Tag Archives: sexualharrassment

Sarah

I wrote in earlier today my experience of sexism but I have something I would like to add that is relevant and quite important. A lot of stories I’ve reading on here are not actually falling under the definition of sexism. I think as a result of firstly people not fully understanding what sexism is and secondly jumping on the bandwagon of victimization and blame shaming. Many of the stories here are actually fall under sexual harassment NOT sexism. Sexism is defined as the following: 1. prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially discrimination against women. 2. behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. To clarify, getting catcalled, hit on or any other inappropriate sexual behavior is sexual harassment NOT sexism. I’m not saying its not wrong, i’m just saying its not sexism. I’m clarifying this not because I dont support the cause of changing views on sexism, but because I DO. The only way we will achieve this is by being focused and logical. Pointing the finger at every wrong doing and shouting sexism will only make the problem worse. Most sexism is subtle and people may not even realize they are doing it because it is so ingrained. It is your dad jokingly saying you shouldn’t play football because your a girl, a job which pays slightly less because you are a woman or that bloke in the office who needs to show you how to do the most basic things because deep down inside, unconsciously, they think women are inferior. I dont think anger will deal with this kind of sexism. Showing people when it happens in a non-aggressive and confrontational way will. They dont even know they are doing it. An example on how to deal with this sort of sexism: I lived in India for a year where sexism is rife. An Indian man who worked FOR me as a translator whilst I conducted research there prized himself on being very progressive and respectful of women. He spoke of it often and spoke against sexism. Yet, on many occasion he would take something out of my hands that I was doing and tell me he would show me how to do it. Once it was in regards to folding a piece of paper. He did not realize what he was doing but he was treating me as Indian men treat women, as if they cannot do anything for themselves because they are weak or stupid. Once when alone, I started by saying that sexism was so ingrained in their culture many men did not even realize they were doing it. I gave him as an example and he was aghast at his own behavior. He had not even realized he was doing that. Safe to say he was extremely apologetic and spent a good deal of time after that thinking about what his actions meant. It was a friendly conversation, no voices were raised, it was a discussion we both learnt from. Sorry for the long post but I thought it was important to share.