It is time to put an end to everyday sexism
People have become used to the term everyday sexism, but it is still prevalent. So what can we do to tackle these issues?
Everyday sexism is a term that we’ve come to hear quite frequently over the past few years. But few people make the connection that the rise of this phrase so clearly highlights how ingrained sexism is in our society. It conveys that these cases of sexism are mundane or tolerable. Everyday sexism is constant, repetitive acts which reinforce the idea that men deserve a better place in society than women reflecting gender bias.
It can seem daunting to stop everyday sexism. Often it is banter, a small joke, or comment. Perhaps it is a lack of an event invitation, or it is simply the way it has always been. However, it is important to stand up against this sexism. Not only should you not let yourself or others be put down in this way, but you should help prevent everyday sexism existing in the future.
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1. Halt sexist jokes
How often have you heard that ‘women belong in the kitchen’? Or that it was a ‘classic woman driver’? These might seem like harmless phrases but they are reasserting the idea that men and women have different spheres in which they should stay. Next time you hear one of these phrases, rather than letting it go or laughing along, try pointing out that it is sexist and inaccurate. Maybe suggest that the price of car insurance is higher for new drivers is higher for men than women, proving that they are the bigger threat on the road.
2. Include yourself
It can be difficult to assert yourself in a typically male sphere. At the end of the working day, there will often be a suggestion that the men go to grab a beer, watch the rugby or play five-a-side football. If you want to do any of these then make sure to ask if you can go too. There might be some grumblings by misogynistic colleagues to start with, and you might feel quite uncomfortable yourself. However, they will get used to you being there and you will become part of that group. By doing this you are showing the men that they can still have fun in the same way, even with a woman present. This is paving the way for other women to actually be invited in the future.
3. Treat children equally
Everyday sexism begins at birth. Don’t let colours be gender-specific. There is no reason why pink should be for girls and blue for boys. This is a modern idea and it makes no sense. Colours don’t mind if they are worn by girls or boys. Similarly, don’t separate toys and hobbies by gender. Girls can play with building blocks, boys can do ballet, girls can play in the mud and boys can play dress-up. There is no need to force children to give up half of the available activities simply because they don’t fit into the stereotypical gender norms.
4. Objectification is not OK
Women are not here simply for men to judge their looks and ignore their minds. It is this culture of objectifying women and treating them as if they are here only to please men which has led to the current climate of rampant sexual harassment. Women have goals, aspirations and feelings, just as men do. They have personalities and opinions.
If you hear someone objectify women, whether it’s commenting on her legs or giving her a mark out of ten, call them out on it. Tell them that you would rather they didn’t speak about women that way. The person who made the comment will probably start arguing that they didn’t mean it that way, or suggest that women do it too, or even try to declare it was a compliment. They will probably not have been called out on it before. It’s possible at they didn’t even realise it was wrong. But the more we can make the perpetrators see that we are unhappy with them talking that way, the less likely they will be to do it again in the future.
5. Challenge gender stereotypes
Men are allowed to cry. Women are allowed to not care about having children. Men can think that animals are cute and want to watch their weight. Women can want to drink beer and play video games. We do not have to fit into different boxes that don’t feel right, just because that is what is expected. If you want to do something, don’t ever let your gender get in the way. You can be a CEO or a scientist if you are a woman. You can be a secretary or a nurse if you are a man. If you ever hear anything to the contrary then make sure you set that person straight. Gender has no place in determining what we do or who we try to become. It is up to you to make sure that people realise this. People often put others down along gender lines because they feel uncomfortable in where they fit in. It is important to make everyone see that we can all follow our dreams, whatever they may be only by pushing through the doors the first few times can we ensure that they remain open for future generations.