Sexism Annoys Me – The New Way

They say people change and evolve, which is probably true. However, sometimes is difficult to understand the change. For example, look at me. I consider myself a feminist (honestly, I don’t understand people who are proud not to be one), but I never defined myself a a feminist in a political sense of the word.

In short, I agree with the battle and I fight for equality, but the whole feminist movement seems to be so fucked up in certain things, and I don’t want to associate myself with it.

But lately… I see that everything around me reeks of sexism, and I’m slowly becoming that one person I never wanted to be who finds everything offensive.

Now, don’t get me wrong: everything IS offensive, one way or the other. The way our world is set, almost everything IS sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc. It’s not an exaggeration; it’s a fact. The sooner people realize these things are not some rare abominations but the everyday stuff that make our world, the better.

However, I was able to control my disgust and not to take it emotionally. I laughed at stupidity. Women’s faces never shown in commercials, just their breasts and butts? Now how stupid is this shit? Media telling me I should be thin in order to deserve respect as a human being? Ask me if I give a fuck.

Part of this reaction, obviously, comes from the way I was raised. I’m the only child, and I never felt like my parents wanted to have a boy. (In fact, my mother was always clear on the fact she strongly preferred a girl). I was never told I can’t do something because I’m not a boy. It went without saying I’d graduate from an University and I was encouraged to have career ambitions.

It also has a lot to do with my country. Yugoslavia was a socialist country (though we had our own, non-Soviet dictated version of socialism), and socialism values a worker regardless of gender. It meant that there were many female workers in traditionally male occupations. Female doctors, engineers, scientists, professors – none of this was seen as strange. Hard science and medical science universities always had about the same male to female ratio (but not the “traditionally female” schools, such as nursing or kindergarten teachers – not many guys went to these schools).

In any case, the economic situation wasn’t bright enough so both parents had to work. Which resulted into working moms. All mothers worked, and the pay was equal to the one men received (the whole ex-Yugoslavia region still has a very little difference in salaries between men and women; it’s less than in Western countries, especially US).

None of this means feminist utopia or gender equality, though. Women with careers and working moms were a norm, but women were still expected to do all the household work all by themselves. So, her husband would come back from work and he’s watch TV or read the newspaper, and she’d have to cook the lunch and clean the house. But I digress.

The point is that I grew up without messages telling me I can’t do something because I’m a girl and not a boy. I suppose it made me a bit unprepared for the real world, because I might not be able to recognize sexism or inequality. But that’s the thing: I was usually able to laugh it off, unless it was something extreme, such as violence towards women.

But lately, I’ve been noticing all those things, everywhere, all the things.  The way women are portrayed in media, still treated as sexualized dolls. The fact there is still not easy to find a movie with two female characters talking to each other about something other than a man. That media still treats a man as a “default human being”.

And it just makes me sick. It makes me sick like it never made me sick before, save for that one time when I was 14. I guess what I find strange is that I don’t understand why. Why now? Why do I care, now? Why can’t I laugh at it and think they’re stupid and noooo way I’d buy their sexist product – and then just go on with my life? Why do I invest any energy into this?

8 thoughts on “Sexism Annoys Me – The New Way

  1. foosrock!

    Indeed, Mira, why invest so much energy into….defence?. I truly believe as one gets older, you WILL be able to laugh in the face of such blatant “ism” and dismiss it, BUT, for now, it’s your evolvement as a human to “fight”, “spit” and try to bring about openness/change to our socities. You won’t feel fulfilled if you’re just another sheeple.

    While reading this post, my immediate response was to giggle and write a dismissal as to: why bother, but then, I remembered how I was at your age. Don’t give up, but know when to give in.

    Gruss aus der Schweiz.

  2. Mira Post author

    Hey, welcome! Glad to see you here. :)

    I hear you, but that’s the thing: I never cared about this stuff. I mean, I cared on the intellectual level, but it never bothered me emotionally, and I never felt like I was the victim of it.

    I honestly thought it was all so stupid – in an obvious way – so I was able to laugh at it.

    So I have no idea why I’m suddenly bothered by it.

  3. Alee

    I think sexism is beginning to bother you because you’re now seeing that it’s a reality, a deeply entrenched one. You grew up apart from it so you were able to distance yourself from it emotionally, but now that it is front and center in your world, you’re beginning to be bothered by it.

    Sexism does bother me, so I do my part to combat it and try never to be a part of it.

  4. Mira Post author

    SW6,

    It’s not your fault. It seems that my “Contact Me” page is not intuitive. It’s under the “Domain” tab. Anyway, my email is mira AT jefflion DOT net.

    As for your question: DNA analysis is very good at determining a person’s background, and chances are that it will only get better. However, you can’t determine a person’s race with it because race is not a biological fact.

    That’s why trying to find a scientific formula to determine a social construct can never work. Even if we forget about the fact race as we know it today didn’t exist back then (I believe I talked about it in “How White was Ancient Greece” thread back at Abagond’s), race as a concept is subjective and depends a lot on the culture (for example, the same person can be seen as white in my country but a POC in the US).

    Also, the stuff that’s used to determine a person’s race is (literally) the surface one: colour of the skin, shape of the eyes, shape of the nostrils, hair texture. These things are not preserved with skeletons (except in special circumstances), so it’s very difficult to “determine a race”.

    That being said, we do know African civilizations and cultures were build by people who lived there (= Africans). There was always a certain degree of mixing with other cultures, but it was happening all over the world (including Europe), and it’s never an argument for considering ancient Europeans anything but white, so it shouldn’t be issue here. Obviously, arguing that black people were not capable of building a civilization or that they needed a help from the outside is a racist one and has nothing to do with DNA results.

    That being said, I do have to repeat that it’s impossible to tell someone’s race through DNA, because race is not a biological fact. So using skeletal remains to fight that these people were black (or that they were white) is a pseudo-science and abusing archaeology for political or ideological means.

  5. Mira Post author

    Alee,

    No, I’ve always knew what it was. But it seemed so stupid to me, all those commercials and movies and similar stuff, too insignificant to waste my time on it.

    It seemed stupid to focus on it, when there was real sexism going on: violence against women, denying women right for education, giving them lower salaries, denying them right on their sexuality, etc.

    But I guess the more I read and educate myself I begin to understand the power of media. It’s huge and important and it shapes peoples’ opinions. Not just on sex, on anything. Basically, people believe what they see on TV and they take it as universal truth. It’s so powerful and dangerous because it’s accessible to so many people and it gets to their mind pretty quickly, so even before you know it, you see the pictures and truths offered by media as universal, natural and the only way possible.

  6. Mira Post author

    It’s true. But I think it’s because of some academic books and things I read. Makes you think about the implications. Now I see it everywhere.

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