but those are some highlights.

  351. As I read I remember new ones. And posting them is therapeutic. Thank you to all of you for sharing and making me realize that we all seem to experience this awesomeness.
    I forgot the time I had to knee a guy from work in the balls because he wouldn’t stop touching me or a co-worker. It was during a work cocktail party. His boss, a woman I had many run-ins with about her lack of empathy and professionalism, had plied this guy with tons of whiskey because it was fun to see him drunk. She eventually carried him home to his very pregnant wife. And she never forgave me for getting him to stop. He touched me. It was so wrong. I should have punched him.

  352. I came out as bisexual to an acquaintance. His reply, “Want to have a threesome?”

    At a comics convention, wearing a v-neck top, lots of people, little room to move. A man walking in the other direction shoves his hand into my cleavage.

    I tell my best friend at the time (a man) I’m dating someone. His reply, “I never thought of you as a sexual creature.”

    I’m talking with a vendor rep about surgical bone grafts. In the middle of discussing femurs, he pauses and says, “You have very nice lips. They look very soft.” Then he starts describing bone cement.

    Every woman on my bus route wears a hat or a bun on the bus. There is a guy who likes to pet our hair if it’s down, and complaints to the drivers and the company have yielded no results.

    Hand’s up.

  353. When I was 12, my family was at a waterpark. My dad said that I was too fat to be wearing a 2-piece swimsuit, and made me suck in my stomach for the rest of the day.

    My senior year of high school, he told me I shouldn’t wear a particular dress that I loved because the horizontal stripes made me look fat.


  354. I have two new ones since I started reading this thread yesterday! Since yesterday!

    Last night I went to dinner with my best friend and the mother of another friend of ours who died a couple of years ago. We had a great time, but it was a very emotional night for us, as obviously memories of our lost friend/son are at the center of everything…as we were walking down the street some random man sitting outside a building says:

    “Those are two ugly white women.”

    All three women present were white, so thankfully it seems one of us was able to live up to his exacting standards! ::rolls eyes::

    And this morning while waiting for the bus on my way to work another man made a comment as I walked by about how “the little girls were out in the world.” I don’t know what that meant exactly, but I made sure I kept walking.

  355. There is a guy who likes to pet our hair if it’s down, and complaints to the drivers and the company have yielded no results.

    My mom (who died when I was 12, and who had a lot of her own issues around internalized misogyny, but who nonetheless imparted some really important lessons about self-respect and boundaries) taught me what to do when someone touched me without my permission: scream and slap their hand.

    She went on to say that, if this happened with someone with whom I had to maintain a social facade, I could say something like, “Oh! You startled me! I hope I didn’t hurt you,” but if this happened with someone on the bus or in a store, I could just give them an angry look and walk away.

    I was about 10, and I was a little bemused by the suggestion that I slap other people. My mother said something like, “Not hard enough to hurt them, just hard enough to shock their brain into realizing they’ve done something wrong. Like people do with dogs.”

    Thanks, Mom. I have done this with dozens of men, including my dissertation advisor, an ear-nose-and-throat specialist during a consultation, and B. F. Skinner.

  356. I’m another person who keeps remembering things… We took my aunt through downtown Munich one Mardi Gras (she happened to be in town that one day…), and trying to get through the people, I got groped at LEAST twice.

    There’s a reason I don’t like crowded places, beyond pure claustrophobia *glower*

  357. It’s funny, when i first finished reading this post i was thinking “well, i guess i don’t really have that many examples of this kind of thing,” but the more i think about it, the more i come up with. This guy told me in fifth grade that I ate like a dog, and it took me until my senior year (when i had dropped a bunch of weight due to an eating disorder) to even eat lunch at school again. That was a pretty major change in my life i made because of some jackass, and it didn’t even occur to me at first. that’s fucked up.

  358. I’ve certainly experience my share of cattiness and fat-shaming from other women. But somehow finding out that women are talking behing my back, about my lack of fashion sense or the amount I eat for lunch, doesn’t compare with:
    – being followed home from school by male classmates who were callingme a lesbian and my french horn a dildo and demanding I perform a sexual act with it, and, when I continued to ignore them, getting a glass bottle smashed on my head
    – the co-worker who just couldn’t seem to squeeze between my fat butt and the wall behind the counter
    – the man at dance lessons whose hands had a habit of creeping up and down, who, when I finally yelled at him for it, told me not to flatter myself
    – the random stranger(s) who have yelled at me to lose weight when I’m out riding my bike
    – the man 35 years older than me, who responded to my online personal and was all interested and told me I was gorgeous, until I told him I wasn’t really interested in men more than 5 years older than me (reasonable when I’m in my early 20s), who then sent a diatribe about how fat and ugly and uptight and snobbish I am and how if I don’t get with him now, I’ll be old and fat and then nobody will want me. And continued to email me pictures of his erect penis for weeks.

    Let’s not even get started on the things, as a mostly invisible woman, I’ve witnessed happening to hawt women around me.

  359. It sickens me that my beautiful, gentle 11 year old daughter recently had her first experience with male hostility and threats of violence. A classmate told her, “You deserve to get beat up every day in middle school. I’d beat you up myself, if I could.” (Meaning if he could get away with it.) You can bet I was on the phone with her teacher the second I heard about this. It was taken seriously, and the kid was punished, but I think the little bastard should have been suspended.

  360. In HS at a church dance I was standing, talking with a group of three girls and one guy, they were all acquaintances. The guy reached out and caressed my breast in the middle of the conversation from out of the complete blue. I had no idea what the heck to do about it, and none of the other girls even acknowleged it, so I did nothing. Except walk to the bathroom and cry, and then ask my “friends” about it later. To be fair… they didn’t know what the crap to do either. I have fantasized about that moment again and again, about punching him, or yelling at him. It has lived in my memory, burning… and it won’t go away.

    I used to ride a motorcycle for transportation, and one time a guy followed me to a store “to make sure that I was safe” By the time he got out of his car to tell me this I was completely spooked (he had not followed at a “safe” distance) so I flipped him the bird and walked into the store. He followed me INTO the store calling me “whore” and “cunt” and “fucking lesbo bitch” and if I didn’t quit riding motorcycles I was going to get “in trouble.” I was almost crying, hefting my full face helmet in preparation to decking him with it. Y’all, he was doing this in front of two male checkers and another customer and they DID NOTHING. They didn’t even ask me if I was ok when the asshat finally left and I started crying. I wonder if he had started hitting me if they would have continued to turn a blind eye. I was lucky I didn’t have to find out.

    My roommate and I were at an all night coffee shop smoking and studying when a drunk professional boxer and his agent (their story anyway) were sat at the table next to us and tried to get us to go to their hotel room. When we finally told them to go away and leave us the hell alone (they wouldn’t take a nice “no”) they both turned ugly and started calling us whores and ugly sluts. They left first, but we still got the manager to walk us out to our car.

    In college I worked at a convenience store, and got roped into working the night shift one New Years Eve. At dusk a guy came in and said that he was waiting for a ride to a party, and since he spent money playing video games and buying pop and candy bars I let him. After about a half an hour (hardly any other customer in that night) he asked if he could use the restroom, It’s public so I just shrugged and told him where it was. When he came back he asked if he could ask me a personal question. I said it depends, had he been calling me? ( I had been receiving threatening, sexually creepy phone calls at work for a few weeks… some guy telling me how lushious my tits looked in that tee shirt I was wearing that night, and how he’s love to…CLICK!) He looked confused so I said sure but I might very well not answer. He dropped trou and stood there with the hugest erection I have ever seen and asked if I thought that he had a big dick? I did the only thing I could think of and started laughing hysterically and told him to get the hell out of there before I called the cops. Luckily the laughter worked, or maybe my hand on the phone receiver… but as soon as he cleared the door I locked up, totally freaked. I wish that I HAD had the presence of mind to actually call the cops… but I was living with the idea that this was what a girl had to put up with and I just had to be tough.

    A lousy idea that ended me up in a marriage to a man who regularly called me fatuglycowslutcuntbitchfuckingwhore, a jack ass who would in one breath curse me for being shamefully fat and then beat the hell out of me because I refused to order anything to eat when we went out and I wasn’t hungry. The same jack ass who was hardly what you would call svelte himself. The same jack ass who repeatedly raped me, anally and otherwise and beat me (yeah… Richard, a woman can be raped by her husband, did you know that?).

    Y’all, I am so DONE with being “tough” and letting this garbage slide.

    Those are just the tales that are weird… tons of the standard walking down the street and getting cat-calls, moo’s and barking.. depending, I suppose, on whatever was the creeps taste in flesh. Plus buckets of the standard “how dare you disagree with me, you fucking BITCH!” responses from men.

  361. On the “yes, you can expect better from men” front: I sent a link to this thread to my brother and showed it to my husband.

    My brother called me and said, “Oh, my God. This is so awful. Is there any way I can help change this?” I suggested that he already does a lot to help change it, by respecting women himself, calling out other men on their disrespectful behavior toward women, and helping to raise a stepson who’s kind and generous and respectful toward women.

    My husband started to cry and said, “I don’t know whether to be angry or sad or both.” Then he gave me a big hug.

  362. Too many times to count. It’s not even just cruel things, either – I’m sick and tired of men thinking they can say anything about my body at any time. But:

    A guy in my class asking me if I was a lesbian because I was fat and ugly, or if I was fat and ugly because I was a lesbian. On a similar note, a stranger telling me and my partner we were lucky we were lesbians since no man would ever want us because we were ugly.

    When I worked at Starbucks in a bad part of town, I think I got called a bitch, fat bitch, fat dyke, c*nt, or f*cking slut at least once a week. After I called the police on a man who wouldn’t leave the store and who was harassing other customers, he told me he would take me behind the store, slit my throat, and rape my dead body.

    I’ve been told I shouldn’t wear a skirt because my legs were bloated. I’ve been told by a man at a bus stop that I should grow my hair long because men don’t like short hair.

    On two different instructor review forms I received from students after teaching a class as a TA were lists of what was wrong with my body, face, hair, and that I should perform sex acts on them instead of teaching them anything, because I was just a dumb slut.

    I’ve been groped, laughed at, mooed and barked at, spat on, and assaulted by men.

    Yesterday a guy on the street, asking passerbys to listen to him talk about some charity, asked if I could spare a second to talk to him. I politely said sorry and kept walking. He then muttered after me “fat cow.”

  363. ***Raises hand***

    I’ve been called every fat perjorative under the sun by men who seem to think that my being out and about in public was offensive to them. I had a guy in Jr High who disliked me because I was “fat”, wore glasses AND had braces throw a rock at me.

    I was lucky in that I had male relatives who never said a word about my weight and treated me like everyone else. It of course helped that their moms were big women also.

  364. sorry, this thread has opened the floodgate for me.

    The last company i worked at, the PUBLISHER said to me, in front of other people, that he “gets off on seeing what i wear every day”.
    Funny, i never told my dad about that, Richard…..

    Also, EntoAggie, i Loved your post. I never thought of it that way, but you are so right!

  365. This thread has been instructive and cathartic. I have been much harder on other women than men and believed the stereotype that it’s other women’s opinions we have to fear. There was a time when I would have agreed with that troll.

    But now I honestly have no idea why. It doesn’t even make sense. Men have always been far more cruel about my appearance than women. It’s just such an obvious thing that I don’t understand why I missed it before. The only time I felt the sting of a woman’s judgment over my appearance is when my mother would say things, but she was never intentionally cruel. Momma saying “why are you wearing that hat?” is nothing like what men have said and done.

    Not like the men who chased me yelling “Fat Bitch!” (just recently), or the boys who threw pots and pans at me, or the numerous men who have followed me home because they won’t take “no” for an answer (there are SO MANY who won’t take no for an answer!), or the man who dry humped me on the dance floor so I wouldn’t be “the only lonely girl in the club”, or even all the men who told me in my Ask.Me question that the way to get over my fear of men was to lose weight.

    And why won’t men take no for an answer? I can’t think of any who haven’t retaliated in some way. I don’t mean to be sexist and generalize about all men, but I honestly can’t remember a single time some guy asked me for my number or made some sexual comment and I said no/politely declined/said nothing/etc. without them being really nasty to me. The nicest one was the guy who wouldn’t sell me my meat at the supermarket without giving me a gentle lecture on why I really needed his instead. But at least he didn’t yell or curse or follow me. I am genuinely confused about this, why are they so nasty to me, whether I’m nice or not, it’s always the same.

  366. My brother called me and said, “Oh, my God. This is so awful. Is there any way I can help change this?” I suggested that he already does a lot to help change it, by respecting women himself, calling out other men on their disrespectful behavior toward women, and helping to raise a stepson who’s kind and generous and respectful toward women.

    My husband started to cry and said, “I don’t know whether to be angry or sad or both.” Then he gave me a big hug.

