We hear countless sexist comments over our lifetimes, and most of the time we shrug them off. But what about the words that can’t or won’t be so easily dismissed? A lifetime of absorbing sexism (starting at birth, when studies show people assign gender traits) leads to frustration and kills our self-confidence. At a young age we learn to follow certain behaviors based on traditional gender roles. Too often those who do not align with acceptable gendered boundaries are treated as outcasts or outsiders.
Gender-based microaggressions are subtle phrases or acts directed at us by others that make us doubt ourselves. These seemingly small acts of sexism contribute to the gender leadership gap, which creates a cyclical problem: Women are underrepresented, so their work is devalued, and so they devalue themselves, and on and on.
Hearing these comments day in and day out affects our personal, intellectual, and professional choices.
Answer the 4 prompts below:
- What are some other examples of sexist comments you’ve heard throughout your life? Are there certain spaces where you’re more likely to hear them?
Here are some examples to start the conservation:
- “Won’t your kids distract you from work?”
- “What does your husband think about that?”
- “Girls just aren’t good at science.”
- “Honey; Sweetie; Sugar”
- “Your outfit is too distracting.”
- “You should smile more.”
- “Women are too emotional.” “You’re too pretty to be taken seriously.”
- “Women aren’t natural leaders.”
- “Boys don’t cry”
- “Man up”
- “Boys will be boys”
- “That’s just locker room talk”
2. Can you remember the first time you heard an “everyday” sexist comment? In what ways have these comments shaped your paths — for good and bad?
3. How do you think everyday sexism affects women’s college experiences? What about their career paths?
4. In what ways does sexism affect men? List 2
Expert Solution Preview
Sexism is a prevalent issue that affects individuals of all genders in various aspects of their lives. In this context, we will discuss some examples of sexist comments and explore the impact of everyday sexism on women’s college experiences, career paths, and also briefly touch upon how sexism affects men. It is important to note that these examples and discussions are presented in the context of raising awareness and promoting equality, and they do not reflect the views or opinions of any one individual.
Answer to Prompt 1:
Some other examples of sexist comments that individuals may hear throughout their lives include:
– “You belong in the kitchen.”
– “You’re too emotional to handle this.”
– “Why don’t you let the men handle it?”
– “You’re too pretty to be smart.”
– “You’re just being hormonal.”
– “Women should stick to traditional roles.”
– “You’re too bossy for a woman.”
– “You’re not like other girls.”
– “You’re just playing hard to get.”
– “You need a man to protect you.”
These comments can be heard in various spaces such as workplaces, educational institutions, social gatherings, and even within families and relationships.
Answer to Prompt 2:
The first time an individual hears an “everyday” sexist comment can vary greatly, depending on their background and experiences. For some, it may be during childhood, while for others, it may happen during adolescence or adulthood. These comments can have both positive and negative impacts on one’s path.
Negatively, sexist comments can undermine self-confidence and create doubts about one’s abilities and worth. They can also contribute to internalized stereotypes and limit individuals’ aspirations and pursuit of certain careers or goals. On the other hand, these comments can also act as a catalyst for self-reflection and resilience, motivating individuals to challenge gender stereotypes, fight for equal opportunities, and pursue their passions.
Answer to Prompt 3:
Everyday sexism affects women’s college experiences in multiple ways. It can create a hostile or unwelcoming environment, leading to feelings of exclusion and marginalization. This can result in decreased academic engagement, limited participation in class discussions, and reduced confidence in expressing opinions. It may also discourage women from pursuing certain fields of study or leadership positions.
In terms of career paths, everyday sexism can impede women’s advancement and opportunities for growth. It can lead to gender pay gaps, limited access to promotions, and biased evaluations. Women may face more obstacles in reaching leadership positions due to systemic biases and gender stereotypes. This can ultimately hinder their professional development and limit their overall satisfaction and success in their careers.
Answer to Prompt 4:
While sexism predominantly affects women, it is essential to acknowledge that it can also have an impact on men. Two ways in which sexism affects men include:
1. Limited expression of emotions: Society often enforces traditional gender roles that discourage men from openly expressing emotions or seeking support. This can lead to feelings of isolation, mental health issues, and difficulties in building meaningful relationships.
2. Pressure to conform to masculine stereotypes: Men may face expectations to be strong, dominant, and aggressive, which can create stress and restrict individual expression. It can also promote toxic masculinity, perpetuating harmful behaviors and attitudes.
In conclusion, everyday sexism perpetuates negative gender stereotypes, undermines individuals’ self-confidence, and limits opportunities for growth and success. It is crucial to challenge these biases and create inclusive environments that value and respect individuals regardless of their gender.