Was it Just Me or… Was That Sexist?

Cartoon depicting sexist attitudes towards women in STEM
Cartoon courtesy of xkdc.

Sexist, racist, homophobic comments and their ilk can catch even us feminists by surprise.

We’re hanging out or working or sitting in class or spending time with a loved one, feeling totally comfortable, and then boom: Something happens that makes us feel icky. By the time we’ve processed that icky feeling as offense, we’ve missed our chance for the perfect retort. Or for the brilliant Gloria Steinem-esque incisive observation that makes everyone present see things from the perspective of the Other.

Of course, there are also the silver-tongued among us who do say that perfect thing, and we at Ms. adore and salute you.

The Ms. Blog’s new “Are You Kidding?!” column is a place for feminists to share moments of sexism, racism, etc–or possible moments–and how you responded (or how you WISH you’d responded). It’s a place to hear from other feminists “You’re not alone” or “Yes, that WAS ableist” or “What you said was perfect” or “Here’s what I do when people say that.”

Let’s get the conversation started! Has a teacher ever said anything in class that made you cringe? Has a boss or coworker ever come out with something iffy? Has a date become a minefield? Does your best friend sometimes say problematic things that leave you stuck for a response? Here’s your chance to share your story with people who WON’T tell you you’re being too sensitive.

You can submit your stories in the comments, or by email to blog@msmagazine.com.


Jessica Stites is the former associate editor at Ms. magazine. Today she's the editorial director of In These Times, where she runs the Leonard C. Goodman Institute for Investigative Reporting and edits stories on labor, neoliberalism, Wall Street, immigration, mass incarceration and racial justice, among other topics.