This is kind of an awkwardly phrased idea from my end, I know, but I'm not asking what a non-sexist society would look like; I'm asking you to look at moments/eras in your life in which sexism played a big role and to imagine that there had been no sexism towards you at all in those same crucial moments/eras.

This is kind of an awkwardly phrased idea from my end, I know, but I'm not asking what a non-sexist *society* would look like; I'm asking you to look at moments/eras in *your* life in which sexism played a big role and to imagine that there had been no sexism towards you *at all* in those same crucial moments/eras.


I'd be a writer...or possibly a ferry captain. I have an extremely vivid memory of my older cousin somehow getting permission for me to go onto the bridge of a ferry. I was enthralled, and said something about how I would love to do it some day. Well, you should have heard them guffaw. You'd think it was the funniest joke ever written. After the general additional comments about how dangerous it would be to have women captains, they came right out with. "Women can't be captains." " You could join the cleaning crew!", and, as a kindness " You cant be a captain, but lots of ladies work in the cafeteria." etc. I was 9 or 10 years old and felt absolutely ridiculous for saying something so stupid and absurd. I was also burning mad, because I could already drive a little boat with a small motor ( it was pre recreational boating licence days), and it didn't seem THAT much harder, but it instantly became another thing I wasn't fit to do.

Well, I have no idea how to become a ferry captain, but what's stopping you from being a writer? Maybe you only have five minutes of free time to spare right now, but all it takes to be a writer is to start writing!

That ferry incident is particularly gross because you were so young and enthusiastic; who the hell wants to be the person quashing that raw childhood joy?

Thats all it takes to be an average writer. If you want to be a damn fine writer (or any other kind of artist) you have to be able to focus and get into the zone. Its not something you can put down and pick up again, like knitting.

One of the most wonderful people I know and one of the people I most envy is a male friend of mine who is both a very good person and just 100% relaxed in himself. He is not constantly worried he is not being selfless enough or kind enough or generous enough or attentive enough. The only anxiety or guilt he feels is situational and quickly resolved when he deals with the source. I think being male simply clears a lot of noise out of your head. Being a woman is like having an internal handicapper general (see Kurt Vonnegut's excellent 'Harrison Bergeron') constantly slamming doors and letting off air horns so you can never quite fully relax or focus. So when I think about me with no sexism, I imagine being like him--just living my life full-time as a subject, not an object--never living at a slight distance from myself judging and moderating everything I do.

Women always ask what guys are thinking about and they always say, "Nothing." It took me many years to realize that they are usually telling the truth! I can't imagine what it would feel like to have a brain that I could just shut off when I felt like it.

I know! It sounds like bliss. And not shutting down out of an effort to hide from the truth or anything--shutting down and just existing without thought or self consciousness. I mean, honestly I'm not sure how many men even are capable of this at the level my friend is. He has always been handsome, smart and good at sports. When challenged, he usually wins, so he has nothing to prove. He's basically top of the heap without ever having had to struggle to get there. It's depressing that's what it likely takes to feel that free and easy in yourself and your life.

I'll get us started a bit with one example. Yes, I was one of those young women who didn't think feminism was really needed any more, and the reason I thought that way is because I've never experienced sexism from teachers, professors, or bosses; however, after stumbling across r/GC and reading everything like a fiend, one day it finally sucker punched me in the gut how getting molested or raped IS sexism (I know, DUH!), and I've endured a ridiculous amount of that in my life.

Thus, if there were no sexism, I would have lost my virginity to someone I wanted to have sex with, I would have had much more trust, confidence, and self-esteem, and I wouldn't be so goddamn sick and in pain as an adult as a result.

It wouldn't have so satisfying to destroy the curve in every math class I ever took. 😀

But seriously, I might have become a math professor. I should get back into tutoring.

I miss tutoring too! These days I feel increasingly happy that I am NOT in academia like I planned to be, though, due to all the trans shit and the growing hate, intolerance of other perspectives, and censorship overall. I'm just not good enough at keeping my mouth shut to pull it off now.

