The site was founded in 2012 by a British woman named Laura Bates in response to being told that we live in a world where sexism no longer existed.
As stated on their website:
“The Everyday Sexism project aims to take a step towards gender equality, by proving wrong those who tell women that they can’t complain because we are equal. It is a place to record stories of sexism faced on a daily basis, by ordinary women, in ordinary places. To show that sexism exists in abundance in the UK workplace and that it is very far from being a problem we no longer need to discuss.” (Everyday Sexism Project, n.d.)
Participants can upload accounts of sexism directly to the site, via email or Twitter. With sister sites in 25 countries, tens of thousands of stories have been uploaded to these sites.
Since launching the site, the ESP has advised the British Transport Police on the training of their officers to respond to complaints of unwanted sexual behaviour as part of Project Guardian, an initiative to increase reporting of sexual offences on public transport in London.
Participants can either share their experiences by posting directly to the site, email, or Tweeting @everydaysexism, which are then uploaded to the site by a team of volunteers. Posts are featured on the sites homepage in reverse chronological order, and document diverse instances of sexism and misogyny, including cat calling, but also extending to workplace harassment, sexual assault, body shaming, discrimination, comments about ‘appropriate’ gender roles, and male entitlement. Posts range in length from one or two sentences to several paragraphs and are accompanied by selected “tags” that describe where the incident of sexism occurred, such as “workplace,” “home,” “public transport” or “university.” Posters can also create their own tags, which categorize the incident beyond place; examples include “boysareperverts,” and “courage.”
The ESP functions differently as a community than sites such as Hollaback! or Who Needs Feminism?, which contains widgets to share posts to other social media platforms. Instead, with the ESP, posts are written and with the assumption that they’ll be read by a larger audience, and no opportunities are available for comments to be posted. Aside from the fact that tens of thousands of people have shared their stories, it is difficult to gauge the affective dimensions and intensities of this site.
A key feature of this site is to not only share information about experiences of sexism, but details about who committed these and where it took place. Furthermore, because there is no limit in terms of word count, posters frequently shared longer stories which contained an analysis of the sexism they experienced, and documented their responses to it. The ESP therefore provides an important and relatively unique space where participants don’t just share experiences of sexism, but their experiences of coming to recognise, identify and analyse it. In this sense it operated in some cases as a highly visible place of feminist awakening possible to document and have others witness through the site, adding a mediated dimensions to consciousness raising.