United Kingdom

British women share their most shocking sexist encounters during lockdown

An Instagram has documented the shocking cases of sexism experienced by women across Britain during and before lockdown. 

Account cutecatcalls, created by London artist Zoe Stromberg, highlights and illustrates the every day experiences documented on the streets of the UK.

In one instance, an elderly care worker told how she was asked by a stranger whether her 'mask matched her knickers'. 

Elsewhere, a woman revealed how a man tried to 'smack her bum', then told her she was 'smiling at him' - despite her wearing a mask amid the pandemic.

Meanwhile, one woman documented a case of both racism and sexism, when she was told that 'black girls always look like they want it', while elsewhere a lady was left in tears after being abused by van drivers - before being told 'the police wouldn't believe her anyway.

FEMAIL looks at some of the most shocking sexist encounters documented online. 

Account cutecatcalls , created by London artist Zoe Stromberg, highlights and illustrates the every day experiences documented on the streets of the UK. One woman revealed: 'I'm an elderly care worker and I was mid shift and had to stop off for petrol before driving to my next patient. I was at the pump with my masks and gloves on and I was just using the touchscreen to pay when from behind the pump I heard 'Does your mask match your knickers?'. In shock, I looked around the pump and saw a man gesturing to his d***whilst laughing. I instantly tried to get away as soon as possible and just as I shut my car door he appeared and knocked on my window shouting 'Its rude to ignore a man in need' pointing at his d*** again. I drove away just in shock. It literally proves that harassment has nothing to do with what you're wearing, you could barely even see who I was under my mask and clothes.' #covidcatcalls

'Behave, she's only 14', one woman revealed 'A builder screamed this at me, as I walked into the school I worked in at the time. I was 23 and going to work'

One woman said: 'I was on the bus, wearing my mask, and just staring out aimlessly in front of me cos I was pretty tired. A white man then steps into my vision and asks 'Hey girl, are you giving me bedroom eyes?'. To which I told him no I'm literally just staring into space. He then snapped and said 'Well it's not my fault you black girls always look like you want some!' to which he slammed the call button and got off the bus. I sat all the way home trying to figure out how me literally staring into space could be seen as f****ng sexual. I give up.'

A pregnant woman recalled: 'I thought catcalling would stop when you're 8 months pregnant but apparently not. I walked into a bar with friends the other day and an older guy said to me quite loudly in front of quite a few people that he was gutted as he wanted to 'knock me up but someone got there first'. So gross'

Meanwhile one woman said: 'I was walking home and two white men in a truck slowed down and started shouting really horrible sexual things at me. I told them that I was writing down their plate number and I was going to report them to the police. They started to laugh, one of them said 'If you call the police they won't believe you, you're black'. I cried all the way home, because the reality is they were right. I still haven't reported it, and I don't think I will.'

Elsewhere one woman recalled her first experience being catcalled, explaining: 'I was first catcalled when I was 10 years old. It was by a teenager (which now I'm thankful it wasn't an older man- how wrong is that??) who said very loudly 'Who wants to play boob grab?' I had started wearing a padded bra to feel more like an adult woman, but this isn't what I expected....I turned and looked at my sister who was with me. I said 'what...?' Because I was confused at why someone would say that out loud.'

A cashier recalled: 'I have literally been told to smile still despite the fact you can't even tell with a mask. I walked past a man on my way to work and he tried to slap my bum. I moved away and shouted at him to f*** off he said 'I thought you smiled at me'. I was wearing a mask, and even if I was when did a smile mean you can touch me? Especially in a pandemic!' I work as a cashier so many older men say they can tell when I'm smiling or not and it just creeps me out.'

And a teenager recalled an incident of racism, revealing: 'I live in India in Mumbai. I am 14 years old. A couple of days ago I was walking with my parents after buying groceries. Suddenly a group of men come up to me and pushed me and said of the pandemic: 'You b***ard ch*nk this is all because of you'. I ran away. I don't think I've ever cried that hard ever before.'

'I'm a black trans woman and street harassment is something that is just a part of my daily life,' another woman said. 'This is just one thing that happened. I was walking to the store when a man started shouting at me that he wanted to "Tie me up and f*** me". I was too tired, and slightly scared so I just ignored him and carried on. He then got angrier because I ignored him. He started to follow me and shouted 'Isn't this what you wanted? To be treated as a woman? You can't dress up and pretend to be a lady if you aren't willing to have our attention mama! You should be grateful!?'. I just have no words anymore. All I want to do is live my life in peace, but instead I fear for my life every day.'