    Jupiter, I’m glad you shared this story here. It is good to know that every man is not like the horrible asshats we have all encountered…sometimes it can be easier than I’d like to forget that…

    (((hugs to you, your brother, and your husband)))

  367. I was followed for a few blocks today, in Manhattan. I didn’t realize it until a guy I’d seen several blocks ago crossed the street after me, yelling at me. I turned and he told me he’d been trying to talk to me, I shouldn’t wear headphones, etc. I just stared, thought of this thread and said, “You know, I wear headphones so I don’t have to hear all the street harassment.” Dude looked genuinely baffled, so I kept it up, telling him that men yell shit at me all the time, make comments, and that it happens to all women. He got defensive, asking me “What do they say?” You know, THOSE other men, not HIM. *eyeroll*

    I declined to respond, kept walking, keeping my eye on his reflection behind me until I got to my destination, the giant bed, bath and freaking beyond, whereupon I immediately started shaking too hard to text Mr. Luci for sympathy. Blah.

    But I said something, and I usually just ignore. Go me?

  368. Go you, Luci.

    I’ve remembered several other instances of touching, particularly touching of my head after I explicitly told the person (male) in question to keep his hands off me. It was made more complicated by the fact that the two of us were sharing a cubicle that was really only meant for one person, and also by the fact that I was old enough to be this kid’s mother.

    How depressing.

  369. Damn yes, go you, Luci!

    And to add to the list of guys who get it, Mr. Twistie has been a champ more than once. He’s stepped in on more than one occasion when a woman was being harrassed. Somehow seeing a guy who stands 6’1″ and looks kind of bikerish stand up to them makes a lot of these grotesque cases of cranial rectosis a lot less brave than they are whe confronted with one frightened woman.

    Also, one night two guys Mr. Twistie knows through the music scene in our area came over to work with him on something. I happened to be watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the time. One of them started talking really loudly about how he’d heard that Buffy was a ‘lez’ now and he couldn’t wait for the hardcore ‘lez fuck scene’ to get started. The other guy joined in and soon they were so loud screaming about hardcore lesbian porn that I couldn’t hear a damn word on the set. That was when I yelled back. I informed them that if they didn’t both shut up pronto I was going to kick them so far up the backside they’d be picking their teeth with my toenails. That shocked them into silence. They both looked to Mr. Twistie, I guess expecting him to tell me to calm down and not get so worked up about it. He just glared at them and said ‘Twistie’s right. Shut up.’

    I love my husband.

  370. I remembered another incident last night, from back in the mid-80s, when a friend and I were walking down to the club to dance and the guys on the sidewalk started harrassing my friend (tall, thin, blonde, the California girl personified). She ignored them, but I got so pissed off on her behalf (they were ignoring fat brunette me completely) that I turned around and thanked them for the “compliments” to me. They started stammering that they weren’t talking about me, but it shut them (mostly) up until we got out of range.

  371. as I’ve gotten fatter and older and more traditionally hate-on material, I’m getting way less harrassment of the “you’re fat and ugly” type. I’m more invisible.

    Yes, this. Since I had my son in 2006, it’s like people don’t even see me anymore. Except other moms, sometimes.

    But you know, not being seen isn’t such a bad thing. I don’t feel afraid nearly so much these days.

    The boys started on me early, early. By second grade I was already frightened to wear shorts or skirts to school, for fear that it would elicit comments about my legs. Do you remember in the late 80s, Nestle started selling the Chunky candy bar? And they had a commercial that went, “Chunky’s back and it’s bigger than before” – to the tune of “My boyfriend’s back.” Well, the boys in my class used to sing that to me. “Chunky’s back…” every time I walked down the hall.

    The worst is looking back on pictures of the father-daughter dance I went to with Dad when I was 9. The man looked *miserable.* He always harped on me about my eating, monitoring my trips to the fridge and trying to shame me thin, and considering it now, I think he was embarrassed to be seen with me at the dance.

    The best thing that ever happened to me was transferring schools. I got some grief at my new school, but less. Since I wasn’t with the same boys that had identified me as The Fat One since infancy, you know? But once I graduated and started working in a big city, it was all-leering-all-the-time. It didn’t seem to matter if I was fat or thin or somewhere in between (and I’ve certainly been all of the above!) They were *everywhere,* these men. One saw me walking down the street and pulled over in his car. He would not allow me to keep going – he grabbed my arm, hard – until I gave up my phone number. Others just yelled, from cars, from construction sites, from porches and even bikes.

    I’ve gotten a few ass slaps and random feel-ups, too, but not any major sexual trauma. And still, it’s enough to make me a little scared to run outside these days. I stick to the treadmill. Even though I’m a frumpy mom now and invisible to these men, the memories are strong. I’m amazed at the women here, in awe, who have survived such terrible things.

    Women aren’t always peaches and sunshine, no. But for every unpleasant woman I meet who thinks I “just need to diet and exercise!,” there are 10 more who are so much better than that. Supportive and compassionate. Like everyone else said, the ratio is just out of sight. No woman has ever told me she wants to lick my “big juicy ass” just because I dared to walk down the street in a pair of jeans.

  372. I am in no way disagreeing, and I being a man I have no idea — as you accurately point out — what women go through. But I feel like I should note that fat kids of both genders get teased. Kids are pretty awful to kids that are different, and that is not limited to boys teasing girls about appearances. I had a misshapen ear as a kid and I was called “Spock” and “Gollum” by both boys and girls.


  373. In my adulthood I haven’t been nearly as abused as I was when I was a child. The names I was called, starting from kindergarten were:

    Fatty Pattie (including the whole rhyme)
    sewer rat
    boob creep
    fat pig
    Princess Mazola (by my mother – thanks mom!)
    La Bruja (spanish for witch)
    I was told I must be an evil witch since I was born in October (by my aunt)
    And then the assorted fat comments etc.

    I was told “You have such a pretty face” obviously the rest of me is horrible.

    In High School gym class, while waiting by the gym door for the bell to ring to go to my next class, apparently an older boy was reaching out to grab my breast. Fortunately, I was “saved by the bell” and turned to walk out before he could make contact. My friend saw it about to happen… I was oblivious to it. But I still remember it.

    I had assorted guys jokingly ask me out, I never believed them and would turn and walk away. So if any one were to actually seriously ask me out I’d have turned him down unknowingly.

    And internet dating… wow… I had a guy claim I was so funny and awesome via email he just HAD to meet me. I met him at a restaurant for lunch. He was standing by the door watching each woman who walked in eagerly. (we had not shared photos). But when I walked in he turned his back. I stood near the door watching him watch every woman who walked in for a few minutes. I debated walking out, but decided he was buying me lunch for being an idiot. I went up to him and I could see his face fall as he realized I was the awesome funny girl. During lunch he told me to my face, “I’m never doing this again”

  374. I’ve got off pretty lightly compared with many of you, except for the time when I was groped by my husband’s uncle at my aunt’s funeral (not the uncle’s actual wife, but his brother’s wife). His arm just slid over my shoulder and squeezed my breast. I was so astonished I didn’t even do anything except remove his hand. I still can’t believe it happened, fifteen odd years later; I try to avoid the uncle as much as I can…

  375. Another one hit me while I was reading the new comments. At a party in university, a guy who I thought was a friend thought it was funny to hold his beer over my head and tell me to beg him not to dump it on me.

    When I told him that I wasn’t going to beg to be treated like a human being, he dumped it on me. I left the party soaked. He never apologized.

  376. Whew…I never think to categorize certain things this way, but I think this is opening my eyes…

    My best friend’s boyfriend, who, because I was the single girl “third wheel” would constantly grope to make me feel more included. He frequently told me that if he and she ever broke up, he would be coming for me. It got so bad–and I am so ashamed of this–that he and I were hanging out one night while she was at work, and we ended up fooling around. I had just met my current boyfriend a few days before, and he told me that if we didn’t do it then, I “would never know what it was like”. Um, because I thought about it all of never? But, due to some issues I have with being unable to say no and whatnot (ah, therapy), it happened. And he and I have never told either his girlfriend (now ex), or my boyfriend.

    And as for my current boyfriend, well, he is amazing. But he has one issue that I can’t seem to rid him of, and this, hopefully, is not TMI: he has a fixation on facials. Despite my insistence that it’ll never happen, he asks occasionally if he can cum on my face. I won’t let him because (a) it feels like someone has blown snot on my face, and (b) because it feels so utterly degrading. He understands this, but it’s still this fantasy of his. When I’ve had him attempt to explain why (also because he likes “marking” me other places than my face), he says it’s like saying that he “owns” me.

    Like I said, he is an amazing guy, and his telling me that is not saying “I am a man and I own you”, it’s just an explanation of that feeling. He knows how I feel about it and has no problem not doing it…but he still fantasizes about it. Kinda like fantasizing about having a threesome even if you know it’ll never happen.

    And on a semi-personal note: my mother has been married to a controlling, violent man for 13 years who has finally gotten some psychological help and is a much kinder husband. But this is after years of not knowing he was bipolar and not acknowledging the poor example his controlling, alcoholic, abusive father had been. Throughout their marriage, he has tried to kill her twice and was extremely emotionally abusive. Fortunately, like I said, that has changed.

    My mother, however, is one strong chica. When my step father was not living with us, we had a peeping tom one night in the middle of the night, standing on a chair looking in her bedroom window. She put on her bathrobe, got a flashlight and pepper spray, and went out to confront him. He stumbled off the chair and ran away, never to be seen again. Perhaps foolhardy for my tiny mother to do that, but a sign of her strength nonetheless (because I hope we can all agree that being in an abusive relationship is not a sign of weakness).

    Wishing I had more hands to put up.

  377. Oh, and then there’s this: reading this thread, along with admiring everyone for sharing their stories and being so grateful this blog exists, I had the thought that I’ve been far, far luckier than most in terms of the amount of both street and personal harassment, and while feeling grateful, some part of me was wondering if it was because I’m not attractive enough, and started feeling badly about that, and wondering when the person I’ve just started seeing will end things, etc, etc.

    I’ve been reading feminist literature for about half my 33 years, have taught women’s studies courses, and had years of therapy, and i thought that. Yeah.

  378. I suppose I should add to clarify, that “Yeah” means “yes, I realized how completely fucked up this is given how, as many have pointed out, attractiveness has fuck all to do with it.” Also, for the Richards, the fact that we internalize this shit doesn’t mean we’re responsible, it just shows how damaging it all is.

  379. Tabby said, “I don’t even believe it is a weight issue anymore. Some men are cruel, and they find flaws no matter what a woman’s size is.”

    Here’s an example from my experience to illustrate her point:

    During a high stress time in my life, my weight plummeted to 110 llbs. One night, as I walked down the street to pick up a few things at the store, a man pulled up next to me in his car and screamed at me through the open window, “Fucking lose weight, you asshole!” The look of rage and hate on his face was terrifying. I can still see his angry face and hear the hatred in his voice.

  380. Wow. So hard to process my feelings about all these stories, from recognition to horror to relief that I have never experienced some of these things. But here’s two from me:

    We moved to a new neighborhood when I was in 5th grade. For the next 2 YEARS, a group of boys followed me home EVERY SINGLE DAY, laughing at me, calling me names, poking at me, hitting me. I complained time after time to my parents, who told me I should ignore the “teasing” because the boys would give up if they couldn’t get a reaction out of me. Yeah, like that worked.

    My parents never took it seriously until: At the end of 6th grade, the boys developed a new game: they would go “elephant hunting” and poke me with their baseball bats in the schoolyard before school. One day, a guy poked me, then turned around to bow to all his friends who were watching and snickering. I kicked him hard in the ass. He whirled around, raised his bat, and broke my nose. It’s a good thing I had some books I put me between me and the bat, he might have really fucking killed me.

    And then there was the time in high school when I was babysitting and received an abusive phone call from the kids’ grandmother (she threatened to call the police on me because I wouldn’t wake the kids up to speak to her). While I was still shaking from that, the father drove me home and chose that moment to put the moves on me. I never sat for that family again.

  381. “During a high stress time in my life, my weight plummeted to 110 llbs. One night, as I walked down the street to pick up a few things at the store, a man pulled up next to me in his car and screamed at me through the open window, “Fucking lose weight, you asshole!” The look of rage and hate on his face was terrifying. I can still see his angry face and hear the hatred in his voice.”

    They want us to disappear. Seriously. That is the only explanation for it.

    Richard, even if you don’t want your daughter to disappear, there are so many men who do. Take it seriously.

  382. I don’t really get offended easily because I’m the fight-back type, but this happened to me in 8th grade during one of our rehearsals for the year-end 8th grade dinner play. We were doing this square dance-type dance with male partners and the choreographer suggested that we end up sitting on our partner’s knee by the end of the number. Well, since I was considered one of the “fat” girls of the OLGC 8th grade class of 1992 (I was probably 5’6 and 145, the same as now, only now I could probably take these boys on in “The Octagon”), my partner said for everyone to hear “Oh man! I’ll get crushed!” So I said very straight-faced “Well, if it’ll make you feel better, you can sit on my knee!” The other boys actually gave me props for that one and my partner was EXTREMELY embarrassed for being a sissy.

  383. Some of my more “notable” experiences:

    -Getting dumped at 16 b/c I wouldn’t put out, he “loved” me one day and ditched me the next, for someone who did put out btw.

    -Having rocks thrown at me my Senior year in high school, for holding my female friend’s hand (yes by a male classmate).

