Image by Mihai Surdu from Pixabay

Owing to the courageous and persistent efforts of women for the last several decades, some gender equality--and gender justice--has been sought and gained in the contemporary era.

Multiple waves of feminism have charged empowerment forward like a tidal wave. Trailblazing women have blasted through glass ceilings in several pockets of society. The "Me Too" movement raised awareness and achieved justice for women who survived the harassments of men who refused to listen to the word "No."

And the well-needed advocacy for feminism to be more inclusive of people of color has added nuance and numbers to the ongoing fight.

Yet, men continue their upsetting maneuvers. They touch without asking. They say things to a women they otherwise wouldn't. They act entirely unprofessional and shame any push back.

Some Redditors gathered to share the subtle forms of sexual harassment and/or sexism they encounter regularly.

dudeARama2 asked, "Women, what are the subtle kinds of low grade sexual harassment you face on a constant basis ?"

Many women discussed the subtle sexism they encounter whenever interacting with men in some professional setting. For some, this was at work. For others, it was when talking with salesman or other "experts."

Regardless, the variable driving the dude's uncomfortable behavior was clear.

Yes, She Can Measure a Thing 

"The doofus from Home Depot delivering my refrigerator, looking at the space it's supposed to fit in, and saying it won't fit. He looks me up and down as I mention that I did measure. He then asked if my husband was home, since I obviously didn't 'get it.' "

"I replied that I was not married, which seemed to explain everything to him. It ended with him being lit on fire...oh wait no I was just thinking that."

"It ended with me saying 'Never mind, if you can't figure it out I'll do it myself' which crushed his ego enough that he did, in fact put the refrigerator where it belonged. And yes it did fu**ing fit, because I measured."

-- GGLaura

Confirmation Bias 

"Idk if this is sexual harassment, more like low key misogyny but- I've had several customers (higher ups at big name corporate companies- it's not just an average retail job) only accept what I tell them as truth until a man confirms it (this man doesn't even need to be a higher level supervisor- just a male voice over the phone)."

"Annoying as all hell."

-- i_am_a_toaster

Not the Expert, My Dude 

"I am a POC female doctor, and I often have medical students with me. Sometimes when the medical student is a white male, the patient looks to the student for confirmation of what I'm saying."

"It's unconscious probably, but it's like they want him to nod and agree with what I'm saying. I want to yell 'THIS IS MY FIRST YEAR MED STUDENT. HE KNOWS NOTHING AT THIS POINT IN HIS CAREER. STOP LOOKING AT HIM.' "

-- TheSunscreenLife

Zero Trust

"Certainly not subtle, but I used to work in a legal clinic doing public benefits (Social Security, Food Stamps, etc.). I was the only lawyer who worked in this area and supervised a couple of non-lawyer college grads who rotated through every year. For context I'm also young and Asian so I look even younger than I am, and I'm sure that didn't help."

"If I had a dollar for every time a client asked me if they could get a second opinion from a male attorney, I could have kept doing public interest law. Some clients refused to meet with me and demanded to speak to a male staff member (no male attorneys on staff sometimes!), which would often lead to them meeting with one of my supervisees--fresh college grads with no legal experience except what I taught them. They would helpfully tell the client that they couldn't give legal advice and should probably do what I told them to do in the first place."

F"un stuff!"

-- anony_pengu

Other Redditors shared encounters that were more overtly sexual and uncomfortable. These didn't involve any physical contact, but words can be enough to make some feel deeply unsafe.

Are You Aware You Just Made a Human Trafficking Joke, Sir?

"Aged 16/17 I worked in a DIY store. I had so many men ask how much it'd cost to buy me, can they take me home with their new bag of cement, and even had one guy ask me what I was doing later that evening and can he take me for dinner."

-- Isgortio


"Once I was in the store with my 5 year old daughter who was carrying a feather duster we were buying, and an old man leered at her and said she needed a French maid's outfit."

-- after_this

Forced to Get Used to It 

"When I was in university one of my housemate's younger sister came for the weekend, 14 year old but dressed mature and wore a lot of makeup, we were walking in town and a group of guys in their mid-late 30s were casually shouting that they wanted to hook up with her and the ways they'd do it."

