Looking back, were you ever told that the length of your school skirt was 'distracting for the boys'? Have you been shouted at to 'smile, love' by a total stranger? Or were you ever instructed (presumably, by some massive pr*ck) to dress more 'femininely'?
As teenagers, we often didn't know how to respond. We knew it was wrong, that it felt humiliating and painfully condescending, but maybe we didn't quite understand why. Now, not only do we know exactly why it's sexist, but we wish we could tell every other girl in the country what to do when faced with misogyny. Because even though it's 2017, this archaic prejudice against women still exists.
That's exactly why 20-year-old Sophia Tassew, who is Head of Social at Sarm West Recording Studios in London, headed to King's Cross station this week to dish out some hard-won advice.
Sophia, who was handing out the pieces of paper to women at the train station, wrote: "Give them direct eye contact. Speak with a loud clear voice. Always make sure your handshake is firm. Don’t apologise for talking about what you love. Stand up for your ideas. Think like a girl. Confuse them with embracing all forms of your femininity and dominance at the same time."
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Sophia explained why she wanted to share her advice: "It stemmed from working in the creative industry. It’s made of a large majority of men and a lot of the time I found myself losing confidence... I think a lot of women might go through a similar thing where we’re not sure how to act because we’ve been told to be quiet for so long. Then again, if you speak up you’re seen as too overbearing.
"I really wanted to remind all types of women that you should believe in yourself no matter what environment you’re in. It’s never too late or too early to find confidence within yourself but it’s something we need to embed in the young ones."
While Sophia has received some backlash online from "guys telling me to 'give it a rest'", the overwhelming response has been positive. And rightly so. It's women like Sophia, and the message she spreads, that will give young women the hope, confidence and knowledge to fight back in the face of glaring gender discrimination.
These women took action against sexism IRL – and got results...
“As I’m the director of a large organisation and my name’s Alex, people assume I’m a man. I often receive emails and letters addressed to ‘Mr…’ It is fundamentally lazy – and sexist – to assume that I’m a man just because I’m a director. And, although it’s not the most serious form of sexism I’ve faced, I don’t ignore it: I always reply saying thanks for the email/letter, but please note that I’m not a man. Most people apologise and move on, but, hopefully, challenging them means they won’t assume next time.” Alex, 37
“One day my supervisor – who was known for being disgustingly sexist – asked me to show him my hand. When I held it out, he said, ‘Yes, my cock would fit in that.’ I was so shocked. I reported him to our company director, who immediately interviewed me and every female colleague who’d been harassed. We were taken seriously and the sexist supervisor was dismissed by the end of the day.” Zoe, 22
“I saw two men harassing a woman on the bus. She clearly didn’t want to talk to them, but they wouldn’t leave her alone, leering and making her uncomfortable. If it had been me, I’d have wanted someone to help, so I told them to stop. They laughed and said I was jealous, but they backed off and got off at the next stop. The woman thanked me for having her back.” Olivia, 30
“Most of my colleagues are men. It was never a problem, until someone organised a friendly football match after work. I love playing football, but one male colleague wasn’t happy that I was joining in and joked, ‘No snatch at the match.’ When I called him out on it, he made an excuse about me ‘getting hurt’. I was so deflated, but I went anyway. Turns out, he’d dropped out at the last minute and wasn’t even there; no one else cared that I was a woman and I had a great time. I almost let his prejudice stop me doing something I enjoy. I’m so glad that I didn’t.” Franki, 28
“I was in Tesco when a total stranger leered at my chest and asked me my bra size. I was so pissed off, I gave a lecture on why comments like that are unacceptable. Stunned, he apologised with a shame-faced ‘Sorry, love.’ I didn’t let that go either, explaining that ‘love’ was patronising. Instead of allowing him to embarrass me, I showed him up for his behaviour.” Rachael, 25