Dear Confused Men: Sexism is Ours and You Can’t Have It
Sexism is alive and well as the backlash of the #metoo movement continues, but some men seem to be confused about the specific target.
In case you live under a rock and haven’t seen or heard about the latest ad by Gillette, it’s pretty great. As an identified woman, I appreciated it because it affirms someone is listening. That said, I was not surprised by how many men are choosing not to listen. Instead they have decided to take personal offense to this clear attack on “toxic masculinity,” bad behavior, and the sick and tired mottos that excuse it.
Some are claiming the ad is “sexist towards men.” Others are asking what might happen if the word “men” was traded with “women,” and how many women would be screaming “sexism!!” And still some others are attempting to compare this with the pink “Venus” razor scandal of 2019; which oddly enough was only covered by Daily Mail.
I will now do my best to break it down for all the men who might be confused about what sexism is and who qualifies.
1. Since men have not experienced oppression the way women have, the term “sexist against men” will never apply to anything. Sorry Guys, you cannot also take the word “sexist” from us — it’s ours. Call me when you make between 57-77 cents on every dollar women make, when “run like a boy” is considered an insult or the phrase, “girls will be girls” excuses women from violent acts, sexual aggression and/or assault.
Before you get all hopped up about that last part, no one is suggesting women do not assault and/or harass men. We just don’t get a nifty motto, to scapegoat our biological makeup and neutralize responsibility.
“…Sexism in a society is most commonly applied against women and girls. It functions to maintain patriarchy, or male domination, through ideological and material practices of individuals, collectives, and institutions that oppress women and girls on the basis of sex or gender. Such oppression usually takes the forms of economic exploitation and social domination. Sexist [behaviors], conditions, and attitudes perpetuate stereotypes of social (gender) roles based on one’s biological sex…” ~ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA
2. Since women have been owned, controlled and oppressed by men and society for centuries, we have earned the right to call “sexism” when the playing field is unequal. We can use the word all day, because historically it’s our word. We’ve earned it, and you haven’t. Therefore, if you replaced the word “men” with “women” in this scenario, it would be considered sexism. Again, you can’t have the word.
It’s similar the reasoning behind why people of color and black/brown people cannot be “racist” toward white people. There is no such thing as “reversed racism.” No there isn’t. No seriously, it doesn’t exist any more than “reversed sexism.”
White people can experience bias by other races, but when it happens it’s called discrimination, prejudice, intolerance, injustice, favoritism, and many other synonyms for “that’s not fair.” Being treated poorly based solely on your whiteness, will never be considered “racism,” because Whites have never been oppressed or “owned” (as in the property of) by another race. That word does not belong to white people. We can’t have it.
I realize this might be a lot of information to take in. Let’s put this one aside for a later post.
3. While I do not personally feel offended by the pink Venus razors, I can totally see the argument, since it’s only kind of about some women pouncing on the pinkness and name of the product. What it’s mostly about the price differences between male and female razors.
And, since it’s aimed directly at women paying more than men, and women have historically experienced oppression and wage gaps and have been thought of as possessions by men, it qualifies as “sexism.”
I know, I know. If you’re a white man, you might be asking, “How is there something in this world I can’t have? They’re just words! The definition of these words in the dictionary – written by white men – doesn’t even specify race or gender! That should mean something.” It certainly does. Say it again.
You have my sympathies, really. It can be extremely frustrating when some people have privileges others don’t. I don’t blame you for being confused and even angry. Maybe you’re thinking it’s totally unfair that you don’t have the right to something just because of your skin color or gender. You are absolutely right.
Welcome to the club.
The good news is, even if you’ve had a really hard life and everyone hates you because you’re white, you never have to worry about being on the receiving end of racism or sexism.
If you have any other questions, please refer to any number of history books at your local library.