General Question

burntbonez's avatar

Is sexism still a problem for you, these days?

Asked by burntbonez (5194 points ) December 9th, 2012

Is it a problem on fluther? Is it a problem in your community? In your country?

How so? What is it about sexism that you think people overlook?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I think it is overlooked in the workplace. Men regularly make more money for the same work as women, Women are overlooked for promotions.

Mariah's avatar

I apologize for the copy-paste. I am a busy lady. Here is what I had to say on the topic when it was asked awhile ago:

I’m happy to say that even though I go to a college with a 3:1 male:female ratio, I don’t experience sexism in my day-to-day life. I feel I am taken seriously in my chosen field. I guess when you go to a tech school it is kind of assumed you can do math, so the “girls can’t do math” stereotype fizzles and dies.

But there are some small things. In group work, which we do a lot of, it is often the case that a male team member will “take charge.” I see more confidence from men with hands-on work in the lab. The women are often more timid and more likely to defer to others on their ideas. I doubt this is by nature; I feel this happens more because we feel others might perceive us as being out of our element (which is either totally untrue, or true but only because we were raised doing more typically feminine hobbies) which hurts our confidence. I perceive that men get more ashamed when a robot built by ladies beats up their robot than if that robot had been built by guys.

The data regarding the different majors here is positively intriguing. There are actually more female biology majors than there are male bio majors, in a school with three times as many guys than ladies. Why is bio the one science that is female dominated? I can’t help but wonder if it’s because it’s so light on math. It makes me really sad, I think women may be getting intimidated by math solely because of that stupid stereotype that women can’t do math. I tutor differential equations and have about an equal number of ladies and guys coming to me for help, maybe slightly more women actually, again, at a school with three times as many guys as girls.

My major in particular is the second most skewed after robotics engineering. The RBE major is 11:1 M:F. Mine is 7:1. I had an interview recently with a software engineering company and got a tour of the building. I was disheartened to find that literally the only woman I saw the entire time was their receptionist.

I go to the campus gym and lift weights and every single other person lifting weights is a dude. The girls are all running on the treadmills. That’s not a big deal or anything, but it kind of shows how girls feel they need to lose weight while guys feel they need to bulk up. I find that a little sexist for both sexes, these expectations about our bodies.

It’s way better here than in high school though! In high school I was the only girl in the technology club, and when I had the gall to try and participate in activities where I was apparently unwelcome, like junkyard wars (an engineering competition) I got told by my teammate to go make him a sandwich. Ouch. Fuck that guy.

Aside from my personal experience, the political opinions regarding birth control, abortion, and rape coming from the far right these days scare the shit out of me.

bookish1's avatar

@Mariah: Did you build a robot to punch that stupid teenage boy in the face?

PeppermintBiscuit's avatar

When I did two years in university, I didn’t notice any sexism at all. There were a lot of girls in all the science and math courses I took. No problems there. High school, though, was a different story. I was the only girl who signed up for computer programming in a class of thirty or so. It’s not as though girls weren’t allowed in the class, so I was always confused as to why more girls didn’t want to take it.
@marinelife has hit the nail on the head, though. There are real problems in the workplace. My current job is a nightmare. Guys get paid more than I do for less work. Girls can’t be meat-cutters (I work in a meat shop). Girls get fired for very little, while slow and lazy guys get raises and promotions. It’s ridiculous.
I’m hoping to land a new job soon, though, so wish me luck!

livelaughlove21's avatar

For me personally? No, not really. I’ve had more female bosses than male, and I’ve never been treated badly because I’m a woman. I hear comedians do sexist jokes, sure, but they don’t bother me – I laugh along. I don’t take myself too seriously.

It’s funny, because at my husband’s work, which consists of mostly men (it’s power tool assembly), the women there are actually treated better than the men. The guys go out of their way to help them if they need it, much quicker than they’d help a fellow male, and are generally nicer to them (regardless of looks, age, etc).

Sexism still exists, but the type of sexism I find is overlooked is the kind against men. I think a lot of people hear “sexism” and they automatically think of misogyny. I’m constantly hearing that men are dogs, there are no good men out there, men are natural-born cheaters, men are shallow, men are assholes, and so on. Is that not sexism?

We women aren’t the only victims.

burntbonez's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Thank you for that interesting and not-often-heard perspective. How do you think these sayings hurt men? And do they hurt women, as well?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@burntbonez I think most men would say they don’t care, and many women would say that it’s true, or that they feel that way and say those things thanks to their own experience with discrimination – being objectified for so long can only lead to bad feelings toward men.

