Sexism Is Hard to Explain
Sexism Is Hard to Explain
By Kel Campbell /

This morning I was walking into my building and a man was walking parallel with me. He was going towards one set of doors; I was going towards a pair adjacent to them. He smiled at me and gestured me over to his side with a head nod. “Let me get the door for you.” (He meant let me get these doors over here for you.) I capitulated, averted my path over to his doors, smiled and said thank you. Then, as we approached the second set of doors into the lobby, he yelled out, “I’ll get those, too.” He wanted to do it. So I waited for him to catch up. And then out of obligation I thanked him again, but I was annoyed.

I thought of the men on Reddit who call women cunts because some ladies don’t want the door opened for them. Every time I read the men’s wounded lash-outs, I sadly laugh at how they think the thing is the thing. The door isn’t the thing. For me, the incident this morning was a bang-on metaphor for my experiences as a woman. The millions of small ways that I’ve been forced to surrender to men, who made me move or change or come to them because they felt like it. The ways that I’ve had to change my path in magnitudes great and small.

You cannot describe millions of experiences to someone. Its impossible, linguistically, to accurately communicate the constant hum of minor prejudice that becomes the soundtrack to your life. Because something so constant, so slight, so under-the-radar is just … there. It is part of you in a way that feels inescapable, no matter where you go and no matter what you do. Occasionally, the constancy of it gets to you and you slump into a minor depression. Or you focus too hard on the hum and it becomes heavy metal in the brain, raging at you and keeping you up at night.

I can tell a man what it feels like when I’m walking down the street and men lean out of their vehicles to hoot at me. I can tell a man what it feels like to walk through a busy mall and feel sets of eyes fix on you and shamelessly stare at every inch of you while you pass.

cannot tell a man about the endless parade of minor indecencies, artful put-downs, implicit shushes, subtle dismissals, or friendly coercions under the cover of niceness. Without the experiences to go with it, he simply cannot understand what it’s like to be a woman.

They think I’m trying to tell them that I don’t like doors opened for me. I won’t ever be able to explain it.

3.5 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 35,220 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 13,501 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
For Those Who Don't Want to Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils
Peter White · 12,735 views today · Ranked-choice voting is catching on, and Maine might become the first state to help citizens vote for candidates they actually want.
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 12,144 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 8,194 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Anarchists - What We Stand For
unknown · 7,855 views today · Anarchism : The word “anarchy” comes from Greek and means “no rulers”. As a political philosophy, anarchism is based on the idea that organization does not require rulers—that...
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 5,571 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
Our Obsession With 'Good Immigrants' Breeds Intolerance
2 min · 4,824 views today · Society sets the bar so high to become a 'good immigrant', argues writer Nikesh Shukla, that normal immigrants are demonised. He says non-Brits in the public eye have a simple...
Introversion Is Not a Personality Fail
Cat Elz · 2,402 views today · A few years ago, I got into an argument with my now mother-in-law over my supposedly “backwards” ways. My transgression? I did not attend a party of my now husband’s (then...
The Important Difference Between Love and Being Loved
2 min · 2,225 views today · We talk of love as if it were just one thing: in fact, it’s two very different moves, Loving and Being Loved. You start to grow up when you stop focusing on the latter and get...
The Untold History of Palestine & Israel
22 min · 2,202 views today · Previewing Abby Martin’s on-the-ground investigation in Palestine, The Empire Files looks at the long history of Zionist colonization, expansion and expulsion of Palestine’s...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,926 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Bird Watching on Lesvos Island - A Poetic Call to Stand With Refugees
3 min · 1,801 views today · Born in Darfur, Sudan and raised in Philadelphia, Emi Mahmoud is the 2015 World Poetry Slam Champion and the Women of the World co-Champion of 2016. From a young age Emi...
My Cuba - An Intimate Look at the Pleasures and Struggles of 6 Different People's Cuba
150 min · 1,599 views today · Cuba - diverse, vibrant and complex - is undergoing immense change. But what does it mean to be Cuban in this time of change? Six people. Six films. From the comedy and ballet...
Planet Earth II Could Be Best Nature Doc Ever Made
3 min · 1,581 views today · 10 years ago Planet Earth changed our view of the world. Now we take you closer than ever before. This is life in all its wonder. This is Planet Earth II. A decade ago, the...
Alliance of 600,000 British Doctors Calls for 'Imperative' Coal Phase-Out
Nadia Prupis · 1,178 views today · Doing so would constitute 'double win for tackling the twin health threats of air pollution and climate change,' report states
World's Low-Cost Economy Built on the Backs of 46 Million Modern Day Slaves
Deirdre Fulton · 1,010 views today · 'Business leaders who refuse to look into the realities of their own supply chains are misguided and irresponsible.'
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 973 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Are You Lost in the World Like Me?
3 min · 949 views today · Animated film by Steve Cutts for 'Are You Lost In The World Like Me?', taken from These Systems Are Failing- the debut album from Moby & The Void Pacific Choir. 
Consent, Explained for Donald Trump and His Apologists
7 min · 870 views today · Vox's Emily Crockett explains why Donald Trump's comments aren't just "lewd," they're predatory. Further viewing, consent explained with tea. 
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Sexism Is Hard to Explain