    – A male 3rd grade teacher who encouraged my classmates in making fun of chubby bookish shy me to the point i was making up illnesses to skip school.

    -Getting suspended in 2nd grade for beating up two 6th grade boys (with my Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox tyvm) who had been tormenting my legally blind, kindergarden aged ,brother, while a teacher ignored them, as we waited for the bus. I don’t think they even got detention, despite my mother’s best efforts.

    -Being harrased daily in 6th grade by a boy to the point that he whipped me across the face with an extension cord and stepped on the back of my feet as i walked down the hall ripping my shoes (after weeks of doing this). His mom refused to believe it (boys will be boys!) when my mom went up to bat for me.

    – At 18-20 sincerely believing I deserved the physical and emotional abuse my much older boyfriend dished out after a lifetime of being mocked for my appearance, weight, interests (starting with that 3rd grade teacher).

    My head is such a jumble after reading all of this I can’t even begin to list the rest.

    And I too am feeling relieved that I am not alone in these experiences, and sad that it is the case.

    And yes women have been catty and unkind to me at times but the above listed are just a handful of the things men have done to me all much greater in severity than a snide comment about my outfit.

  384. I am five feet two inches tall and a US size 4-6. EVERY SINGLE TIME IN MY ADULT LIFE I have been called ‘fat’, it’s been done by a random older man in public.

    The old guy at the supermarket who peered into my basket, took stock of the cake mix ingredients I was buying for my nineteenth birthday, and told me ‘You’ll get fat, girlie!”.

    The strung-out looking, weasel-faced loser who noticed me scarfing down my lunch in the sun on the curb outside my work one day when I was twenty-three, yelled ‘YOU’RE FAT!’ and took off before I could finish my bite of food to make a come-back!

    The kindly-looking grandpa-ish guy who came face-to-face with me on a train station platform when I was twenty years old and on the way to a job interview, looked me up and down in my button-down shirt and trouser suit and said, slowly, deliberately and distinctly, ‘Ssssssslut.’.

    The crowd of boys outside a club where I was working, who watched me sweep up their broken glasses and treated me to my very own serenade of ‘Who Let The Dogs Out?’.

    Sssssh’yeah, women sure *are* their own worst enemies, huh.

  385. -Being harrased daily in 6th grade by a boy to the point that he whipped me across the face with an extension cord and stepped on the back of my feet as i walked down the hall ripping my shoes (after weeks of doing this). His mom refused to believe it (boys will be boys!) when my mom went up to bat for me.

    This reminded me of my own sixth grade experience where a boy haunted me daily for half the year. Aside from near constant verbal confronations, he attacked me physically by lobbing a basketball at my head and attempting to hit me with a metal briefcase (he was stopped by a teacher moments before hitting me, but he was not punished).

  386. *raises hand*

    I’m another one of the lucky ones, and I keep remembering other examples– things I’ve tried to rationalize away or not remember.

  387. A couple of days after I had terminated a pregnancy, my ex called my parent’s house and left a message on their machine outlining how I had killed his baby.

    My parents are pretty religious, but I was 21 YEARS OLD. And he did not include the part where he told me he had never wanted his three other kids, that he had with two other women, and whose support he was not paying, but this was different and he really wanted to have this baby me.

    Nope, Richard, none of the women I have ever met have felt like they should inform on me to my parents when I was an adult and able to make my own decisions, thank you very much.

  388. Yo! *raises hand* The last person to make a catty remark about my weight was our former veterinarian. I told him that I’d hoped to grow up to be a scrawny old man like him, but that it just wasn’t in the cards.

  389. SugarLeigh…i think we’re in the same boat right now, and it’s a tough place to be. it’s hard to make good decisions when your heart and mind wants to see the good and beauty in everyone. i’ll cross my fingers for us both.

  390. I see serious red flags anytime someone says ‘(insert non-white men group here) are there own worst enemies.’ Really? Not smart.

    Anyway, hand up.

    I can still remember everything down to the outfit (a tank top and shorts) I was wearing one day my sophomore year of college, parked outside a gas station, waiting for a friend who had run in to pick up some item. The couple in the car next to me was arguing loudly. The guy was being a real douche–he was yelling and saying some really nasty stuff to the woman in the passenger seat. I looked over at them as she started to fight back and he said “shut up, the fat chick in the car next to us can hear you” and then went on to berate her some more.

    I didn’t wear sleeveless tops in public for quite some time–thinking that showing the flesh on my arms somehow provoked this guy.

  391. Okay – a brief but bang on topic piece of light relief:-

    A psychotherapist I knew once attended a seminar at which some hard core porn was shown to illustrate some point one of the speakers was making. At the end of the film, said speaker asked the assembled company, (all sex/relationship counsellors and health professionals), if anyone wanted to comment. A man piped up, “Yes, the woman in the first film wasn’t very attractive”.

    Ah, the British NHS; envy of the world.

  392. Of course.

    ~ When I was 11 the boy I sat beside said I had more of a moustache than him and got all the boys round to laugh at me. I think I mentioned this is the facial hair thread, because I’ve been semi-obsessively depilating ever since.

    ~ When I was, again, about 11, our neighbour’s son was in a car with me while my mother went in to get my sisters from an afterschool activity. He was 13. He reached out — out of nowhere — and grabbed me in the crotch. I had no idea what to do about it, and never told anyone. I just made sure never to be around him again.

    ~ At camp this summer I was walking home from an evening off and chatting to someone about where I went to uni. (A note: in my city there are three unis, but only one that’s actually called [City] University.) One of the other counsellors overheard and asked “Which uni in [city]?” and I said “[City Uni]”, to which he immediately responded “Don’t be such a tart, which uni in [city]?” The venom in his voice was frightening — this was the first time I’d ever spoken to him. He spent the whole rest of the trip home bitching to everyone about how I thought I was the shit, etc, just because I had the temerity to be a woman who’d contradicted him.

    Then another night I was walking home again from the same place. I hadn’t wanted to walk home alone (which is one of these posts in itself) so I went with a group of guys from the camp, because I sort of knew a couple of them and I thought I’d be safe. Halfway there he joined us and I immediately thought “uh oh”. Just as we got on camp grounds he noticed I was with them and started asking who I was, and one of the guys explained that I’d wanted to walk with them for safety. I kept my voice as neutral as possible and said “Yeah, I did. Thanks guys”, and kept walking past them towards home. It was just me, six guys, and complete darkness — they don’t light the camp at night, and we were right on the outskirts, out of earshot of anyone. Then the guy from before goes “Come on, guys. Let’s push her in the ditch and get her”, and they start having this loud conversation about whether it’s a ditch or a puddle, etc, and how many of them it would take. I just looked straight ahead and walked faster, hoping they wouldn’t be stupid enough to try anything on camp grounds, torn between terror because I was completely alone, and absolute rage that this was even happening. They didn’t try anything, thank god, and I managed not to freak out til after I got back to my bunk.

    The guy in question takes care of the youngest boys here, and they’re thinking of making him a head counsellor next year. I keep thinking I should tell the camp heads what kind of guy he really is, but they don’t really like me (because I don’t kiss ass like most people here, I just consistently do the best I can for the kids and don’t worry about politics), and the whole place is so sexist I don’t even know if they’d believe me, and I’m terrified they’d make me sit in a room with him while he gave his side of the story. I just…I don’t know. Is it worth trying? I don’t even know.

    I’m sure there’s more, but I’ve just freaked myself out remembering that so I’m done for now.

  393. Raising my hands, and I’m one of the incredibly lucky ones. I’ve never been raped. I’ve never been assaulted. I’ve been called fat and ugly (or variations on the theme) my whole life by various people, male and female. However, whenever the comment is from someone above the age of 5 or so (I do get children yelling out “SHE’S FAT” at me occasionally), it is from a man.

    I’ve never been pretty, nor have I ever been thin or confident enough to wear clothing that makes me look like anything other than a homeless person.
    It also helps that I’ve always been tall and always had some amount of strength to go along with being fat. In school, being the same size as most of the guys meant I wasn’t a target for physical harassment. I’m effectively invisible, to the point where I’m called “sir” by cashiers and salespeople quite often.

    I worry so much about my youngest sister. She’s 13, eleven years my junior, and tells me about how the guys at her school organize “Grab-Ass Friday”, where they try and grope as many girls as possible. Some of them get in trouble (if a teacher sees it and bothers to do something about it), most don’t. She tells me about the rumors that fly around school about her — that she’s having sex with this or that boy, that she’s on drugs, dozens of variations on the same themes. I don’t think the child’s ever even kissed anyone. She dumped her first boyfriend because he demanded that she send him sexy pictures of herself. She’s so smart, so wonderful, and is turning out to be truly beautiful and very striking, and my heart hurts for her because it’s virtually guaranteed that she’s got many, many instances of abuse ahead of her, simply because she was born female. And all I can do is try to give her the basic defenses to weather it — remind her how smart and how capable she is, teach her that she doesn’t deserve to take shit from anyone for any reason, and let her know that if something terrible happens, that I will believe her and help her and defend her no matter what.
    But I know that’s not enough to keep her safe. Nothing is. And that breaks my heart.

  394. Blue Bottle, it may not be enough to keep her safe, but what you’re doing for your sister gives her a leg up on far too many of the commenters on this thread. She’s lucky to have a big sister who will stand up for her and help her stand up for herself.

    More little girls need a Blue Bottle in their lives.

  395. @ JupiterPluvius: I just got through skimming all the comments. I have to admit a certain amusement at your using the smack-and-scream technique on B. F. Skinner, given his work; I mean, how many times did you have to do it to get him to stop? Not to diminish your experience, but just the notion of doing that to the father of behaviorism just strikes me as such delicious irony…*lols unintentionally*

  396. My comment above was the most recent one I can remember. The earliest one I can remember? I was 11, at CHURCH CAMP, and a bunch of the boys from the boys’ side of our cabin decided that I was the sole unwilling contestant in their wet t-shirt contest. After soaking me with water, they teased me about my nipples.

  397. I have been very heavy my whole life, Thank God in heaven I have the ability to block out soooooo much!!!

    I mean I can barely remember A THING and I know there is plenty of it from kids at school to drunken Step-Fathers. I don’t know how you ladies do it but I would be happy if I never remembered anything ever again.

    Now that I am 120 pounds lighter, I get harassed even more but I don’t want to get into that. As I’ve said before thinner does not always equal happier.

    My heart goes out to all of you, you are all very strong and smart and of course Men will find this threatening and try to keep us down or “in our place”.

  398. Oh hell yes.

    A boy in my 6th grade English class called me a fat cow and felt me up in front of the *whole class*, who watched and laughed. Which is when I started truly hating my body.

    More recently, I got wolf whistles from a car while I was waiting for a bus at the train station. I ignored it (there’s never really any good way to deal with it), and then they said “Don’t pretty girls know how to say hi?” And because it was well-lit and there were lots of people, I snarled back “No, but they do know how to say fuck off.” And then the light turned green.

    I think that men mainly think they’re somehow entitled to do this- to look at women as objects on the chessboard of life.

  399. I have it the other way round. My female flatmate is always making little fat digs about me (im a guy). The other day she got a treadmill and said to my flatmate (in front of me) how she was worried about the weight limit. OF course because Im the biggest guy in the house it was obviously directed at me and she thought my big fat body would break it. So just remember it can happen to guys too! I don’t say this to demean what you have said either, just that its not all cozy and sweet been a fat guy!

  400. Also Ive had people poke their heads out of cars and yell “you fat fuck” at me. So again guys do get trashed for been overweight.

  401. Dan, I am sorry to hear that you have a very rude female housemate, and that passersby have been rude about your weight. Nobody has any excuse for that kind of rudeness, and I am sorry you’ve experienced that.

    But with all due respect, we’re talking about something a bit different here. Many of us are talking about the kind of personal attacks that make us feel frightened by the possibility that the man or men making the attack will take it from abusive language to physical abuse.

    It’s more than rudeness. It’s hatred. It’s being turned into a non-person who is either to be fucked or to be fucked over, or both.

    Mickey wrote: @ JupiterPluvius: I just got through skimming all the comments. I have to admit a certain amusement at your using the smack-and-scream technique on B. F. Skinner, given his work; I mean, how many times did you have to do it to get him to stop? Not to diminish your experience, but just the notion of doing that to the father of behaviorism just strikes me as such delicious irony…*lols unintentionally*

    No, it’s hilarious in a grim way, isn’t it? And yes, the irony is quite direct–my mother was a psychology major in the 1950s, and her curriculum included quite a bit of Skinner (and his disciples).

    And the answer is “twice”, as I recall. He was in his 80s at the time, though; who knows what the experimental results might have been years earlier?

  402. I’ve been working retail for three summers, and have been threatened, harassed, flirted with, etc.

    There were several times when I had to keep my keys in hand because a creepy guy, who just left less than ten minutes ago, wouldn’t stop asking when I got out from work. I learned self-defense at school; I hate the fact that I needed it just to work with confidence in retail.

    A man once threatened me over a penny. Once he saw that my manager was male, he calmed down, and insisted that everything was fine, even though I was practically in tears.

