jump to navigation

(Trying) to blog against sexism March 8, 2006

Posted by Winter in sexism.

By yesterday morning we were emailing each other: “What the hell are we going to write about for Blog Against Sexism Day?” We were stuck. For some reason, the prospect of writing about sexism produced more than usually bank minds. Why? Because it’s just too BIG! Sexism, I mean SEXISM, is just such a vast topic. Sexist oppression and exploitation are everywhere, so where do we even begin?

After the “Ladies Night” at the Students’ Union, we sat in the pub and decided to write about what angers us most in our everyday lives. But first, it’s important to say that we’re very aware that our lives are white, western, and enormously privileged in comparison to most women in the world, so we would like to say that we don’t in any way feel that sexism effects us as hideously as it does most other women around the world. That said, here are some of the things that really get to us:

First, we hate that so many people in the rich west insist that sexism is no longer an issue or is, at most, a minimal issue. We’ve met supposedly, liberal, enlightened people, men and women, who claim that since we have all this legislation in place, there’s no longer a problem. As Siberian Falls observed, the situation has changed, but sexism has become more insidious rather than disappeared. Even more worryingly, the anti-political correctness backlash has managed to bestow certain “coolness” upon sexist attitudes. Siberian Falls told us the story of the consultant who refers to female colleagues as “chickie.” He knows he’s being offensive because he’s quick to say “It’s harmless,” “It’s just a bit of fun.” “Just a bit of fun.” Haven’t we all come to shudder at that phrase which has become the excuse for all manner of appalling behaviors. I’m sure it’s true that sexism is enormous fun for sexists, but not for the rest of us.

That’s something else that really gets to us – the way men use language to belittle women in a professional context. Calling a colleague “chickie,” “luv,” “sweetheart,” or “darlin” constantly reminds her that a power relationship exists (we tried to come up with male equivalents. We couldn’t come up with any, not a single one). These words remind her that, at the end of the day, she is a woman rather than a professional. Irrespective of how hard you’ve worked and what you’ve achieved, men are still ascribed the power to put you back in your female place, to reduce you to childlike status.

We hate that it doesn’t matter how much you legislate, women are still judged on their appearance wherever they work and if you don’t work to fit the norm, you are considered “different.”

We hate the constant media hysteria about barren wombs and birth shortages. We also hate the way this discourse masks an agenda which is as racist and classist as it is sexist. They do not mean women (in general) go forth and procreate. What they really mean is middle-class, university-educated white women please go forth and procreate. Otherwise, could you kindly keep your legs shut, we have teenage pregnancy targets to reach” and we’re worried that there won’t be enough “decent” people in the next generation.

We hate the fact that women’s sexual activity is still a cause for insult while for men it’s a cause of celebration and status.

We hate the fact that if something happens to us while we’re walking home at night, we will be blamed for it: “It’s terrible what happened, but what was she doing walking home on her own like that?” How can people say sexism doesn’t exist when women still don’t have the right to walk around at night on their own without being considered prey?

We hate the fact that we need consent awareness campaigns.

We hate “Extreme Makeover.” In the future will most women think they need radical cosmetic surgery just to achieve the norm?

We hate the fact that America seems to be backsliding in relation to women’s rights. If this can happen in the richest most powerful country in the world, what message does that send to the rest of the world where women are fighting to progress? We also hate that people seem to imagine that once something been achieved, it can never go back and you don’t have to guard your rights. Women, guard your rights with your life or you may well wake up one day to find you don’t have as many as you thought you did.

Of course that’s just for starters.

Naiades, Winter and Siberian Falls

*No men were hurt in the production of this post, but there was much raaaaaarrghing involved. Thanks to the cheap bottle of Jacob’s Creek wine for loosening the writer’s block.



1. deviousdiva - March 8, 2006

Happy Women’s Day to you all.

I had the same problem. Totalling overwhelming. And within an hour of posting I got the comment about feminism being “a regressive insult of the contemporary woman unless there is a need for some to fulfill there inferiority complex” I hate to delete comments that are not overtly racist or sexist or whatever but I do not know how to repond to these people. You are totally right. Now that the issues have gone underground, it’s hard to know how to fight it. And the backlash is hurting us even more. Sigh.

Thank you for your post. I love days like this. They prove that we are not alone.

2. TP - March 8, 2006

I fucking hate being called ‘chick’ by a specific male colleague from which I get the distinct impression he thinks he’s the bees knees. He aint.

3. The Huntress - March 8, 2006

I ended up writing about the same kind of thing. I’m happy to see that other people get angry about the same things, it makes me feel much less alone and “different”.

4. Kristin - March 8, 2006

Check out the interview with Vivian Gornick in the current issue of Bitch magazine if you haven’t already. She talks about how each time feminism has a strong period of progress there’s always been a backlash. We need to keep on fighting.

And I also blogged against sexism. That’s how I learned about your site!

5. witchy-woo - March 8, 2006

I agree. Just reading my usual round of blogs this evening has warmed my cockles. There are quite a few of us out there – and I think the numbers are swelling. If that doesn’t justify a few bottles of Jacobs Creek, well, I don’t know what does. Cheers! (hic)

Happy Women’s Day to you all!

6. cristy - March 8, 2006

Thank you.

I was feeling completely uninspired yesterday and had to resort to sending people elsewhere for their inspiration. I linked to your site in anticipation of a post (Australia being hours ahead of Cardiff), glad to see that you delivered something so spot on, yet again.

Happy International Women’s Day for yesterday.

7. existsnomore - March 9, 2006

The postman calls me ‘luv’. I hate him.

8. Andygrrl - March 10, 2006

Hm. I wonder if calling him “dickie” would be effective?

9. Ally - March 10, 2006

I’ve just had a conversation with someone who owes our company money and called me ‘darlin’ all through our discussion. And then he said ‘well, I’ve explained it all to your husband, he’ll fill you in when he gets home’.

I am the FINANCIAL DIRECTOR for Pete’s sake!


10. Winter - March 16, 2006

It’s interesting that the use of diminishing names gets to us all so much. It’s probably the thing men regard as most harmless! I guess it just constantly reminds us of a power relationship.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: