When faced with injustice, you generally have three ways how you can react. You can ignore it, keep your head down, and get on with your day without making any waves. You can try to be sneaky and make subtle 5D chess moves to outplay the situation to your own advantage. Or you can call the injustice out and shine a light on it for everyone to see, bold as brass, sometimes using humor to do it. That way, it’s harder to hide the injustice.
This list is about the times that women and men called out sexism and misogyny, as shared on the r/TrollXChromosomes subreddit. People from all walks of life, from everyday employees and parents to skilled professionals, confronted sexism on social media head-on to help everyone. Upvote the responses by these brave people that you agree with and let us know what you think in the comment section below.
The r/TrollXChromosomes will be celebrating its 10th birthday on the last day of March. "We're currently in the middle of intensive planning for the 10th Cakeday celebrations. It'll be so much better than our 5th Cakeday shindig, folks will cry. But we can't tell you more than that, lest our plans are foiled," the moderators told Bored Panda when we reached out to them.
They’re also steadily moving toward the 1 million member mark. Currently, they’re at just over 802k, so consider joining them and giving them a boost. They post about a variety of topics. In their words, they’re a subreddit for “rage comics and other memes with a girly slant.”
However, this doesn’t change the fact that the subreddit is also home to some serious posts that show how deeply sexism is enrooted in our society. Even to this very day. And while sexism can be subtle and covert, it can also be very overt. One example of this is women getting harassed on the streets. So while it’s one thing to confront sexism online, it’s a whole other ball game when it’s done in real life.
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Bored Panda spoke about how women should respond if they’re ever in a situation where they’re either being catcalled or openly harassed on the street with Emily May, the co-founder and the executive director of ‘Hollaback!’ The organization aims to end harassment in all of its forms.
May explained that women should always trust their instincts. “Listen to what your gut is telling you. There is no ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ response to harassment; however, studies show that having some kind of response (either in the moment or later) can reduce the trauma associated with harassment. If you decide to respond, do it for you.”
She said that it’s always all right to do nothing, smile, and keep walking. It’s always up to you to decide what’s right for you and if you want to confront your harassers. It’s always harder to do this in-person than behind the safety of your screen.
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As May put it in an interview with Bored Panda, your safety is the main priority. However, if you feel safe and choose to respond to your harassers, there are three main approaches that you can take: setting boundaries, engaging bystanders, and documenting the situation. Let’s go into detail about each approach.
“Set the Boundary. Tell the person harassing you exactly what you want them to do and why. Look them in the eye and denounce their behavior with a strong, clear voice. Many people prefer to name the behavior. For example, you can say, ‘Do not [what they’re doing], that’s harassment.’ You can also simply say ‘that is not okay’ or ‘don’t speak to me like that.’ Say what feels natural to you,” May from ‘Hollaback!’ explained.
“The important thing is that you aren’t apologetic in your response, and that you don’t engage with them after you set the boundary. Oftentimes, people who harass may try to argue with you or dismiss you through further conversation or by making fun of you. As tempting as it may be to get into a verbal war with them, we don’t recommend it. The attention may further feed their abusive behavior and cause the situation to escalate. Once you’ve said your piece, keep it moving.”
The second approach is engaging bystanders by telling them what’s going on and what they can do to help you. “Not all bystanders have been trained to respond, but typically people do understand that street harassment is not okay and they want to help you, so what can you do to ask for that help? You will need to loudly announce to people around you what the harasser just said or did and identify them, like: ‘That man in the red shirt is following me. I need help!’” May explained.
She continued: “Then tell people what you want them to do, like, ‘Can you wait here with me? Can you call the police?’ Remember that it is okay to ask for help, it does not mean that you are weak, in fact, it means that you are strong because you’re acknowledging that street harassment, in fact, hurts.”
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The third and final approach is documenting the situation. If you feel that you’re safe and not currently in danger, you can consider taking a picture or a video of your experience. Or you can ask a bystander to do so.
“This could include the person harassing you, their license plate, or the scene. Some people use photos or videos to report an incident—for example, if the person was at work when this happened people may choose to report it to their employer.”
May detailed: “Others use it to share their story on social media or anonymously through ihollaback.org. Many find it to be empowering to turn the lens off of them and onto the person harassing them. It often has the potential to be hugely transformative. If it feels right to you then do it. It doesn’t work that way for everyone so ask yourself, ‘Does it feel right for me?’ or ‘Is there another way to respond?’”
According to May, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ response to harassment: “There is no such thing as a perfect response, this is not your fault, and you are not alone. Take the time to recover and employ strategies for taking care of yourself.”
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One thing that you can do is to develop a ‘quick ritual’ to help you ‘shake off’ what happened every time that you get harassed. Having a friend that you contact when this occurs can also help. Sharing your story with the people you trust can be very powerful and healing. What’s more, affirming to yourself that you deserve better and that you won’t let ‘the haters’ get you down is another response.
“The idea here is that you want you to develop resilience so that you can get out there and keep being you in the world,” May told Bored Panda.
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I’m a fan of poet Dylan Thomas’ lines: “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” While the context is important, you can interpret the words to mean that you should fight for what’s right instead of giving in to the pressure placed on you to stay quiet. Just remember that your safety is paramount: online and IRL.