It accomplishes nothing. It causes discord where there could be harmony. It puts people down instead of building them up.
Now, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that there are decided differences between the genders. Both have superpowers. Both have quirks. They tend to be different superpowers and different quirks, but we’ve both got them in equal measure.
Belittling people because of those differences is utterly unkind. Its extreme end is cruelty.
We tend to think of sexism as a thing some men use to belittle or objectify women. Which, well, it is, but I’ve come to realize that women are not the only victims. The primary victims, yes. But not the only ones.
I lived in an all-girl dorm to four years. I heard a lot of thoughtless phrases thrown around about men. I laughed at first, and at time contributed, but over time these phrases started to disturb me.
“Men are gross.”
“Boys are so dumb–aren’t there any real MEN left in the world?” (Implying a somewhat intangible standard.)
“I just wanna get married–I don’t care who, just the first guy who asks me.” (So…men are commodities?)
“Oh my goodness, he’s so SHORT! I could never date a guy shorter than me.” (As if he could change his height…and as if his height made him less of a man.)
“I mean, he’s sweet and all…but he’s just not very good looking. I wish he’d leave me alone.” (Implying the same attractiveness standard we tend to accuse men of applying to us.)
“Men–can’t live with them, can’t live without them.” (Always with a regretful sigh, as if our fellow humans are tiresome burdens we’ve been saddled with.)
“They’re so clueless.” (Because he didn’t prioritize the same information she prioritized.)
“He’s so HOT!!” (Typically applied to a Thor lookalike, though this is not necessarily the rule.)
“He just needs to man up” (In reference to a man who’s struggling with something emotionally.)
“I’ll take [Tom Hiddleston/Ryan Gosling/Channing Tatum/Josh Hutcherson] or NO ONE!”
“Oh, he’s different–not like all those other jerks.” (Again, a universal statement implying all men are jerks based off of a small sphere of experience with men.)
And my personal (least) favorite:
“All men are sexist pigs.” (And that makes you…?)
I’d hear these sentences in passing, waling down the hall, in the bathroom, in the laundry room, in lunch lines…everywhere. Not frequently. But always casually, thoughtlessly, as if by habit.
At some point in her life, every woman will get frustrated with a man. Usually just one man at a time, though clearly some have succeeded in getting frustrated with the whole gender at once.
Perhaps it’s reactionary. After all, women have put up with similar comments and assumptions for centuries. Perhaps we feel that this casual retaliation is permissable under the circumstances.
Apparently many of us think that dishing back what’s been given to us will somehow solve something.
All I know is this: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Yes, some men say and assume hateful things about women. Yes, there are still whole nations where women are considered property, not people.
But we are all responsible for our reactions to ill treatment.
In the interest of fairness, women of the world, and in the interest of demonstrating the kind of treatment we want–think before you speak.
Speak about others in the manner you wish to be spoken about.