Since it was launched in 2012, the Everyday Sexism Project has received thousands of submissions from women all over the world, documenting everyday experiences of sexism and abuse.
From street harassment to sexual abuse and assault, women and girls share their experiences of sexism in its many forms. These stories not only reveal the prevalence of sexism in women’s daily lives, but also how girls are taught from an early age to swallow their oppression without complaint, to even deny and suppress their experiences altogether.
The thousands of voices raised through one large, virtual microphone echoes a truth many of us experience silently and alone: that sexism is a real part of our everyday lives.
No matter how small, how seemingly trivial, or how overwhelming and traumatic; it’s there. And it matters.
Founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, Laura Bates, describes how widespread and regular daily occurrences of sexism are being proven through the stories being told through the project:
“To my surprise, every woman I spoke to had a story. And they weren’t random one-off events, but reams of tiny pinpricks – like my own experiences – so niggling and normalised that to protest about each one felt trivial. Yet put them together, and the picture was strikingly clear. This inequality, this pattern of casual intrusion whereby women could be leered at, touched, harassed and abused, was sexism. And if sexism means treating people differently or discriminating against them purely because of their sex, then women were experiencing it on a near-daily basis.”
As well as a deep sense of anger and frustration, many women describe their feelings of shame and responsibility for their experiences, often attributing blame to themselves rather than the perpetrator of the assault or sexist act.
After detailing traumatic experiences of abuse and sexual violence, submissions will often end with: “I wish I’d done something”, or “I blame myself”.
Not only this, their stories describe how society condones and excuses pervasive sexism as a bystander and participant in sexist acts that occur on a daily basis. In story after story of each woman describing feelings of shame and regret about their experience, we begin to notice the silence from those around her. Instead of finding support and help, she receives ridicule and criticism. We begin to gain a clearer understanding of the way in which society treats women as sexual objects and says that it is okay to discriminate against them.
The Everyday Sexism project makes us question and challenge a system of sexism that women will no longer take the blame for.
How about every time a guy catcalls a woman walking along the street everyone around looks the other way? There is more than one sexist act going on here.
When we begin to see the way society responds to sexism; the way our families, friends and leaders can often react to our own experiences, it is not so surprising that we continue to blame ourselves. But the Everyday Sexism project is proving how powerful our voices can be when we raise them together. The more we refuse to be silenced by sexism, in whatever form it comes in, the more we begin to breakdown those systems that impact our daily lives.
Tell your story on the Everyday Sexism project. Show the world you won’t stand for sexism.