A few weeks ago, I was interviewed about #ILookLikeAnEngineer. Both interviewers came up with the same questions. “Do these sexism stories surprise you?”. “Is it still necessary to have actions like #ILookLikeAnEngineer?”. The answers were easy. No. And Yes.
There’s still a lot to do about women rights and lives all around the world. I’m lucky enough to be born and raised in a country where so much has been done. And yet don’t think that everything is cool now. Because it’s not. We still have to deal with everyday sexism. Just start a Q&A session to understand what I’m talking about.
Is it ok to ask a woman if she is on her period because she raised her voice? NO, it's not
Is it ok to call a woman who has lovers a slut while those same lovers are getting high-fives all around? NO, it's not
Is it ok to think that when a woman says “no” she actually means “yes just try harder”? NO, it's not - and a friendly reminder: this is what rape also sounds like.
Is it ok to tell a woman in the street how pretty she looks and then think she’s a bitch because she didn’t answer? NO, it's not
Is it ok to say that two women are gossiping while two men are just talking around a nice coffee? NO, it's not
Is it ok to say to a female colleague “Sure you closed that deal, look at that face… and don’t get me started on that dress!”? NO, it's not
No, it’s not ok. Nor is it fun or flattering.
Right now you might be thinking “Yeah, but come on, everyone does that… even women”. True. And everyone used to marry their close siblings in the past too. Yes, it’s cultural. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t change.
Let’s just take a step back. Wonder how it would feel if it happened to you.
How would it feel to receive some unasked help and end up getting groped by a stranger at the gym while you’re focusing on your own efforts with earplugs on?
How would it feel to be called “kitten” in the middle of the office?
How would it feel to be reminded how beautiful a man you are when presenting the company’s strategic plan and have no one listen to your actual plan, the hard work you’ve done and the value you offer through your skills?
How would it feel to be told what a beautiful ass you’ve got in the corridor? Have that person’s eyes only look at your ass everytime you walk past. And as time goes by have that person loiter around waiting for you, making comments about your clothes and all the ways they want to take your body over. And then start following you home when you leave the office, keep talking to you while you ignore her, your tears beginning to flow, hands shaking while praying for any stranger to help??
You would feel diminished, degraded, disrespected, ill-at-ease, angry.
Well guess what? We women feel just the same.