    No female has ever flirted with me in such a way that made me feel threatened.

    No female has ever calmed down once they saw the manager was male. They just continued to be a bitch.

  403. there’s not a lot of bad stuff that’s happened to me that i don’t freely discuss, but there’s something my dad did to me as a child that i’ve felt so sick about that i’ve never told anyone about it until this year, when i told my boyfriend. like so many little girls, i was quite taken with my vagina, and would touch the area often. when my dad found this out, he used to grab my hand and force me to let him smell my fingers. i was obviously distressed and embarrassed, but he kept on doing it. i’m not sure what his motivation was, but i know he would never have done it if i was a boy. but i’ve never talked to him about it, and i don’t think i ever will. i don’t have a good relationship with him and i don’t think i ever will. my dad is generally thought of as decent, highly intelligent, and a ‘character’. he has also called me fat, even though he’s gigantic.

    i’m lucky enough to have always been surrounded by women, and lucky enough to be able to control the number of men i allow in my life (2, apart from my dad). i went to an all-girls private school, and then on to a course at university which was dominated by women. i also dated women most of the time.

    however, that hasn’t saved me from harrassment.

    once my first girlfriend and i were having a very innocent kiss on a suburban street. a couple of guys drove past, stopped the car, and questioned us about our sexuality. we were very young (16) and so answered a couple of their questions, not knowing what else to do, until they got seriously creepy. then, the guys said “stay there, we want to talk to you. we won’t hurt you.” very reassuring. we ran.

    another time, we were having a cuddle on a packed train during peak hour on the way home. two teenage boys sitting near us, kept muttering ‘they’re going to kiss, they’re going to kiss!” and when i pretended to be very taken with the newspaper, they started telling us to kiss. a man stepped in telling them to be more respectful, which was nice, until he threatened to drag them off at the next station and rape them.

    yet another time, as she and i were getting off the train, a man yelled to us ‘get some cock into ya!’. by his face he obviously thought this was a friendly, funny thing to say.

    it just really gets me that, if you’re a woman with another woman, men suddenly think they have the right to say shit to you. i’ve never had a woman say anything to me.

    when i’d just moved out of home for the first time, at 17, i called the landlord over because we couldn’t get the tv aerial on the roof to work. i lived with three other people, but they all had class so i waited alone for him to get there. he came round, fixed our bunny ears (which we’d been trying to fix all night), and when i said “how did you do that ? we’ve been trying to get them working all night!”, he grabbed my arm, squeezed it, and told me i was a ‘good girl’. i would have told him not to fucking touch me, only he was a karate teacher, entirely creepy, and i was alone at home.

  404. Ha, and I’ve been reading thinking I’m one of the lucky ones, too. Probably because I’ve been with my husband since I was 20, and thus ‘protected’ from an early age. And yet:

    In high school girls teased me about my appearance more than boys.

    But it was a group of boys who followed me around a deserted street trying to get me to agree to ‘go out with’ them – when I was 13.
    A grown man who followed me down another street catcalling ‘compliments’ about how sexy I was – also at 13.
    A man who exposed himself on a train station when I was 14. Twice, at two different train stations.
    A man who raped me at 16.
    By 16, the catcalling on the street and the verbal harassment was pretty constant. I always assumed this was because I was shaped the way I was (5’4″, 110lbs and a DD cup) but I realise now it just determined the sorts of catcalls.
    By 18, apparently, I had a slut’s reputation to boot. It wasn’t the women who started that one.

    Since high school, no girl nor woman has ever said anything mean or disparaging about my appearance again. Never. Men, however, have.
    Drive by verbal harassment was a daily thing in the last part of town I lived in, until my mid twenties. Not so much any more.
    My most recent boss, the managing partner of a big city law firm, reacted to the news of my pregnancy with ‘I did notice your boobs had got bigger so that explains it’. and I’m one of the lawyers. The secretaries get jokes about tanning beds and whether they wear underwear when they tan.

    And I’m sure there’s more, but I’m due in court.

  405. Scarlett – very good point they were guys and no doubt this is typically the gender who cusses at people (although I have seen girls do it too). And Mickey I can also see that coming from a guy it is a very different scenario and it puts you into a position of feeling a lot more threatened when you are a woman. So I am not trying to compare or contrast and say that its equal. I have no doubt that it is a lot different for a woman than for a guy. I just wanted to highlight that there are grey areas and that guys can receive nasty comments and sometimes from woman. Sometimes I feel it is socially appropriate to comment on guys weights now but not womans. I think in general people see fat people as things and not as people.

    On the other hand when I did lose the weight (obviously regained it) through disordered thinking and used to wear the clothes I liked I used to get called fag all the time from male passers by. So either way Im screwed:)

  406. I can think of a million bad ones, but I thought I’d throw in a funny one because I’m freaking sad. I was at a big potluck/picnic thing in the city and a bunch of people who didn’t know each other were playing capture the flag after lunch and this one guy thought it would be great to repeatedly dump water on my head. I told him to stop, and he kept doing it. I told him in my serious voice that I didn’t think it was fun and I wanted him to stop. And of course he didn’t because you know, no really means yes and 20 year old women love to be hit on in gradeschool fashion because it is hella charming to dump water on someone to get their attention.

    So after he wouldn’t stop I puffed up all my adorable 5’2″ and grabbed the front of his shirt and shouted in his face “if you don’t leave me alone I’m going to fuck you up!”

    Yeah, he left me alone after that. Seriously, I’m not advocating violence, but I can’t believe that that is what I had to do to get him to leave me alone.

  407. I just wanted to highlight that there are grey areas and that guys can receive nasty comments and sometimes from woman.


    Seriously, I know that it must be upsetting to you to have people, male and female, say rude things to you.

    But why did you feel the need to share that on this particular thread? The point of this thread is to talk about how “Richard” felt the need to minimize the experiences women were reporting about being attacked verbally–either in a “You suck!” or “Suck me!” way.

    Your experience actually isn’t relevant to this thread; “Richard” wasn’t talking about men’s experiences of rudeness or harassment at all.

    Sometimes I feel it is socially appropriate to comment on guys weights now but not womans

    With all respect, I believe that this is an example of profound observer bias. I accept that it may feel that way to you, because rude comments on your weight may be personally upsetting to you.

    I don’t think that any kind of objective scan of the environment in which any of us live would bear this assertion out.

  408. Dan, I’m sorry to hear that happened to you, and I hope that you are recovering from your disordered eating experiences. As JP says, though, this thread is about responding to Richard’s comment that women are “their own worst enemies,” not about whether men also experience fatphobia and appearance-bashing (alas, they do, as you’ve noted). I respectfully ask that you please read this post at the Feminism 101 blog before engaging in this thread any further.

  409. Point taken. I guess I reacted that way because I felt that a lot of people feel these criticisms are only ever directed at woman and I can feel a bit isolated. However, upon reading your comments I think that I was way off the mark.

  410. Ok after reading Sweet Machines advice I read the feminism 101 blog and much to my huge embarrassment I realised I had just done what this says explicitly not to do. I was completely in the wrong, totally inappropriate comments, and I am so shutting up now!

  411. it just really gets me that, if you’re a woman with another woman, men suddenly think they have the right to say shit to you.

    G, with all due respect, I think this thread shows that if you’re a woman, period, men think they have the right to say shit to you. The difference when you’re out and queer is the content of the shit that gets said, not the fact of it. The amazing thing about sharing experiences like this is it shows how systemic it all is; it’s not because of our fat bodies, or our lesbian PDAs, or our DD chests. It’s because we’re women. It’s the content that changes, not the fact.

  412. Awww, I like Dan. Good job, yo.


    I am very glad that you had a chance to smack B.F. Skinner, I always thought he treated those pigeons terribly.

    and, course, *big hugs* to everyone else.

  413. Hmmm. I see your point, SM, but I also worry about implying that one adversity trumps another. Saying “No, it’s not because you’re [characteristic]; it’s actually because you’re a woman” contradicts someone’s experience. Of course, this thread is about the shit that gets said because we’re women. But I’m not sure that we can say that the only difference between a straight woman’s experience and a lesbian’s experience is the content of the shit that gets said. I mean, who knows which of you is right- maybe drastically more guys harass her because she’s a lesbian than would if she were straight, maybe they don’t- I just don’t think that’s a debate worth having.

  414. I have to admit, I find this thread painful and confusing. I don’t know how to respond to most of what’s said, other than “That’s horrible” and “But how can that possibly happen SO OFTEN?” – the same sort of clueless response that started this to begin with.

    To me, sexism is mostly something that happens in stories and TV melodrama. (Oh, and to my mother. I have heard all sorts of horrible workplace stories from my mom. I figured she was just unlucky…) Somehow, I am completely Invisible Girl. I can dimly remember a couple of wolf-whistles and one annoying driver’s ed instructor who always talked about “little girls checking their makeup while they drive” – but they were just irritating, not threatening. I did get that egg thrown at me, but I had the impression they were just drunk and bored and I was there. If they SAID anything to me, I didn’t hear it (It was dark, they were driving, it all happened quickly.)

    At the same time, I do have this generalized fear of men… but I tend to feel guilty for it, because I’ve never been actually terrorised by anything except MOVIES about how horrible men can be. Fiction has repeated over and over again that men are evil and dangerous. But I’ve requested aid from strange men and gotten it, no problems, I’ve collapsed in a club and been taken care of, not molested, and when I’ve encountered threatening situations, the threats were always directed towards my male companions, NOT me. I’m much more scared of a drunk thug hurting them than going after me.

    So… am I completely oblivious or completely invisible or what? I’m scared of men, but they never do anything to me that I can remember…

  415. emilymorgan, you’re right, and I apologize that my comment was dismissive of potential complications in the way homophobia contributes to harassment. I still think how G phrased the “if-then” statement in her comment is problematic, as it implies that misogyny *isn’t* a part of the equation, and then men wouldn’t have said anything if she weren’t visibly queer. I think this thread makes it maddeningly clear that many, many, many women experience harassment from men no matter what they do in public, and that’s what I wanted to draw attention to. I goofed, though, and I apologize.

  416. After reading through everyone’s accounts, my heart is very full. I can’t find words to express what I feel.

    But now what I want to know is, what can we do in response to future harassment and abuse. This thread has had me thinking all day about everything I have read , everyone’s stories, and what I need to do to take back my own power. IE: the bastards across the street who mock me …and I can’t take my own child out to play without harassment.

    I want it to stop. A woman should not have to keep to her house for fear of other men.

  417. Part of it too, is that while straight women get harassed all the time, it’s less so if they’re with a male significant other. Whereas for a lesbian, being with your partner can excerbate it.

    There’s a lot of comments in the threads about boyfriends, husbands, male friends stepping in. Which is great when they step up, but it can be frustrating too, when “I don’t want to talk to you/date you/flirty with you” is totally ignored but another man’s territory, as they see it, is totally respected.

  418. it, you make a good point there. Karen Finley had a riff on this in one of her early performance pieces, something like, “You catcall at me while I’m walking down the street, but not when I’m with a man, because then I’m his property.”

  419. The uncle who brought up topics like abortion in front of my fourteen year old self and my thirteen year old sister and then, when we didn’t agree with him, actually said “Damned single mothers. Since when do children have opinions? And girls too!” Fortunately my damned single mother brought us up right, and we both knew in that moment that he was a sexist asshole and we were perfectly entitled to think despite our status as girls from a broken home or whatever the fuck.

    When I was twelve, I got a phenomenal score on the enterance exam to a local prep high school. I did better than any of the boys in my class who took it. The morning we got our results they chased me en masse while shouting horrible things about my appearance until I reached the safety of the girls bathroom. The same thing was repeated when I got the highest score in the district on the math portion of the public middle school enterance exam.

    Or how about the teacher of my AP physics class who announced on day one (in 1995) that “boys are good at math and science, because they play with blocks. Girls aren’t good at math or science because they play with dolls. We’ll see if you girls can keep up.”

  420. Reading through the new responses has reminded me of quite a few more instances of shit I’ve gone through:

    – My father telling me that he would pay for me to go on the trip to Costa Rica that my Spanish class would be taking, if I lost weight.

    – The randomly creepy guy who, as I was waiting for my father to show up to pick me up, drove up and asked me if he could give me a ride.

    – The guy on the bus who stared me up and down and couldn’t take his eyes off of me as I sat down. This guy literally got UP from his seat where he was sitting in the seats running parallel to the side of the bus, leaned over me and whispered in my ear – “I couldn’t help but notice you wearin’ all that black and lookin’ all fine and I got my black shirt on, too, ya feel me?” (I should note: this guy was 40+, scrawny, haggard, weasel-y and white as could be, but was talking like a gangsta – gross!) and I just sort of uneasily laughed, like, “Hehe, yeah, I gotcha.” So I pulled out my iPod (so I could build my little antisocial bubble) and he noticed and asked me about it and where I’d bought it. The thing was ages old, even then, and I told him I’d received it as a present and that my mom had found it on eBay. For some reason, he was being obnoxiously loud — either he thought he was being charming or he was giving me shit, I still can’t decide, to this day. I mentioned that I liked listening to my music a little louder than most people and he was like, “AND THAT’S WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU, GRRL!” When I finally got a chance to put my headphones on, he proceeded to bust out his cellphone and call probably everyone in his phone book, rather conspicuously talking about a party he was throwing and calling everyone he spoke to ‘my dog’ or ‘my bitch’ (UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGH!) Needless to say, I ignored him as best I could.

