What Happens When Almost Everything Is Considered Sexist?

There is real sexism in the world. It’s also a two way street, but, let’s be honest, most sexism is from men towards women. One thing to consider is what is really sexist and what isn’t. Is Augusta National, which pretty much excludes women, sexist? If so, then wouldn’t a women only health club or college be sexist?

(AP) When Laura Bates was followed home one night by a man from her bus, she didn’t think much of it. Incidents like that just seemed to be part of living in London.

But the writer said several other similar situations followed within days: One stranger shouted obscenities at her out of a car window. Another propositioned her forcefully in a cafe. A third groped her on the bus, and commuters looked away when she spoke up. She was startled not so much by the incidents — but how accustomed she had become to brushing such behavior aside and not taking action.

“I started talking to other women, and I couldn’t believe how many stories they had. I think many of us just think ‘maybe I’m unlucky,'” said Bates, 27, in an interview. “Just like me, so many of them said ‘until you asked me, I’ve never talked to anyone about this.'”

The problem here is that not one of those things was sexism. Why were the obscenities yelled, and what were they? Groping? Criminal, but not sexism. A man propositioning her? Not sexism.

Those conversations triggered the birth of the Everyday Sexism project, a website that Bates set up for women to share their experiences of sexism and harassment in their daily lives — in the office, on the train, in school or on the street. Two years on, what started as a simple idea has become a movement that is steadily gaining momentum, galvanizing support from politicians, police and thousands of women and men from Britain and beyond.

The project has collected 70,000 posts from some 20 countries, describing a wide range of unwelcome behavior and offenses from a colleague’s casual comment to unreported rapes. Many tell of assault, threats of violence and verbal abuse in public places. Others report seemingly innocuous behavior and comments: One woman tells how a sales assistant handed back her change to her male friend, after she had paid for the goods.

The problem is that they are labeling everything as sexism. Some things are certainly sexist, like possibly the change incident. Many are inappropriate conduct, but aren’t sexism. Again, many are criminal, but the intent, the mindset, isn’t sexism, or even sexist

“There were men in their office printing off pictures of female applicants and rating them out of ten. Other women say their colleagues went to strip clubs at lunch time with clients and they just missed out on these deals,” she said. Many such incidents go unreported largely because women are afraid of losing their jobs, she said.

Not sexist, but certainly inappropriate.

“People say sexism doesn’t exist anymore,” Bates said. “But it really is one of those things where once you see it, you can’t stop seeing it all around you.”

Sure, it exists. I know a man who was treated in a sexist manner by women. I know a woman who filed suit over pay inequality, and there was a real case (she had been there longer, had a better track record, and a better sales record). But we can’t, or shouldn’t, equate everything as sexism. We also should not regulate all thought. Some people are jerks. In some cases actions and words should mean someone is Held Responsible. We can all agree on that, right? But if I ogle a woman’s derrière, covered in a tight yoga pant with the word juicy, is that sexist, or simply an appreciation of the female form? According to this group, it makes me sexist, and I should be reported.

Is it sexist that men are often treated like doofus’ in TV shows and commercials?

PS: how can men not look and comment when radical feminist want women to wear things like this?

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3 Responses to “What Happens When Almost Everything Is Considered Sexist?”

  1. Jeffery says:

    Sexism results from ones actions, not ones thoughts. Groping and fondling is criminal AND sexist. Keep your ogling non-threatening please. Much of what women find “sexist” are actions that make them feel physically threatened – prolonged ogling, inappropriate and leading comments, unwanted touching, staring etc. Like everyone, women want to be treated with respect and taken seriously. It may be difficult to understand, but every interaction that involves a man and a woman is not about romance. They are not always looking to get picked up (in fact, hardly ever). And no woman is responsible for the fact that the way she looks makes you horny. Be a grown-up and control yourself.

    And you are correct about how husbands are portrayed in sit-coms. Almost always an inadequate doofus against the wondrously wise and patient wife.

  2. I understand perfectly that not every interaction is not about romance. Most aren’t. I just don’t think that many are sexist and cause for re-education. Many are just many being men. Many are men being jerks and assholes. Many are criminals. (and sometimes it’s women doing this). I don’t think we should over-inflate the actions.

    Certainly, control yourself. I agree 100%.

  3. Damn, cut stuff out right before I hit post.

    An interesting aspect of society has been the way women are being pushed to be more sexual, in person and on the internet. Women are being pushed by so many different characters, from feminists to their friends to their teachers, to act and dress in a more sexual manner. This has become accepted for women to wear miniskirts that literally end right below their panty line. They post beyond racy pictures. Consider the Chive, and think about some of the photo essays they post every week. Mind The Gap. Bored at work. So many others. A good chunk of those photos are coming from the women themselves. They send in photos of them being barely dressed. Should we blame men for ogling and/or trying to pick women up when they are barely dressed? Can’t do away with millions of years of evolution.

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