Sexism is a broad term that describes a number of occurrences, actions, attitudes and beliefs. The purist form of sexism is an attitude that women are inferior to men. The idea comes from a variety of sources such as skewed religious beliefs, parental conditioning, peer pressure, distorted workforce politics and more. The sexism definition describes discrimination, prejudice and stereotyping because of a person’s sex. The dictionary can define sexism as gender bias, chauvinism, gender prejudice and sexual discrimination, as well. However, sexism is not limited to male views about females. Sexist women exist, and sexism against men exists.
What Is Sexism? The True Definition of Sexism
One cannot define sexism by simply reading two sentences from the dictionary. Sexism occurs in so many sectors of the world that using one type to define it is unjust. Sexism is a deeply-seated belief that one gender of people is better than the other gender. Sexism can develop because of sexual orientation, as well. For example, homosexuals and transsexuals can be victims of sexism. The group of people who believe these false views often act out in ways that are preposterous, offensive, hurtful and sometimes illegal.
What Is a Sexist? Definition of Sexist
The sexist definition in the dictionary describes a sexist as a person who shares sexist beliefs and participates in sexist behaviors. Sexist beliefs are beliefs that revolve around sexism. The word sexist can describe the nature of a comment or gesture, as well. For example, a construction worker’s whistle could have a sexist meaning. A comment about the emotionality of women could have a sexist meaning, as well. A sexist is a person who frequently displays the characteristics of sexism.
Examples of Sexism
Since so many types of sexism exist, one can only gain an understanding by reading some examples of sexism. Sexism can occur at any place and any time. Any person or entity can be guilty of such without knowing it. The following are nine examples of sexism:
1. Job Denial Sexism
Some sexist people believe that women do not have the strength to perform certain jobs. For example, a power company may not believe that a woman can climb a pole and connect service. Some companies do not believe that women are strong enough lift heavy loads or drive vehicles with precision. A sexist corporation may deny a qualified female a job because of the aforementioned sexist views. Normally, corporations do not state that their reason for not hiring the person is sexist. However, some managers slip up sometimes and make comments such as, “You may be better suited for an office job,” which is an example of blatant sexism or sex discrimination.
2. Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a type of sexism that occurs mostly to women. However, some men do report that they are victimized in sexual harassment situations. Sexual harassment is a situation in which a co-worker or a person in an authoritative position pressures another person to date or perform sexual acts. The individual may promise the victim a promotion or an increase in pay. In the worst cases, the person may threaten to terminate the victim if he or she refuses. The EEOC receives more than 11,000 sexual harassment complaints per year. Approximately 84 percent of those complaints come from women.
Another example of sexual harassment is when a co-worker touches another worker’s body, comments on his or her body parts, or makes sexist jokes. Hanging up Playboy model pictures at a cubicle is an additional example of sexual harassment.
3. Lack of Faith
Lack of faith is another form of sexism that a sexist person may display. For example, some sexist people feel as though women cannot perform mechanical work on vehicles or electronics. A man might laugh at a woman who says that she can fix her own vehicle. A repair shop may try to scam a woman out of her money because the mechanics feel that she does not know anything about cars. A sexist man may come right out and say, “You’re a woman. You can’t do that.” Women can have a lack of faith in males because sexism, as well. Many sexist women believe that men cannot express true emotions. They may feel that an emotional man is spitting them or trying to trick them. Some sexist males and females may not believe that men should cry, and they may ridicule such men. Many people see emotionality as “a woman’s trait.”
4. Unfair Pay and Promotions
A multitude of present day corporations is guilty of gender discrimination by way of unequal pay and promotion opportunities. Some of the organizations are currently dealing with lawsuits because they pay their male workers more money than they pay their female workers for the same work. Additionally, these same corporations deny females job promotions even when they are more qualified than their male counterparts are for the positions.
The system of denying women the ability to climb the corporate ladder is called the “glass ceiling policy.” Many corporations have these policies in place, but they are, of course, not written in the employee handbooks. Such corporations often continue with their glass ceiling policies until a brave person steps forward and complains about the unfair company operations.
Sexism includes treating women and men as if they are sexual objects that do not have an ounce of intelligence. Such can occur in the workplace or one’s personal life. Sexist people may treat attractive women as if they are air-headed or uneducated. Such people believe that these women are easy sexual participants. Males have to suffer through objectivity at times. Sexist women may view strong and muscular men as jocks or laborers. They may not take them seriously in situations that require intelligence or emotions.
