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to totally fail to understand why Sexism is never seen as bad as racism??

(306 Posts)
chemicalsister Sun 27-Oct-13 01:18:16

Following on from the Saudi Olympics thread, I keep getting upset about Sexism thriving in the modern world when racism is quite correctly - seen by the fast majority as clearly wrong and abhorent.
Even educated professionals have wound me up recently asserting we sholud adapt schools, especially first few years of infants , to better suit boys and their poorer attention span,
AND poor boys now do less well at exams at 16 so we must reduce course work etc..
I am old and remember when boys did better than girls at 16-- There was no outrage and plans to change exams then! It was just seen as inevitable ..... Fume!

BIWI Sun 27-Oct-13 08:24:49

They may be different arethereanyleftatall, but it doesn't mean that they shouldn't be treated equally

chibi Sun 27-Oct-13 08:25:38

i want to live in this world where racism is seriously addressed and is rare and most people would be horrified/would never dream of etc etc

someone pm me the location of this place I'm packing my bags now

hackmum Sun 27-Oct-13 08:26:16

Have been thinking this myself recently. Imagine if Saudi Arabia had a law that said black people weren't allowed to drive. Can you imagine the outrage?

The Observer ( today carried a story about a young woman in Kenya who was gang-raped and then thrown by the rapists into a deep latrine (she managed to escape). Her injuries were so bad that she was left doubly incontinent and in a wheelchair. Her attackers were reported to the local police who "punished" them by making them cut the grass for a morning. They haven't been prosecuted. Initially the doctors didn't notice how severely she was injured and suggested physiotherapy. She is only now beginning to get the treatment she needs because £4,000 has been raised to pay for it.

Why is it that all over the world women's lives are held in such little value that these things can still happen?

Thatballwasin Sun 27-Oct-13 08:28:48

I know what you mean OP. My company used to have a Saudi arm and yet we have to do regular training that includes equality in the work place etc. We turn a blind eye to some things which affect women when we want to do business. However, I do agree that that racism and sexism tend to go hand in hand and often the same places/people are not exclusive as to who they discriminate against!

I've had the same thoughts about education and the debate about boys' results which stands out as in the UK it isn't that long ago that education girls wasn't seen as a priority. However, I think now if girls' results were considerably poorer then it would be picked up on. Perhaps used as an argument to stay "why educate girls" in some circles but it would be picked up on!

DontPanicMrMannering Sun 27-Oct-13 08:30:51

Racism is possibly seen as more abhorrent as it is linked to hatred.

In the main racists hate

Sexists do not hate women.

Both should be unacceptable but that perhaps explains a little?

LessMissAbs Sun 27-Oct-13 08:31:04

There is still a massive pay gap between men and women which isn't explained by women having babies.

Its the jobs for the boys culture. Traditionally, a lot of men just haven't had to be that good to get paid what they do, and men have also been good at creating whole swathes of industry that is overpaid that are male dominated.

Look at the recent Ineous petrochemical plant dispute in Scotland. It came out that the average employee in the male dominated workforce is paid £55k per year.

I'm a lecturer at pg level mainly, and I find that a lot of male students can be very arrogant. Some will question their mark and actually cone out with the "dont you know who I am/what I do/ who my father is". Instead of realising their low mark is due to lack of knowledge,skill and hard work on their part.

Medical and dental degrees are now female dominated, and the UK Cat and practical admissions interviews should still favour men as in the past, when there was less competition from women for places.

I think its cultural. Its in lens interests to keep women in lower paid jobs so they can attract a mate, and they can get an unpaid housekeeper to run their lives.

ithaka Sun 27-Oct-13 08:34:14

Sexists do not hate women.

Oh yes they do (said pantomime stylee).

Sexist me may say they love women, but they really fear and loathe them. Otherwise, why would they be sexist, if they saw women as equal people?

Thatballwasin Sun 27-Oct-13 08:34:55

I've never seen a male personal assistant. They are all women where I work. I don't know whether this is because men don't apply or they don't get the job.

Thatballwasin Sun 27-Oct-13 08:36:19

The PA thing stands out because I work in a male dominated department yet every PA is a woman

DontPanicMrMannering Sun 27-Oct-13 08:39:20

ithaka I disagree I think a fuckload of men are sexist, they still see woman as the homemakers, they do the driving etc etc the small little gentle touches of everyday sexism and I'm sure they love their wives mothers and daughters.

creighton Sun 27-Oct-13 08:39:48

What's the betting that every pa is a white woman?

RabbitFuckerFromAHat Sun 27-Oct-13 08:39:59

I think I know what you mean, OP. And that's while acknowledging that I'm of the "my feminism will be intersectional or my feminism will be bullshit" school of thought. grin

I certainly don't deny that there is an absolute fuckton of (casual and deeply abhorrent) racism out there. But I think perhaps some people who abhor racism and think of themselves as good, decent people often find that they have internalised the structures of sexism in a way they haven't internalised the structures of racism, and it has become invisible to them, IYSWIM? Whereas racism can be to do with the 'visibly othered' (also problematic - if anyone has ever seen a white liberal middle-class person almost visibly 'prep' themselves when they realise they're going to talk to a PoC: "must make sure I behave appropriately") sexism is rendered invisible. It's not 'taboo' to white middle-class liberal behaviour.

