Monday, June 11, 2012
Everyday (Subtle) Sexism
This picture was put up as a "joke" by a guy that I know to be a smart, worldly man who has done a lot of thinking about (among other things) gender. It's part of a basic trope that I hear echoes of all the time: "Women are complex. Men are simple." I think it's pretty sexist--it's part of the whole "Mars vs. Venus" line of thinking which oversimplifies sex and gender is so many ways that it's difficult to know where to begin when criticizing it. (Ok, a beginning: There is more variation between individual men and between individual women as regards behavior than there is between women and men. )
I think it's often a good idea to point out this kind of everyday, subtle sexism, because it's exactly the kind of sexism that well-meaning people want pointed out to them--I try to appreciate it when folks point out that I'm using sexist (or racist, or homophobic, or whatever) ideas especially when I'm just not aware of them. Unfortunately, this sort of thing doesn't always play out so well for me; when I pointed out the sexism involved in the picture, it was not well-received, even by a guy who has a lot of experience with social justice issues and oppression.
So what do you folks do when you run into everyday, subtle sexism?