We run into it everyday. The usual response to the upset is to continue piling on the jokes, or tell the women who are defending themselves (sometimes men step in to speak up and are shut down) that they’re too sensitive. Oh, patriarchy. Thy hubris has no bounds. When the comments range from get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich to she has sand in her vagina – the laughs aren’t coming. We hear these and their twins on a daily basis, several times a day and breaks down our resolve to speak up, and more importantly to respect the men saying it. I mean, is it really funny to break women down? To fan the flames of gender inequality which has lead to a society where rape culture is a thing?
Unfortunately, many don’t see this as sexism. Just about every man does it, and many women too. Are they not aware? This could be. It might also be that they feel it’s okay to do because the woman they’re speaking to hasn’t experienced the centuries of abuses in herself. (Yes, I have heard this excuse, in regards to both sexism and race.) From right wing to left wing, this is a real problem. How can we stop it? Be aware. Just because she says it doesn’t bother her–trust me, it really does, because every time you engage in one of the following, a little piece of respect for you goes with it. There is a reason why it’s not funny to say racist jokes anymore (except at your Klan meeting). Casual Sexism like Casual Racism is probably more damaging in the long run, because it exposes the systemic problem in the system.
And, before you go on about–I’ve been on the other end, please remember the lesson on privilege. Women cannot change jobs and expect a better outcome. A man (especially a white man) easily can. There is no harbor in which to rest from these, so be cognizent that SHE has heard it all before, probably every day, and you don’t need to add to the list…
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