Recently, we shared some especially clueless things that certain men have said about women's bodies, lives, rights, and experiences. And in the comments (of which there were more than 300!), women in the BuzzFeed Community shared even more ignorant, wrong, or just plain misogynistic things they've experienced.
These stories are honestly infuriating to read, but they're also so important to share. They say sunshine is the best disinfectant and ignorance thrives in the shadows, so let's shed some more light on these women's stories to hopefully open some eyes.
Here's some of what they had to say:
1."I'm not vain, I'm looking at my reflection in the windows to make sure no one is following me. Don't come up and tell me, 'It's okay, your hair is fine.' You are what I'm afraid of."
2."If I have to roll the garbage can to the curb at night, I leave the porch and front door to our house open so I can run in quickly if I sense danger. One night, my husband walked by the open doors, slammed them shut, and then scolded me for leaving them open. When I explained why I did it, this 6-foot-5-inch, 230-pound man looked blankly at me and said, 'What!? No one’s gonna mess with you when you take out the garbage.' 🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️ My dude. Get a clue."
3."My husband told me recently that he gave a stranger a ride, in his truck, by himself. It was pouring, he saw this person walking, and felt bad. I looked at him in such shock and told him that it would never even occur to me to pick up a stranger in my car by myself."
4."I hate that it takes some men having daughters to realize that we’re actually people."
5."Some husbands can’t understand why their wives object to groping after marriage. 'After all, we’re married now, so I can touch you any way, anytime, right? I’m just showing you how attractive you are!' I consider it immature frat-boy bullshit, and it is NOT a turn-on."
6."For my whole 20s, I had to make my boss think that my ideas were actually his to get him to agree with me or even consider what I was saying. I had two more jobs after that where I fell into the same situation. Thankfully, I work in a place that has given me a voice and confidence back. There are good places out there, I promise, where it's not all about the top dog CEO bro who takes in 99% of the profits. Do NOT sell yourself short or allow impostor syndrome to take over. I regret that so much."
7."My ex-boyfriend was (most likely STILL is) the type of controlling guy who spent our entire relationship telling me that I don't drink enough water. One day, I was having terrible period cramps, and he tried to convince me that I was having cramps because I was dehydrated. I gave him the good ole 'That's not how periods work' speech, but I'm certain he didn't believe me. This same man broke up with me in a text message. He's over 30. I feel sorry for any girl who has dated him."
8."I always check under my car before I get too close to it, just to make sure no one's hiding under it. Then I check my backseat to make sure no one's hiding there. Then, when I'm inside my car, I immediately lock the doors and drive off. I don't want to sit there for too long — I'm afraid I'll become a target."
9."I was telling my male boss about a trip I was planning, backpacking solo in Europe for a month. I was planning my route, where I was staying, and how I was going to get around. He said that he and a friend went to Germany one summer and just hitchhiked the whole way. I was like, 'No, I can't do that!' It took him a minute to figure it out; I saw the light bulb go on. He said, 'Oh, yeah, I guess you probably can't. I wouldn't want my daughter to do that either.'"
10."One day a male friend asked, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'Making it as hard as possible for someone to get into my apartment via the window with the AC unit in it.' He replied, 'That looks like a lot of work. You have insurance, right? Just let 'em take the TV!!'"
11."Yesterday, I was in the building where I work. It was a day when we are technically closed, but I like to work those days because it is quiet and I can get things done. It was early morning, I had the lights off and door locked, but a man came to the door looking for my male colleague. I tried to keep the man outside, but he sort of forced the door open and came inside, making a comment about it being hot outside and needing to view the space (the space is partly a gallery, and this man was going to be showing his work there). He continued asking me questions when I reiterated that my colleague wasn’t in yet but would be by X time, so he could come back then. He finally said okay and turned to leave. As he was opening the door, he turned to me and said, 'You know, you are gorgeous!' I couldn’t even register it as a 'compliment' because I immediately went into terrified fight-or-flight mode."
"I managed to say 'Thank you,' and thank god he left. But in my mind I thought, What if he turned back and tried to tackle me? He knew my colleague wasn’t coming back until a certain time (because I'd stupidly told him so), so what could have stopped him from hurting me?
"I have had multiple men come to the door when I am working during closed hours and it’s just so annoying, because I love working during those times, but it’s starting to feel dangerous. The door has a window in it and is right next to a huge window. It has curtains and the door window has a big sticker, but you can still very much see inside, and it is clear that I am there even when the lights are off. So I’m starting to feel as if I need to stop working alone during those times, which sucks."
12."A guy said to a woman we were both friends with, 'I don’t understand why you think laundry is difficult. All you do is load the clothes in the machine, add soap, and press the buttons. You’re done.' Her response was, 'At the same time, I am wrangling three kids while doing laundry. I also will have to do three loads of laundry while wrangling these kids.' His response: 'That’s your life choice. That’s your problem. No one said you need to have kids.' Empathy and compassion for others is dead."
13."There's a guy who comes to events with my friendship group. He's a creep and says awful things like, 'When women dress a certain way, they can't be surprised by what happens.' I have asked my male friends several times not to leave me alone with him, but all they say is, 'It's fine, he's fine,' even though I've told them what he has said, and he's followed me to the toilets a few times. They DON'T get it. They act as if I'm being irrational. It really pisses me off. I asked them again recently and they said, 'He's not that bad,' and I said, 'You wouldn't say that if you were a girl.' There is no making them understand. Not good."
