I refuse to call myself a feminist, but I often find myself thinking of sexism* and its prevalence in Western society. Usually when I am exposed to it. A few examples: my reluctance to get a job in HVAC, despite my experience, because of the looks that I get from men (most often of the she-doesn’t-know-what-she’s-doing-she’s-a-GIRL or look-at-the-rack-on-that-one variety). Or socializing with my SO’s car enthusiast friends, who completely ignored my existence because they thought I know nothing about cars (I am by no means an automotive expert, but I know my fair share. And I’m interested in them, damnit).
I was inspired by the thread on Muslim traditional dress for women, and all of its potentially sexist implications. Someone brought up the point that women are expected to wear modest clothing so as to remove the temptation from men, rather than expecting men to control their baser instincts. I personally side with the Muslim women in this case, because my style of dress could hardly be called immodest yet I constantly deal with assholes trying to pick me up on the street. The invisibilty provided by loose robes and a headscarf would be appreciated. It just seems that some (many?) men choose not to control said baser instincts, and I find it annoying at best and disgusting at worst.
Anyhow, I apologize for the stream of consciousness in the last paragraphs, but being treated as a sex object, or being spoken to like I’m a 3 year old when discussing “technical” matters annoys the hell out of me. I would like to hear your thoughts on sexism. How prevalent is it in Western society, is it getting better, will it ever go away? How can we work to eliminate it? Why does it still exist in our so-called enlightened society?
*I use the term to refer to outright discrimination AND subtle differences between the treatment of women and men, i.e. refusing to hire a woman because she’s a woman, OR just automatically assuming she knows more about cooking than plumbing because she has a vagina. Or the way that strange men on the street undress passing women with their eyes.