Let's Talk About | Sexism

September 09, 2013

Hello ♥

It's time to deviate from the regular drivel I normal share and tackle a subject that is actually pretty important again. Warning: this is a long post. You might want to grab a cup of tea and a biscuit for this one!
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sexism (noun) prejudice or discrimination against people (especially women) because of their sex

Firstly, lets breakdown what that really means:
prejudice (noun) preconceived opinion; (+ against, in favour of) bias; harm (possibly) resulting in action or judgement.
discriminate (verb) make or see a distinction; (usually + against, in favour of) treat badly or well, especially on the basis of race, gender etc.

So essentially sexism is treating people, particularly women, badly due to a preconceived notion that they are inferior due to their gender. Are we all agreed on that? Good.

I will be honest with you, I am alarmed at what can be considered as sexism when you take a look at the dictionary definition. There has been so many things that I have overlooked as "idiots just being idiots" and tried to pay no attention to.

Growing up in a family of six daughters, I never experienced any kind of sexism in my house. My parents always taught us that we could do anything, be anything and that we were just as good as the next person.  There was never any mention of "you'll never get a boyfriend doing x, y, z" or "what do you mean you want to go to university? Find a nice man and settle down." Instead we were encouraged to pursue our dreams even if they were in a predominately male dominated industry or to enjoy a "typical man sport". I guess my parents kind of broke all the rules though as it is my mum who has been the breadwinner whilst my dad is a stay at home dad. Although I do remember some parents of friends at school thinking that it was odd that my dad didn't work.  

Sadly, not everyone has shared that kind of experience at home. I have heard of countless stories of people telling their daughters (and sons) that they shouldn't follow a particular career path because it is considered more suitable for the other gender. I have lost count of the times I have been told by friends that someone has asked them when they are getting a boyfriend or settling down. When the time is good and right, that's when. If that so happens to be never then so be it!

I don't remember the first time something sexist was said towards me, probably because at the time I just put it down to boys being boys and being generally mean. I do remember being around six being told that girls couldn't play football. At the time I was an avid football fan. I went to as many matches as my dad could afford and enjoyed every last minute, cheering along happily. I remember being cross with the boy who said it and thinking he was an idiot. What I didn't realise was this was sexism - from a six year old.!

There was countless occasions around the age of fourteen that my friends and I were subjected to whistling, cat calling and attempts at being chatted up by much older men. This always felt more than inappropriate. We didn't dress provocatively, unless you think that jeans and a tshirt count. Not that it would matter if we had. Nothing justifies being made to feel uncomfortable, and sometimes threatened, by someone else.  The thing that always baffled me about these men was that it was meant to be some kind of compliment to us to be harassed by them and ignoring it definitely made you a bitch.

For my final year at college, we had to chose between doing location (camera work, filming) or post production (editing, sound editing). Independently my best friend and I had decided we would rather do post production. I personally enjoyed working on the computer, out of the rain and wind, to put together a completed project far more than being responsible for making sure the footage was usable. When it came to our turn to tell our lecturer what we wanted to do, he said "You shouldn't do something just because your friend is doing it. You might not even end up in the same class." At first I was just annoyed in general as I felt it was a dig at my character, being shy. Soon I realised it was more than that. Did he say the same thing to any of the males in the class who were choosing in groups of friends? No. He only said to my friend and I like we were incapable of making our own decisions independently.

Of course, there is the occasional ass grab in clubs (although the first one actually happened at high school). Each time I was actually too mortified to say anything and just moved away. I know this has happened to many of my friends on multiple occasions. It mystifies me why certain men think this is okay, that we want them to completely invade our personal space. And people wonder why I stopped going out to pubs and clubs aged 20.

Being a sports fan has opened me up to a lot of sexist remarks, particularly in the last couple of years. Apparently I can only like rugby because of the muscular men. I'm not going to lie it is a bonus, but the reason I pay my money to see rugby has nothing to do with their attractiveness. Trust me, if I wanted to watch attractive men I could stay at home on the couch and watch the other half play video games all night. No, I enjoy rugby for the face paced game play, the high energy and the fact it is a contact sport. (In recent years, I've discovered I like contact sports like rugby, American football, roller derby, wrestling.) Even playing badminton with my sisters has led to feeling awkward due to a group of four older men who think it is appropriate to refer to us as "the babes" despite my younger sister only being fifteen. The condescending manner in which they attempt to talk to us makes my skin crawl. They wouldn't talk to another man like that. In fact, we are the only group that they interact with despite the fact there is often families or other men on the court beside them.

Of course, whilst sexism is more often targeted at women, men experience it too. Often I have heard men being mocked for doing "the women's job" of housework or raising children and being told they are "whipped" or a "sissy". It just isn't right.

After staying silent for so long, it's time to speak up. We shouldn't feel intimidated by people making lurid comments or behaving inappropriately. Sexism is not something that should be tolerated whether it is sexism towards women or men. We are living in the 21st century, it's 2013. Nobody should be subjected to any kind of sexism.

What are your thoughts on sexism?

Until next time!

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Definitions taken from Little Oxford Dictionary  
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  1. Great post!! I was brought up by my parents to believe women and men are equal even though we are biologically different. I am a feminist but I do not hate men, I dislike the men (and women) who put down women and other men who do not fit their masculine man profile. xx

    1. Exactly! I don't see why people still are incapable of treating everyone equally. It's quite alarming just how common sexism is!

      Debi x


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