I'm essentially an optimist. I think this will change soon. Tutoring is enough at the fringes to be rewarding. You can still set a good example and reinforce positive attitudes in young women and girls who can embrace acedamia when the culture wars have moved on to other spaces without having to kowtow to ideology you find abhorrent.

I’ve been wanting to do some tutoring and share the joy of math too. If I ever get a minute to myself I’m going to look into it.

I'm looking online for more casual methods of tutoring so I feel like I'm making a difference without compromising myself or taking on too much responsibility (and ruining a good thing by burning out).

Finding that balance is so difficult! My enthusiasm always bites me in the ass because it makes me take on responsibilities at a level that my physical health can't sustain.

I would have skipped university and studied carpentry and opened my own business, these kind of careers are considered for males only in my country.

Similarly, I think I would have learnt a trade if I didn't have to be worried about having to learn from a man, and surrounded by men.

Women in my country are allowed to learn carpentry, but it is still male dominated, and I am shy and timid and just ... don't feel comfortable in male dominated surroundings.

If you haven't done so yet, have you ever considered learning some art techniques? That might "scratch the itch" just a little bit for you since you like to work with your hands.

There's something so absurd and pathetic about that. There's absolutely nothing about women physically that make them unsuited for carpentry at all; like I at least understand when people say women are far more endangered physically in professions like firefighting, but it's not like you have to cut and haul your own trees to build houses!

[–] LovelyJubbly 11 points Edited

I'd feel no shame over my natural body hair on my legs, arms etc.

No worrying over my breasts and how to dress them because the existence of them wouldn't be considered provocative

I'd be literally safer, allowed to travel on my own, safer during sex, no anxiety in clubs or bars at night

We'd all be earning more, and the pink tax wouldn't exist so we'd have more money in our accounts

I'd have had certain diagnoses earlier on and in general I'd get more effective medical care

I hear you on the breast thing because all the women on my mother's side of the family are VERY busty and I got the most absurd proportions out of everyone. I would wear completely normal shirts as a teen and still get accused of dressing too "sl###y." There's literally no shirt I can wear to hide them any better; even a black turtleneck looks "obscene" on me.

And regarding the medical point, I know there's definitely a difference in the way men's pain is seen. Two incidents with my ex really made that clear:

--He got into a minor car accident and said he felt fine, but I insisted we go to the hospital just in case because I know it can take a little while for whiplash-y injuries to present themselves after a crash. We went to the ER, he told the doctor he had zero pain, and then he promptly went to sleep for like five hours. To my shock, a nurse came in, woke him up, and gave him a huge dose of morphine. Yeah...sleeping peacefully, experiencing zero pain, but let's give him some pain meds anyways?

--He went to the ER with a crystal clear panic attack and they immediately gave him morphine (wasn't complaining of pain at all), ran a bunch of tests, and even admitted him overnight, a healthy dude in his 20s with no prior health issues at all. Women--whose heart attack presentation often does mimic a panic attack--routinely get serious physical problems and have severe pain minimized or flat out ignored as they are told shit like, "You're doing this to yourself," "Just stop breathing so fast," and "If you CALM DOWN you will be fine."

I’m fine with wearing shorts, but I’m still a bit nervous about T-shirts because underarm hair is a lot more noticeable.

Proper medical diagnosis and care would be my first difference. I only recently in the last 2~ years got diagnosed with ADHD and many, many questions and frustrations have finally been slowly answered. I have much greater understanding of my self and why I think/feel the way I do at times and have been able to slowly change how I approach things. I was failed by my doctor and parents because ADHD was, to them, a boys thing and not worth investigating, so I grew up under the impression it was my own depressed brain trying to sabotage me sometimes - plus we did not understand the symptoms nearly as well as we do now and it is still overlooked in girls today.

