20 Sexist Things I’ve Heard As A Woman—And How I Could’ve Persisted In Response

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As you probably heard, Sen. Elizabeth Warren attempted to read a letter about Sen. Jeff Sessions, the now-confirmed nominee for attorney general on the Senate floor. The 1986 letter, written by the late Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, was submitted in opposition to Sessions’ nomination at the time for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. (You can read King’s full letter here.)

But Warren was interrupted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who formally silenced her with a little-used rule that prevents senators from verbally smearing colleagues. Though Rule 19 is intended to promote decorum during civil debate, the incident took on a broader stance after McConnell noted that Warren “was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Whether you agree with Warren’s actions or not (and there are plenty of strong, controversial reactions and opinions being shared on conservative and liberal sides!), #ShePersisted took the Internet by storm, and for good reason. Why? Because women have been told forever to behave a certain way—i.e., be quiet, agreeable, helpful, small, pretty—and we’ve experienced enough mansplaining for a lifetime.

And you know what? We persist.

We persist in the face of unrealistic expectations. We face “warnings” and “explanations” on a daily basis. And yes, sometimes we break rules to get shit done or make our point—usually because we are fed up. In that spirit, here are all the tiny, sexist things I’ve heard as a woman over the years, and what I wish I’d said in response, instead of falling silent.

1. Is it that time of the month? Yo, men, any time you suggest that a woman is incapable of handling her emotional state because she’s on her period, you need to think again.

2. Can you stop interrogating me already? I once asked a dude at a party what he liked to do in his free time, and this was his response. Lol, yes, because women who want to make conversation are SO DEMANDING.

3. May I speak to your husband? No, because I’m the one whose name is on the account.

4. You’re such a bitch. Heard this one in graduate school after I told an ex-boyfriend, “No, I’m not going to give you a ride home after class.” (He proceeded to get in my car anyway.)

5. Oh, so you’re really smart, aren’t you? Yes, I am. Maybe don’t sound so surprised.

6. I can’t believe you’ve slept with that many people. If I don’t have sex, I’m frigid or a prude or inexperienced; if I prefer to be sexually active, I’m a slut deemed damaged goods. Since I can’t win, I think I’ll just do what I want—which is none of your business.

7. When are you getting married? Already did. Sorry, you weren’t invited!

8. Aren’t you cute? Things that are cute: puppies, valentine’s cards, mini-sized anything, and chubby babies. You might be trying to flatter me, but calling a grown-ass woman cute is condescending and infantilizing.

9. Oh, you take your kid to daycare? Nah, I just leave him at home all day by himself . . . Yes, I let a stranger care for my child all day, but I don’t mind because I really love my career.

10. Smile. If I had a penny for the number of times a random guy told me to smile for no reason whatsoever, I could pay off my student loans. My resting bitch face actually has nothing to do with you. Surprise!

To read the rest of the list, check out the full article on The Everygirl.