The Everyday Sexism Project was started by Laura Bates with the intention of providing a safe place for women to share instances of sexism that happen daily.

The unfortunate truth is that we’ve all had to deal with this at some point or another. The range of offenses is vast, and women spend their lives being taught how to handle these situations to the point where brushing off a catcall or inappropriate comment is normal. Everyday Sexism works to remind people that this is not okay and that “it is a valid problem to discuss.”

Bates herself talks about street harassment in The Guardian, saying, “The process of scanning the street as you walk; the constant alert tension; the moment of revelation and the sinking feeling as you realise what is going to happen.” These are things that most men cannot relate to, yet every woman understands the actions and emotions of going through this.

The article continues as Bates expresses her frustration with trying to explain this to men who feel that this harassment should simply be taken as a compliment. She shuts down this thought process by stating, “Because it’s not a compliment. It’s a statement of power.” The point that the men who shout at women — who abuse, intimidate, and assault these women — are making is that they have the right to pass judgement on any “lesser” human and that they can share that verdict with anyone they please. The point of their actions is to claim dominance.

image courtesy of
image courtesy of

The Everyday Sexism Project works to uphold the feminist idea that men and women should be treated equally. No one should fear for their lives while walking down the street, clutching their keys between their knuckles. According to CNN, the project has helped this notion of equality through its many campaigns: getting sexist ads taken down from Facebook, educating British transportation police in order to fight sexual assault, and even getting a plastic surgery app pulled from iTunes and Google Play.

The goal of the project is to create a shift in our current culture and society; but, there needs to be a collaboration. We have to work together to stop judging girls for behaving in a way that we might find perfectly suitable for boys. We can stop buying superheroes and chemistry sets exclusively for our sons, giving only princess and makeup-related items to our daughters. Together, we can bridge the gap and end this.

In the spirit of the project, I thought that I would share one of my experiences with all of you:

I’m from the country of South Carolina, and I, with my parents, attend a very small country Southern Baptist church. The congregation is very friendly and would often start conversations with me, usually asking me what I was studying at college (since I was only ever around for a couple months at a time). When I would respond “Music,” more often than not, they would smile and say, “Oh, good. You could be a Music Minister’s wife!”

The idea that I have spent the past four years of my life going into debt, having spent upwards of $80,000 on my education, in order to become a wife is beyond frustrating. I have also been offered the option of “Pastor’s wife,” and rarely have I been offered the position of being a Music Minister myself. In all honesty, I have very little interest in any of these paths. I am almost never asked what I want to do with my degree.

Sexism is very much a part of our society and our daily lives. Let’s make a change.

You can join the project on Twitter and Tumblr.

Leave a Reply