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The Reality of Sexism in America

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Numerous people who I have talked to online and in person, alike, are hesitant to call themselves feminists. Many times those of whom with which I debate are full of resentment toward the idea that sexism still exists today and say that I should stop complaining about a problem which (they claim) isn’t there. While we have made impressive strides towards equality of the genders, there is still sexism, ignorance, and intolerance in the world. I am quite fortunate to live in the Untied States, where there is better treatment between the genders as compared to the rest of the world; but, with the current political climate where women’s rights and treatment are in jeopardy and where sexism still ravages, there is a cause for anger and there is a reason to keep fighting for equality and to stand with feminism.

So many people try to get into girl’s heads and tell them that because of their gender, they are supposed to fit a certain mold and be a certain way. People tell little girls and grown women that they aren’t smart enough, they aren’t strong enough, and they aren’t as good as the boys, that they should be complacent as an object below men, that they should comply to their terms and fit to their mold and stay quiet and accept their reality. While many people are not flat-out going up to women and telling them they are less than men (although this has happened to myself on several unfortunate equations) the way society is structured and how women are treated achieves the same effect. This is horrible. Society has been oppressing women since the beginning of conscious thought and it continues, in the modern world, to try and manipulate how we think, what we do, and what we should see ourselves as.

I felt that I needed to write this to enlighten those who either do not believe in the need for feminism and to also open the eyes of women, men, and non-binaries who my not see the problems that we face in modern day. Much of what our society deems as common and acceptable is enough to justify the outrage and frustration that many women share.

Sexism says that men aren’t only above women and other genders, but that each gender must fit a certain mold and that we have to sit quietly and do what we are supposed to do and play our role with a smile on our face and with complete compliance. Society still beats down on females as people have predisposed opinions about what someone is like and what some person should be doing with their life because of their gender. The constant screaming of this sexism in girls’ ears can make them believe the sexist ideas that are suffocating them, and even worse, may prevent them from becoming who they want to be and reaching their full potential.

Women are told to cover up and that they should be ashamed of their bodies as men are being complimented for wearing just as much or less clothing. Goodness forbid a bit of skin shows because women are seen as obligated to cover up as not tempt the always heterosexual male predators from attacking them. Women are blamed for the actions of men because men “can’t control when they get turned on” so women should just cover up. If someone can’t control their violent, sexist, sexually abusive actions, it’s not their victim’s fault, and that predator shouldn’t be allowed on the streets. Those men that can’t help it when they harass women certainly should not be able to dictate how a woman chooses to dress and determine what’s “right” and “wrong”. Calling women names because of how they chose to dress is derogatory and blaming the way they dress as the cause of a sexual assault is victim blaming. You never hear someone telling a boy that their shorts are too short or that their t-shirt will be distracting to others in the class and that they need to change.

For women, there is a lose-lose situation involving sex as well. If they have not had sex, they are seen as prude and if they have had sex, then they’re labeled as a sl*t. A woman can have sex with someone and they are consequently looked down upon, while a man can do the exact same thing, and he is not only accepted, but praised for it and sought after by society. Why is one gender shamed and judged maliciously for their sex life while another is praised for it? With sexual harassment, women are often doubted or blamed for the traumatic experience that they have gone through because “they should have known better”, “there’s no proof”, or “it was their fault because they wore such a short skirt”. Men can say horrible, sexist and rape-enthusiastic things and have it passed off as “boy talk” and acceptable while women speak out about abuse and are called “pu***es”. “Boys will be boys” people say when males’ inappropriate behavior bothers someone; all the while while girls are scolded for speaking up. Boys should be held accountable for all of their actions like everyone else and inappropriate behavior isn’t acceptable-gender should have no influence in the matter.

All the while, women aren’t taken seriously when in positions of powers or if they claim to be in pain because they are ‘slaves to their emotions and hormones’ and are ‘weak’. Fun fact: women do not turn into weakened, mindless slaves whenever hormones are present and working in their bodies! Straightforward and driven women are called bossy and annoying while men with the same exact characteristics are rewarded and admired for their hardworking attitude. Women simply aren’t treated the same as men and are constantly underestimated and mistreated. Ladylike is associated with being meek, quiet, modest, timid and a beautiful object while ‘man up’ and ‘grow a pair’ refer to becoming tough and stronger, with more confidence and less weakness.

Patriarchy (a government that is represented and run mainly by men) is a frustrating problem as well. With 45 presidencies, not a single one has had a woman in the President or Vice President seat. Along with that fact, out of the 535 members of Congress, only 105 of those are women; having them make up only 19.6% of the House of Representatives and Senate combined. Females in politics have had to struggle to make their voice heard and taken seriously along with proving themselves to be capable of taking their respective office. The reason why there has been so much unrest about this topic is because of the blatant sexism; as women make up roughly half of American citizens, there should be proportional representation in government. In other words, women have to fight even harder to get where they are in politics because of their gender, and 19.6% is not enough.

To be feminine or to be a girl is seen as a derogatory thing and is seen as a synonym for weakness and for smothering below men and masculinity. Girl is used as an insult and teenagers continue to say sexist comments and support sexist things and get support and laughs instead of any education on the reality of what they are saying.

Women are seen as weak and not as capable and not as strong and not as intelligent and not as hardworking and not as worthy and not as equals to men- but women are as strong as men- they are as hardworking, they are as intelligent and capable and equal to men in every possible way. Women are strong and inspiring people who can do amazing things to help contribute to the world, but there are sexist people who don’t believe in them and repeatedly try to stop women from proving them wrong and that is a tragedy. It should not matter if you are non binary, female, male- people of all genders are equal to each other but there is still a faulted perspective that modern day society holds.

Third wave feminism- the common day phase in the feminism movement fighting against patriarchy, is about representation, tolerance, and equal treatment of women in society, abolishing gender roles, pay gaps, and the overall sexist treatment of women in modern day society. We want to be taken seriously; we want to be trusted and respected; and we want to be treated the same as any other person regardless of their gender. In short: we want equality in every sense of the word. To help be a feminist activist, the best thing one can do is educate and empower, challenging the sexist norms one encounters everyday and to continue voicing your beliefs of equality. We have come a long way, but we also have a ways to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citations:

“rosie_the_riveter_flexing_her_arm_muscles_we_can_do_it.Jpg.” Www.domainskate.com, 1ADAD, www.domainskate.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/2014_rosie_the_riveter_flexing_her_arm_muscles_we_can_do_it.jpg.

“Women in the U.S. Congress 2017.” Women in the U.S. Congress 2017 | CAWP, www.cawp.rutgers.edu/women-us-congress-2017.

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1 Comment

One Response to “The Reality of Sexism in America”

  1. Richard S on October 18th, 2017 7:54 pm

    This is an extremely well-written and supported editorial. Keep up your fight, stand your ground and know that you and any female are, at the very least, the equal to any male. Also, many males recognize the disgrace of sexism and join in your call for change and will not stand for sexism or misogyny in any form.

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The Reality of Sexism in America