Meanwhile, Lauren O'Connor, 33, a PR director from Surrey, says she was in the Staines branch of the grocery store when a member of staff approached her with the request, telling her that a male customer had complained about the length of her shorts

Furious shopper slams Sainsbury's over 'sexism' after staff member asked her to 'pull her T-shirt down' because a male customer had complained that her hot pants were 'too short' 

A shopper has shared her fury after being asked to 'pull her t-shirt over her shorts' during a trip to Sainsbury's. 

Lauren O'Connor, 33, a PR director from Surrey, says she was in the Staines branch of the grocery store when a member of staff approached her with the request, telling her that a male customer had complained about the length of her shorts. 

Slamming the encounter as 'sexist', Lauren argued that she was entitled to 'wear shorts in the 32 degree heat', and questioned why the member of staff had repeated the request to her - adding that there was no dress code apart from a mask, which she had been wearing. 

Taking to Twitter, she shared her outrage and humiliation at the encounter, arguing that men could get away with 'wearing what they wanted', while women's bodies were still being policed.

Lauren O'Connor, 33, a PR director from Surrey, says she was in the Staines branch of the grocery store when a member of staff approached her with the request, telling her that a customer had complained about the length of her shorts

Sharing a picture of her outfit, she wrote: 'I'm so angry right now. Just been approached by a Sainsbury's staff member in Staines store to 'pull my t shirt down'

Sharing a picture of her outfit, she wrote: 'I'm so angry right now. Just been approached by a Sainsbury's staff member in Staines store to 'pull my t shirt down'. 

'An elderly man made comment to staff member who felt compelled to come over and tell me as I was shopping. It's 32 degrees. If I want to wear shorts I will.'

She continued: 'For reference, this is my outfit. All I wanted was ice lollies. N I get shamed in store doing so. So disappointed. When are we going to stop telling women how to dress? Especially when topless men frequent supermarkets, which I highly doubt are told to change [sic].' 

'I'm so livid about it. When are we going to stop giving the space for men who can't stop being perverts? I am so tired of having to defend my existence and love of booty shorts!'.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Lauren said she felt 'humiliated' by the incident', recalling: 'I popped in the store to get some ice lollies for my mum, a quick in and out job. It was 32 degrees, shockingly hot'

Replying to the post, one follower wrote: 'That's disgusting. Why do people love giving their unwarranted opinions?'. 

Another added: 'Please tell me you pulled your shirt all the way down from neckline to waist.'

Speaking to FEMAIL, Lauren said she felt 'humiliated' by the incident', recalling: 'I popped in the store to get some ice lollies for my mum, a quick in and out job. It was 32 degrees, shockingly hot. 

'I was looking at hair dye when a sales assistant approached me and said 'I think you need to pull your t shirt down, as a gentleman doesn't know if you're wearing anything underneath'.'

She continued: 'It was here, looking at a box of hair dye I was at a loss for words. That a) someone felt the need to comment on what I was wearing and tell a member of staff and b) that the member of staff told me about it. I was mortified. I was wearing a mask but can imagine the colour my cheeks would have been.'

She said: 'It's double standards when men are allowed to walk topless in supermarkets and crazy that supermarkets can't police people not wearing masks, but I can't wear hot pants in the summer heat? It's absolute lunacy.'

Taking to Twitter, she shared her outrage at the encounter, arguing that men could get away with 'wearing what they wanted', while women's bodies were still being policed

Replying to the post, one follower wrote: 'That's disgusting. Why do people love giving their unwarranted opinions?'

Speaking about how she felt, she said: 'It's a humiliating experience to have that happen especially in this sweltering heat. 

'It's double standards when men are allowed to walk topless in supermarkets and crazy that supermarkets can't police people not wearing masks, but I can't wear hot pants in the summer heat? It's absolute lunacy.

'I actually used to work at this location when I was in my teens and can honestly say I have never known this to happen before. There is no dress code for Sainsbury's.' 

Lauren revealed that Sainsbury's had replied to her and were looking into the incident. 

A spokesperson for Sainsbury's told FEMAIL: 'We are speaking to the store to understand what happened and would like to apologise to Lauren for any offence caused.'

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