By Kelsey Champion
I’m on a bit of a mission to understand the concept of sexism – we all know the basics; sexism is the judgement, mistreatment, and/or stereotyping of a person down to their gender – and it is NOT RIGHT!
I am most certainly not one of those people who are like “vaginas! AMIRITE?!” but I’m also not the “excuse me husband, please may I leave the house?” sort either. I sit somewhere in the middle, a bit like “I personally don’t want to be a firefighter or a police officer, but if Jane Doe does, well you bloody well fight that fire, Jane! You go girl!”
In all honesty, until recent I didn’t really care all that much. “I’m not some feminist warrior” is a terrible thing to say when I am in fact a woman, but being female has never stopped me in life so I took a fairly blinkered approach and decided to ignore it.
“being female has never stopped me in life so I took a fairly blinkered approach and decided to ignore it.”
It wasn’t until I really started to think about it (and talked to my good friend Georgia, the original Sulky Bitch… and she created this blog!) that the concept of sexism came into conversation, when I mentioned a news story I read that morning and (regrettably) said “what’s all the fuss about?”
Well, when someone is actively pushing for equal rights, they generally strive to share the necessary information to ignorant people like me – and that’s exactly what she did. Well, consider me converted! I won’t bog you down with statistics, facts or any opinions because if you care you will find them out for yourself, but I will say that feminism really IS a big deal, despite what I’d previously thought.
Here is legitimate example of workplace sexism that a dear friend of mine recently encountered. She works in a male-dominated field (because that is still a thing in 2016, somehow – another clear realisation that something is amiss) and I am devastated to say that when she told me what a colleague said about her, I wasn’t shocked. Don’t get me wrong, I was outraged, who wouldn’t be? But I wasn’t surprised to hear that it had happened. This is verbatim: “that’s where you went wrong; you gave it to a woman! What’s she going to do, paint it pink?!”
I mean…. Really… Seriously….What?! What can you even say to that!? My friend was so gobsmacked she just stared at the guy, and the others around her waiting for someone to comment – they didn’t, they just laughed along. I assume it went something like “chortle chortle fnar fnar, I am the best fnar chortle. Boys rule, girls drool”, but that is, so far, unconfirmed.
Fortunately her boss is a forward-thinking, modern man who was not sent to 2016 from the middle-ages, and has escalated this issue. Thank fuck for that, there is hope!
“This is verbatim: ‘that’s where you went wrong; you gave it to a woman! What’s she going to do, paint it pink?!'”
Now there is a fine line between sexism and tradition, for example is it sexist for a father to walk his daughter down the aisle and ‘give her away’? I would say no, some would say yes. It all depends on motive, intent, and consent. There are certain lines which will always be blurred for some people – that’s not to say everyone does or should think the same, but the key here is that a woman should be doing things merely because that’s her preference – not because she feels she should, culturally or otherwise. And that’s one of the many things that was tripping me up.
Age, religion, culture, environment, upbringing and so many more factors influence where a person’s traditions and ideals, and for the most part, that is A-OK. What’s not ok is the nay-sayers, the deniers, the ones claiming “we’re already equal” and “sexism isn’t a thing”, trying to piss on the fire of those who are trying to make this world (you know, the one we all live in!!) a better place by addressing issues that effect 50% of the population.
How can that be a bad thing?
Sidebar: I am a woman and I like shoes, bags, pink things, kittens and rom-coms. Not I am a woman THEREFORE I like shoes, bags, pink things, kittens and rom-coms. SCHOOLED.