This is why I have often used the "OK, replace 'women' with 'black people' in that sentence and see what you make of it" strategy with white middle-class liberals who make sexist statements. They have internalised sexism in a way they have not racism (because racism's structures tend to be less familiar to them). You'd be surprised how dramatic the results can be sometimes.

LessMissAbs Sun 27-Oct-13 08:40:18

I was watching a local tuning race yesterday. The leading women were coming in. The man next to me shouted to his friend 'dont let a woman beat you'. Imagine if he had shouted 'dont let (insert racist term) beat you'.

Ironically, its the same problem with men under achieving in sport now too. In that race yesterday, the top two women finished third and sixth overall in the mens field. This is the norm now, and it never used to be. The times the winning men do now would barely have got into the top ten twenty years ago. Championship medals, with a few exceptions, are now mainly won by women. Its the problem in British athletics everyone is too scared to address.

This is despite women being on the whole physically weaker than men and having faced stigma and discouragment to train and be good at sport.

LessMissAbs Sun 27-Oct-13 08:42:32

Local running race

RabbitFuckerFromAHat Sun 27-Oct-13 08:44:28

LessMissAbs - YY - funny, I was thinking about this recently myself, the arguments about women in sport. Often the argument for the invisibility of women's sport is that we are just 'not as good' or compete in events that are 'not spectacular' enough to draw attention. However, events where women outperform men are curiously invisibilised.

As a single example, in endurance racing (50 miles plus - often up to 100 miles) women routinely outperform men at the highest levels, and the routes run are often ridiculously impressive (deserts, mountains, etc.) and beautiful. If the Tour de France is basically just an endurance race + telly tourism + bikes, it seems interesting that endurance racing is not seen as 'tv fodder'.

LadyBigtoes Sun 27-Oct-13 08:45:33

I have thought about this a lot and I think it's partly that sexism is so ingrained and deeply reflected in society. Racism is too, but different "ethnicities" haven't always lived alongside each other to a great extent. Each ethnicity has its own history and pride that can be called on to fight inequality in any given historical context. All ethnicities can call on the fact that we basically, legally and morally accept that all "men" are created equal.

With women it's different because there are differences in ability that are biologically ingrained - and on the basis of those differences almost every society ever has developed an unfair set-up that actually props up society and the way it works. Challenging it is much harder because you have to upset the whole applecart.

Also I do think many men - and some women - do hate women. I think one reason (straight) men often do is sex. Because women hold something that they desperately want, and they don't like the power that gives women over them. This is just a theory and I'm not saying its a conscious thought on men's part, or that it's all men. But a lot of the hatred of women is focused around women's sexuality and appearance.

LadyBigtoes Sun 27-Oct-13 08:52:34

I also agree that loads of people, men and women, have no idea how sexist they are. The racism test (what if you replaced "woman" with "black person") is very revealing as is simply swapping the genders. If you think burqas are fine, then shouldn't men wear them? If you think changing your name on marriage is fine, why don't you expect your husband to do it? If you habitually say "policeman" or "spaceman", you need to say policewoman and spacewomen instead 50% of the time - if not, why not?

feelingvunerable Sun 27-Oct-13 08:52:46

I agree with you op.

Lots of hatred for women, sometimes cleverly disguised and sometimes blatent.

chibi Sun 27-Oct-13 08:54:05

i sure hope we end sexism just like we have ended racism

CecilyP Sun 27-Oct-13 08:58:30

^AND poor boys now do less well at exams at 16 so we must reduce course work etc..
I am old and remember when boys did better than girls at 16^

You must be pretty old then, because girls have outperformed boys at 16 since 1970! Before that boys outperformed girls slightly and between 1970 and 1988 girls outperformed boys, but again so slightly as not to be a problem. It was only after GCSE's were introduced, that a noticable and widening gap in attainment appeared. I can't really see it as sexism to regard this as a something to be addressed.

Maybe another school had a summer born boys reading catch-up group because that was the only group that needed to catch up at that particular school. Perhaps their summer born girls were doing just fine!

Thatballwasin Sun 27-Oct-13 09:09:37

PAs all white, yes though the receptionists who replaced the lovely older women who'd been in the job for donkeys when it was outsourced aren't. Now all the receptionists are young, female and glamorous. And one of the old receptionist does the photocopying.

My DH does at least as much of the childcare as I do (we both work full time). All the women I know has at some point either explicitly told me I'm "lucky" or suggested that men generally just won't help out as much and that's just the way men are. Apparently DH is some sort of aberration.

bigkidsdidit Sun 27-Oct-13 09:12:56

I know what you mean OP. this year the Open was played at a golf club which doesn't admit women. Can you IMAGINE the outrage if it didn't admit black people? The tournament would never have been played there.

GiveItYourBestFucker Sun 27-Oct-13 09:19:01

"the small little gentle touches of everyday sexism"
What on earth is gentle about discrimination?

FairPhyllis Sun 27-Oct-13 09:19:52

Tackling sexism is less of a priority for society than tackling racism, OP, because men can suffer racism. It is really that simple.

RabbitFuckerFromAHat Sun 27-Oct-13 09:25:59

chibi grin

It is vital to recognise though that WoC experience sexism in different ways to white women. I have no doubt that a lot of WoC are put off classical feminism by its domination by white concerns, in the same way that a lot of working class women are put off it by its apparent domination by middle class concerns. I cannot speak to or for the experience of WoC, and nor should I try. Intersectionality is the key, to me.

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