If you're a woman, you've probably experienced some degree of sexism, in your personal life as well as your professional life. It's especially aggravating when you're trying to get something done, and the man who should be working with you instead ignores you for another man who happens to be present — whether it's a male partner, relative, friend, or colleague.
It's important to discuss these experiences to highlight their prevalence and empower more women to speak up when they find themselves in these situations. In the past, we've shared the experiences of women from the BuzzFeed Community. Hundreds of women wrote in, so in an effort to continue centering their voices, here are more of their stories. Some responses are also from this Reddit thread.
1. "I'm a woman who helps run a construction company. One day, a supply company called looking to connect with us. The rep asked for 'the man in charge.' I told him that the closest he was getting to 'a man in charge' was me because I make the supplier decisions. I then asked if he wanted to tell me about his company. He said, 'Oh, no thanks. I'll call back when the boss man is around,' and immediately hung up. I was so mad at his casual sexism that I actually called him back."
2. "I bought my first apartment four years ago, and it came with a parking spot. I decided to rent it out, since I didn't have a car. This guy from the neighborhood agreed to rent it, and when we met up to sign the papers, he asked to deal with my husband. I replied, 'I don't have a husband, asshat.' It took him a second to comprehend that and finish the paperwork."
"He would then miss his payments until I reminded him as if he were a petulant child. I had never been so mad at someone in my whole life."
3. "I worked at a home furnishings store for 10 years during my 20s. My main task was unloading heavy furniture from our trucks. None of the drivers ever said anything about it. They knew that most of our employees were women and didn't care as long as the trucks were unloaded. On the other hand, customers who needed help bringing furniture to their cars would ask, 'Where's the strong man to lift this?' Right here, I am the strong man — even though I'm a 5-foot-3-inch woman. I took this off the truck, so I can definitely put it in your car."
4. "I needed a car. After my husband and I agreed on what we were willing to spend, I went to the distributor, picked a vehicle, and negotiated the cost. I then asked my husband to accompany me to sign. The dealer put the entire thing in my husband's name. I was so irritated. The dealer offered to rewrite all the forms, but we'd already been there for hours and had no desire to continue."
"My husband was also irritated at the assumption that it would be under his name."
5. "When I ordered something I knew would be spicy, the waiter turned to my husband and said, 'That's quite spicy. Will she be okay with that?' He then doubled down on the sexism by bringing my husband a pint glass and me a half when we ordered beers."
6. "Before buying a car, I had done all of the research into dealerships, expected costs, etc. I found one that was perfect for my husband and me, but when we went to buy it, the salesperson only talked to him. We both kept trying to redirect his attention to me. After the third time, I snapped. I told him, 'I'm the one who looked into this. I'm the person who picked this car. He's just here to cosign. If this isn't going to work out, I have another car in mind at a different dealership.'"
"It took a second for that to sink in. Throughout the rest of the transaction, I had his full attention."
7. "My car's starter went out, so I took it in. The mechanic said it was probably my battery, but I explained that I had recently replaced the battery myself and asked him to please replace the starter. He told me he'd check the battery and get back to me. After reiterating that the battery was fine, I told him I would not pay for a new battery or the cost of labor if he replaced it. An hour later, he called me and said, 'It was the starter. We replaced it. That will be $600.' When I asked him for what, he replied, 'Well, the new battery was—' I cut him off and immediately called him out."
"I said, 'I fucking told you there was nothing wrong with that battery and to replace the starter. You deliberately ignored me because I'm a woman. I don't fucking appreciate that. Now, put my battery back in and take the labor off because I told you in the first damn place there was nothing wrong with it and that I would not be paying if you did exactly what I told you not to do.'
"I then asked him if I should put this on Yelp, since he ignored me twice — adding that it wouldn't look good, given the reviews he already had — and if I needed to talk to the owner. He followed my directions after that."
8. "I bought insurance in my name through AAA, making me the primary member. When I got the bill, I saw that the bastard insurance guy downgraded me to associate member and named my husband the primary. Meanwhile, I was still paying the full price of a primary member."
"I was furious and had a major blowout with that guy at the AAA office."
9. "I used to work at a boutique hotel. We were having issues with the laundry equipment, so my general manager let me know that a repair person was coming to take a look. She would be late that day, so she asked me to step in for her, since I knew the ins and outs of the property and the issues. When the guy arrived, my coworker — the front desk personality hire who was incompetent — asked if he could tag along to the laundry room. Whenever I asked a question, the repair guy turned to answer my coworker, who had no idea what was happening. He refused to look at me, showed my coworker the equipment mechanisms, and then shook his hand when he left."