If I hadn't had to deal with this I think I would not have had those years of severe anxiety/depression and even considered ending my life multiple times because I felt like I was a lazy sack of shit and that's why I couldn't get things done normally (among other stuff). I'm not saying I'd be some mega rich millionaire or anything but I do feel like I could have gotten my shit together a bit quicker and not feel like I am playing catch up all the time.

I got diagnosed as an adult too. I didn't act out in class as a kid the way the boys did, but I was always mocked as a "motormouth" or "chatterbox."

I think my intelligence was high enough that I managed to do well in school before being diagnosed, but then I want to a tippity top grad school and suddenly it was blindingly clear that I would never be able to finish that program if my suspected ADHD weren't finally diagnosed and treated.

Unfortunately, after being medicated for over a decade, I now feel like the meds aren't working any more and my executive function is abysmal right now.

Same, I wasn't much to act out but lots of daydreaming and other symptoms like horrendous procrastination; it was never seen as a problem however since I picked up concepts pretty quick and got dangerously good at procrastinating. Which sounds like a good thing but then I remember the days or weeks of agonizing about wanting to get started on projects or papers but just not being able to was very confusing and frustrating for me.

I'm sorry the meds are no longer working - I only just found some in the last few months that work for me with minimal negative side effects. I hope you can maybe get on new meds or dosage change so they can start helping you again <3

I would have more confidence and perhaps have finished my PhD. I was sexually assaulted, went to my university for help, and was dismissed. No lawyer wanted to go to court for me because of conservative judges and their track records. I would have years of my life back from wallowing in my resulting misery. I might re-start one day, but after seeing the system… you cannot unsee how easily it can happen again (to me!) without justice or hope for reform. Of course it’s happened to more women, but I’m seeing it through my own eyes.

Oh my God, I'm so sorry all that happened to you. Just having to stop your PhD for ANY reason is painful because you've put so much time, effort, and money into all that schooling and learning your specialty well and then you just...stop. For me it was an abusive husband, a male advisor going through a midlife crisis and not giving a shit about his PhD students, and a buttload of autoimmune diagnoses hitting, all of this at once. I get sad looking at all my books and realizing that they won't ever be useful to me again (since they are mostly academic books and not anything I'd read voluntarily on my own).

But the fact that this happened to you as kind of a secondary violation after you had to go through the physical violation makes me sick. And I can only imagine that a lot of the headlines today are profoundly triggering to you. I sincerely hope that you are in a better place now.

I think I’d be healthier and more present in my body if men hadn’t sized me up as an object from a very young age, definitely before 10. I’ve internalized a harmful gaze and it does not do me any favors.

It's horrifying to talk to other women and find out that almost all of them started getting perved on before they even went through puberty. We already know how much rape and molestation a large amount of women endure, but even those who DON'T get sexually abused almost certainly got sexually harassed and terrified by gross, predatory strangers in the street from a very young age.

I would have become the geologist I had wanted to be.

Geology is so freaking cool! I was a liberal arts major and took Environmental Geology as one of my mandatory general education requirements only because it didn't come with mandatory lab time, but I absolutely adored the course. I think I learned more useful information in that class than any other! One of my friends in the class was graduating that semester and actually decided to go to grad school to become an environmental geologist instead of getting an MBA.

Many years ago I worked for a big package delivery company. I had been there a while and inquired about the management training program since I met all the requirements, had a degree, etc. Well, it became obvious pretty quickly that no one on the all male management team at my station wanted to be my mentor. So they made up some lame excuse. I wish I could go back and thank those pricks because I quit shortly thereafter, put myself through computer school and wound up making way more than I ever would have as some Shitty station manager.

I don't know when that happened to you, but I've seen tons of MRAs after MeToo saying how they will never mentor women any more because "It's so easy for a woman to make a false accusation and ruin a whole man's life!" and advising other men to never be alone with a woman in ANY capacity at work.

I'm so glad your story had a happy ending, though! Good for you, knowing your value and acting accordingly.

It was more than 20 years ago. I really thought things would get better for women during my lifetime and then along came gender woo

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