It’s 2012- let’s shake this stuff up- let’s make it pop! I want to re-define sexism.
First, let’s make a couple of things clear:
1. Sexism is a symptom. When you have a sick system, there are symptoms of the sickness. Patriarchy is a sick system. Sexism comes out of the sickness.
2. We all live in a patriarchal system. The patriarchy hurts us all: women and men.
There are quite a few definitions for sexism out there, but I’m just going to look at two to give us a base. One I found on You Tube. Sexism: prejudice actions or discrimination based on gender.
Okay true, but basic. It’s not that simple.
Sexism is also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination.
It is a form of discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, with such attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes of gender roles. The term sexism is most often used in relation with discrimination against women in the context of patriarchy.
Sexism involves hatred of, or prejudice towards a gender as a whole or the blind application of gender stereotypes. Sexism is often associated with gender-supremacy arguments.
Thank you wikipedia! The most important sentence in this short definition is: The term sexism is most often used in relation with discrimination against women in the context of patriarchy.
Sexism happens because of the patriarchal system. The traditional gender roles happen because of the patriarchal system as well. In patriarchy, women are under men. That’s how it’s set up. So, patriarchy in itself is sexist. In order for the system to survive, it has to make us all believe that men must be on top no matter what. From there, we are taught that boys are smarter than girls and that girls are dumb. We are taught that women need to be kept beneath men on all levels of society and if women complain, they are to be put in their place by whatever means necessary, even if that means using violence. It also means men must duel amongst themselves to prove who is the toughest, who is the best.
Patriarchy as a system gives men power over women. This means that everything in the system overall is geared toward men being on top. If women say something against men, like ‘men are stupid,’ that is a biased remark against men, but it is not sexist. For it to be sexist, the whole system would have to back it up. There has to be power behind it. If a man says something against women, like ‘women are stupid,’ it is sexist because the entire system of patriarchy backs it up and says things like that need to be believed for women to be kept under men. In other words, the system of patriarchy says “You’re ridiculous, men are smart, they are not stupid. And yes, you are right to say women are stupid, they are.”
If you’re saying, “that’s not fair” or “WTF”- then you are seeing why the system of patriarchy needs to go.
It’s not cool for anyone to say anyone else is stupid, but the system promotes those huge gender based generalizations. We all do stupid things sometimes and generally speaking, some men and some women are stupid, but that’s not the point. When a woman is called stupid, or women are said to be stupid, everything within patriarchy says that’s true, women aren’t as smart. When men or one man is called stupid, the entire system says “boys will be boys” but really guys are smart, men are smart, not stupid.
If it seems like I’m blaming the system of patriarchy a lot, I am. To change this crazy world we live in, we need a different approach. Men and women get upset that making change may be man-hating. First of all, there’s so much women-hating going on that women are regularly being hurt and/or murdered because of it, but even that’s out of context. The system of patriarchy encourages this.
When people talk about man-hating, they are not looking at the entire system. The system promotes men being sexist. It tells them to be. When women say something against it, the system says that’s man-hating because either way, men must be kept on top.
Men being sexist is within a patriarchal system that encourages it. The system isn’t good for women, certainly, but it is also not good for men. It’s patriarchy that needs to change, so I’ll blame it all I want as we re-invision a new system.
Fight the system! Everybody!