Despite ongoing changes in society, sexism still remains a burning issue
“Discriminating in favour of members in one sex; assuming a person’s abilities and social function are predetermined by his or her sex.” – Definition of sexism taken from the Oxford English Dictionary.
Sexism today is everywhere. Our society is extremely sexist. “1, an organized community; a system of living in this. 2; people of the higher social classes. 3; company, companionship. 4; a group organized for a common purpose.”(also taken from the Oxford English Dictionary), the definition of society, meaning simply states the society as it would be as if it is ideal, but it is far from it if we looked at it from a gender researchers point of view.
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Times are changing; our society is not as stereotypical as it has been in the past. There have been many changes in society to reduce sexism. In 1918 women finally won the right to vote after fifty-two years of campaigning. In the end women had to resort to methods of violence just to fight for the same rights as men.
“In Victorian times writers (mostly men) were fascinated by the idea of an ideal woman. She was a very desirable creature innocent but sensual, passive but alert, and always obedient to men. Her aim in life was to be a patient and attentive wife, a loving and affectionate mother. Family was everything to her.” (taken from Hodder English 4, Victorian Women.)
This shows us just how narrow minded the society was back in Victorian times. Also women’s achievements in history are not publicised as much as men’s if atall; they are now, but not as much as they should do
In the English language there are lots of sexist words, for example the word ‘history’. This word ‘history’ implies that all of the past is to do with men and not women. ‘Human’ is also a sexist word and so is ‘woman’, both of those words contain ‘man’. Here is a list of some sexist words in the English language: ‘human’, ‘history’, ‘woman’, ‘mankind’, ‘Walkman’. As we can see the English language is very ‘man’ dominated. When people talk of God, ‘He’ is wrote about and not ‘She’ or ‘It’. ‘He’ is always referred to as a male. The Bible itself is sexist, “And God said, let us make MAN…”. With women appearing as “an helpmeet”.
All the sexism in language which is used to offend the same sex is of an opposing sex nature. For example men call other men ‘girls’ if they are not as capable as they are in something, for example sports. There is a video about sexism and at the beginning of it the words ‘girls don’t swear’ came up in big bold lettering, which is clearly not true, society thinks females cannot be as grotesque as men but obviously they can.
It seems to be acceptable for men to swear but if a women does it, she is sinned upon. On television programs which have swearing contained in them, mostly all of it is scripted to the males, and the women do not have hardly any swearing scripted to them. It also seems that women are not treated with as much respect as men are.
If a woman is blonde they are thought to be ‘dumb’, whereas a blonde man would not even be thought to be ‘dumb’.
In the past women were not even entitled to the right to a free education, this changed in the middle of the nineteenth century, but black women were not entitled to a free education until the middle of the twentieth century. This shows us that women did not have as much respect as men and that still carries on today, but not as severely.
Women are thought to stay at home and cook while the husband is at work. This is changing now partly because there is a considerable amount of male chefs on television.
Young girls are thought to be very delicate, and are described as food, whereas young boys are thought to be rough and dirty and are described as animals:
“Sugar and spice and all things nice, thats what little girls are made of!”
“Slugs and snails and puppy dog’s tails, that’s what little boys are made of!”
Clearly whoever wrote these little sayings had a very narrow mind, and the time in society in which these were wrote was very narrow-minded.
When women are described as food they are described as sweet foods such as; crumpets and honey.
When women are described as animals they are described as animals which are thought as to be ugly and medalling: cow, minx, dog. Men are never described as food, but they are described as animals which are thought to be dirty and slimy: slugs, snails.
Men are very rarely described as sexuality but women are quite commonly. Some of the words which describe women as sexuality are: ‘tramp’, ‘dyke’, ‘lesbian’,
‘slag’, ‘tit’, ‘slut’, ‘whore’, ‘hooker’.
There are no words that describe men as sexuality, but it offends men to be called a ‘woman’.
This implies that women are thought to be considerably weaker than men.
Even middle-aged men call each other ‘little girls’ if they are not as strong as another, for example.
You cannot call a man the same names as a woman can be called e.g. ‘slag’ which is very sexist.
Men brag, gender is about power.
Many people think when baby boys play with cars and when baby girls play with dolls it is nature.
It could be nature but most things which are input into babies are from their parents, so it is most likely to be nurture. Also with babies it is expected that boys where blue and girls wear pink, if a boy wears pink people automatically think it is a girl and visa versa, it just shows how predigest our society is.
The same applies for older males and females.
Girls can wear trousers but boys cannot wear skirts, that is extremely sexist.
Children’s books mainly aim themselves at the different genders simply by their titles. ‘Ms Muffet’ is “supposed” to be for girls, and ‘Fireman Sam’ is “supposed” to be for boys.
The media is extremely sexist, first of all starting with newspapers.
At the beginning of every issue of “The Sun”, there is a half naked woman. Never a man, always a woman. Also the whole newspaper is aimed at men, the newspaper concentrates on women, and male dominated sport. Women’s sport is never publicised on television, radio or in the newspaper. This could be because, it does not have an interest in people’s lives.
Newspaper articles are sexist in many ways, and in mostly all the newspapers which are sold.
An article in ‘The Daily Mail’ publicised on Thursday, February, 24th, 2000, was about women making men redundant i.e. women working instead of staying at home doing housework. The article also comments on how men are taking women’s roles’, “Everywhere we look these days, we see the complete feminisation of men.”
The ‘Daily Star’ newspaper is also aimed at men.
It has countless pictures of women (clothed and un-clothed), male dominated sports and adverts for men’s magazines. In one particular issue, (Saturday, September, 28, 2002), there was an article supposed to be about a golfer, but was mostly about his girlfriend, “Tiger Woods’ gorgeous girlfriend Ellin Nordegren.”
Another article in ‘The Evening Echo’ publicised Wednesday, February, 2nd, 2002, was about a woman who worked in a post office who had to battle just for the right to wear trousers, “they can wear trousers and will not now be facing a disciplinary hearing.” This quote shows just how sexist our society is, women having to battle just to wear trousers.
On television there are mostly male newsreaders though sometimes on the odd occasion there might be a man and a woman reading it together. The news on television, again only reports on male dominated sports with a female presenter, which shows who the sports are aimed at.
I think our society is extremely sexist, but it is getting better, we have moved on very far since the Victorian times. But some people live their lives in the past and are a lot more sexist than others.