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  • I was on my way home one evening, quite late at night, on the bus,

  • so I wasn't paying much attention to what was going on around me.

  • Until I suddenly looked down

  • and realised that the man sitting next to me had his hand on my leg.

  • He moved his hand upwards and grabbed me in the crotch.

  • Because I was on the phone to my mum, I said

  • 'I'm on the bus, this man just groped me.'

  • And everybody on the bus heard me.

  • And everybody looked away.

  • Nobody stepped in. No-one challenged him.

  • No-one even made eye contact with me.

  • And it sent me such a powerful message.

  • It felt like they were saying,

  • "We don't want anything to do with this. This is your thing."

  • It made me feel that I was at fault, that I'd done something wrong.

  • I felt incredibly embarrassed and ashamed and confused,

  • and I got off the bus at the next stop

  • and walked the rest of the way home.

  • Looking back, I wasn't the only person

  • who got such a powerful message that night.

  • So did the man who groped me.

  • He got the message, "You can get away with this."

  • It sent the message that this was just acceptable.

  • We're so used to receiving the message from all around us

  • all the time, that women and girls are sexual objects.

  • That our bodies are public property

  • and that we really are the sum of our individual parts.

  • There are witchcraft cases from Europe 400 years ago

  • where, for example, a woman was accused of witchcraft

  • for giving a man a 'permanent erection'.

  • The idea that men couldn't possibly be expected to control themselves

  • is nothing new.

  • But it's also something that's still really impacting people's lives,

  • even today.

  • Now were you able to wear undergarments?

  • You're like the fifth person that's asked me that today.

  • Well, no, because, is it inappropriate?

  • -To ask somebody what kind of underpants they wear?

  • -I didn't ask you what kind.

  • You just asked me if I was wearing any.

  • -Could you? -No, what do you wear underneath?

  • What do you wear underneath something...

  • Overalls.

  • -Do you wear clothes?

  • You wear dungarees. You can't wear clothes under it it's like a wetsuit.

  • -Practically. -OK, so you answered my question.

  • Well I don't know, maybe it's a little bit more than a wetsuit.

  • Was I wearing underwear? I mean, gosh.

  • I think the defensiveness here is really key.

  • This idea that he is immediately reaching to say,

  • "Well I haven't done anything wrong, you're overreacting."

  • And that he kind of gets a little bit of support for that

  • from her male co-star, and this is something that we see a lot of,

  • that if women try to challenge this kind of thing, try to speak out,

  • often there can be a closing of ranks

  • in a sense of, "No, no, no, you don't get to be upset about this."

  • In most British homes, parents clearly differentiate

  • between their sons and daughters.

  • But not in this north London household.

  • Here they aim to bring up their children

  • in what they call a non-sexist way.

  • I think what's really sad watching this now

  • is that it still feels a little bit revolutionary.

  • Wouldn't be fair for all the girls to buy princesses

  • and all the boys to buy superheroes.

  • Why?

  • Because girls want superheroes and the boys want superheroes.

  • And the girls want pink stuff and the boys don't want pink stuff.

  • -Yeah. -Yeah.

  • She makes it sound so simple, doesn't she?

  • How is it possible that this child gets it

  • and yet every time a large retailer agrees to stop gendering its toys

  • or its children's clothes as for boys or for girls,

  • you'll see a backlash in the press?

  • These kinds of stereotypes that are so insidious and so low-level,

  • they are so often dismissed as not a big deal.

  • In reality all we're saying is that kids should have the choice.

  • That, just as she says, some girls might like princesses

  • and some might like superheroes, but shouldn't they have the option?

  • The reality is that fewer than one in ten of our engineers is female,

  • and our Royal Society, one of our biggest scientific institutions,

  • has never had a female president.

  • So no, of course these things aren't the end of the world on their own,

  • but do they contribute to a world in which girls are very, very gently

  • and slowly told, "This isn't for you, this isn't for you"?

  • Of course they do, and actually the end effect is quite extreme.

  • Andy, Sam is the first US player to reach a major semi-final since 2009.

  • How would you describe-- Male player.

  • I beg your pardon?

  • -Male player, right? -Yes.

  • We are seeing an increasing number of male role models

  • who are choosing to step in

  • and just to mention this stuff when it happens.

  • Not necessarily in a particularly aggressive or angry way,

  • but simply just mentioning it so that that isn't allowed to stand.

  • If you haven't experienced sexism yourself,

  • like with other forms of prejudice,

  • it becomes much easier to ignore

  • and to deny the reality of its existence.

  • It's easy to suggest that people are overreacting,

  • that they must be making something up,

  • because you haven't seen it.

  • Essentially, the truth is that we can't change this

  • as long as everybody just thinks it's normal.

I was on my way home one evening, quite late at night, on the bus,

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A2 superheroes wear message male bus witchcraft

Why are people sexist? | What's Behind Prejudice? Episode 3 | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/07/30
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