6. Victim Blaming
More than 200,000 instances of sexual assault occur every year. Many of those instances involve women. Sadly, society turns some of those female victims into culprits by using victim blaming. Victim blaming occurs when sexist views cloud other people’s perception of an incident. For example, society may accuse an attractive and provocatively clothed woman of inciting a rape or another type of sexual assault. Rape is an act of power and violence. No woman asks a man to rape her. Clothing and appearance rarely have anything to do with the male’s motives in a rape case. Still, sexist people will accuse an attractive woman of doing something to provoke the act of rape.
7. The Barefoot and Pregnant View
Ages ago, men used to believe that women should stay at home, have children and cook meals. They believed that a woman’s rightful place was in the kitchen. Today, millions of women participate in the corporate workforce. They have prestigious positions, and some of them have obtained political titles. Unfortunately, a large number of men still have the “barefoot and pregnant” view. These men will tell their spouses that they cannot have jobs. They may demand that their wives have a meal ready for them at the end of every work night. They may deny their wives the opportunity to further their educations, as well.
Women have sexist views against men, as well. The male used to be the only breadwinner in the home. Therefore, some sexist women feel as though they should stay home and let a man take care of them. The “barefoot and pregnant” view goes both ways, and both views are quite sexist.
8. Women Are Too Emotional
The United States has never had a female president. Part of the reason is that sexism exists in the world. Women are seen as the emotional gender. Therefore, some sexist people believe that a female president would be incompetent during certain times of the month because of uncontrollable hormones. They also feel as though a woman president may be too compassionate toward dangerous entities. In other words, they may not want to send troops to war. These sexists never seem to point out the faults of the previous male presidents. Instead, they harp on the humanity of the female gender.
9. Boys Will Be Boys, and Girls Will Be &*^&?
Society seems to give males the green light for conducting activities such as cheating and adultery. They chalk such actions up to “the male personality” or the “male nature.” However, the same sexist people will call a woman a derogatory name if she makes a human mistake and cheats on someone. Additionally, men who sleep with a multitude of women often receive praise for their expeditions. A woman who sleeps with more than one man will sit on the receiving end of degradation and disrespect. All aforementioned situations are examples of sexism.
What We Can Do About Sexism Against Women
People have to speak out if they expect other people to change their sexist views. Women who are objectified at work or school should report the discrimination to the proper authorities. Victims of sexual harassment can speak with a supervisor or a member of the Human Resources Department. If neither of those sources helps, the women can seek restitution by contacting the EEOC. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles sexual discrimination complaints. Alternatively, a victim can contact an employment attorney to handle a discrimination case. Employment attorneys can fight for sexism victims so that they can receive formal apologies, monetary compensation or job reinstatement for their troubles.
People who can write can create gender discrimination articles. Gender discrimination articles can be published in the local newspaper. They can go up on personal blogs and business blogs. Alternatively, a person can send a gender discrimination letter to the CEO of a corporation. Many times, company CEOs have no idea what is going on in the various sectors of their companies. Such persons may offer restitution to an employee who feels that she has been violated. If the CEO of the company does not take a corrective action, the victim should take further steps to expose the company.
Corporations That Have Been Sued for Gender Discrimination
Victims are starting to react when it comes to gender discrimination and sexism. Some recent lawsuits prove that these people are speaking out about their pain. Walmart has been involved in gender discrimination suits because of its common practice of paying men higher hourly wages than they pay women. The company escaped the class action lawsuit, but individuals are still filing their own lawsuits against the corporation.
Quest Diagnostics was under the gun recently for discriminating against women. Some other corporations that have been caught discriminating against women are CBS, Home Depot, Bank of America and the Eaton Company. Men are victimized in gender discrimination, as well. The Ventura Corporation was involved in a lawsuit from the EEOC because they refused to hire male sales reps. NBC received an invitation to a lawsuit for discriminating against men, as well.
Speaking Out on Sexism
The best thing that victims can do is speak out about their discriminations. Years will pass before people start to change, but each complaint opens a new set of eyes. Corporations will eventually cease their discriminatory practices if victims repeatedly sue them. Society will stop believing that women are the weaker sex if more women show that they will not accept sexist behaviors. Men will be able to cry in public and not have their peers ridicule them for being “like women.” Additionally, both genders will have equal opportunities and equal pay. Men and women must continue to push forward and enlighten the world when wrongdoing occurs.