A Nickel For Your…Sexist BS

Five Cents
Image by kevindooley via Flickr

Love their spirit — teens trying to de-tox their college from misogyny.

From fbomb.org:

We would like to see some change in the world.

And that’s why we have started Nickels for Change.

We go to a science and engineering school, chock full of boys who perpetuate rape culture. Rape jokes and euphemisms abound. And no one seems to find a problem with it.

Except for us.

Going to college has been a real eye-opening experience. Maybe it’s because our high school was mostly liberal or small and secluded or didn’t include a lot of diversity (actually, yeah, that’s all probably exactly why), but our high school was a nicer place. Rape jokes just didn’t happen.

Not so in college. And we’re tired of being brought down by all the negative crap in this rape-defending, victim-blaming patriarchy.

Nickels for Change is about using these negative situations and attitudes and making something positive come out of them.

Every time we hear something sexist, rape-defending, victim-blaming, or flat-out misogynistic (an also just plain prejudice – whether it be sizeist, classist, racist, disableist, or anything else), a nickel goes into Our Jars. We plan on doing this for a year. At the end of the year, the money will go to a charity that works towards ending violence.

If their college — ugh — is anything like my alma mater, the University of Toronto, the engineers have…challenged…social skills. One year (hahahahahahahaha) they painted the roof of the observatory (shaped, convex and round, like, you know) as a breast. Hahahahahahahaahahahaaha. These are the men who build our computers and bridges?  (Oh, and design oil rigs!)

I remember (how could one forget) the frat house a block south of my apartment where they’d sit in the huge bay window and hold up enormous signs rating every woman who walked past, like some demented Olympic judge. Then, (as now) hopelessly opinionated and pissed-off by their on-campus sexist BS, I wrote a letter of protest published in our campus weekly newspaper.

“Of course she’s mad!” their reply crowed in the next week’s edition: “She got a low score!”


This shit never changes. So you might as well gird your lovely loins for battle young, before they’re too damn weary and you’re scared to lose your internship/fellowship/advisor/grant/first job/second job/raise/promotion and stop speaking out.

These young women are going to need a very large jar for those nickels.

Ladies, where do I send my check?

7 thoughts on “A Nickel For Your…Sexist BS

  1. larryb33c

    Sigh. Why, in 2010 is sexism still OK? I wrote my one and only letter to the editor of a national publication when I became pissed off by the description of a song as “gleefully misogynist”. Really? You thought that was OK to publish? Try “gleefully racist”. You gonna publish that? (I am not saying this to minimize the problem of racism, mind you.)
    And good lord, your story of the frat fucks: Don’t they get it? Many of us women do not live for approval from random males. One of the pleasures of getting older is not being disturbed by the very jarring whistle or shout out from the passing car.

  2. Caitlin Kelly

    I’m glad I’m not the only one (it feels like it is too often) driven nuts by this stuff. If I wrote a letter every time I saw something so offensive, it would consume a large part of my days — I’m glad you did. I actually did write a furious letter to the public editor of the NYT
    recently after an interviewer there basically slagged Jane Fonda for…having arthritis. Nice.

    The whole idea that women DIE if we’re not deemed pretty/thin/docile/nice enough is what keeps wrecking our lives — if we don’t laffff at it and ignore it. For work, you do what’s (legally) necessary to make ’em happy. After that, my space and my face and my body are mine alone. How about “Smile, honey!”, that thing they shout at you on the street because…hey. maybe I just got a lousy diagnosis but I’m not making *their* day happier.

    I think most men (who don’t harass) have NO clue the BS we put up with.

  3. inmyhumbleopinion

    My high school-aged son intends to study engineering but is fortunate enough to participate on a robotics team whose membership is roughly 1/3 female, including 3 female adult mentors: a computer programming whiz who went to MIT, the teacher adviser who teaches science and engineering, and another woman who is a design/build expert. She and her husband have a machine shop in their garage and they volunteer tremendous numbers of hours for the kids’ benefit. The tone that has been set is very egalitarian, so let’s hope some of that sticks with him as he proceeds to higher education and into a milieu that may not be as enlightened.

    The only way eradicate this nonsense is to encourage more and more women into these bastions of testosterone to provide an alternate POV as well as to have role models for the women who come after them. In the meantime, thick skins, and maybe even a self-defense class, might be in order.

  4. hey, so this is Rebekah. Cassie and I are doing this together and we are working on getting a paypal account up so that if people would rather donate instead of keeping their own jars that they can. Neither one of us thought that we would get as much support as we have or that people would be talking about this so much. Also, we recommend sending the money directly to the City of Joy, an organization that is creating a safe house for women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thanks so much for talking about it! Also to the Author of this post the engineers are still…challenged… so not much has changed. We are also focusing our efforts on the media for this as well. The media is terrible about the depiction of women, specifically rape victims. So thanks again for writing about this.
    Rebekah and Cassie

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