Stay Updated on Developing Stories

House freshmen calling out 'archaic sexism' on Capitol Hill

(CNN) New members of Congress are pulling back the curtain on what many see as a pervasive, institutionalized culture of sexism on Capitol Hill, calling out specific incidents of sexism directly to try to force change in the way Washington works.

Some congresswomen say they are being greeted with "hey beautiful" by male members of Congress. Or looked at "up and down" by men in the hallways on Capitol Hill. Others are being criticized for their work wardrobe, and some even are mistaken for staffers instead of the lawmakers themselves.

The new, younger generation is calling out the older one in Congress for what is not acceptable anymore.

"It is archaic sexism," Democratic Rep. Katie Hill told CNN on Capitol Hill Tuesday. "I think it's more of this ingrained institutional piece of it that has to be broken down and the only way it can be broken down is by seeing women as your peers and over and over and over again and having those kinds of behaviors not be accepted."

"It's systemic," Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York told CNN, "and it has an impact."

Hill, in an interview with, raised eyebrows last week when she revealed a conversation she had with a male member of Congress about one-minute speeches that were being made on the House floor.

"I called him 'Mr. One Minute' or 'One Minute Man,' or something," Hill told the website. "I didn't even think about it that way, but he was like, 'I can also be Mr. Five Minute Man or Mr. Whatever Minute Man You Want.' It was in front of people, and the rest of us were all looking at each other. One of my young colleagues said, 'Well, that took a turn.' ''

Hill, in an interview with CNN, said that she would not reveal who made the inappropriate remark but said soon after speaking up about it, she heard from other female members of Congress who had heard a similar joke line from him. She said she thought about it and decided it needed to be called out and used as a teaching moment.

"Men need to know that you can't say that kind of thing," Hill said. "I don't think he meant it in, I really don't think he meant it with the intention of making me feel uncomfortable or anything like that. I just think it's something that they're not aware of."

And Hill says that is not her only example of inappropriate comments and situations she's endured since taking office in January.

"You say hi to them and they'll say, 'hey, beautiful' or 'hey, darling.' That's just like every day that kind of thing happens," she said. "I don't think it's always with mal-intention, but you have these older men who you just see them looking you up and down and I get often -- like, until people have started to get to know me -- people have thought that I was a staffer or they thought that I was a reporter, like it didn't even occur to them that I would be a member of Congress."

It's been over a year since the #metoo wave came to Capitol Hill -- leading to powerful members of Congress resigning over allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct and Congress passing sexual harassment legislation to oversee the way sexual harassment claims are made and handled on Capitol Hill.

In the year since, many women on Capitol Hill have become more open in speaking up about their past experiences with sexual harassment. Rep. Jackie Speier and Sens. Joni Ernst and Martha McSally have each spoken up about their own experiences. McSally most recently revealed during a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing on sexual assault in the military that she was raped while she served in the military.

Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath has called out comments she is facing from outside the Capitol.

Last week McBath tweeted about the "sexist attacks" from "The Kimmer Show," a radio show in Atlanta, after their hosts on air suggested she should "go back to the kitchen."

"Yeah go back to sewing stuff, and leave my guns alone too," one of the co-hosts said on a recording she posted on her Twitter account.

McBath told CNN that she originally just laughed at how "archaic" those kinds of sentiments are about women.

"I don't even know how to do those things," she said in reference to getting back to sewing and back into the kitchen, "but it is definitely indicative of a mindset that just hasn't succumbed to the fact that women are leading the charge politically, women are stepping up, taking our place, having a seat at the table."

CNN has reached out to "The Kimmer Show" for comment and has not yet received a response.

Cumulus, the parent company of 106.7, where the show airs, says it suspended the radio show hosts after their "unacceptable" comments about McBath.

"The comments made on The Kimmer Show regarding Representative McBath were unacceptable, offensive and not consistent with our values as a company. In accordance with company policy, Kim ('The Kimmer') Peterson, Host, and Pete Davis, Co-Host, were suspended and will apologize to Representative McBath," a Cumulus spokesperson told CNN.

McBath, already facing a re-election challenge, is trying to raise money off the comments -- linking to a page to donate to her campaign.

"I heard from women who thought that is just unconscionable and we're not accepting that. And they were telling me, you need to fundraise off of that. And we did," McBath said.

Ocasio-Cortez too has been no stranger to calling out what she perceives as sexism and hitting back.

In her first few days on Capitol Hill during freshmen orientation, when criticism of her work attire spread like wildfire online, she was quick to label the pictures being taken of her clothes and backside as "misogyny."

"If I walked into Congress wearing a sack, they would laugh & take a picture of my backside. If I walk in with my best sale-rack clothes, they laugh & take a picture of my backside. Dark hates light - that's why you tune it out. Shine bright & keep it pushing," she tweeted in November.

In an interview this week on Capitol Hill she said that little things like that should be called out -- and can be now that this group of women are more empowered to do so.

"Those little things add up to a larger culture," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I do think that things are different now because we feel empowered to call it out and say 'hey, that's not cool.'"

"I think that it's part of a broader movement across the country of women who are just highlighting a lot of the stuff that we've been dealing with that hasn't been okay but we've just been told to grin and bear it," she told CNN on Capitol Hill on Monday. "It's systemic, and it has an impact."

Not only sharing these personal anecdotes but also elevating them on their powerful social media accounts, with thousands of followers, is a way that the women are, incident by incident, taking on the broader problems head on.

"Because of social media, that gets some traction and the pressure from the public happens in a way that never used to be and I think that's part of what is really exciting about this young dynamic class, you know focusing on young women that have made it here and that's part of how we can change it," Hill said.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Rep. Lucy McBath is not currently facing a primary challenge and to correct the spelling of the last name of Rep. Jackie Speier.

CNN's Ashley Killough, Sarah Mucha and Mallory Thompson contributed to this report.