Sunday, December 23, 2012

Why call attention to sexism?

MobyT | 12:52 PM Feel free to comment!
A lot of people (though more men than women) think women should just 'suck it up' when it comes to sexism. Not so.

Now some people have it wrong, I'm told (generically speaking).  Disagreement on topical issues (like climate science) isn't sexist or based on sexism or misogyny - at least not in my experience.  If you want to know what sexism looks like, click here.

Janet Stemwedel on her Scientopia blog sums up nicely some excellent reasons for calling out sexist behaviour  Her main points are paraphrased here:

  1. To shine a spotlight on sexist behaviour so that more people will notice it and stop assuming people who point it out are making a mountain out of a molehill.
  2. To encourage others to take a stand.
  3. So when people behave in a sexist way they are made to feel deeply uncomfortable and maybe ashamed (along with those who sit by and encourage it, condone it or allow it to happen). 
  4. So that people who call out sexism, instead of being deprived of free speech have their free speech just as vigorously defended as people 'spouting sexist nonsense'.
  5. So people who happen to be women can concentrate on their interests rather than being distracted by ugly sexism.
And a couple more thoughts of my own:

I don't care if people are sexist at heart - just don't behave like a sexist dolt especially not to my face.

I love our pluralist society even though that means accepting the fact sexism still exists.  Doesn't mean I should stay silent and cop disgustingly sexist behaviour.

I hope my thoughts will go some way to encouraging colleagues when a man behaves in a sexist manner towards women, to quietly tell him to stop, not close ranks and call women who draw it to their attention "unacceptably outspoken".

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