    I realized far too late that I’d taken the wrong bus and wound up wayyyy far afield from where I’d wanted to go, so I asked the driver as we arrived at the bus station where I’d need to go to get wherever I was going. He told me and I got off and groaned inwardly as I noticed that the obnoxious loud guy was sitting at one of the stop areas right before the one I was supposed to be going to. I really tried to put out ‘ignore me’ vibes as I went by, but instead, the guy got up and walked right up to me. “So, about that mp3 player, where’d you say you got it from?” He was literally right up in my face – his nose was no more than five inches from mine – I made a show of deliberately taking a step backwards and then responded to him. He continued asking questions but I gave him quick, pat answers and he left me alone after he realized I wasn’t anywhere in the neighborhood of interested.

    – Oh, and HERE is another one I only just now remembered. My best friend and I used to live about 70 miles apart. I lived in Daytona Beach, she lived in Jacksonville. For my twenty-first birthday, we made arrangements for me to go up to visit her and hang out for a week or so since we didn’t get to see each other that often. A mutual guy friend we’d had for about two or three years, who lived in England, wanted to come and see us both. He was into me, I knew, but I definitely didn’t think of him that way — I was with someone else at the time and was monogamous and, again, thought of this English dude like a brother. So, English dude goes to my friend’s place first and is there for three or four days before I have a chance to get up there myself. English dude is HELLA creepy. Skulking about and just generally making me uncomfortable. Especially the way that he’s pawing all over my best friend (who also was seeing someone and was in a monogamous relationship with that person) and cuddling and snuggling her and her just letting him.

    Anyway, one night, the three of us go out to see a movie (the original Matrix – snirk!) and then afterwards, we go to get pizza. We’ve been walking and it’s Florida so it’s freaking muggy and I’m sweaty as hell. So we get to the place, order our pizza and my best friend has to go to the bathroom – so she leaves me with It. We get a table and we’re sitting there for a grand total of five minutes, just chatting, when he suddenly slides his hand across the table and says “I adore you” (this, after he’d attempted to put his arm around me at the movie theater – being unaccustomed to unsolicited touches from people, I flinched and he drew his hand away and – I would find out later – was trying to feel up my best friend, who was sitting on the other side of him). I’m in the process of wiping my sweaty forehead and since he’s asking for it, I’m gonna give it to him – I take my damp, gross, perspiration-soaked hand and plonk it right down in his. I can see his enthusiasm is waning, which is just what I was hoping for. After a moment, he lets go and I breathe a big mental sigh of relief. My best friend returns and we have our pizza and nothing is said about the sweaty hand-holding incident.

    The next leg of the trip involves us all going down to Daytona to hang out and do stuff for a day or two before English Jerk goes home. We get a hotel room in Jacksonville to stay for one night and then we plan on leaving in the morning. Since my friend was a big sleep-kicker, I asked if the two of them wouldn’t mind sharing a bed, since I didn’t LIKE being pummeled in my sleep. She had no problem with it, so we all went to bed. Later on, she would tell me that in the middle of the night, when he thought she was asleep, he started trying to feel her up under the covers. She said she elbowed him as hard as she could in the stomach and that, thankfully, got him to quit.

    It was obvious that he was there to get him some American pussy and figured that his ridiculous come-ons and attempts at ‘romance’ would lead to much American sexings from us, because we were both fat and obviously hard-up (only, y’know, NOT). Neither of us were having any of it – though I made it quite a bit more clear than she did, I think. I loved the irony of it – this dickweed talking about how much he admired me for being monogamous and yet doing everything he could to try to get me to cheat on my bf when we finally met face to face.

    After that visit, both my best friend and I stopped talking to him and nicknamed him The Slug Trail. Come to find out from her, much later after the fact, he’d told all of his friends that he’d slept with not just her, but me as well. It’s like I told her – anybody who knew us and knew him would know that wasn’t gonna happen. Much, much later, through the grapevine, she heard that he knocked up and subsequently married this girl who looked eerily like a melding of my best friend and I (short like her, curly hair like her, but face like a mix of hers and mine). One time, when we commiserated about the Slug Trail incidents, I said that if I’d only known at the time what Slug Trail was doing to her, I would have done or said something. She told me I was lucky, that I had this ‘vibe’ about me. Puzzled, I asked her what she meant — “you kind of have this ‘touch me and I’ll break every fucking bone in your body’ thing about you”. It still tickles me, since I’m about the most non-violent, friendly person you could ever meet. I guess I scared the Slug Trail into behaving. It’s just too bad my friend never said anything, otherwise I would have broken some bones and called the cops on his jerk ass after I was done.

  421. Caitlin, I’m really worried about your situation. That guy you described is a real threat, to you and to other girls. I sure can’t tell you what to do — only you know what will be right for you. But imagine the discomfort you might face if you are forced to confront this guy, as versus the discomfort that another girl might face if this fool actually attacks her.

    Wow… you’re in between a rock and a hard place. But then again, you’re also in a position to be a hero, at least a hero to me. And to the girls who would never know what horror you might be able to save them from.

    Whatever you choose, I’m thinking of you.

  422. This has gotten me really angry, and I’m realizing more and more that when men ask “what’s the big deal?” some of them honestly don’t know, or don’t know the extent. They don’t know we have to look at each and every offense as potentially serious because it could lead to real danger for us if we don’t.

    So, I’ve written a blog entry about it, and I hope you don’t mind if I post the link here: http://ohophelia.diaryland.com/080822_93.html

    Knowledge is power, right?
    *raises fist*

  423. SM, thanks. I still don’t see any implicit denial- two of the anecdotes she listed had nothing to do with being queer. But I’m absolutely on board with your larger point.

    (must stop commenting and go to bed! aah! :)

  424. I’m a lurker posting for my first time here. I wasn’t sure if I was going to leave this note or not, but I guess I will. I feel a bit nervous doing so, though, and I apologize if anything I say is inappropriate.

    I must say, I have been extremely lucky or blessed or something. I’ve never had situations like any of these. Granted, I’m 25, so I suppose I haven’t had all that much life experience. But, with that said, every single memory I have of being harassed was from other women.

    My mom, sister, step mom and aunts have all trashed me for my weight my whole life. My mom was the worst with her comments.

    Kids in elementary and middle school that were the worst were the girls. In high school, I didn’t get a lot of harassment, and hung out with mostly boys because I prefered them.

    I used to work in a preschool, where all the teachers were female, and the same would happen there– constantly trashing one another on anything from weight to clothes to food choices. And the comments weren’t light, much were of the bitch, cunt, whore, etc., variety– behind their back or to their face.

    I’ve seen it happen in all women small group settings as well, such as my all women dorm in college or an all women Christian group.

    I’ve also had random women call me a fat bitch, whore, or just talk randomly about me as I would walk by, glares/staring, especially when walking into clothing stores.

    But, I’ve never once had a man say anything to me… not one in my family, not one on the street or anywhere of the above situations in mixed company. I’ve never been catcalled or whistled or anything like that, though I have seen a friend of mine get whistled at maybe, once? And I’ve been racking my brain for examples since I read this post yesterday. I’ve never had so much as a random man flirt with me (and honestly, previous to today, I’ve always been jealous of that).

    So, I’m being honest here, please bear with me. On one hand, I’ve sort of held the same view that women are worse on themselves than men are to women. I’ve been known to refer to other women as catty and abusive, and I am one to much prefer male friendships over female friendships. In fact, I always though men were refreshing.

    On the other hand, I’ve never experienced anything close to what anyone on here has, and it’s surprising to me. I had no idea. The most I’ve ever connected any of this behavior with is through the media, yes I’ve known it existed, but no, I’ve never seen it. I just want to make that clear– yes, my experiences have been vastly different. apparently, but I am glad to have read this and have seen what other people have gone through. It’s eye opening. (And I can only say that I am sorry.)

    I’m sure some of it has to do with my life.. I was raised in the country, went to a small town high school and a small college, and currently live in a small town. I’m 25, and I’ve been married for a year to my first and only boyfriend, and I’ve never been one for clubs or bars. I’m sure horrid situations happen everywhere, but I don’t hear about them on a regular basis.

    In any case, I’m not sure what else to say, except that I felt compelled to share that.

  425. I already commented here and there are just too many stories to recount, especially since I used to live in New York. The East Coast is just so bad on the sexual harassment front. Maybe it’s the humidity?

    Anyway, everyone else’s experiences reminded me of my personal worst. One day I was walking home and two guys in a van pulled up next to me and asked if I wanted a ride. I was 13, at most, and the guy who asked had, what I can best describe, as dead eyes. He had the eyes of a sociopath. I wasn’t old enough to truly grasp what was going on, but I was old enough and smart enough to say no. If I had accepted, I’d put my chances of being raped by those guys at 100 percent and my chances of being murdered by them at 90 percent.

  426. less than a week ago, I was at a concert until about midnight and then had to walk a mile from the subway station at approximately quarter to 1.

    A couple drunk guys pulled up next to me in a car and just slowly rolled up the street beside me, leering, then drove faster and pulled into a driveway about four houses up. I hid behind some trees and watched… they just idled there. No movement. I snuck off and ran the long way home, got home, opened the door, closed it and locked it behind me, then collapsed, shaking.

    scariest shit ever.

    let me count the other ways.

    the boy in 9th grade who told me he’d never fuck me because I was too ugly, so the most I’d get was a handshake– he also had trapped me in a bus seat at this point and was rubbing up against me. He forced me to shake his hand, and proceeded to enumerate why I was ugly. When he got off the bus, he rubbed his ass on me and said I was cheaper than toilet paper.

    The ex-boyfriend who told me I’d never fit beauty standards because my nipples weren’t the right color.

    The ex-boyfriend who tried to drive me crazy and blamed all of my emotions on my female instability.

    …yeah. uh.

  427. Maria, I think you and I may have gone to the same school (although I’m much older). Is it in NC, by any chance?

  428. Let’s see…

    There was the (huge, much older) guy at the gas station when I was about 17 who came up to me and kept trying to convince me to come to a party with some of his friends that night…

    Or the construction workers/landscapers who would whistle and catcall and stare at my 12/13-year-old body as I walked by, leading me to refuse to walk my dog and refuse to tell my mother why…

    And then there was my brief stint working in a bookstore, made oh-so-pleasant by the guy who would come in and follow me around and stare at my ass, day after day, periodically making “approving” comments.

    But nah, the douchehound’s right–women have definitely said wayyyy worse things to me about my appearance, for sure. I’ll go have a nice long think and I’m sure I’ll be back with some good ones. *headdesk*

  429. My ex went on about how much he loved my body and how sexy it was that I’d gained weight. He also told me that I made too much noise when I walked (because fat people shake the floor, lol), and once as I tried to boost myself onto a high lofted bed he laughed and said I looked like a beached whale.

  430. “So… am I completely oblivious or completely invisible or what? I’m scared of men, but they never do anything to me that I can remember…”


    I think what you are feeling is the difference between sexism and the patriarchy. When we meet individual people we judge them on their own merits, and if we lived a charmed life we might never run in to anyone who treated us badly because of our gender, but that would not change the fact that there is a system of beliefs in place which minimizes the value of women. It is built into life like asbestos is built into old building; you cannot see it with your naked eye and only know it by the symptoms it creates, like those that have been discussed here.

    It is possible that your generalized fear of men comes from the knowledge that women are raped, molested, stalked, beaten, and made to suffer innumerable other indignities just because of our gender, and that if we are lucky enough to have avoided any or all of these horrors it may only be because of grace and luck and not through any cunning or quality we might possess.

    I hope that addresses what you asked, I didn’t really feel well qualified to answer and had waited for a while hoping someone else would post a response for you. :)

  431. Looks like middle school was rough for a lot of people. For me, there was one boy who frequently would try to pull the back of my bra up over my head. I remember one time in reading class I was sitting on the floor and I ended up with a bunch of boys around me cheering his on. And the crazy part–I was so, oh, I don’t know what, that despite this, I had a crush on him. Also in middle school, some other boys, mostly the popular crowd, had nicknamed me Moose. I was one of the tallest girls in the class, and getting curvy, but I certainly was not at all fat. Moose stuck for a long time. I played along and tried to make the nickname my own, but it still hurt.

    But there was one woman who really tried to knock me down once–also in middle school. My sixth grade math teacher, in response to my success in her class, said, “I’m surprised you are doing so well in math, Amy. Usually boys are better at math.”

  432. I’d like to just clarify on my last point – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a lesbian. But there’s something wrong with a man calling you what he perceives as an insult, because you won’t suck his dick or whatever.

