If you’re pretty clueless about the issues women deal with on a daily basis, welcome to the club. Before working at a media company that’s majority female, and taking a few college courses about women, I was in the same boat.
I have no problem admitting that, because I’m probably not the only one who used to think saxism or problems that specifically plague women are things of the past.
They’re not, unfortunately. Listening to female friends talk about things they go through regularly really opened my eyes.
Here are the serious problems women endure every day that I could never imagine dealing with.
1. Being Concerned At Night
Unless we’re in a place that’s obviously dangerous, there’s very little for men to worry about when being out at night alone… even after we’ve had a drink or two.
Women don’t have that luxury — not when walking home by themselves could mean being attacked or abducted. Even what some people may consider a safe option for nightly travel isn’t always a safe option for everyone.
A friend once told me she won’t take an Uber ride without having someone with her. And when I did the research, I realized why. There’s literally a catalogue of stories where women complain about being assaulted in private rides home.
Walking to work in the morning sucks. But it would suck way more if every day I had people I didn’t want to talk to trying to start a conversation.
The frequency at which women are catcalled on the street is so serious it can prompt some of them to change the route they take to work or alter their behavior.
It’s not just a city problem, either. An international study considered subjects from 22 countries, and found 84 percent of women deal with harassment on the street before turning 17.
It’s that pervasive.
3. Worrying About How To Dress
For the most part, the only thing men have to worry about if they want to look good is whether or not what they’re wearing ACTUALLY looks good.
For women, the story is totally different. Showing a little too much skin or too much cleavage can run the risk of someone else thinking they’re entitled to their bodies. Even worse, looking “too good” can potentially lead to getting blamed for their own harassment.
That’s something I never have to worry about when I put on my belt and button up my shirt.
4. Paying More For Products
Ever heard of a pink tax? Most people probably haven’t, to be fair. But if you’re a man, it’s probably never even been on your radar because you’re not affected by it.
The pink tax is when a woman’s product has a higher price tag than the identical product for a man. Take deodorant, for example.
This is just another subtle problem that’s easy to miss.
5. Other Women Contributing To Patriarchy
Some men may think an opinion isn’t saxist if a woman says it. In fact, there are similar cases when it comes to race, too.
Perpetuating saxism, rape culture, or any other issue particular to women can be done by anyone. Just because the patriarchy is structured in a way that favors men, doesn’t mean it only takes men to uphold it.
That’s why CNN anchor Carol Costello had to pen a public editorial to rebut conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham, who said women should start with “the way we appear in public” when worrying about misogyny.
That’s backwards, of course. But once you learn more about issues that affect women, you discover women themselves can be backwards on those issues, too.
6. Being Harassed At Work
There’s not much any of my female friends can tell me happened to them at work that I won’t believe.
The touching, the texts, the stares, the inappropriate requests; I’ve heard it all.
If there’s anything that’s surprising, it’s just how common it is. A poll of 9,500 women around the world found a third of the women admitted they experienced harassment in the workplace, while over 60 percent of them do not speak up about it.
Many of the issues women face are things I’m sure other men never thought of, even if our close friends experience them constantly.