One More Person Against Bigotry

Once you begin to see that sexism is not the boogeyman crazed feminists invented to give themselves a cause to shout about, suddenly sexism is everywhere. It’s on the most mundane commercials, your favorite t.v. show, the clothes you wear, the joking comments your friends and family make, it’s in the grocery store, the pharmacy, the classroom, the office. Sexism becomes omnipresent because you’ve chosen to see how the world truly operates.

When my best friend first started talking to me about feminism years ago, she was so scared and angry about the way she had lived blind for most of her life to the oppression that plagued her and everyone else in her life regardless of their sex and gender. And every so often, my own rage builds up and drowns out all hope that the world can become a world of equality. Because if I’ve learned one thing from being a feminist, it’s that no human rights issue is isolated. I cannot care about women’s issues without caring about queer issues and I cannot care about queer issues without caring about issues of people of color, and I cannot care about issues of people of color without caring about economic justice. And then all of a sudden you’re not just fighting one system of oppression: you’re fighting the entire system.

It feels so overwhelming sometimes.

But just yesterday, I was out shopping with a few other international students and one of them commented that I look young for my age. She said “But that’s good. It’s always good for women to look young. More so than men.” I told her that this says a great deal about the sexist way women are at the center of the cult of youth and beauty. And she said, “I hadn’t thought of that before.”

I didn’t say she was being sexist or that she was bigoted for her comment, I just explained what her comment meant. And because she was open to the idea that sexism exists, even in small offhand comments, it means there’s one more person thinking about sexism and ways to combat it. That means there’s one more person on our side to fight hatred and oppression in the world.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to bring issues to someone’s attention. And when you do, you don’t feel nearly as if you’re alone fighting against the world.

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6 thoughts on “One More Person Against Bigotry

  1. Love this post! You so clearly summarize the thoughts and feelings that I think many feminists and activists have. At some points I feel so overwhelmed by all the forms of oppression I see around me, all of the movies that only have one female in a speaking part, all of the small microagressions that happen on a daily basis. It becomes so frustrating and so overwhelming. But I am always brought out of my frustration by a feeling of hope when I see changes, big or small, happening. Like you said, we have to keep speaking out, because the more we do, the more people there will be to fight hatred and oppression with us.

  2. Sexism is not the boogeyman invented by crazed feminists to give themselves a cause to shout about. How we talk about sexism IS a boogeyman invented by crazed feminists to give themselves a cause to shout about.

    Gender roles are interconnected and inter dependent. There just simply can’t exist any part of female gender roles that are not connected to equally restrictive and harmful parts of male gender roles. There is no “Patriarchy” or “Male Privilege” These are the boogeymen feminists fabricated to justify anti-male bigotry.

    • So, I agree that gender roles for both women AND men are restrictive. I’m sorry if I did not make that point clear in my post. All the same, those restrictive gender roles are a result of sexism, the patriarchy, and male privilege. These are not just concepts feminists invented because, as you justly pointed out, these concepts infiltrate our worlds affecting people across genders. In fact, if I may simplify things for a moment, sexism, male privilege and the patriarchy are the reasons behind the gender binary.

      If you expect feminism to be “anti-male” then that is what you will see. But feminism is about equality, not putting men down. In order to reach this equality though, people must first see the structures of the patriarchy that line our lives and understand that male privilege is an equally cantankerous sore we must get rid of.

      • So if men are restricted to the same extent that women are, but in different ways, how is that “Privilege”. If men are bound to gender roles just like women are, how is that “Patriarchy”?

        How is being seen as incompetent or unable when it comes to child care a Privilege? How is being seen as lazy and worthless if you assume a supporting role as homemaker a Privilege?

        There is no Patriarchy or Male Privilege. There are outdated regressive dogmatic harmful hurtful and repressive stereotypes for both men and women. To say we should fix thing, but only for the people with the correct genitalia as feminism does, is sexist bigotry. It’s sexist bigotry that can’t possibly solve the actual problems.

  3. All the stereotypes you mentioned about men not being seen as capable homemakers, those rules are set up by the Patriarchy because who runs world governments and makes enough money to dictate social norms? Men. It is men who make these rules and decide what a woman can and cannot do as well as what a man can and cannot due. Feminists are not running the government and for the most part neither are women. There are male feminists who understand that they have privilege. Privilege does not mean everything is always simple for men, but rather that men are the valued sex on the gender binary. To be a man is to be equated with strength, bravery, charisma, heroism, etc and to be a woman therefore has to balance out the “gender equation” by being the opposite. Who else but men of the Patriarchy would want to continue to force men and women into this binary?

    Male privilege is when a man’s opinion is automatically more valued than a woman’s just because he’s a man. Male privilege is when the man is assumed more competent in any field and is paid more (even in traditionally female dominated lines of work). Look at the fact that all over the world women are paid less than men for the same work.

    You can argue that sexism negatively affects men, and I agree. But male privilege and the patriarchy exist and the patriarchy wants to protect male privilege

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