Sexism: discuss

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.

Why do you refuse to call yourself a feminist? If you dislike sexism shouldn’t you be clearly on the side of sexual equality? Barring some practical issues (Men may forever be ‘over-represented’ in the house removals industry for instance due to a biologically bulkier build), isn’t equality something we should all encourage?

I hesitate to call myself a feminist, but only because being male there are probably untold ways in which I unconsciously buttress the patriarchal status quo…

Well, feminism often implies uber-aggressive man-hating. It often has a negative connotation these days. In other words, I hesitate to call myself a feminist because I don’t want to be called a feminazi.

There’s a lot of baggage, beyond equality of the sexes, attached to feminism. On one hand you have certain conservatives who think that feminist want all women to become pagan lesbians who eat their babies. On the other hand, some of the more liberal believe that if you’re a feminist you support free daycare, have a serious problem with the supposed income disparity, and you’ll at least vote Democrat.

RedRosesForMe, consider for a moment what that Muslim style of dress is all about. Personally, I think it’s less about controlling male behavior and more about controlling the behavior of women. Especially those beekeeper outfits.

As frustrating as it is for people to assume you know nothing about automobile or other technical subjects, do you really think you’d be more highly regarded if you were restricted by the dress codes imposed in many Muslim nations?


Yes, you are.

Sorry, but that’s one of those statements that just pisses me off. What you’re* essentially saying is “I wish to enjoy the fruits of the feminist movement’s labor while distancing myself from them so that boys don’t think I’m a hairy bitch.” Well, screw right off back to the kitchen then.

Being a feminist simply means that one believes in the equality of the sexes (so Staggerlee, call yourself whatever you like!). One is perfectly able to do it with nail polish on, if that’s her preference. Perpetuating the myth that “feminists” are man-hating shrews, is participating in exactly the sort of sexism and misogyny you’re talking about. It’s like saying that “real women” aren’t so, well… unladylike.

*Generic “you”, not RedRosesForMe.

Thank you!

Perhaps she just doesn’t like to buy into the fallacy of the excluded middle.



Why should she want fear and hatred that she hasn’t earned ? Why should she want to give herself a label that will not make men ( and probably quite a few women ) think she wants equal rights, but that she hates them and cannot be trusted ? That she’s greedy, humorless, vicious, and in general an unpleasant person to know ? That’s the reputation the word “feminist” tends to get you, between conservative badmouthing and feminist bad behavior. Like it or not, the word feminist doesn’t stand for equal rights in most people’s minds.

I’ve been called a feminazi. I don’t shy away from the confrontation because its so easy to come out on top without looking like the aggressive man-hater they think feminists are. I personally think most people don’t think of feminists as aggressive anymore. It’s really just the knuckle-draggers (of both genders) who use that term and believe its implications.

I would wager a guess that it appears this way because you only notice the ones who are “undressing you with their eyes”. The ones who don’t aren’t as visible.

Isn’t the negative perception a good reason to declare oneself a feminist? In the same way that moderate Muslims should be vocal against Islamist terror acts and American Christians should show themselves as more reasonable than the Fred Phelpses of the world?

I’m a feminist. That’s me. 100% feminist, without reservation, and I don’t care who knows.

Tell me that I

Call me a feminazi.

Bring it on. Back it up.* (There should be plenty of material among my thousands of posts here.)

And then we can decide who’s ignorant and judgmental.

  • Offer not limited to Friend Trihs but open to anyone who thinks feminist = negative.

I wonder why that could be? Is it possible that that’s they way feminists have been painted in order to discredit the movement and cast an unflattering light on women who want equality between the sexes?

Saying all or even the vast majority of feminists are “greedy, humorless, vicious and unpleasant people” is like saying all atheists are shrill, unethical, disrespectful jerks intent on stamping out the moral foundation of civilization. And yet, it’s considered a statement of fact. It’s sad that the fringe element is that which gets all the attention, but y’know…squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s more than a little disheartening to see how hard some women work for equality and others shrink from a simple little term because it may endanger their social lives.

