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Co-author of “How to Stand up to Sexism; Words for when enough is enough”. OUT NOW! @ToniHargis

Or do women have to do all the heavy-lifting?

It happens every time I’m in a discussion about sexism, be it domestic abuse, cat-calling or the ‘smaller stuff’ like women doing most of the ‘emotional labour’ both at home and at work. Dude comes in and insists we think about the (few) men in the same situation, or demands to know why we’re only helping women?

On Sunday, after England’s glorious win in the Euro2022 football (soccer) game against Ukraine, comedy writer Madeleine Brettingham @littlemaddles tweeted about the team’s manager –

Gareth Southgate is the ultimate middle-aged crush. I just want him to drive me to a colonoscopy appointment…

The grown-ups have failed them

Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels

Sexual harassment in schools is “big news” in the UK at the moment. Following allegations of hundreds of cases of sexual abuse at Highgate School in London, more schools are being outed as hotbeds of sexual harassment and abuse, and teachers and administration are accused of doing little about it. Online outrage is everywhere, amid demands that “something must be done.”

There’s not a lot of data (yet) on harassment and abuse at schools, but while it seems half the population is “shocked and appalled” at the latest findings, the other half (i.e. women) is equally shocked at that revelation…

Let’s change the mindset

Photo by Molly Belle on Unsplash

Did I provoke him?

I didn’t want to make a fuss.

I was too embarrassed to draw attention to it.

Sound familiar?

In my work over the last three years, it’s clear to me that women often don’t know what to say when faced with sexism, and just as many don’t feel they should say anything at all. …

Because trust me, it hasn’t.

Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay

As we’re learning, the anti-feminist movement is dark and deeply disturbing. Writers such as Laura Bates in Men Who Hate Women, and Vice UK Features Editor Hannah Ewens, describe an alarming increase in young men spewing vile, often incorrect “facts” about feminism and women, fueled by incels on the Internet.

Unless you’re an expert in the field of de-programming radicalized minds or perhaps carrying out research like Bates, I strongly advise steering well away from discussion forums or even social media posts from such men. There’s no arguing with them, especially since many of them fill their time by trying…

It doesn’t matter who she is, men just can’t resist

Courtesy of The Royal Family website

There’s a fascinating video clip doing the rounds at the moment, showing world players at a G7 reception in London in 1991. We see the late Princess Diana chatting animatedly, her then-husband Prince Charles boring the pants off Italian foreign minister Gianni De Michelis about lithographs (or something), and a very imperial Margaret Thatcher doing her own version of The Voice.

Oh and what have we here?

The Queen of England being interrupted not once, but twice, by the men she was talking to. First up was the US Secretary of State James Baker cutting her off, and then ex-UK…

Just think #NotAllWomen

As soon as women talk on social media about what men do to them, the #NotAllMen brigade comes charging in to re-centre men as victims, get the focus back to the ‘good guys’ and distract us from the stark realities. Interjections obviously vary, but they usually fall into one of two sentiments:

“You hate all men”, or

“Not this guy. I love my wife and take her breakfast in bed every morning.”

In case any “NotAll-ers are reading this, — Guys, we know it’s not all of you. Many of us have spouses who manage to behave like human beings…

Why We Must All Step Up

Thanks to organizations like Hollaback in the USA and Plan UK and Our Streets Now in the UK, cat-calling (as it’s more commonly known) is receiving a lot of attention right now. According to Plan UK’s research, since June 2020 in the UK, 51% of girls have experienced PSH, and 94% think it should be made illegal. During lockdown women and girls reported feeling less safe on the streets, probably because while deserted streets means fewer people, it also means fewer witnesses.

Photo by Ekrulila from Pexels

A quick look at the Our Streets Now Insta account shows post…

Don’t let it fester.

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Some people say you should never look back, but when it comes to standing up to sexism, I disagree. How many times have you experienced a sexist comment or gesture and been too gob-smacked to say anything? Even though you know the comment was totally inappropriate if not downright illegal, it was either too embarrassing at the time, or you didn’t want to ‘make a fuss.’

Then what happens? You beat yourself up for not coming up with the perfect response — you know, the one that hits you ten hours later when you’re trying to get to sleep.


How the latest backlash continues to silence women

Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

Most women know that if we stand up to sexism, balk at harassment, or report abuse, there’s a backlash. At work, we’re called “difficult” or “unprofessional,” or reminded that we’ll ruin someone’s reputation if we speak out (thus becoming the ‘baddies’ ourselves.) On the street, we’re scolded if we don’t take cat-calling as a joke or, as some older women advise, feel flattered by it as ‘it won’t last forever.’

The worse the offence, the worse the backlash too. I don’t have to tell you how women are often treated when reporting sexual abuse or rape, from the moment they…

Hint — there’s no “right” way


First off, a big “thank you” to Piers Morgan — British big-mouth, ex-tabloid editor, and now (hurray) ex-presenter of Good Morning Britain. (Americans may vaguely remember Morgan from his short-lived 2014 CNN chat show, in which he invited Americans on to talk about current events, then shouted at them and called them ‘stupid.’)

Or should it be “congratulations”? As a result of his incessant bullying of Meghan Markle and his denial of her mental health issues, over forty thousand Brits got off their arses and complained to the communications regulator Ofcom. So congrats, Piers, old boy. You have to be…

Toni Hargis

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