Written by Elena
Sexism (sek‘siz’əm) n. Discrimination based on gender, especially discrimination against women. Attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on gender. This is something that every woman will experience at some point in her life. It can happen in the workplace, at school, at home, or even on television. It’s not fair, but it is a harsh reality.
As defined above, sexism is a pervasive form of discrimination. When faced with sexism, it’s natural for feelings of anger, distrust, and anxiety to surface, and justifiably so. No one wants to feel inferior or lesser-than, but countless women deal with this issue, sometimes on a daily basis.
Examples of Sexism
Think of the woman working diligently at her job, holding down the secretarial position she has had for the past few years. She watches as her boss takes the inexperienced “new guy” under his wing, providing him with opportunities she has never been offered. Or consider the girl at school who dreams of playing on her school’s football team but can’t due to the unwritten “no girls allowed” rule.
Reflect on the wife who finds herself cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, and balancing the checkbook – not because she and her husband mutually agreed on these responsibilities, but because he told her it was her duty as a woman, as that’s what women are supposed to do.
Have you ever watched a television show or movie in which a woman held a position of high power – smart, decisive, knows what she wants – yet her authority was constantly undermined, and her orders went unheeded? She wasn’t taken seriously despite her competence. While it’s just a show, it strikes a chord, highlighting the underlying issue. Consider a game show where models, typically women, not only showcase prizes but also themselves. They don’t say much, just smile brightly, wearing revealing outfits and laughing extra loudly at the host’s mediocre jokes. This portrayal suggests that women are meant to stand still, look pretty, and stay quiet unless they’re laughing, perpetuating gender stereotypes.
However, it’s essential to recognize that there’s much more to women than being relegated to the role of the “little helper.” Women can be leaders, executives, athletes, breadwinners, and so much more. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a secretary or a homemaker, but it must be your choice, not something decided for you based on your gender.
Empowerment and Solidarity
Ladies, it’s time to stand up for ourselves. If you feel you’re experiencing discrimination due to your gender, speak up. Show that you will not tolerate it. Even if it’s not happening to you personally, you can still speak up for someone else. While it’s true that some things are easier said than done, with encouragement from our fellow women, we can make a difference.
Remember that breaking free from gender stereotypes benefits not only you but the generations of women who will follow. We are powerful, capable, and determined, and together, we can overcome sexism and empower women to shatter these harmful stereotypes. Stand up, speak out, and let your voice be heard.
Empowering women to challenge and overcome sexism is a crucial step toward creating a more equitable society. Together, we can change the narrative and ensure that women’s roles and potential are not defined by their gender. It’s time for women to rise above stereotypes and continue to inspire and lead future generations.