The Problem With Fighting Sexism

I have a funny feeling that this post is going to attract more flame than a florescent light does bugs, but I’m posting it anyway cause I feel I need to speak about it. I’ve seen this topic come up at least once a day in my news feed on Facebook for the last two months. Reading each one probably took about 10 minutes of my time due to the comments and stuff. That’s 480 minutes all told. Almost 8 mayflies died while I was reading these posts. Why doesn’t anyone think of the mayflies!?!.

Now to set the record straight I don’t mind the posts themselves on a one-for-one basis and most of them raise fairly valid points. Oh, we are of course talking about sexism towards women for this part of the program, in case you hadn’t guess, don’t worry we’ll get to sexism about guys later (trust me, it exists). Now these posts do vary wildly as to how effective they are at raising their point. One was this video HERE. Now maybe I’m the only one, but I thought the concept was good, the execution was bad. It asks if you feel uncomfortable watching the edits and I can honestly say “Yes, no more than I would have otherwise”. If you haven’t watched the video and are lost: Shame on you, go watch the video… I can wait… I’ve got the time…

….

Ok basically it’s a role reversal thing. Now I haven’t seen any of those movies, oh wait I saw Titanic and Twilight, so I didn’t have all the context to go by. Honestly, I felt uncomfortable with both scenarios. So at the end when it asks me if I felt uncomfortable and why (having assumed everyone that watches it will) I honestly lost the respect I had gained for the video. In my mind it pointed out that it was the same no matter who played the role. That it still made the story as compelling or creepy or weird no matter who was doing what.

So here is where my problem begins. All of these posts, articles, videos and Lord Ogma (Celtic god of Knowledge… I’m fed up of using lord) knows what else are getting very repetitive. I stopped following one person because ever day had a feminism post from her. Don’t get me wrong, if you are a feminist more power to you (if that is what you want). I’m all for equality, I’ve said so before, but Facebook is not the place to be shouting for it. The only people who will really see it are your friends and they probably already feel a similar way. What you can do though is negatively impact your cause.

I came across a post a while back which started well and good, it was a news article about female engineers or something. I don’t really remember and it’s not important. I thought the article was pretty decent. But what came after was hurtful. Another friend of the poster starter to weigh in and very quickly the post devolved into comment of how all men are assholes and jerks. I quickly hide the post from my feed as I couldn’t deal with the obvious flaw… I hope you see it. Okay if you don’t here it is: They were being sexist.

This is the ultimate flaw when it comes to dealing with sexism. Yes, women have gotten the short end of the stick for a long time in “most” cultures around the world. I would be hard pressed to argue otherwise (Not that I can’t, it’s just a really hard debate…oh God Danu so much flame). But it tends to come out swinging way too strongly and flipping the table completely.

When I open a door I tend to hold it open for the people following me, whether I know them or not. The only reaction I ever get from guys is a brief “Thanks”. With women I never know what’s going to happen, but I know it’ll be one of two things: “Thank you” or “Do you think I can’t do it myself?”. It’s extremely rare that I get the second remark from my friends, but I have gotten it from strangers. Now I’m not big, strong or in anyway intimidating, yet still because I’m a guy they think I think they are weak. I can honestly say that most of my female friends probably have my number in a fight.

Now I’m drawing on most of this from personal experience, the next part in particular. But there are some things that women can do that men just can’t (aside from make babies). I find that as a man I can’t get away with complimenting women properly on their choice of clothing. All men are allowed to say is “You look very nice today”. Cause if I say “I love the ensemble you’ve constructed to wear to day. The choice really compliments your skin tone and I love how you matched your top with the colour of your eyes and your shoes are just so cute I could die” I get really weird looks and called gay.

Why can’t I go and get a manicure, watch chick flicks and cry when Bambi’s mother dies? I don’t do any of those things… okay the odd chick flick here and there. It’s the same reason a girl can’t show an intense interest in engineering without being called a lesbian. There is a preconception that we must stick to or we are weird and wrong. I hate this preconception, I hate almost every preconception. We are all people, we are all different, just let us all live and let live.

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About Snababo

What can I say? I'm 26, Irish, have Asperger's Syndrome and a lot on my mind.
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2 Responses to The Problem With Fighting Sexism

  1. molloybr says:

    Interesting topic(s) to deal with. Personally I think people tend to generalize to large groups of people specific attributes which may only be true of a minority within that group, as you pointed out with men being labelled jerks by women.

    The whole Social Justic Warrior movement does seem to be accelerating in growth, maybe simply by the fact that they have their own nominal now. An SJW is anyone (usually on tumblr) who tends to almost obnoxiously point out social justice issues such as race, gender, or sexuality inequality, without seeming to do anything about it other than highlight the problem. Repeatedly, And exhaustingly. Its not so much an organized group as a collective mindset that swoops on anyone that might ostracize a minority no matter how jokingly it may be.

    I had a similar experience to your own, when I had to defriend a vegan friend of mine who began flooding my facebook feed with offensive images of tortured animals and self-righteous rants. Perhaps that was ignorant of me, but I’m not going to allow that from someone I haven’t physically spoken to in over a year.

    From a constructivist point of view I think its interesting that you’ve pointed out that you can’t do this or that as a man, because well it goes against preconceptions or falls into others. The only way to change these preconceptions is to do what you want despite it, looking as fabulous or frumpy as you like. Essentially it falls upon each one of us to encat a change and gradually cause a shift in these conceptions. And now I’ve SJW’d a little too much.

    Apologies for the essay-long comment. But like you said, fluorescent lights and bugs and all

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