During the last few decades women have become more vocal about the inequalities and wrongdoings they have suffered for hundreds of years. We have come a long way from not having the right to vote or move around freely to building our own successful careers and travelling the world without anyone’s permission. But despite all the wins, there is still a long way to go. Sexism is still very much real for thousands of women all over the world. Sometimes it’s blunt, yet other times it’s so subtle people don’t think much of it. Here are 9 examples of casual sexism you should be aware of.
Whether you are in an undeveloped Asian country or in a prosperous district of a metropolis, this can happen anytime. Women are still being whistled at or catcalled when they are simply passing by minding their own business. You don’t have to wear something special or do anything – some men would still call you out, shouting some unsavoury things, thinking they are making you a compliment or something. If this happens to you, you don’t have to react. This is street harassment and it’s getting banned in some countries. In fact, you can also report it if things get too bad!
Sexist jokes seem to be a kind of a genre of its own, which makes it even worse for women. How many times have you heard jokes about some inadequate women treating their boyfriends or husbands in a way no sane woman ever would? Or those numerous kitchen jokes that seem so out of this century? If you hear something like that (and I’m sure you will) you don’t have to pretend you like it. In fact, it’ll be best if you say it out loud that those kinds of jokes are offensive and no fun at all. Explain why you feel like that if you think it’s relevant. People might actually change their minds.
Feminism is all about recognising women’s rights and revealing social inadequacies when women are concerned. Naturally, we’d all want to call ourselves feminists, but for some reason we shun this word. Feminism has gotten a bit of a bad rep with a little help of its extremist members, but that’s all most men (and some women) seem to care about. People who aren’t closely familiar with feminism condemn it as being crazy and label all feminists inadequate, making numerous jokes about it. Feminism has as many negative connotations as a swear word!
Pretty means stupid
We live in a society where women are still judged by their looks. If she’s pretty then she’s probably not smart at all. If she isn’t attractive enough then she must have the brain power of a genius. People are still surprised to see a gorgeous girl have good grades and be interested in something other than beauty pageants and fashion. When it comes to building a career beautiful women need to burst all kinds of bubbles to prove they are intelligent and smart.
When it comes to one-night stands and other intimate adventures, society is full of double standards. When a man does it – the more, the better! This means he’s a hero and an alpha male everyone should look up to. But when a woman does it? I think we all know what word will be used to describe her.
If you’ve ever worked in an office with mostly male workers, you’ve probably experienced that ‘special’ treatment. Whenever anyone (especially the boss) needs coffee, get some papers, or organise this and that, it usually becomes some woman’s chore. If she says no – she’s a bad co-worker and not reliable. If she says yes – she’ll be doing this and more all the time. When a man says no – it’s generally just okay.
Comments on your body
Somehow both men and women think it’s okay to speak about your body and comment on the way you look in the public. Whether it’s in the street or on social media, women get attacked by total strangers who think it’s their duty to ‘reveal the truth’ about how skinny or obese the woman is. Or that whatever she is wearing is too revealing, gaudy, bad for her, and not stylish enough. It can happen to anyone and if you see someone harassed in the street – it’s good to speak up. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, either!
Marriage and kids questions
Whether it’s your relatives, co-workers, or some random people that start talking to you while waiting in a line, everyone asks questions about marriage and having kids. They will look at you pitifully if you don’t have any of those and gently remind you that ‘time is running out’. It is generally considered that if a woman doesn’t become a mother or a wife till a certain age, she is simply not woman enough. These labels exist all across the globe, pressuring women to strive for marriage and kids as if it was something that would 100% make them happy. While other things, of course, wouldn’t. She can’t be a successful painter, business lady, writer, doctor, traveller, and simply be happy the way she is. She may even have a boyfriend, but without a ring, a white fence, and a dog that’s not real happiness.