Sexism is prevalent throughout our society, and it is difficult to argue against this fact when you consider that many people still claim that women who dress a certain way are “asking for it.” This type of overt sexism is very obvious, but there are numerous other commonly stated phrases that are often said by people who truly believe that their stereotypical view of women is not problematic. Each of the following remarks help highlight the many forms of sexism that women face on a daily basis, and they also help explain why we definitely still need feminism.
1. Women Are Bad Drivers
It is almost as easy to find a joke about women being bad drivers as it is to locate a McDonald’s. The problem with these jokes is that they are not only insensitive but are also extremely inaccurate. According to Insurance Panda, female drivers are actually much more responsible and have a lower risk of getting into an accident. Women are also 10 percent less likely to get a moving violation, and their DUI rate is a whopping 50 percent less than men.
The next time someone starts spouting off with the sexist nonsense that women are bad drivers make sure that you are armed with these statistics. You may or may not change their mind, but at least you will have proof that being a woman does not mean that you are an inherently bad driver.
2. The Wage Gap Doesn’t Exist
No matter how much evidence is published that proves there is a wage gap in the U.S., there are still naysayers who insist that the entire thing is a myth. One of the most disheartening things about this particular common phrase is that there are actually some women who have bought into it. Yes, there are some companies that pay all of their employees fairly. Additionally, some fields do tend to pay women higher wages than their male colleagues. Overall, though, women are paid an average of .78 for every dollar that their comparable male co-workers make.
Being armed with this knowledge will make it easier to fight against ignorant comments regarding the wage gap. But beware; most people who argue against this point online do not appear to have any interest in learning the truth. Apparently, admitting that there is a wage gap would also force them to acknowledge that there is a need for feminism, and this is just too real for some people.
3. Women Who Have One-Night Stands Are Immoral
Men are given a free pass when it comes to sex, but women who have one-night stands or sleep with several people are branded as immoral or, even worse, slutty. The reality is that all humans are sexual beings, and there should not be any type of line drawn in the sand regarding who can enjoy sex. Sadly, shaming women about their sex lives can lead to unhappiness. In fact, statistics indicate that women average 50 percent fewer sexual partners than men. Instead of giving into this form of societal pressure, women can and should hold their heads up high and have just as much, or as little, sex as they choose.
4. Women Are Happiest When They Have Children
Many women choose to have children, but let’s face it: being a mother can be a thankless job, and it is not right for everyone. The U.S. birth rate is also falling, and 47.6 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have a child in 2014. The erroneous idea that women need a child to be happy is untrue and very sexist. After all, people do not equate a man’s happiness with whether or not he has children. Whether you choose to become a parent or to remain childless, your happiness is not defined by your ability to give birth.
5. Housework is a Woman’s Job
More than 80 percent of married women have a job, and many of them are balancing full-time work with their family obligations. Although the dynamic of the American family has drastically changed during the past few decades, many people still believe that housework is only a woman’s job. Everyone who uses dishes or wears clothes has the ability to wash them, and households with two working partners need to share the workload more evenly.
6. Women Who Don’t Respond Positively to Catcalling Are Stuck Up
Women are faced with a dilemma on a regular basis: pretend they are okay with being catcalled or potentially become the target of a stream of obscenities. For whatever reason, many men believe that women enjoy being catcalled. Some of them even believe that a woman who does not respond in a positive way must be stuck up or rude. It is reality check time, guys: women are simply walking to their destination, and they do not want to be whistled at.
7. Women Are “Too Pretty to Be Smart”
Attractive women are often told that they are “too pretty to be smart.” On the flip side, women who are not viewed as conventionally attractive due to society’s flawed beauty standards are often told horrible things such as “at least you are smarter than pretty girls.” Any person who repeats these stereotypes is obviously unaware that it is ridiculous to equate intelligence with a person’s physical appearance. The next time this happens, be prepared to prove just how wrong the negative assertion is by displaying your high IQ through a witty comeback.
8. Women Who Get Promoted Are Sleeping Their Way to the Top
Whether it is jealousy or the false belief that women are not as smart as their male coworkers, it is all too prevalent for people to claim that successful businesswomen are sleeping their way to the top. Meanwhile, the same type of comments are almost never made about men. Women are actually 2.9 percent less likely to get promoted than men, and this clearly would not be the case if sexual favors were being exchanged.