Some men care, or are at least frustrated because it seems like women think all men are the same and only expect bad things before even meeting a man. And this way of thinking certainly hurts women because, if you feel like all men are worthless, you close yourself off from the good ones by not giving them a chance. And that just fuels these feelings further because men aren’t given the shot to prove you wrong. It’s a vicious circle.

rooeytoo's avatar

The world is full of sexism and the way it trickles down through almost everything affects me. Just look at advertising, car ads are mostly directed at males, father and son in car. The exception to that is small, easy to park cars, the VW that parks itself always shows a woman behind the wheel. The toys for boys and girls, steer children in a certain direction. The colors for boys and girls. How about sports, women play football and volleyball in underwear. I get so tired of it. I am a wood carver and when my husband and I go to a hardware store or a wood show, they always try to sell him and ignore me because women are not wood carvers, especially power or chain saw carvers.

I for the most part ignore it but if I had a young daughter it would infuriate me that society thinks it has to push her in certain directions and at the same time steer her away from others.

Unbroken's avatar

Sexism affects and hurts everyone.

Males and females boys and girls. The over hyping and stereotyping and to a certain extent the jokes. I am not saying I don’t laugh at them or don’t get them. But generalizing, assigning gender roles and degrading one sex over the other isn’t an effective way to bring about change.
It’s funny about the job thing. I remember talking to male welders and they said they hated women working in their shop. They weren’t as strong were lazy and always getting help from the males.
I don’t know how true that is but I see that as bad management. Women are generally smaller and can get into tighter spaces are probably more oriented to detail work and should be assigned per strengths.
There are plenty of buff women out there though and to say one is weak they all are is ridiculous.
The pregnant woman who got a CEO job that made the paper. If it had been her husband we never would have heard about it. Oh and Sarah Palin crappy politician but when she was pregnant and a mother she was attacked on that more then she was her politics.

For me I get a lot of pressure for marriage and children. Your beautiful, you better get married before you lose your looks, the clock is ticking, you’d make a good wife. Don’t you want someone to care about you? It makes me feel like my supposed value can decrease because of age, and that I’m wasted if I don’t. Or that something is wrong with me if I don’t want to. I even hear it from men if I am single, well I would pick you up in an instant, or if I’m dating and going out, why isn’t your boyfriend here. If we were dating I wouldn’t let you go out alone.

But I wanted to bring up abuse real quick because that’s my shtick. Sexual physical and verbal abuse goes both ways. Men are often too ashamed to admit it. They often don’t fight back because they are often taught not to hit a woman. And usually it’s from women who have been abused but never got help. Women who were too ashamed because they were asking for it or whatever other trite pseudo reason that has been hammered into us.

wundayatta's avatar

There’s a certain kind of woman who really cares about being listened to and treated with the respect due her as a person, not as a woman, and she doesn’t want to be treated according to assumptions many men have about who a woman is. She wants to be free to be herself without social preconceptions.

I always got along well with women like that. It was almost embarrassing, after a while. I’d keep hearing how I wasn’t like most men. I wasn’t afraid or unable to talk about my feelings. I listened. I had compassion.

Part of me felt like it was a trick I was playing—the way women would respond. I didn’t do it just because it pleased them. I also did it because it pleased me. I didn’t want to have to fill these roles—success object; rodent killer; outdoorsman; lawn mower; and on and on. I didn’t want to have to fill them, although I didn’t mind doing them at all.

My wife made more… no, every single girlfriend I ever had made more than I did by a significant amount. But as long as they didn’t mind it, I didn’t mind it. Did it bother me? Well, in a way. It bothered me not because they made more, but because I didn’t make more. It seemed like my work was not as valuable to the world, but it was valuable to my partners.

I was very conscious of trying to raise my daughter and son with these same values. I think my son got it better than my daughter did. He is a very sweet boy, and very popular with girls and gets along fine with the boys. He is a leader, but he leads with quietness, not gung ho-ness.

My daughter, though, was a leader in a different way. As a caretaker, she would solve the problems of her classmates. She would take everything on herself. Her teacher once told us she wished my daughter would take more for herself. In fact, she said that if my daughter wanted to just play hooky or something, she had a free pass. The teacher was very concerned that my daughter was too giving.

