[Stories] What story do you tell when someone says that sexism "isn't as bad as they say"?

I don't have one story that is so epically sexist that will change every last person's mind.... but one time, in college, I got home from work and was really frustrated because I had been cat called, yet again.

My roommate (a male, farm-raised, very polite but inquisitive dude) was confused as to why I was so visibly affected by this. If anything, at the very least I could be comforted by the fact someone thought I was pretty?

This was my chance. This dude had no exposure to feminism or any other ideas besides his hardcore baptist immediate family members and a handful of neighbors who were the only ones he talked to his whole life, and I had to be very cautious about how I approched this. I could talk about objectification, institutional oppression, body issues, power dynamics, patriarchy, yatta yatta, but it'd be lost on him.

So I was like: Okay. Fine. I won't give you a whole speech about it. It makes me uncomfortable and I don't like it. But I will knock on your door and let you know every time this happens again and what exactly happened.

The street harassment I experienced was constant. We lived either .3 mi from campus or .5, depending on the route, and either way I would get at least one cat call a day on my way to or from campus - sometimes as early as 7AM.

Every. Damn. Day, after that talk, I'd knock on his door and report what I had experienced that day. It was very rare for me to not be cat called on any given day. I was a bike / foot commuter, with two jobs, part time classes and lots of errands to run, so I was on the street a lot. I'd tell him how people approached me, how close, what they said, how lewd they were, how they looked at me, if there were multiple people, and the rare instances I was followed, groped, yelled at, threatened, cursed out, etc.

After about 3 weeks, he had enough. He went from being puzzled by my response to street harassment to just dumbfounded by the amount of times it happened and how many people thought it was an acceptable thing to do. He started talking to other girls on campus about this and found out just how awful, lewd, invasive and most of all prevalent the behavior was.

He saw my point. I don't know exactly what my point was, but he saw it.

After that I'd still catch up with him once a week or so to talk about the harassment, and he was always very welcoming to the discussion and listening to me vent.

/r/AskFeminists Thread