After experiencing sexual harassment first hand and feeling like nobody really cared, 26-year-old Laura Bates started The Everyday Sexism Project.
“I was on the way home, and I was on the phone to my mum on the bus, and a guy started touching my leg,” she told DW.
“And because I was on the phone to my mum I vocalized what was happening and I said, ‘This person is touching me.’ And it really hit me that no one on that bus did anything, they all looked away.”
Bates started the project because she wanted to know if others had dealt with situations similar to hers.
The project started with her friends and blossomed from there. Bates quickly came to the realization that she wasn’t alone in this and that sexism is still a huge problem that needed to be addressed.
“Every woman I spoke to had a story. And it wasn’t just from a few years ago, it was literally ‘on my way here to meet you’ or ‘yesterday,’ said Bates.
“It was something that was happening so regularly, but like me these were stories that they hadn’t told anyone because they were just keeping quiet about it, because it was so normal.”
The whole project began with the “Everyday Sexism” website, and, while initially, only a few women wrote in with their experiences, after tweeting about the site on Twitter, thousands more began posting.
“After that, the floodgates just really opened,” said Bates.
“All of the newspapers were writing about it, and people started writing from around the world. The number of stories coming in just grew and grew and grew – until today when we get around 1,000 stories sometimes in a single day.”
Sense beginning the project, Everyday Sexism has started going international. The site, http://www.everydaysexism.com/, is now available in 15 countries.
DW stated, what’s astonishing for such a new initiative is the success that the Everyday Sexism Project has had against giant corporations.
In May of this year, Bates and her team successfully campaigned for Facebook to remove misogynistic images and comment in the same way that they already remove racist or homophobic material.
“It felt like a real milestone,” commented Bates.
“For them to not only to respond publically, but to actually to commit to every single condition that we’d asked for in our open letter was absolutely amazing and for me it just felt like a real tipping point.
“I feel that we’re at a point now where people are not putting up with these things in the way that they used to, even a year or two ago.”
Sexism is a problem that affects many: women and men, young and old.
Recently, a Disney Princess received a makeover that caused a lot of negative feedback, even being called “blatant sexim” by its critics, including Brave writer and co-director, Brenda Chapman.
There was also the recent controversy over Swiffer’s Rosie The Riveter campaign.
According to msnNOW, in the past year, The Everyday Sexism has grown immensely.
Bates has watched more than 30,000 stories of sexual assault, discrimination and harassment collect on the website from both men and women, and even the Twitter account @EveryDaySexism has more than 70,000 followers.
Below are a few examples from the Twitter page:
— jacob tilley (@jakeyt23) June 21, 2013
@EverydaySexism Was cornered by a group of guys who had earlier said they would rape me, then pulled my hair and said “yeah, you like that?”
— Not Lauren (@HuntersSassbutt) June 27, 2013
Sexism is something that affects not only women, but men as well, as seen from the tweet above, which is only one of many submitted by men. What are your thoughts on projects such as the Everyday Sexism Project?
[Image via Shutterstock/aerogondo2]