Still, she seems like a traditional girl, with attitudes like boys should do the asking out and these sexist notions of what boys and girls do. She seems to want to teach her brother these same things. It’s just weird.

My children come first, as far as I’m concerned. I have a lot of my own problems, but I worked very hard not to take them out on my kids. And they give me motivation to remain healthy and to stay under control. This is something I learned from women.

Sexism, as far as I’m concerned, is still a problem. It’s just ongoing and it doesn’t get me all angry or anything. I figure it’s just something to deal with . We’re not going to change society about things that are so fundamental in any one generation or even multiple generations. It’s just something to work on and teach your kids, and if you can, take advantage of. I mean, it seems like a good way to get women to like you. Works for me anyway. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why other men don’t do it more.

rooeytoo's avatar

Maybe because they are too busy being “masculine.”

jonsblond's avatar

No. It’s not a problem for me because I don’t allow it to be a problem.

Unbroken's avatar

@rooeytooey haha
@wundayatta Very rational. You can change one person but you can’t change a nation or world’s perspective so quickly. We all have memories stories and ideas that are ingrained in us. This goes for any minority group. What I worry about is the jokes and blase attitude push these issues back under the rug. I may be wrong, but we all understand the jokes, but not where people are coming from. And beneath it repressed anger hurt and misunderstanding continues.

Maybe I am wrong. It is an uncomfortable topic to discuss. But I find I know very little about minority cultures and the effects of repression. I used to be the sort that said you have freedom and special programs we like and accept you why is this still an issue. That was before I began to understand the pervasive beliefs that follow us down generation lines. Before I pushed past the jokes and actually heard what people went through on a daily basis. So yes humor is great, and @livelaughlove21 is right there is a backlash of menhaters. And in a way that excerbates the problem. But ignoring it isn’t going to work either.

So imo humor only works if it opens up dialogue not shuts it down.

augustlan's avatar

Not too much in my own personal life today, though men do occasionally call me honey and talk down to me. Some years ago, it was a much bigger problem for me. Sexual harassment was a very real issue for me in my work-a-day world, but things have improved on that front in the last 20 years or so. If any boss of mine attempted to pressure me into posing nude or sleeping with him today, I’d kick his ass and sue the crap out of him. That wasn’t such a viable option way back when. Yes, I have actually experienced both of those situations at work.

In the wider world, though, yes, it’s still a problem. In America, the political right is a very real danger to women’s rights, as evidenced by the last election cycle. Women are still not paid as much as men for the same work, are far more likely to be physically or sexually abused, etc. Stereotypes still abound. In some other countries, things are much, much worse for women. So, it’s still a problem to me, even if not so much for me.

lillycoyote's avatar

Once again, I have not read all the responses, nor have I proofread my post, so I may be saying what has already been said, and saying it with a lot of typos and grammatical and usage errors, but @Mariah got to this one, touched on it: Is there a chance that I might be raped and that I could have to first fight and uphill battle simply to prove that that is what actually happened to me, before the battle to bring the perpatrator to justice? Whereas, were I simply a victim of a robbery, burglury, mugging, male or female, I would simply be taken at my word?Yes, I was robbed. Law enforcement, everyone stipulates to that, when you claim to have been robbed. You claim to have been raped? Not quite so straight forward.

I’m not saying that things aren’t better for women in the U.S. than they have ever been. The above is just one example. There are any number of battles still to be fought here… and in the rest of the world? So many, many more battles to be fought until women achieve full equality.

Why shouldn’t we? Really? Are woman less than human somehow?

Response moderated (Spam)
RockerChick14's avatar

Not for me but there is still sexism going on.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Absolutely. I’m in Missouri and am used to it, but it still chaps occasionally.

I think people overlook it because deep down a lot of people still feel like men are able to think more clearly and with less emotion than women. Sometimes I think it may be true with SOME women as I have had many experiences that prove to me that some women shouldn’t be in a business environment.

BUT for those of us that are equipped to deal in a man’s world of business, we should be given the same opportunities and wages imo.

Unbroken's avatar

@KNOWITALL agreed but there are also some men equally ill equiped.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. The difference is when a woman proves an unequal to a task its because she is a female. If a man is incapable or inept then its because he himself is the dud, or as other’s more tactfully put it, better suited for another environment.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Of course you’re correct, I’ve seen several of those as well in this same office.

syz's avatar

Even if it’s not directly addressed to you (as women), you see it every day

rooeytoo's avatar

@syz – sad commentary on this enlightened society we live in.

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