  433. . I am a teenager and easily the fattest person in my grade. But strangely enough nothing has ever been said to me even remotely resembling the above mentioned horror stories. I was actualy schocked reading these posts, because I can not imagine that happening to anyone. But then I live in Connecticut, attend cotillion and small private schools, and am currently attending an elite international boarding school. Manners and courtesy are of the utmost importance in my world. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, behind closed doors the most horrible things do get said. Its open season on “Talking behind someone’s back”, but not to their face, never to their face. I’m sure terrible things have been said about me in private. I don’t even want to know.

  434. Regarding the issue of queerness, SM, I thought of a conversation I had the other day. One of my dear friends recently vented to me about the street harassment she encountered while out on a date with the girl she’s just started seeing. They were catcalled and jeered at; guys harangued her into a high five after she kissed her lady goodbye before she got on the subway, and there was just a lot of leering and lecherous stares. In Boston, of all places, which is supposed to be such a progressive town. Some of this in the South End, the city’s gay village.

    In that conversation she made a point to me that sort of hammered home what I think G was talking about. Meg said, “I hate that as long as a girl isn’t with a guy, she’s fair game for intimidation, sexual harassment, hate speech.” It wasn’t necessarily about being with another woman – the being with another woman just heightened the sense of entitlement to harassment. Being a queer woman engaging in PDA is like, the square of what a woman on her own encounters, because it’s two women. So it’s sort of both the queerness and the womanhood. Me and my boyfriend would NEVER receive the same kind of treatment that Meg and her girlfriend did (and certainly never have). My encounters with street harassment from men has always, always come when I’ve been alone or hanging out with female friends, never with guys around.

    I’ve always been aware of that privilege (especially as a bisexual woman who, although I’ve only dated a woman on my hippie college campus where problems with ones orientation were virtually unheard of, realizes that it could be gone in a snap if this relationship ended), but after this conversation thinking about it made me want to cry.

  435. My first post disappeared, so the one above probably doesn’t make sense. Whoops!

    Caitlin, I don’t know what to say. Fuck. Sending you lots of love.

    Okay, here are just a few choice bits from my life.
    – Boys in class making fun of my tits and male teacher joining in
    – When I was 15, my stepfather told me he’d had a wet dream about me
    – Bosses at same work – one put his hand in my sweater, another stuck his tongue in my mouth. I was 18.
    – Shouted at in the street – called ‘fat arse’ and more
    – Told by men I don’t want to sleep with that I’m a lesbian, cunt etc.
    – Ex-bf who destroyed my confidence by telling me I was dressed like a slut – practically wore tents for years
    – Another one who wouldn’t have sex with me unless I’d shaved and washed ‘down below’
    – Stalked by ex-husband who couldn’t accept the marriage was over
    – Told by my father that I would never amount to anything, and that I was hysterical (real tears, real depression daddy)
    – The man who grabbed my breast in a nightclub
    – The men who have ground their crotches against me while I’m minding my own business dancing, and seem to think I should be grateful
    – Various catcalls, insults
    – At 15, 2 men in street remarking on my butt ‘It’s like 2 puppies fighting in a sack’
    – Male (soon-to-be-ex) friends who think it’s okay to get their jollies while hugging you ‘as a friend’
    – The man who exposed himself to my sister when she was 12
    – The male ‘friend’ of my best mate. On the one occasion she didn’t want sex, he had her anyway. She committed suicide 5 years later – so he’s a rapist and a fucking murderer.

    After having skip read most of this thread, the memories are flooding back. I’m not sure whether to cry or get an axe…

    I love men. My partner is one, my brother, my nephew. But why is it so many men seem to hate women?

  436. Caitlin: are there *any* women in camp executive positions? Do you have a cell phone?

    You have a couple of options here. How badly do you need the money/to finish working at the camp? Is there someone you can stay if you leave the camp? Are your parents able to provide emotional or other help?

    If your parents are available, give them a call immediately and let them know what is going on.

    Frankly, this is a very scary, very dangerous situation and if you are not staying out of absolute necessity (i.e., you don’t have anywhere to go if you leave, no way of going anywhere, no money, etc.), I would *tell someone*, see how they react, and get out if it looks like they’re not treating the situation with respect and gravity. Go to a female executive/higher-up if they exist; if they don’t, go to the guy you think treats people the best.

    If you have a cell phone, keep it on you and keep it charged. I’d even go ahead and put 9-11 (or your local emergency number, if it s different) on speed dial. If anything happens like that situation in the woods, call them IMMEDIATELY, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

    I had that incident where I was walking home, and after my mother had listened to me and helped me deal with my fear, she let me know very gently that I could have called 911. We are often hesitant to do so because we’re afraid that the cops might not be supportive, that the threat of an incident isn’t enough to get help for.

    And if it happens again? If the cops come and aren’t supportive (worst-case scenario), get the fuck out of there. If they are, but understandably can’t take the guys in for whatever reason, let them know your situation and ask them for help staying safe– let them know you’re willing to leave the camp, because trust me, that’s a better alternative.

    I’m not sure if the shelters for runaways would take you in, but it’s worth calling just to check if that is an option.

  437. caitlin…..not sure of how to help….but….and i know this may sound cowardly to some…..is there a way that you can inform the higher ups and then get out of there PRONTO?

    i ask because i think informing those in the position to remove this person is paramount, but at the same time, i fear for your safety should you do so…..

  438. Caitlin, are you going back to that camp, or are you there now?

    If you’re not there now, and aren’t planning on going back next year, I would definitely recommend reporting him. Not only is he a threat to female coworkers, he’s a bad example to those little boys and a liability to the camp.

    If you’re afraid to confront him, you can decide about that later – if you write a letter with this allegation, the camp will either 1) brush it off, 2) thank you for your feedback and do what they want with the information or 3) feel that they need you to confront him in person to be “fair” to him. Their response will give you a whole new decision to make. The decision right now doesn’t have to be about whether you want to face him directly, it is about reporting him in general.

    If you are still at the camp, instead of worrying about his affect on other people, worry about you – talk to the other women at the camp about how to be safe (first by not being alone if you can manage). There’s a good chance someone else has had negative experiences with this threatening dude. Then, if you need more backup, and you feel up to it, talk to some of the other guys there – especially if one in that group of six is someone you otherwise trust. Tell them how scary that experience was. Tell them you need them to stand up to dude when he’s threatening.

    Finally, if you do end up feeling like you need to confront this dude face to face, even if it’s a situation that you think shouldn’t scare you (like an office with an authority figure), take support. If they say “this is a personnel matter, it is private” tell them “I need someone with me to feel safe from this THREATENING VIOLENT MAN YOU ARE HARBORING.” It’ s management’s business to make your workplace safe, even if they don’t think it’s their problem.

    Safety support, moral support, whatever you need, ask for it – I’ve been one of the support people for a woman in my church confronting harassment from a man who lived on church property. It was supposed to only be moral support, but it ended up being safety lookout too because they told the dude when the meeting was and he lurked around (we could see his shadow through the frosed window glass) and he had previous gun & assault convictions.

  439. Let’s see, highlights from my life as follows…

    – when I was 12, ogled at by the father of the children I babysat for (also our next-door neighbor) who once pointed out that my fly was down

    – in high school, called a “dyke” and “feminazi” mercilessly because I had short hair (which was very fashionable in the early 90’s as you may recall)

    – working part-time at a law firm in college, one of the partners would ask me to give him backrubs. When I refused, he called me a lesbian. Complained to a co-worker about it, who told me it was “nothing” compared to other behavior she had seen in the business.

    – called “frigid” and a “prude” because I wanted to leave a bar in college because I objected to a wet t-shirt contest that was going on

    – called a “white bitch” by various vagrants and homeless people in Philadelphia (which is a common everyday occurrence to people who have lived in Philadelphia)

    And that’s just the stuff that I haven’t blocked out of my mind

  440. I think we should start a campaign to make “fat” and “obese” the new “n-word.”

    There are several things wrong with this, and that’s not what this site is about. I don’t know if you’re new around here or what, but you might want to pay a little closer attention.

    Although I do understand the thought behind this, when “fat” and “obese” are used in such vile, hateful ways as demonstrated on this thread.

  441. Hand up.

    I took depo-provera for year and had some wicked side effects, most notably a ~40lb weight gain. I went to a series of doctors trying to figure out what was going one – one, after a catalogue of symptoms, told me that if I “just stopped eating potato chips” I “wouldn’t be so fat.” Mmmmhmmm. Asshat.

  442. delurking for once…in 8th I dated and then broke up with a guy because he was pressuing me to give him a blowjob and I didn’t want to do that. He and his friends created an AOL account and threatened to do terrible things to me and kill me because I broke up with him.

    In high school another guy used to sit next to me in a lot of my classes, stick his hand down the back of my pants, and touch my butt. If I was ever studying in the library after school he’d come in and ask me to go out behind the building and have sex with him.

    Not counting the times I’ve been groped or catcalled, obviously.

  443. *delurks* I remember my dad telling me when I was a teenager that I should keep my hair long because men prefer long hair on women (I had mentioned aloud that I thought short hair would suit me). My brother called me podge, pig etc pretty much constantly and pretty much from day one. There was the guy in the street who yelled that I was a ‘fat bitch’. There was the creepy-as-shit male housemate who – after I made it perfectly clear that I didn’t want to be anywhere near him – sent me upwards of ten text messages a day about how pretty and ‘soft-spoken’ I was and, and how it was OK that I had been ‘rude’ by telling him that I wanted him leave me alone because he still respected me and still fancied me (what an opportunity I missed there…). When I took to locking my bedroom door at all times he started shoving letters under my door to the same effect, and following me alone down streets at night saying things to the same effect.
    Oh! And there was the male friend of a different housemate who visited and would repeatedly inform me I desperately wanted to fuck him (uh, no) because I was too ugly to get dates. And then there’s the too-many-to-name exhortions from male strangers to ‘smile!’ because I look too grumpy for them. One of whom mockingly called me ‘Smiley’ while he was actually trying to persuade me to buy something from him, wtf. And judging from the comments here and elsewhere, all these are comparatively mild experiences :(

  444. There are several things wrong with this, and that’s not what this site is about. I don’t know if you’re new around here or what, but you might want to pay a little closer attention.

    Although I do understand the thought behind this, when “fat” and “obese” are used in such vile, hateful ways as demonstrated on this thread.

    I’m all for accepting my fatness. However, I don’t think other people have the right to call me fat or obese, (except maybe doctors in the medical context) any more than I as a white person have the right to call an African-American or black person the “n-word.” What I call myself, and what others call me in vile, hurtful terms are two different things.

    And yes, I am new. You have any better ideas?

  445. I forgot the old kid in school who kept following me around and asking me if I was a virgin, while smirking and obviously enjoying himself. I was about six and had no idea what the word even meant. I still can’t get over how early this crap starts…

  446. “I was the school slut, too. Unbeknownst to me I had fucked the entire football team, sucked off teachers and let anyone who wanted to feel me up.”

    What a coincidence! Apparently in high school I fucked the entire soccer team. I didn’t find out until after graduation though. Apparently, I wasn’t paying attention. And here I thought I was a virgin. Silly me.

  447. I’m all for accepting my fatness. However, I don’t think other people have the right to call me fat or obese, (except maybe doctors in the medical context) any more than I as a white person have the right to call an African-American or black person the “n-word.” What I call myself, and what others call me in vile, hurtful terms are two different things.

    And yes, I am new. You have any better ideas?

    Yes. Read some more around here and other FA sites if you haven’t already. Also, I think it would be beneficial to read some blogs which focus on racial issues. I am a fan of http://www.racialicious.com/, so I can recommend that as a good place to begin, if you are interested.

    The “n-word” has a long and vile history that, no matter how painful it may be to be insulted about your weight, can not be matched.

  448. I would really rather not be called ‘obese’, as I think it’s an ugly-sounding word and non-doctors generally don’t have a clue what’s technically obese anyway, but ‘fat’ is at its root just a descriptor.

    I’m a bit fat, I’m not very tall, my hair is getting long, my eyes are pretty blue…

    (And I’d definitely prefer ‘fat’ to ‘overweight’, since ‘overweight’ comes with an automatic judgment that there is a correct weight and you ain’t it.)

    Do I know if I yet have the courage to respond to someone declaring “YOU’RE FAT” with “Yeah… and?” Not sure. I can certainly do that with being called ‘weirdo’ or ‘geek’, though.

  449. *crying now*

    Both hands so fucking up!!

    I was reading through all this and kept shaking my head I remember my mom being so adamant that until I lost weight she would not hang pictures of me in her house ( to this day there are none) and other things that make it impossible to this day for me to be around my mom. I couldn’t for the life of me really remember any men who truly tormented me. SO I thought WOW i am the odd one Richard must be talking about.

    Then all of a sudden it all came back, I am eight sitting in the booth at the local Piccadilly cafeteria. My older brother is there as is my dad and his new girlfriend. My father is explaining to us what is going on with the divorce between him and our mom.

    He calls my mom a frigid woman who he couldn’t even get pregnant she hated sex so much (never mind he had been snipped! WTF!- My brother and I were both adopted)

    Then he tells my brother he is going to end up in prison ( which sadly came true)

    Then he turns to me and tells me I am going to have a bitter lonely life, why because I am too ugly and stupid to even exist. And definitely to be his daughter. ( I think i am OK looking and well I have a 4.0 GPA )

    I looked at his girlfriend and she sat their nodding in accordance with all the hate and vitriol he spewed at us. Once the divorce went through he moved to Dallas Texas and I never saw him again, to this day I do not even know if he is still alive.

