The extensive reach of sexism

The extensive reach of sexism

Image: Sebastian Lange

I know a lot of people who don’t care or are unsure about sexism. Others who have witnessed it normally have laughed it off because the remark made them feel uncomfortable.

It’s true, sexism is a very sensitive topic but we need to talk about it and educate people about the wrongs in society, for anything to change.

Many people would argue sexism no longer exists, and has disappeared from today’s society. However the horrible truth is that it is everywhere you turn. Prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of gender, all definitions of sexism, are alive and well in modern society.

As an example, stereotyping, the type that affects both males and females, is rampant. From birth, we have been conditioned to think a certain way; to accept that men are meant to be strong and do all the hard work, whereas women weak and helpless.

Everyone at some point in their lives has done something or pretended to be someone in a certain situation because they have felt the pressures of society. These pressures can have emotional impacts on people, resulting in depression and anxiety, from having to bottle feelings and from feeling like a disappointment.

This plays out everywhere, even in school. Last year, when we were packing up after sport, the teacher asked every single boy in the class to pack up the ping pong tables. When a couple of girls asked if they could help, the teacher told them, “You’re not as strong, I don’t want you getting hurt.” This was in spite of the fact that the girls asking were some of the fittest in the grade. When the boys heard this, they simply laughed it off.

The pay gap is also a massive problem, as an extension of such a problem playing out in the workplace. It’s problematic that some people are completely oblivious of this. Very often I am in conversation with people who have no idea the reach and impacts of sexism, not least of all into the very pay women receive for the same role men perform.

Oftentimes, these discrepancies are accepted as the norm. Hollywood star Jennifer Lawrence earned a lot less than her male co-stars in the 2013 film American Hustle, despite her major role, being a Hollywood A-lister and Oscar winner. There are clearly so many aspects of this issue that are wrong, but the one that annoys me most is that so many of her fans will accept this as the status quo. Everyone is more likely to go with the flow, than to stand against such wrongs.

Every decision we make has been influenced by our environment and people we grow up with. If we change the environment and knock down the walls completely between the two genders, we have a chance for equality. We have come so far on sexism but if we stop, our progress will deteriorate. To fix anything people need to talk, start a trickle in the stream. Every river on this planet didn’t just appear, it happened over time. That is the same with sexism. As Emma Watson once said, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

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