14."My partner will OPEN THE FRONT DOOR to complete strangers who ring the doorbell. I, on the other hand, will look out the window first and then crack the window if I need to talk to them. When I explained why I do not feel safe at all when he does that (it’s just a door, no security screen or anything), he was genuinely baffled 🤦♀️. Like, it took a while, and I’m still not entirely sure he really gets it 😕."
15."I walked about a half mile to meet with a friend for drinks, and it was pouring rain when we wrapped up around midnight. My boyfriend could not understand why I was so insistent on him picking me up, and eventually was such an ass about it that I walked home. He definitely got an earful."
16."A friend and I were discussing which of two walking/street routes between her home and a late-night venue would be the shortest (in Northeast London) when a male friend asked why we were ignoring the obvious: Go through the park itself. He really had no idea why we looked at him as if he was high on glue. Oh, to be a babe in the woods."
17."When the #MeToo movement started, my husband was questioning why a woman would actually wait to come forward and report an assault or harassment. I had to try to explain the realities of trauma and the quite real possibility of not being believed, topped off by retaliation. He then went on to question why so many women seem to have a story about being harassed or assaulted, because *he* had not done/would never do anything like that and didn’t believe any of his friends would either. I let out a deep sigh and then reminded him of the time I punched his drunk friend in the face at a party because he tried forcing himself on me."
"I made sure he was aware that the first time I experienced sexual harassment at work, I was 15 years old, and the guy ended up following me home because I was bold enough to report him. I still think my husband doesn’t believe or comprehend how often the majority of us experience these things, but he has learned not to question it out loud."
18."I had a long-ago boyfriend who I accused of not liking women. He said of course he did and referenced his Playboy channel subscription. He became an ex shortly thereafter."
19."You know what I find absolutely absurd? Growing up hearing from male relatives that I need to watch out, men are only after one thing, they know what guys will do to try to get in your pants because they’re men too, etc. The entirety of my girlhood, this message was drilled into me. Yet as an adult, when I’m cautious and wary and I carry weapons and protect my drink, and I'm always aware of my surroundings because men, what do I hear? 'Not all men!' So which is it? Am I meant to view men as a threat to my safety or not? It’s exhausting."
20."My boyfriend literally did not understand why I had my car locks set up so that only the driver’s door opens when you touch the handle. Had to explain it’s so no one can barge in if I am sitting in my car in a parking garage for a few minutes before I take off."
21."I used to close the store alone when I worked retail, and the number of guys who felt compelled to comment, 'Don't you get nervous/scared/freaked out closing by yourself at night?' was just unreal."
22."If you have a larger chest, you will automatically be sexualized, no matter what you wear. I have what you’d call an athletic build, with a generally smaller chest. I have a friend who is a similar size, but she inherited her mom’s boobs and butt. More than once, it has happened that the same clothing that passed without problems on me (T-shirt, shirts, dresses, jeans) became a problem when she was wearing it. Make that make sense."
23."It's both scary and sad how we instinctively do certain things or act a certain way just so we don't get jumped in public. I remember stopping dead in the middle of the street once and looking down at my house keys I had purposely protruding out from between my knuckles, and not even realizing until that moment that that was a habit of mine whenever I had to walk home alone. I also always tense when I hear someone suddenly walk behind me, and surreptitiously use whatever reflective surface around me to check who it is. If it's a guy, I either cross the street or slow my pace until he's in front of me, while having one hand on my phone."
"I mean, what does it say about the society we live in that girls and women instinctively and subconsciously do or avoid doing certain things just to protect or not draw attention to themselves?"
24."I can't even articulate how/when I learned to check glass windows while walking to see if anyone's behind me or to check shadows on the street, or to lock the car immediately after entering/exiting. If I have to leave my drink unattended, that drink is done no matter how full."
25."I have an ex-boyfriend from many years ago who didn’t believe me when I said I had painful periods. He had asked another woman if periods were painful and she told him no, so he didn’t believe me and accused me of lying. Update: After four years of infertility, I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis. Sometimes I wish I could have told him that."
26."I’m a petite woman who looks young (I get told I look as if I'm a teen/in my early 20s, when I’m really 31), and I get hit on all the damn time! It’s creepy AF because they think I’m younger. I can never walk anywhere downtown in the daytime by myself because of my stature. I have been harassed and catcalled so much, I always go with my male coworker or a female coworker. It’s so annoying. It’s infuriating when men don’t believe you."
"When I go for walks in my neighborhood early morning, I will always check behind me every few minutes and have my earbuds on low. And I live in an upscale area.
"I can’t wait until I’m married, because at least I’ll have my husband with me for protection. It’s sad but true. We women can only do so much. Stay strong, ladies."
And finally, a message from a man for any men who may be reading this: "Here’s my annual PSA to my fellow men. If you think, Not all men, well, okay. It’s true (although you’re missing the point). But if you aren’t one of these men and don’t speak up when shit like this happens, you’re not much better. I know it’s not easy, but unless you think your safety is at risk, SPEAK THE FUCK UP. Men listen to other men. So yes, it’s our responsibility to do something about it. And trust me, it can be very satisfying to watch their expressions when you put these assholes in their place."
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.