    My moms second husband I can’t talk too much about- but suffice it to say it was tantamount to child abuse by todays standards. But in the middle to late seventies, early eighties they were desperate to make me “pretty and acceptable to be seen with in public” yeh they would say shite like that to my face. I was not acceptable to be seen in public with…

    By her third husband I was out of the house THANK GODDESS!

    The other really bad one was my moms oldest brother, Uncle B. He would hand me a paper bag everytime I went to his house and tell me I had to wear it, cause just the sight of me made me sick. That I was just an ugly dog, and if his bitch had ever thrown a pup like me he would’ve killed them both and fixed the dad. – Note how its the female genders faults not the males. Everyone laughed and said what a funny joke HA HA !! ( I never did actually wear it but there it was-eye holes cut out and a little slit to breathe through- but no mouth hole Goddess forbid I should wish to eat or anything?)

    His wife would just laugh and laugh not understanding the joke, but then her knowledge of English was never really complete. She was Japanese and met my Uncle when he was stationed in Japan. He spoke Japanese fluently, so it took her a long time to learn English when they finally moved back here. I felt sorry for her, some of the things he would say to her, in what sounded like a loving sweet tone, were pure evil.

    My older brother picked up on a lot of what my Uncle would say to me, so even when we weren’t spending our summers with him, I would still hear it at home. This is the biggest reasons I wish I had never been adopted by my family, no matter how much I do still love some of them. The issues I am still dealing with even now some 30 odd years later, wound me so deeply.

    SO yeh Richard FUCK YOU even my mom who hurt me deeply learned her best hits from her brother and her husbands, she took her cues from them. They originated the evil, that caused multiple suicide attempts and other internal issues I may never completely work through – my own fear and self loathing put there mainly by the men in my life, FUCK YOU Richard.

  450. ***Raises Hand***

    When I was 18, my father and Grandfather on the way back from Texas stopped at a roadside T-shirt place and picked up a nice shirt for me. The shirt said, “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy.” Then they expected me to wear it. I kid you not.

  451. The one that sticks out for me, even though not particularly “bad” is one I’ve never mentioned to anyone I know –

    I was walking down the street in LA. Fairly busy street, but it’s LA so pretty much all car traffic, no other pedestrians except a fairly old man (60s? 70s?). I no longer remember what he said to me to start the conversation, but it had to do with him thinking I was very young (early teens). (I was 25 at the time). When I told him I wasn’t very young he said something like “that’s too bad” and when I turned to keep walking away from him he grabbed my arm and said “Kiss me”. He repeated it once or twice “Come on, just a little kiss” before I shook him off and walked away.

    Why haven’t I told anyone? I was embarrassed that I didn’t respond more forcefully – yell at him to take his hands off me, report him to the police – something. I was afraid that next time he would try it with someone who was younger and less able/willing to brush him off.

  452. Lillith…there just aren’t words enough in the world for what I wish I could say to you. I’m so glad you survived all that.


  453. Lurker here, coming out to add some of my own…

    + Grade school: A boy in my class gives me what he calls “noogies” during recess (he punches his fist into my groin).

    + My 2-years-younger brother takes a Polaroid photo of me as I’m eating a cookie (to shame me about being fat and snacking). (Brother can still be kind of mean, but he’s better now.)

    + Junior high: I’m at a roller-skating rink (this was the 80s) with friends and an older (like, adult) guy keeps asking me to skate with him and won’t leave me alone even though I keep saying “no”.

    + High school, gym class: We’re jogging around the track, and as this jerk passes me, he looks at me and says, “What’s shakin’?”

    + Walking home from high school, car full of boys I recognize (younger than me) yell, “Look at that ass!”

    + Several years after college, laying out in the sun in a city park (several other folks doing the same nearby), a guy on a bike deliberately falls off of his bike ONTO ME, his crotch in my face. I’m shouting “get the f*** off of me, you f***er!!” over and over, punching him -but wishing I had a knife. He calmly gets back on his bike and rides away while I’m screaming at him. (Nobody around me seemed to notice or care what just happened.)

    + Walking to the grocery store, a guy behind me starts yelling, “Oooh, you got some big legs! I love big legs!”

    + Riding the train, a guy seated behind me starts saying, “You got such nice long hair, you wouldn’t mind if I touched it would you?” I ignore him, but moments later I feel him touching my hair. I get up quickly and move to the doorway. A guy next to me says, “It happens to the best of us.”

    + Riding the bus, a guy seated behind me starts touching and pulling on my long hair. (I get up without confronting him and move to another seat.)

    + Laying out in the sun in a city park. Again, there are plenty of other people (men, women) doing the same nearby. Two guys stroll by and one yells, “Damn, girl, you are HEALTHY!”

    + Walking back from a movie — with a male friend — and a male passerby suddenly grabs my breast. I turn to yell and run after the guy. My *friend* must not have noticed and is clueless…

    + Walking to the grocery store, an old guy on a bike rides by me slowly and says, “Why don’t you come home with me?”

    Too many more instances to mention…

  454. Should there be a trigger warning on this post, for the comments section? I’m asking because I didn’t really think I had much in the way of triggers as of yesterday, but reading this seems to have proved me wrong.

  455. Dear Richard (And Every Other “Richard” Out There) –

    A woman did not molest me when I was barely five. That was a trusted male relative.

    A woman did not date rape me when I was an innocent 15 years old and then proceed to torure me at school by having all his buddies talk about what a whore I was. That was a boy. Not a single one thought he’d done anything wrong.

    In college, a woman did not tell me I had to lose weight (at least 30 pounds) before it would be acceptable to be seen in public with me. It was still OK to have sex with me, but I was too fat to date. That was a man.

    These are just a few examples of the things I’ve endured at the hands of men simply because I’m female. The must violent and damaging abuse I’ve epxerienced has come from men, hands down.

    Can women be assholes? Sure they can. But your assumption that women are worse to each other than men have ever been is naive at best and cruel and condescending at worst.

  456. I don’t think other people have the right to call me fat or obese, (except maybe doctors in the medical context) any more than I as a white person have the right to call an African-American or black person the “n-word.”

    What Jae said.

    Being new here, it would probably be a good idea for you to read the comments policy, paying particular attention to the eleventh rule. The Oppression Olympics is frowned upon here.

    “Fat” and “obese,” while they can be used to hurt and shame, are, in the end, descriptors. They describe a physical state, that of having more adipose tissue than average. They can be value-neutral. By contrast, the “n-word” was invented purely out of hate and bigotry, and can never be value-neutral.

    Your flippent remark about campaigning to make descriptive terms into the “new” “n-word” dismisses the history and suffering of this word. I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but that is the way it came across. I definitely recommend reading the sources that Jae linked to.

  457. This thread has been haunting me for days. I had to take sleeping pills just to shut my brain up long enough to sleep last night, and had a really weird dream about being in Oz, and having a comb that contained a magic spell that was a sort of poison, and if I made an enclosed shape on the ground with it I would be safe because the bad things that were after me and my friends (Cowardly Lion and my dog, and the rest were blurry “friend” stand ins) would not be able to cross the line.

    We started out in the desert but soon moved on to my neighborhood where suddenly there were more houses, each more beautiful than the last, and a gorgeous porch and garden behind the house I ended up entering.

    I was trying to use the comb to make a path so we could all get to the beautiful house with big sunny windows and a hidden place with cushions on the floor so we could spend a safe night. I was wearing what looked like a doll’s dress, and keeping my head down because I wanted the ladies having tea in the yard to think I was their daughter so they wouldn’t suspect we were going to hide in their house. They made an offhand comment about what game I might be playing but they never looked at my face, so the ruse worked. The real daughter smiled and winked at me from the window. I kept tracing the path with the magic comb. Finally I made it back to the desert spot where my friends were waiting, counting on me to scout the area and keep us safe with the magic path. But I wasn’t fast enough and by the time I got back to my friends with the comb to close the shape the bad people were closing in on my friends. I could close the shape around myself of course, and I’d be safe, but I wouldn’t leave my friends, so I ran with the comb, closer and closer to the staring eyes and outstretched claw-hands of the sexless, faceless villains.

    Make of that symbol-fest what you will.

    After that I woke up and realized it was 11. I’d slept all morning.

    Something’s changing in my head.

    Something’s gotta give.

    I really don’t know what to do now. I feel like this is important, like I can’t go back, like life can’t be the same anymore because even if everything goes on as normal I can’t see it the same way now. I can’t just keep on keeping my head down and trying my best to be a good little whatever and do the things I’m “supposed” to do, because I really need to do the things that really NEED to be done, the important things. It’s like the Universe is telling me “this is your path, we can’t give you a map and we can’t tell you much about it, but you must take it to be who you are,” and the rest of the world is all, “no, that path is not safe, don’t be stupid and foolish and rash, stay here and take this path, you will be unhappy but you will be safe and others will praise you for having done well.”

    (BTW part of my insomnia is the myriad vivid dreams and nightmares I’m always having WHEE)

    So does anybody else get “called” by some kind of Higher Message Bureau in their dreams?

    I’m about thisclose to a nervous breakdown of some kind.

    I miss college, really really bad. I miss that sense of purpose, of belonging. I want to go back and learn, like, ANYTHING. I HATE the “real” world. What does the Universe WANT from me? What is it that I’m supposed to be doing? If they’d just tell me, I’d go run and do it for heaven’s sake. But I’m supposed to figure it out, I think. Only I don’t know how.

    So… Hi. My name is Sugar. And I think I’m crazy.

  458. SugarLeigh:


    I’m not one to believe in Universal Higher Power Thingies but I do know that occasionally you will just get an overwhelming sense of What Is Right. It’s like if you get right amount of the right kind of information at the right time, and your brain computes all that up, it spits out an answer that makes the way you’ve been living your life look totally crazy.

    I came to that point with FA a few months ago. Between that and reading more feminist blogs, my brain finally had that resounding *click* where the blinders fell off, and I realized how screwed up my viewpoints had been. It was like coming out of the Matrix. It was awesome, but kind of intimidating, because…well, because the world became a scarier place then.

    I hope you find your path, SugarLeigh.

  459. The first time I encountered (memorable, at least) sexism from boys I knew–which was directed at me–was in my music appreciation class in seventh grade. Another group of boys “dared” Andy (not his real name) to ask me out on a date. I don’t know if they realized I’d heard their entire conversation or not. But the boy complied and asked me, looking horrible grossed out and embarrassed, and while his friends laughed I just turned around and gave him a withering look.

    See, the second I got into middle school I suffered from depression, so I had a somewhat rapid weight-gain as I started eating more and spent most of my time upset and trying to fall asleep. I was by no means “fat.” No–just pretty chubby, with thick arms and round, girlish cheeks. I’ve always had a thicker body type, anyway. But compared to the other lithe, barely-over-puberty girls at my school who were in the physical and mental state of constantly playing sports and going out with friends I was practically big enough to be a boat. The teenage boys at my school loved to point out the fact that I was no where near pretty enough or skinny enough for anyone to want my company. No, the mere idea that I could possibly be found attractive or even likable was a moot point.

    Another boy, Tyler, mocked me on the bus ride home from school once. We’d been arguing about something, and kind of out of the blue he said “well, when I eat a lot I lose weight–unlike you!” Which wouldn’t have bothered me that much if he hadn’t said it in a voice obviously meant to spite me, since, really, it was true.

    Boys also love pointing out how the hair on my arms isn’t completely invisible, how my skin has never really been perfect, how I have fat thighs, how I wear larger-sized clothing, how my face is round instead of narrow and thin–the list goes on.

    I can count on less than one hand the amount of times I girl has said something so cruel and demeaning to me.

  460. “Fat” and “obese,” while they can be used to hurt and shame, are, in the end, descriptors. They describe a physical state, that of having more adipose tissue than average. They can be value-neutral. By contrast, the “n-word” was invented purely out of hate and bigotry, and can never be value-neutral

    The n-word started out as a descriptor, too. It was the Spanish for black, Negro. I don’t think you could get by with using that word these days, either. It’s no longer value-neutral.

    I am not trying to play the Oppression Olympics here. My point is that IMHO “fat” is only a descriptor of what runs off the bacon when it cooks, and “obese” is a descriptor only as a medical term.. In those cases, the words are value neutral. Otherwise, they are aimed at hurting. Sure, we don’t have it as bad as black people have it in this country even now. But they didn’t get to where the n-word wasn’t tolerated in polite society by tolerating it.

    There are 495 comments before this one recounting all the ways we’ve been hurt by these words, and yet, we must look at them as value-neutral? Not in my book.

    I’m just asking where do we go from here? What do we do besides telling each other what we feel about all this? How do we stop it? It’s fine to circle the wagons on all the fat acceptance blogs, but how do we get our message out?

  461. I’m normally a lurker, but I can’t resist this one. There are obviously too many to count (and many far more serious than my little anecdote) but…

    Yesterday, from my loving father (regarding pumping milk for my baby):

    “Amazing that flat-chested A could make so much milk!”