"I remember saying openly that it was disgusting and how long she was - and looked. And she said she was completely used to it."


"And my friends who work in night clubs told me how normal it was for drunk guys at the end of the night to wait outside the club for them to finish, so most of the girls got a ride home with the bouncers just Incase - totally normal."

-- PuffTheMightyDragons

Locked On 

"the laser eyes digging into my chest is about the lowest grade i've gotten. highest grade harassment was getting cat called by a grown adult as an 11 year old."

-- dicketry

And finally, many men do go as far as touching without any consent or warning whatsoever. Sometimes it's subtle, other times it's overt harassment.

Either way, it's so gross.

Never Heard That One Before 

"I'm a hand therapist. I have to show people how to massage their scars effectively after their surgery because otherwise they can become stuck to the bone/tendon underneath. To do this I have to put cream on the scar and then demonstrate the right pressure to put on while they massage it."

"I've lost count of the amount of times a man has tried to 'hold' my hand back, or make some lewd comment about how I can massage elsewhere if I like. Just no, yuck."

-- rubyinthemiddle

Subtle Encroachments 

"I work in the oil industry which is very male dominated. Men in general think they can touch you- Leading you through a door by the small of your back, touching your arm while they're speaking to you, trying to fix your collar or hair if it's out of place, closely leaning over your shoulder looking at your work."

"Is it a pat on the a**? No, though I've experienced that too. But it's Yechhh nonetheless. The kicker is that if you call them on it, you're treated as unreasonable because it's not a pat on the a**."

-- sh**sammiches

Zero Romance When Someone Actually Does It

"Random guys thinking we like literally getting swept off our feet. Last time it happened I was in a bar watching my husband's band play and some dipshit tried to pick me up from behind and carry me onto the dancefloor."

"Luckily I'm sturdier than I look so he didn't get very far, but I still had to tell him I didn't want to dance with him multiple times. He decided 'I was scared to' even though I said repeatedly I DON'T WANT TO."

-- newdawn79

Women Can Shake Hands Too, You Dingus 

"When I worked in an office there were a lot of sales reps who didn't care that I didn't want to be touched because they were huggers. Men older than my parents would shake hands with the other people in my department but insist I stand up for a hug."

"When I brought it up to my boss I was told they were old school salesmen and to just laugh it off."

-- PandaKickPunch

The Last Straw 

"I had a coworker randomly kiss me on new years. It wasn't midnight (not that it really matters) and my boy friend was right next to me. It was very weird and unsettling. Out of pure reaction I slapped him. Still to this day I have no idea why he did it."

"He quit soon after."

-- Pie4me8

"Every job I have ever had that claims to operate in a family dynamic has without fail included unwanted touches (hugs, shoulder/arm touches) and typical locker room talk."

"If you are a woman, it's pretty common to be touched by a male coworker. Not many examples i can think of in 15 years of various corporate experiences where the boss hugged and touched the male staff as much as they do the women."

"And if I had a nickel for every time I heard a male coworker either talk about their own sex life or sexualize someone else, i wouldn't need a damn job."

-- mix0000

Straying Hands 

"When I give men their change, they don't grab it, they grab my wrist, then drag their hand down over mine and then take the change. Because of this I started putting their change down on the counter. But because of that I've had men get offended because doing so seems disrespectful and have reported me to my boss."

"A lot of men also try to catch my eye and mimic an erection with their french fries/umbrellas/straws/etc."

"The staring. The fu**ing staring."

-- your-yogurt

Completely Leaving Behind Any Respect Whatsoever 

"The casual touching. Putting a hand on my shoulder or lower back or leg. Or getting uncomfortably close to me. And if you say anything everyone just wonders what my problem is."

"There's also men who will do it so openly knowing no one will do anything about it. At a work event one particular guy kept following me and putting his hand up my dress."

"The last thing I would say is that I am considered at least mildly attractive. This leads to the constant gossip and jokes from the men in the office."

-- cuckedprincess

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In the words of every millennial who was once on Tumblr, adulting is hard. I’ve been a legal adult for nine years now, and I still don’t fully understand taxes. I just let TurboTax do its thing and hope for the best. They REALLY need to teach that sh*t in schools.

But I’m not the only adult who still feels like a child! I think a lot of us can relate to that. And to be honest, we can be very unprepared for what life throws at us.

