How to Stand Up to Sexism – by Toni Summers Hargis & BritMums

How to stand up to sexism

How to Stand Up to Sexism

This book is a long time coming. I wish it had been around when I was new to the work scene when I was wet behind the ears and unequipped to deal with sexism. When, at my first job straight out of college, my manager asked me ‘Do you fu@k Pakis?’ The man in question was looking me directly in the eye waiting for my response. He was also young and married with children. He knew what he was doing and I didn’t have a clue how to respond. I was trapped in the headlights, my colleagues laughing at his ‘joke’, waiting to see how I would reply. What does one say in such a situation? I didn’t know. I stammered, I blushed and I felt incredibly awkward.

That was the 80s. The problem is, there are a lot of people out there who haven’t moved on from the 80s and continue to sexually harass women. Many don’t even see it as a problem and many get enjoyment out of making women feel uncomfortable.

Words for when enough is enough

Women no longer need to feel so out of their depth thanks to Toni Summers Hargis’s book – How to Stand Up to Sexism. Toni uses her own experiences and other women’s asking them for their experiences and what they wish they had said. Many of their comments in the book equip women to deal with sexists, offering replies for unwanted comments on physical build, microaggressions, and uncomfortable situations.

How to Stand Up to Sexism helps women take back the power and feel more confident.

Who the book is for

I was hooked from the first page and wished I had had this resource back in the 80s. As I read more, I started to think about who this book could be useful for. It is the perfect book to help women be prepared for any sexist offense. To have a ready response to explain that the comments are unwanted and quite frankly inappropriate.

Interview with Toni Hargis

Why did you want to write this book?

I’ve always been quite outspoken about sexism, but in recent years it’s been particularly galling that my daughter in her 20s experiences more or less the same thing I did back in the day. The resurgence of the MeToo movement also shows that we haven’t really come as far as we should have. This then got me going back over many things that happened to me over the decades, and, like many of us do, imagining all the thing I could have/should have said. 20-20 hindsight definitely comes up with much better responses! And so the nugget of the book was formed – to give women the words and phrases to address or challenge sexism as it’s happening to them. There’s a lot of material out there that purports to help in with this, but it says, “Speak to your boss” or “talk to the person in question” and women are still left asking “Yes, but what do I say?” It’s also not a ‘How to Prevent’ book because I don’t believe that onus should be on women; but we can’t deny that sexism is everywhere and it’s still causing many of us to be speechless when we experience it. 

What do you see as your next steps?

Next steps? There’s a lot of work to be done when a book is launched, so my next steps are to get the word out about the book. That is taking up a lot of my time and will continue to do so for months. I have been asked to talk to the 6th formers at my son’s old school, but I’m not sure if that’s where I want to take this. Although my background is HR (including Employment Law) and I know a lot about the subject, I’m not a therapist or a teen specialist. My co-authors and I have talked about writing another book specifically for teenagers, so that’s a possibility, but it’ll depend on how well the new book is received.

Buy your copy hereSpringtime Books

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the book to review for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own.

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