10. "I was called into human resources to be fired once the asshole I worked for decided he didn't want me as an assistant anymore. The HR rep handed me the severance paperwork and said, 'Have your father look it over.' I replied that my father didn't finish high school and would have no idea what this was about. I read it, signed it, and walked out."
11. "When family plans were new in the cellphone world, I signed up for one. I then added my dad, since I paid for his phone. When he died, I went to cancel his phone but was told only the primary account holder could do that. Of course, I was the primary holder. I showed them the contract paperwork, my ID, and my dad's death certificate. I even pointed to the name of the primary holder and then to myself. Still, they insisted on talking to my father. I finally told them to call his phone, which rang right in my hand. I then answered it and said, 'This is Dad's phone; he's dead.'"
12. "I work as an urban planner and often have to deal with general contractors and others in the construction business — who are mostly men. In a recent meeting, a male colleague and I advised a male contractor on what needed to be done to move forward with his project. The contractor looked only at my colleague, addressed all his comments to him, and never met my eyes. He didn't understand that I'm the one who signs off on his permit."
"If my concerns aren't addressed, the project sits at a standstill until I'm satisfied that everything is taken care of. My male colleague has nothing to do with that process."
13. "I work from home and handle the bills and money, but I dread needing work done on the house. Heaven forbid a woman knows what's wrong, what needs to be fixed, and anything about math! We recently had to get our water heater replaced, and the dude who did it kept asking for my husband. When I finally asked why, he stuttered over his words and gave lame excuses. I then said, 'What? Because I have boobs, I can't make decisions or understand your big, strong, man words?'"
14. "I recently booked my and my boyfriend's flights for a holiday. I was the lead passenger, since I paid for it and (naturally) used my email address and phone number. However, when the airline sent the confirmation — to my email, mind you — it was addressed to my boyfriend!"
"It made me really mad."
15. "After playing acoustic guitar for more than 20 years, I decided I wanted an electric guitar and went to my local Guitar Center. I spent some time looking at Fender Stratocasters, but no one paid me any attention. After 30 minutes, a very young sales guy finally came over and asked if I needed help. I said yes and that I wanted to buy a Stratocaster. He immediately asked, 'Oh! Who's it for? Your husband or your son?' When I told him it was for me, he showed me a Squier (Fender's budget line) and said, 'This is a good one for a beginner.' I just looked at him — he was probably 19 — and told him, 'I've been playing guitar since before you were a sperm.'"
"While he stuttered, I told him to show me one I had been looking at. Though I probably shouldn't have, I bought it."
16. "Two years ago, my boyfriend moved into my apartment, and we added him to the lease as a tenant. I had already lived there for five years then. When it was time to renew our lease, they listed him as the first tenant and addressed the email only to him. What the fuck? Needless to say, I sent a very angry email to property management."
"Bonus: After relaying this story to a client, she asked me if it was because it was alphabetical — like that's a fucking excuse?! By the way, it's not. My initials are J.G., and his are P.P."
17. "My mom's car broke down in a desolate area, so she called AAA to get the car. The man on the phone told her, 'Ma'am, we cannot come out to fix your car without your husband's permission.' Confused, she asked why. He responded, 'We see the car listed under [my dad]. Because it's not [my dad] calling us, we cannot help you, as this may be a stolen vehicle,' implying that she stole it."
18. "I called a maintenance guy to check out a noise I knew my water heater shouldn't be making. He showed up after three hours and several calls, tightened a few screws, and said I was hearing things. I told him to check again. Water heaters do not squeal loudly at random intervals for no reason. Plus, I had no hot water. He shrugged me off and told me he'd either speak to my husband or leave. I said, 'Fine, but don't get pissy when I call you with a foot of water downstairs at 3 a.m.' Sure enough, the water heater started wailing around 2 a.m. When I went downstairs, the lower level was underwater."
"The maintenance guy was super pissed about being woken up in the middle of the night, but I don't give a fuck."
19. "I bought my house when I was 32. At the signing, as I read through the paperwork, the male seller's male lawyer said, 'You don't need to read all that.' They both laughed. I looked him dead in the eye and asked, 'Are you going to be paying my mortgage for the next 30 years?' He said, 'Of course not.' I replied, 'Then shut up until I'm done reading.' Cue shocked expressions."
"The male seller was inept and cheap. He painted over all the outlet and switch covers instead of removing them. He used an old metal vacuum wand as a pipe under my kitchen sink rather than buy the correct parts. He used nails (instead of screws) to repair the deck — and even failed to use galvanized nails — so there were rust spots around each one.
"The male lawyer also failed to do a proper title search. I ended up filing a title insurance claim and got a sweet $12,000 back for half an acre listed on my deed but sold separately. Who's the bitch now?"
