Monday, August 24, 2015

IT Is Blatantly Obvious That Sexism Definitely Still Exists

*Strong Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault (I'll put stars** around the worst parts so you can read the piece but avoid those parts)

I've been noticing a rather bizarre trend on teh interwebz in recent years; people, men and women ranging from teens to elderly men who should know better, who either pretend that sexism no longer exists, that it never existed, or that men are and have long been oppressed by women.  
I find this exceedingly baffling.  I mean, when I was 11 grown men used to hit on me in really disgusting ways - like masturbating at me, following me in a car. Does that happen to 11 year old boys?  Some people who I have mentioned this to either acted like they were shocked it happened or like it was no big deal ("you had tits, of course men harassed you." I was still only an eleven year old child with no sexual interests whatsoever). 1Those people were men. The women I mentioned it to had all had similar experiences.  Now, maybe not all women experience these sorts of things, but the YesAllWomen (experience harassment and sexism) hashtag was immensely popular precisely because MOST, and yea I'll go ahead and say probably all women do experience sexism, although a very small minority of women who tend to spend a lot of time hating on other women deny this.

*** & That's considered minor league stuff. I am considered lucky. I know several women who have been raped, some of them multiple times, and most of them were either blamed for their rape, told they were lying, in denial that it was rape (to any man daring to suggest that this doubt means it was not rape, ask yourself if someone holding an object over your face and penetrating you against your will in a manner that causes damage to your body sounds like fun; these are the types of situations women are not immediately recognizing as violence) or all of that; I also know a few men who have been raped and live with the added stigma of rape being a crime that is only suppose to be committed against women, which is still misogyny - the idea that women's bodies belong to men, that rape is inevitable, that men can't or shouldn't have to control themselves, that a man has to be magically stronger than everyone else or he is somehow a bad person rather than the person who hurt him, even if he was only a child and his abuser was an adult. ***

So I just really cannot understand how anyone can say that there isn't a problem here when the problem is so severe. I don't see anyone really saying that homophobia doesn't exist, and those who say racism is a thing of the past at least acknowledged it existed.  In the past, people justified sexism by saying it was best for women and men to have seperate roles and so on, but now people are simply saying sexism isn't happening.  

Part of the problem, of course, is our sub-par education system. When you hear someone saying something like "well men are the ones who have built everything", that is a direct product of an education system that has deliberately erased women from history.  In the same way, it is a symptom of ignorance that so many people think that something as institutionalized as sexism, wherein women did not receive the vote in the U.S. until the early 20s (for white women anyway), a fundamental human right which women world wide still lack based on gender alone, somehow will have dissapated within less than 100 years, as if all the people who were raised under the old regime immediately decided to treat everyone precisely equally the moment some women got the vote, at a time when women still could not safely wear pants in public, have a legal abortion even after rape or to save her life, hope to be taken seriously as a political candidate or CEO, and so on.

  I know a lot of these people are deliberately self-deluded, but I live in hope that people will consider the actual facts that exist in reality and turn away from ignorance. So I decided to compile some of the really blantantly obvious evidence that someone who has lived in a bubble may have missed. And really, it's not hard for men to live in a bubble. They are taught to stay away from girls from an early age; segregation is still one of the most powerful tools of oppression.

A lot of people don't know how to think critically. When something makes these people (we'll call them "Jack") uncomfortable -  such as the fact that other people might be suffering from a system that Jack benefits from, it make Jack feel bad. He has two options: he can do the hard work of trying to be part of the solution, or he can deny the problem exists.

I've actually seen people literally suggest, or rather insist, plead, and threaten that people stop talking about sexism because by talking about it they make it worse, or create the problem whole cloth. As if perfectly happy women with no problems are just sitting around, bored, and decided to invent something that isn't real. Nevermind all that historical evidence, nevermind all the data collected by such un-Feminist organizations as the FBI showing things like how many women are murdered by an intimate partner or all the scientific studies and collections of data showing that even male nurses get paid more than female nurses in a field dominated by women that is supposed to be woman's work (just as women in jobs dominated by men get paid less), hell even fields like cooking or poetry are dominated by sometimes super creepy, sexist men.

The U.S. has never had a serious front-runner female candidate for president, let along an actual female president, and the majority of congress is still male.  And to those who say women can't be leaders, that it isn't sexism because women just don't WANT to be leaders and aren't GOOD at it, please please please for the love of humanity study some damn history, because Cleopatra wasn't the only successful female ruler in history. 

I'm glad that things are getting so much better for women that women can actually attend colleges, apply to jobs, run for leadership positions, and so on. But it just hasn't been that long and it sure as hell isn't equal yet. And denying that fact is a huge part of the problem.  IF your feelings are hurt by the idea that you should maybe reconsider how you treat women, just think about how those women feel and maybe put basic decency first.

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