U/cracksandcrevices asked: What is an adult problem that nobody prepared you for?

The worst part is the cruel awakening that we actually have to, you know, do stuff on our own.​

Choosing things is hard.

Having to not only make important decisions by myself (I expected that much) but also having to do so in a timely fashion uninhibited by indecision.


Having to make decisions is such a big thing for me. Intellectually, of course I knew I'd have to make decisions. I just want ready too make them without knowing the consequences and at the speed of life.


Errands eat up sooo much time.

season 2 your shoe's untied GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants Giphy

How much time you spend just doing stuff.

"Oh need to replace my tire and that's over by the store, so while I replace the tire I can do some errands and I'll save time and be home in no time" three hours later "Okay just one more errand before I head home"

Also how putting off a small task just a couple days in a row can quickly amount to a longer chore/responsibility later. "Eh I can just leave this in the sink, get to it later before bed" x 2 days "Why is this grime caked onto this plate still I've been scrubbing for 10 minutes straight!"


That’s what delivery is for.

Being sick and having to care for yourself. Like when you were younger your parents would get the medicine, or the medicine cabinet would just be stocked all the time, etc. But here I am with a cold having to build up the energy to go to the supermarket to buy some asprin and throat lozenges all by myself.


Underwear gnomes are the true pests.

The endless cleaning. I had chores when I was a kid, but I had zero clue how much actual work went into keeping house. I cleaned my house this morning and by midweek it'll be a war zone of pet hair, crumbs, and dust. I don't even have kids wtf it's like the underpants gnomes show up when I'm asleep and mess my house up.


Another sh*tty thing is the crushing loneliness that comes with adulthood. Why didn’t they tell us that we would have no friends after the age of 25?

The only thing I miss about school.

motivating bart simpson GIF Giphy

A lack of community. Growing up you have your elementary school. Each day you see your friends and participate in activities together. Sometimes they move away and sometimes you do, but it largely stays the same through high school and middle school. Flash forward to adulthood and you're just alone. You want to make friends IRL, but have no idea how to go about doing it without seeming creepy, desperate, or god knows what.

This is really hard when you are not overtly religious so you cannot join a religious community. My friend and I talk about this from time to time, it's arguably the hardest thing to deal with in life. It gets worse the longer you live, as you know you are outliving your generation.


The reason why I have cats.

You can go days on end without having to speak to a single person, at first it's a dream come true, after about 2 months you start talking to your toaster to pad the silence while waiting for your toast.


I literally haven't spoken to someone beyond saying thank you/no when buying groceries in months. At first it felt kind of freeing and now it's just kinda sad.


Ditto on this advice.

The inevitably of your parents dying. My dad just passed away and I'm one could have prepared me I guess.


I feel you. Mine passed away back in August when I was 28. There's nothing you can do to prepare for it, and I'm afraid I have no magic words to make it better. Just know you're not alone. I'll never say it gets "better," but it eventually starts to suck less and your hard days get a little less frequent. I'm so, so sorry.


​The sad fact is, you have to start fending for yourself with no one to help you. And that’s terrifying.

Saving money is hard for this reason alone.

Basic home maintenance: when to change air filters, smoke alarm batteries, timing of lawn care, how often do you clean the gutters, are you supposed to clean under the stove, what is edging, how do you recycle, how to change locks, etc.


Not to mention the random costs that spring up. Trying to save up money? Good for you. Except your sink just sprung a leak so you need to pay a plumber to fix that. Now you can save money agai... Nope, car needs servicing. Okay, your can definitely save money now.... Wait, that leaky sink sprouted mold so now your bathroom needs to be gutted and redone.


We are all Squidward.

Being absolutely exhausted most of the time. I never thought I'd be the 'I hate everyone' guy. But I am and everyone can f*ck off.


We all become Squidward after hitting a certain age.


You either die a SpongeBob or live long enough to become a Squidward.

Me? I'm Patrick. F*ck your rat race.


As someone who has lost a parent, I can tell you that sometimes you will never be prepared for certain events in your adult life. Everyone’s experience is different, and sometimes adulthood just means figuring it out for yourself.

You got this, grown-ups of the internet. I believe in you

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