20. "When I interviewed a male candidate, I brought a male member from my team. He would work directly with the new hire, so I wanted his input. We introduced ourselves clearly and explained our roles, but the candidate didn't look at me when answering questions — even those I asked directly. In the end, I asked if he had any questions for us. He then asked my male colleague about the next steps and time frame for hiring."
"My colleague responded, 'I don't know. Ask her; she's the one hiring.' You could see 'I'm not getting this job' flash across his face, and he was right! He did not get the job."
21. "My husband and I are both on active duty in the military. Our 11-year-old son has epilepsy, so we have to keep his medical records up-to-date. When I brought him for a regular physical, his doctor said, 'His epilepsy paperwork expires in a few months. Make sure that gets updated, or else Dad can’t change duty stations.' I was in uniform and said, 'And I can't leave either. I'll set up another appointment to fix it.'"
22. "I have an autoimmune condition, so my PCP put me on methotrexate. When I saw a rheumatologist, he said I shouldn't be taking that because it would be very toxic to the fetus if I got pregnant. I informed him that I knew and was in a long-term, monogamous relationship with my boyfriend, who got a vasectomy after I had an ectopic pregnancy while on birth control. He then asked if I was married. When I said no, he replied, 'If you're not married, you might find another boyfriend and get pregnant.'"
"There's so much wrong with that. Plenty of marriages end in divorce, and plenty of married people cheat anyway. A marriage certificate shouldn't be necessary to legitimize your relationship.
"Anyway, he refused to write me a script for methotrexate and put me on Plaquenil. As it turns out, I'm highly allergic to Plaquenil. I had a full-body rash and was so itchy, I could hardly stand it. I then learned that the medication has an extremely long half-life, like 45 days. For two months, I had to take Benadryl or hydroxyzine and could barely function.
"It's not the rheumatologist's fault that I had a very rare allergic reaction, but he wouldn't give me the medication I was happy with and knew worked because I wasn't married, and assumed I'd be going through boyfriends. I could've avoided the misery of having hives for two months if the rheumatologist — whom I never went back to — wasn't a misogynist."
23. "My mom tried to change something on her wireless plan, which was in her name. They wouldn't do it without her husband's approval. She had to get my teenage brother on the phone to pretend to be her husband."
"Life is ridiculous being a woman."
24. "I was in the hospital with sepsis. On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain level was an 8 to 10. The doctor wouldn't do a thing for it and at one point even turned to my husband and said, 'Would you be in this much pain?'"
"My husband rarely gets mad, but he lost it."
25. "During my time in the military, I was injured in Afghanistan and got a Purple Heart. After I was medically discharged, I put a Purple Heart license plate on my pickup. As I was getting out of my truck in a mall parking lot one day, a man walking by said, 'Thank your husband for his service.' I said, 'Excuse me?' He said, 'The Purple Heart plate — we thank your husband for his service.' I replied, 'One, I'm not married and never have been. Two, that's my Purple Heart.' His wife turned bright red, and he got all flustered before saying, 'I didn't know females could get Purple Hearts.'"
26. "I had a stalker for well over a year. I called the police multiple times, but they refused to open a case or even formally take down my information until my dad called on my behalf. He was absolutely livid. They called me immediately after speaking with him."
"I was a grown adult and not living at home. They did nothing afterward, but that's another issue."
27. "In seventh grade, I had surgery on my toe. I had a note to excuse me from PE, but that didn't matter to our male teacher. He had a history of sexist behavior and insisted I still play kickball. I was a shy, quiet kid who always did what my teachers said, but I knew I couldn't possibly play kickball. He disregarded any of my reasoning and the note. Finally, a boy in my class said that I really did just have surgery. Our teacher immediately believed him and said I could sit out. The boy didn't even know if I'd had surgery."
"He just knew I wasn't a liar and that this teacher was an ass."
28. "I have endometriosis and other chronic issues, so I needed a partial hysterectomy. Initially, my doctor told me I couldn't have one because my husband might want to get me pregnant — so basically, I was told I should suffer and possibly die rather than not have children."
"I don't even want children."
29. "A client of mine once hired me as a lead generator at a big international trade show. At some point, a man approached our booth, so I went to introduce myself. He didn't even look me in the eyes before saying, 'No, thanks. I don't want coffee.'"
30. "I hold a trade card at a well-known auto parts chain. Every damn time I present it, I'm questioned. Why do I have it? Who does it belong to? I once gave it to my husband and asked him to pay. He wasn't asked any questions at all."
"Heaven forbid a woman should work on cars and deserve a trade discount."
31. "I bought a house a few years ago that my boyfriend moved into. He wasn't on the title, but the community required me to list whoever lives in the house. Our mortgage has since come in his name because he's the male on the list, even though the house is entirely in my name."
