Author Archive

Hiking: Totes Not Feminine

April 4, 2011

I am an avid backpacker / hiker / camper and have been going on 5 years.  I am also female.

Anyway, over the years I’ve come to be pretty tolerant of the stereotypes, from both genders.  Once in a while, though, it gets to me.

Like my boyfriend’s parents, most recently.  Now, my bf has never been on a backcounty hiking trip.  I was uber-excited when he seemed into going with me in May and we’ve spent tons of time together planning, looking at gear and doing research.

He must’ve brought it up to his parents and expressed their reaction to it.  He was not happy, nor was I.

Apparently they find it “weird” that I go with a group of guys, to which my bf explained (accurately) that none of my female friends nor my male friends’ gf’s / wives are into it…  that I DO have female friends.  I’m guessing they think we have campfire orgies in the woods or something… or that I’m just plain promiscuous.

They also asked if “I would be okay” and hinted to my bf that he would have to carry everything.  To make things even more befuddling, his mother used to be a girl guide leader and go camping a lot in her 30’s.

Now, my bf and I haven’t gone together yet, so he hasn’t seem what I’m capable of, but I’ve been going for 5 years and am fairly athletic.  I can carry up to 35 pounds on my 118 pound frame and hike up to 13 km a day (more if some of my male trail buddies were in better shape).

Now, I hate to play into stereotypes, but I don’t look like the “typical” outdoorswoman.  I’m not super-muscular, I’m petite and I am not outdoorsy 24-7.  I wear some makeup in the city, I enjoy some of the traditional feminine activities, etc, etc.  I like to think it makes me unique and multi-faceted.  I don’t like to think it makes me look like a strong breeze would blow me over.

I seem to get a lot of disbelief in terms of my abilities in a variety of situations (especially anything involving strength), but geez – his parents have met me at least a dozen times.  I was pretty offended.

But, that’s what I get for enjoying an “unfeminine” activity while looking “feminine”.  I’m sure I’d get crap regardless of what I looked like, though, because that’s the imposibility of being a woman.

Also, I am a forest slut for going with a group of men.  My bf better beware.  😛

Toronto, ON


A Message From Your Mod

April 2, 2011

Hello all!

I just wanted to remind you that when sending in your stories, we need you to give us a location. You can be as specific as the city or town, or as general as the country, but we need something so readers can have some context for your story!

Thanks for sending in your stories, and please keep it up!



Sexism Makes You Bad at Math

April 2, 2011

My husband got offered a new job, one he had very little experience for–but his Boss was willing to train him up. He could probably have done 20% of the job.

After a few weeks it wasn’t working out so my husband suggested to him that perhaps I was a better candidate as I knew probably 80% of the job and would pick up the rest fairly quickly.  He said he’d think about it but could only take me on at minimum wage, less than a quarter of what he was paying my husband. Guess expecting equal pay for more knowledge was too much!


Rachel [no location]

Epic Pwnage of Street Harasser

March 28, 2011

I had an interesting encounter the other day. I was wearing shorts – as you do on a warm day – and walking down the main street to the university, in the middle of the day.
A couple of men stopped me and one of them said, “How much do you charge, love?”

Female students here get this kind of crap a lot, so I decided to mess with him. “For a prat like you, a million pounds, but if you’ve got a sister, I’ll do her free.”
This incensed him and he started yelling, “You can’t say that about my sister!”
“Well,” I said as calmly as I could, “I am someone’s sister too.”
“Oh. Of course, yeah… I do like your shorts though. Sorry I was a dickhead before, like.”
“Thanks. Just remember women are people too and we don’t like being called sluts.”
“Aye, makes sense… Sorry, love. You have a nice day.”
“You too, mate, nice to meet you.”

I was quite heartened by how he seemed to change his mind and be really quite friendly after I’d challenged him, but I shouldn’t have to answer to strangers for the crime of wearing shorts. Then again, it’s MFIF.

Someone’s Sister, UK

Creative Victim-Blaming

March 28, 2011

In the early 1980s, my mother lived in a flat with three other women. She was a night-shift working nurse, and on a certain sunny day while her flatmates were at work, she left the windows and doors open in order to get a little air through the flat. She had got in the bath when from behind the door she heard a noise. She turned around to see a man masturbating. As a staunch feminist, my mum was horrified and, fully nude, she chased the man down the street. Having reported the awful incident to the police, they shrugged it off, with the excuse that she was a nurse, who are known for their promiscuity. They never caught the creep.

Ugh, guess it’s #HFSF and #MFIF

Kitty, undisclosed location

Short Haircut: You Can Guess Where This is Going, Right?

March 28, 2011

I have recently gotten a very short haircut. Although the nontraditional trim has given me much confidence, and has met much accolade from my close friends, I get many comments intended to be derogatory while in public.

However, many are surprised at how offended I’m not in being called a lesbian and a homosexual. It’s a way of life, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Why do you think that would I be offended by your mistake?

Whoops, guess it’s #MFIF with a preference for a low- maintenance cut and attracting negativity. Let’s make some petty shots at queer women and women who don’t want to be the traditional barbie dolls.