    Uh, thanks Dad?

  462. SugarLeigh, I know in a small way how you are feeling, especially when you talk about wanting to go back to school. Honestly, a day dream about that all day long because, even though I’m sort of doing what I thought I always wanted to, it’s left me feeling bored and empty. And it’s hard, isn’t it? It is so hard wondering what to do and feeling like you are running out of time to make a choice.

    I myself have made a new choice, but I often worry that it too will be wrong and then…

    I only wish I had some sage words for you. All I can say is that, in some crazyfuck way, this turmoil is probably a “good” thing in the sense that it is probably a sign that you are mentally and personally moving towards a choice. The first step to knowing what you want, I find, is knowing what you don’t want and it sounds, from all your comments, as though that is becoming very clear to you now. It is hard as hell and I am so sorry you are feeling so torn up, but I think (and hope) that this here might be the worst part of it.

    Also, I feel like I might have given you my email addy once before, but just in case I didn’t and you ever want to talk: thenewthirteen at gmail dot com.


  463. Wow.

    Like Emmy, I can’t remember any of this kind of thing happening to me (someone did grab me on the street and try to kiss me when I was twelve or thirteen, but that was a girl. Okay, and one guy in the train when I was fourteen/fifteen, but I was, I don’t want to say “leading him on” but definitely reacting positively when I shouldn’t have because it took me the longest time to realise he wasn’t just being friendly.) I still have a heightened consciousness of men and the potential threat they might be, and tend to feel guilty about it because – have I seen any evidence that I need to take this position in real life?

    I’m starting to think there may be something off about my body language, seeing as it’s also the case that no beggars or the like ever talk to me on the street – if I’m alone. In a group, it’s completely different. I’m possibly one of the least stopped/harassed people out there, and given that I have an autistic spectrum disorder my accidentally sending out “not from this planet, just visiting, looking for a spaceship to hitchhike back home to Mars” signals is not at all out of the question. (I can’t possibly be intimidating people, I’m five foot one.) Alternately, I may also be missing things, given that my ability to tune out my surroundings is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

    That said, no matter the cause reading this thread has made me realise just how lucky I am and how much of a problem this is. My best wishes go to each and every one of you.

  464. Silverstar,

    Yes, the root of the n-word does trace back to the color black, but it’s etymology has had very little to do with how it has been used. It has been used as a vehicle of hatred against an entire group of people who suffered unspeakable horrors: slavery, rape, torture, oppression, and who are still dealing with the effects of a racist society today. No matter how hurtful it is when people ridicule us for our weight, that history is not behind that ridicule, so to try and compare them is not only unfair, but in my opinion, ludicrous.

    And seriously, if you read the back posts on this very blog, not to mention others, you would find that this issue has been discussed at length. By saying that at least black people will not be called the n-word in polite society (which sadly isn’t even always anywhere near true), you are creating an “oppression olympics” whether or not you intend to. It isn’t about making the words that hurt us “value neutral;” it is about not belitting the horrifying history and experience of black people in order to draw attention to our own negative experiences.

    I gather from the things you have said that you are excited about ideas that may be solidifying for you for the first time, and that is the reason why I responded to you: because if you look around and watch the discussions, both here and elsewhere, you might find something beneficial.

  465. It’s fine to circle the wagons on all the fat acceptance blogs, but how do we get our message out?

    First off, campaigns to ban the use of a word are rarely successful, because even though the word may not be used, the sentiment behind the word will still exist. The only reason it’s worked marginally with the “n-word” is because of the enormity of history and hatred behind it, and even then the subject isn’t exactly uncontroversial. Even if “fat” and “obese” become shushed, the haters will find other words to use.

    So, how do we get the message out? Well, it is getting out, albiet slowly. Kate just finished writing a book on the subject (with the Rotund, I believe?). There are other books out there. This blog is growing in popularity all the time, which brings interest from the news media. There have been articles written on the fatosphere. There will probably be more.

    Most of all, we get the message out by being outspoken, by accepting ourselves, by opposing ridiculous legislation, and by being happy. Part of the reason fat-hatred is so accepted in our society is because fat people in general have been inculcated with huge amounts of internalized self-loathing–we tend to participate in our own oppression, and sadly, we often don’t even know there is another way. Simply by reaching out to a fat person, by providing the message that FA offers, is a huge step in getting the message out there. The more fat people who realize that not only can they be happy, but that they are allowed to be happy, the more people who can then spread the message, the more people who will stand up for themselves, the more people who will educate others, through word and example.

    This may seem like “circling the wagons” to you, but a major part of the FA movement is simply getting the movements members to feel comfortable talking about their fatness.

    So, banning the use of the words “fat” and “obese” might not do much, but changing the implications of those words would have major impact. I feel we have a major victory everytime a fat woman can react to an accusation of fatness, not with tears, but with “So what? I’m fat. Get over it.”

    I realize, especially when reading threads like this, the wrongness of it seems too hard to bear–like we need to Do! Something! Now! But we are getting there. We’re working on it.

  466. -The kid my age who thought I should do his laundry as well as mine (we were 16; by way of explanation, this did happen in a small town in Mexico)
    -The same kid who asked me to “go to the mountains” with him (i.e., “Come on, Easy American Girl! Let’s fuck!”)
    -The old man who told me I was beautiful and offered me a ride in his car (this was last fall)
    -The ex-boyfriend who told me right after sex that my ass and legs were getting bigger and I should start going to the gym; and that I was his first skinny girlfriend and I should stay that way
    -My father always telling me that I eat too fast, that I should only eat what I’m hungry for, that I could stand to lose a few, have I tried working out?
    -The innumerable guys who have catcalled me, sometimes even following me (although usually in a lighthearted rather than overtly threatening manner)
    -Hearing “Fuck that, dude, she WALKS like a n**ger!” behind me–I assume that was a comment on my ass, DESPITE the fact that I was wearing a knee-length coat


  467. (((((((((everyone)))))))))
    On another hopeful note, the ex that I mentioned several threads back as having made insensitive comments and whatnot? I’m still friends with him, and last night was talking to him about this post. He initially thought the same thing as Richard, that women are cattiest to one another, but I told him more about what everyone is discussing and…he gets it. He actually said, “Omg, you’re completely right.” One more guy who has realized the problem, at least…

  468. *HAND UP*

    Too many to remember or count, but…

    – When I was in first or second grade, I was invited to a boy’s birthday party. I was ‘uninvited’ with a little note that said that I could not go to the birthday party because I was too fat to fit through the door.

    – Here’s one by women: In 6th or 7th grade my (parochial) all-girls school was doing one of these little recital things for the parents. All the classes did skits, or dance or whatever. In my class we had a little song that a group of children sang and others acted out. We practiced for WEEKS. I was supposed to be kind of a presenter, and be in the front of the chorus group. Just a couple of days before the event, the nuns contacted my mother saying that I was too fat to be there — to get me a girdle. She got me a girdle. They wanted to stick me in the back of the chorus. I responded by getting sick and not going at all.

    — A friend of mine and I were walking home from a bus stop and a truck filled with apples and 2 guys (minding the apples in the back) passed by. We were just minding our business. They started throwing apples at me, trying to hit the fatty. We were terrified, and kept getting pelted with apples until we dove into an apartment building doorway.

    — Some kids came to live with us when I was 10 or so. One of them was a boy close to being a teenager. His favorite activity was to make his forearm into an elephant trunk and make elephant noises at me while moving his arm like a trunk. That was bad enough, but he would whip up the rest of the kids in the house (his sister, his cousin, my sister, their friend, my friend…) into a fat-hate-frenzy and reduce me to tears. He would find candy where my mother hid it, and then she’d come looking for me (because who else would have eaten it) when I had no idea the candy even existed.

    — A male friend of my mothers constantly sent me “weight loss” remedies. His wife was very large, and so was he. For some reason, he took it upon himself to save me from a life of fatness. Apart from the fad diets and other nonsense, there was the time he sent me a can of senna-leaf laxative. If I had listened to him, I would have developed an ED. God only knows how I didn’t.

    — There was my friend’s acupuncturist doctor who “kept all of his nurses slim and didn’t allow them to gain weight”. I went during the summer of my sophomore year at college. First visit, he asks me if I’m a lesbian. WTF??? Clueless me, I thought I should keep going. I would go in once a week, get weighed and insulted and abused if I didn’t lose, get poked with needles, and get the diet of the week. One week it was nothing but Reyneta apples all week. Next week it was brown rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner. The week after that more rice, after that, more apples… At one point I was ALLOWED to eat some steamed veg, brown rice, and bits of salad with ‘acaloric oil’ (that was 90% mineral oil and 10% olive oil). You can pretty much figure out what that did. Sure! I lost a TON of weight. Put it back on quick as a bunny when I got back to college!

    — So far I have had one gastroenterologist and one GYN doctor suggest WLS to me, completely unsolicited, and look at me as if I’m insane when I tell them I don’t believe in mutilating my organs.

    And the beat goes on…


  469. Silverstar,

    I am sorry that you do not feel that the FA message is being spread quickly enough, but it seems to me that we are doing amazing things.

    It is true, we are not following the recruitment plans of bomb-throwing anarchists as much as that of incredibly sincere missionaries (my apologies to the non-religious among our ranks). But I think there can be little doubt that this has historically been the more successful route.

    By living in the world as models of what we want the world to become we are touching countless numbers of people with the FA message. Hell, if we cannot succeed at anything but saving our children from parents who tell them they are unattractive and worthless, then we will have made a monumental change in the future of our society.

    I know that this seems like an interminable work, but all we have to do to succeed is say: “I’m sorry, I think you are wrong.” one time more than the people with opposing views. The tide might not turn in ten years, or twenty years, but good people have been holding this line since the 1970’s and our lives are better because of the work they did. If we can do just a little more than they did and take our cause just one step farther than they could I do not think they would accuse us of circling the wagons or dissparage the need we have to talk about our feelings.

  470. A near-miss boyfriend told me he’d “always been too much of a body person when it comes to women” but that the last time he’d seen me he”d really wanted to “shag” me because he was, after all, “still a bloke”. This was intended as a compliment. (And yes, I’m have more reason than enough to thank my lucky stars he was a near miss).

    When I was 18, a man decided to set a shining example of masculinity to his toddler son, whom he was taking to the local nursery, by yelling, “Oy! You’re a big girl, intcha!” at me in front of him. When I went completely ballistic in response, he huffed, “It was supposed to be a compliment!”

    My mother also told me I should also take it as a “compliment” when random men approached me in the street and tried to chat me up with no provocation on my part. I begged to differ. These days, so would she. From the age of 15 my stomach used to clench with terror every time I had cause to walk past a group of men I didn’t know. At 24, when I was running my own business, I used to have to walk past a particular building site several times a day. The construction workers used to make my life hell. Nothing I did could shut them up or persuade them to ignore me – not ignoring them; nor crossing over the road; nor calling their bluff; nor telling them to fuck off. (Not dissimilar to trolls really). I was forced to take an alternative, longer route to my office because I simply couldn’t take it any more. I wonder how Richard would feel if a rowdy bunch of hideous lad-ettes speculated about the size of his dick on a daily basis.

  471. “It wasn’t a woman who spread the rumour I’d had anal sex with her in a shower cubicle (and this while I was still a virgin). ”

    Yeah. That.

    I’d already written one time, and was determined not to write of the hundreds of times more, but this one…

    Yeah. In high school, I had the reputation of being the school slut*. “ALL” the boys knew that I gave out. Of course I did, somebody told somebody else, and I was so fat that everybody believed I did it just because, you know, I was fat.

    I never knew about this until my senior year, almost the end of the year, when a boy in my class told me I was so loose that he could kick me in that area and his boot would stay in me. It took me a minute to understand what he’d said. In front of the whole class.

    I immediately picked up my stuff and started walking out the door, to be called back by the *male* teacher. Granted, he was a sub, but still. He allowed and CONDONED that sexist crap by calling ME back and doing nothing to the kid who’d said it. Immediately after the class, I went to the principal.

    The one time in my life I didn’t take sexual assault lying down. Of course, the kid said he didn’t mean it, he was just saying what everybody ‘knew’ and was just told to leave me alone from then on (he was a senior too).

    I still remember that kid’s name. This was in May of 1984 that this happened. And people wonder why I don’t ever go back to my high school reunions.

    *Funny thing was, I was so uptight and naive, I thought french kissing was oral sex until I asked somebody once. No guy got farther than that with me… and by no guy, I of course mean the copious amount of 3 boys who dated me during my whole time at high school. Nobody else would ask me out on a date, yet the whole school had either ‘done’ me or knew somebody who’d ‘done’ me. I wish I’d been as busy as my reputation was, let me tell you! I’d never had a night free for 3 years in that high school!

  472. Junior high. I’m sitting alone in a classroom; most likely it’s lunchtime and I’m hiding from the usual harassment. Group of boys walks in, looks at me, and one of them says to his friends, “Gang rape! You start.”

    Junior high. I’m a library aide, shelving books in the back of the library, near a table where some older guys are sitting, and one of them keeps