32. "When I bought my first apartment, a removal company came to my old place for an estimate. They spoke almost exclusively to my male friend. He didn't live with me, wasn't moving, and definitely wasn't paying. He just happened to be at my house when they arrived."
"He had to leave for them to focus on me and answer my questions."
33. "I work in construction as an engineer. That means when on a job site, I'm typically the one who knows what needs to get done and how. Everyone else on the job is usually male. Although the guys direct them to talk to me, people coming onto the site always try to talk to them."
34. "After I had my appendix taken out, I asked my doctor when it would be okay to have sex again. He turned to my husband and said, 'Whenever you feel ready, you can begin sexual relations again.'"
"I don't know if he was uncomfortable talking to me about it or was deferring to my husband's preference. Either way, it was strange."
35. "I once caught some hunters trespassing on my property. I wasn't rude to them; I just waved from the other side of the field. The next day, they showed up at my house. One gestured toward the police car in the driveway and asked to speak to my husband about hunting in our woods. I told him, 'You can talk to him if you want, but that's my Cruiser, and this is my land, not his.' They still insisted on getting permission from my husband."
36. "At work, I was meeting a new vendor, Pat, who was to service one of the facility systems I oversaw. Pat had already met the (male) facilities engineer who introduced me. Instead of talking directly to me, Pat shook my hand, turned to my coworker, and asked, 'And what does she do here?' A few weeks later, Pat had the unpleasant opportunity to learn that I'm the one who calls him when his company falls through and doesn't deliver."
"Needless to say, I was not overly polite about it when Pat failed to do his job."
37. "When my parents and I went to look at colleges, the admissions guy opened by shaking my dad's hand, directed questions only to my dad, and then looked to my dad for confirmation whenever my mom said something."
38. "I made an appointment for help with my taxes and communicated before the appointment that I was a new 1099 worker. I had a lot of questions. Whenever I asked one, the accountant addressed my husband, who has always worked a W-2 job, had few questions, and doesn't handle our finances. On top of that, all the paperwork was under his name, and the accountant only addressed him in emails."
"Fuck that guy."
39. "My husband and I bought a new mattress at a furniture store. We agreed to make a joint decision on the feel of it, but since I was paying for it, I had the final say on the price and warranty. The salesperson talked to my husband more than me, but I'm used to it. Out of nowhere, my husband wandered away as if he'd never seen a furniture store before. He then came back and asked me, 'Can I have some money? I'm going to check out the [dumb decorative thing].' While I was weirded out — I've never seen him care about so much as a lamp — I said, 'Sure' and handed him some cash. Immediately, the salesperson stopped paying attention to my husband and began speaking to me."
"Suddenly, in his mind, I was wearing the pants. He asked me what I did for a living, and I was able to negotiate a lower price for the mattress. My husband knew exactly what he was doing. I love him so much."
40. "My old teacher told me about a cold caller she dealt with in the '90s. He asked to speak to the man of the house about changing suppliers for something. My teacher told him that her husband was on a business trip and to call back the next day. He did, and she told him her husband had been delayed and to call back again tomorrow. This went on for another two days before she finally put her husband on. When the caller asked him about changing services, her husband told him that she deals with the bills and to talk to her. My teacher then took the phone back, said, 'No, thank you,' and hung up."
41. "My friend asked me to update his motherboard and processor, so I went to Best Buy for some components. While the first employee was respectful and sent for someone with keys to get me the parts, the employee with the keys kept asking my friend what he wanted. I would answer — my friend didn't know — and the employee would ask two or three times if I was sure."
42. "I was trying to collect a parcel addressed to my husband and me from the post office. They told me my husband had to come to collect it. When I asked if they meant both of us had to be there, I was told no, just him."
"Needless to say, I was not happy. After some arguing, they gave me the parcel."
43. "I ordered a grill from Lowe's for curbside pickup and called my best friend to drive because he had a truck. The Lowe's dude took forever before coming outside multiple times to let my friend know the grill was missing, give him status updates, and apologize. Every single time, my friend said, 'Talk to her. I'm just the ride.'"
"Meanwhile, he looked my friend in the face the whole time and ignored me. Women are allowed to make purchases. We like food, too. My friend earned major kudos that day for calling out the Lowe's dude's sexism."
44. "I'm an Army veteran, and my debit card is with a military-affiliated bank. Every time I use it to pay at a restaurant, the server brings back the check, sets it in front of my husband, and thanks him for his service. The card has my name, and the servers literally watch me pull it out of my bag. I've even used the card while alone and still been asked, 'Oh, was your husband or dad in the military?'"
"No, they were not. My husband was never in the military. I was. Thank you."
Do you have your own story to share? Let us know in the comments.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.