Most feminists are women who just want to be treated with a modicum of respect and not have their opinions immediately discounted because they happen to be sporting breasts. Which I can tell you, RedRoses, does eventually happen. Usually after you turn 30, but that’s typical; nobody gets taken seriously when they’re in their 20’s anyway.

I personally never discount anyone’s opinions just because they happen to be sporting breasts.

I do occasionally, however, discount the opinions of people because they happen to believe that the only reason anyone would discount their opinions is because they happen to be sporting breasts. :smiley:

sigh I read that as snorting breasts. I think I need a break.

Carry on.

Feminist guys are hot.

As for the OP, while I do not quite have the energy to get into sexism in general (I have to take a few deep breaths to suppress my rage after reading the articles onFeministing), I’ve never noticed much of a relationship between what I’m wearing and how much I’ve been harassed on the street. Even if you wore a veil, I’m sure some asshole would tell you he wanted to lick your ankles or that you had sexy eyes.

“You’ve come a long way, baby!”

That was from a series of ads and commercials for cigarets, in the '70s. It was aimed at “liberated” women who smoked, and needed to have their own brand of little death machines.

Sexism, like racism and homophobia, are alive and well in our society. But we *have *come a long way. I’m old enough to remember how women and blacks and gay people were treated in the '50s, and I’m amazed at how far we’ve come. I also wonder how many more generations it will take to finish the job, if ever.

I used to think that there would never be a black or woman president in my lifetime. Now I think we’re very close to having one or the other. And I used to think same-sex marriage would never even be taken seriously enough to consider in my lifetime. Wrong again.

But every kind of “liberation” seems to go through a militant stage; it seems to be a necessary way of breaking out of the restrictions of the past. And that’s where all the negative stereotypes come from. We don’t hear the terms “women’s lib(eration)” or “black liberation” or “gay liberation” much anymore, and I kind of miss them, because of all the work that still needs to be done, and we’re not quite ready to call it just plain “equality for everyone.” So I don’t care about the labels. It’s the demand for equality that I care about, and I know that it’s happening . . . faster than I had predicted, but more slowly than I’d like.

It’s still prevalent.

Everytime I check email in my earthlink account, I see a banner ad for a loan company. For some sick twisted reason, this particular company has decided to use as its “hook”, an animated cartoon of a woman that looks suspiciously like a hooker strolling down Main street in search of some johns.

What the hell is up with that?

The objectification of women seems to be worsening by the day sometimes. I struggle with whether to call it sexism or something else, but it’s bothersome just the same. I actually don’t know how we work to eliminate it, except by starting at home and raising children right. That means limiting their exposure to TV.

It still exists because society doesn’t get over centuries of the stuff overnight. It takes a while.

And I have no problems calling myself a feminist.

Yes, of course, feminists “have been painted” that way by some sinister enemy. It can’t be that many of their most vocal adherents have in fact been raving loonies, and that the feminist camp hasn’t bothered casting them out. Of course not.

I, for one, hate how terrorists have been painted in order to discredit their movement and cast an unflattering light on Islamist militants.

Yeah, I like girls who roll over and subscribe to my political views as well.

I think sexism still exists to a certain extent, but not nearly as much as is made out. I also think that many people get confused between equality of opportunity (which is good) and equality of position (which is probably bad).

Treating you like a three year old is absolutely wrong, but surely you can understand this is partly because of men falling victim to the heuristic that most women don’t like to talk about technical matters, and generally get annoyed if we continue to in their presence. I would recommend that you are more direct with the men involved and let it be known that you want to be involved.

As for being treated as a sex object… well, we are all sex objects to an extent, I don’t see anything wrong with that so long as you’re also treated like a human being.

What does worry me is the increasing feminization of society, but this isn’t really related to sex, other than women as a whole are more feminine than men.