If you are accused of sleeping your way to the top, you can silence your detractors by showcasing your strong business skills. Alternatively, let the HR department know about the comments, and they can show people how harmful it is to their career to make sexist remarks in the workplace.
9. Women Are Overly Emotional and Irrational
Anytime a woman displays her emotions, she is at risk of being labeled as irrational, overly emotional or PMSing. In reality, there is less than a 3 percent gap between the genders and their probability of suffering from depression. Men are also four times more likely to commit suicide, which makes it clear that both genders are susceptible to emotions and mental illness. Keep in mind that men usually label someone as irrational when they do not like the woman’s words or actions. By refusing to retort to these comments in a negative way, you can defuse their perceived ammunition against you.
10. Women Aren’t As Strong as Men
There are physical differences between the genders, but it is preposterous to base the definition of strength merely around a person’s physicality. When a man claims he is stronger than a woman, he is basically attempting to assert a dominant position. Meanwhile, the woman may be stronger emotionally, more able to tolerate physical pain or simply more skilled at completing important tasks. Regularly showcasing your strengths can help prove that muscles are not the only way to be strong, nor are they the only thing that should matter.
11. Women Are Bad at Sports
There always seems to be at least one guy in every crowd who stubbornly holds on to the belief that women are bad at sports. The next time someone says that you throw or kick like a girl, tell them that it is a compliment to be compared to women such as Mo’ne Davis and the U.S. Women’s Soccer team. After all, Davis dominated the 2014 Little League World Series, and the Women’s Soccer Team won the World Cup. Women have also been clocked throwing a softball or baseball above 80 MPH, and some experts believe it is only a matter of time until a Major League Baseball team signs a female pitcher.
12. Women Belong in the Kitchen
Phrases such as “get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich” can be said in jest, but there are also many people who believe that it is perfectly acceptable to say this to a woman. This particular common but problematic remark goes beyond the housework category and falls into a strange area where some men seem to honestly believe they should not have to cook in the kitchen. Oddly, many men also claim the grill as their territory and believe that guys are the best chefs. One way to break this sexism down in your relationship is by showing your grill prowess and making it clear that you will not cook every meal.
13. It is Obvious Who Wears the Pants in That Relationship
This phrase is sexist on two levels because it seeks to demean both women and men. Not only are people who make comments such as “who wears the pants in your relationship” implying that men should be in charge but they are also completely ignoring the fact that women actually wear real pants on a regular basis. It is no longer 1952, and women are free to wear whatever they would like. Additionally, there is no shame in sharing relationship roles, nor should anyone be content to let another person make all of their decisions for them.
14. “Let the Men Do the Work”
Also known as “men are working here,” this dismissive phrase is often aimed at women by men who have a superiority complex. Phrases of this nature are very demeaning because they strongly imply that only men are capable of actually getting the job done. Any man who dismisses a woman in this manner is clearly being sexist, and it is not a bad idea to call them out on this type of behavior. If you are in a situation where you cannot safely correct the men in question, you can make a point by completing your portion of the project in an accurate and efficient manner. Bonus points if you turn it into the perpetrator while saying, “Oh, are the men still working? The woman is already done.”
15. Inappropriate Terms of Endearment
Does a guy at your office insist on calling women sweetheart while referring to his male coworkers by their first name? This creates a work space where men are taken more seriously and receive more respect. To help curb this problem, you can first try saying “thank you, [insert coworker’s name]. My name is…” If this does not work, you could always flip the script by addressing every man at work with a common term that is not their name. This can help call attention to how inappropriate it is to use terms of endearment at work, whether they are used condescendingly or genuinely.
The world needs feminism for many reasons, including all of the previously mentioned sexist remarks. Although some people insist on twisting the message of feminism and acting like it is a four-letter word, feminists throughout history have done very important work such as helping women earn the right to vote. Women and men can help change the world for the better by embracing feminist ideas and treating each other with more respect.
Featured photo credit: Image by Bailey Weaver, via Flickr via flic.kr