CJ. Michigan

Looks vs Intelligence

December 8, 2010

Years ago during my first year at university, I was having trouble writing a paper for a politics class and I went to the (highly respected) professor’s office to ask for some guidance.

He spent less than 5 minutes addressing my questions and then dismissed me by saying, “I really don’t think you need to worry about this so much.  Someone as good looking as you will do just fine.”

I was too flustered to respond, muttered “thank you” and walked out.

It’s been 8 years and I’m happy to say that I’ve channeled my anger into creating an arsenal of responses for all subsequent events of this nature.  I’ve never passed up an opportunity to use them.  How many other women did he demean like that?  Oh wait, I’m sorry.  It’s #MFIF

Just a useless female student, USA

MIL: Men Can’t Feed Themselves

December 8, 2010

After years of having only crappy minimum wage jobs with no benefits, I finally found an ok job in a major insurance company. For now, it’s an entry-level position in the call center, and my schedule is 1pm to 8:30pm, Monday to Friday. When I announced it to my mother-in-law, instead of the expected congratulations for finding a job that will finally take me over the poverty line, she said, in shock: “But HOW will my son eat DINNER?”

Um… Let’s see… He will open the fridge, take out the food, cook it, eat it, rinse his plate, and put it in the dishwasher. But I guess this is no good, after all, my place is at home to cook for my husband all day, Even though he has an entry-level job himself, we have no children, and the cost of living in our city is exorbitant.



Dictionary Entry on “Workplace Discrimination”

August 18, 2010

My first real job was at an ink cartridge specialty store. Previously I’d been babysitting, petsitting, housesitting, house-cleaning and such for cash. I was fifteen and sixteen when I worked there, and, for all intents and purposes, I was a good employee. I was never late, I did everything asked of me fairly quickly and reliably well, I never took breaks (even legally required breaks), and I often volunteered for extra shifts. When I started I was the only part-timer, so they had me doing all the stupid menial stuff like vacuuming the front. Whatever! I’m cool with that.

Things got dicey when they asked me to clean the bathroom. It was gross. Really gross. Part of our work was to refill ink cartridges, and we’d dump the excess ink in the bathroom. Also, I came to find out that it had literally never been cleaned since the store opened three years prior. When I asked why, my manager responded, “Well, you’re the first girl to work here.” Yep. A few weeks later I had to clean the fridge, which was in a similarly disgusting state. I got the same response.

Six months after I was hired, another part-timer started, a boy who was a year older than me. After he was hired, I still had to vacuum the front, do inventory, and all the cleaning, including taking out the trash. He was never asked to do anything menial whatsoever. He was also being paid fifty cents an hour more than me. I asked my manager why, and he said it was because the other part-timer had prior work experience. I asked what it was. Apparently he used to clean houses. Which I had also done. And which somehow precludes him from cleaning the store.

Also, right before I quit for another job, I was trained on register. Not because I had spent almost a year there at that point, though. No. It was because one of our creepy old man customers thought I was too cute to be in the back. Aw, melt my heart and puke it up.

I had a terrible experience at that job. I cried more times than I can count, I was constantly stressed out, resentful, and on guard against unwelcome comments about my body. As a bonus, after I quit, my boss asked my brother to put in an application. He did, but my boss said he wouldn’t even bother reading it because of my brother’s handwriting. My brother has a motor disability called dysgraphia, which makes writing things by hand very difficult and very painful. My boss said he didn’t care. But I guess it was all #MFIF and his fault he’s disabled. Now, if only my boss had ever cleaned the bathroom in his own store, he would have seen the huge laminated sign about employment discrimination hanging up on the door.


Battle for Information

August 17, 2010

In April I hurt my knee. As it happens I was playing a sport when this happened. In the following days I had several doctor and imaging appointments. I often had to bring my 7 month old daughter. I had to emphasize several times that this was a sports injury. My husband had not hurt me. I had not fallen.

When it came time for surgery I needed to find out exactly what drugs I would be given since I am still nursing my daughter. The surgeon’s office referred me to my pediatrician’s office but they couldn’t tell me anything with the names of the specific drugs. I did finally talk to a nurse and a nurse anesthetist at the surgery center who were very helpful. While waiting my turn the day of the surgery I tried to reconfirm what drugs were to be used so there wouldn’t be any surprises. The anesthesiologist was extremely snotty to me and couldn’t understand why anyone would ask him such questions. He’s say “Why do you need to know this? ” “Because I’m a nursing mother.” “Why do you need to know this?” I glare at him “Because I’m a nursing mother.” He rattled off the list and I made him write it down while he muttered about women.

In my follow up appointment with the surgeon he wasn’t going to give me any physical therapy. I had to again emphasize that this was a sports injury and would I be back in form without PT?

In some ways I was lucky. It was 3 weeks between injury and surgery. In doing some research it seems many women with this sort of injury are told to wait and see for months or years while their muscles atrophy and their frame and gait are thrown off. Men are more likely to be treated right away. There were far too many opportunities in this scenario for me to have gotten less than adequate medical services simply because I’m female. #MFIF

Missouri, USA

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