It is 2019. Equal pay is a distant dream. Victim blaming and slut shaming still persist. Rape culture is still on a high. Sexism and misogynistic views continue to be normalized. And yet there is something that has changed. More and more women as well as men are raising their voices against the age old patriarchal notions. In this age of internet, they are dismantling the system with one hashtag at a time.
Even though in an attempt to shake it off its roots, we are taking the fight directly to the doorstep of patriarchy, we still are guilty of doing or saying things which are downright sexist without even realizing the same. Degrading attitudes towards women have crept into our lives and have stayed there for so long that we have begun to consider them as normal. This is why it is important for us to learn to differentiate the true normal from the distorted one.
Here is a list of the 5 most common sexist phrases we all might be guilty of using in our daily lives:
1) For A Girl/Like A Girl
The former phrase is used as praise and the latter one is used as an insult. But here’s a news flash: both of them have negative connotations and are equally derogatory.
When you try to compliment your friend by telling her that she is smart for a girl, it is really not a compliment. In fact, by making such a statement you are telling her that all girls by virtue of being born as girls are stupid. You also give her a message that there are certain things which girls cannot do because, well, they are girls, like be smart, play sports, do math, or drive.
It has been established that there are a lot many things which girls can’t do and whatever little all they do, they do it badly. Because to do something like a girl is an insult thrown around casually. To run/hit/throw like a girl is a phrase which is synonymous with doing something weakly.
Women are considered weak and secondary to men in all aspects and it is phrases like these which keep on cementing this notion into our minds.
2) Is It That Time Of The Month?
It is no secret that women menstruate. In other words, they go through hell for about 5 days on an average every month. It is their that time of the month.And it does not make them irrational and definitely does not affect their intelligence. So whenever a woman puts forth her views and ideas passionately, it is not justified to ask her if it is her time of the month. But It is downright sexist.
Why? Because this paints an image that women ideally are always nice, polite and without any opinions of their own. It establishes that a woman’s primary role is to agree with whatever a man has to say as she cannot think. And it is only in those 5 days that she shows irrational behavior by spouting her own views which she is not capable of having for the rest of the month.
To counter a woman expressing her ideas and notions with a question asking if it was her time of the month, you are basically dismissing her, questioning her ability to assess a situation, and telling her that she doesn’t get to be taken seriously.
3) A Woman’s Job
Kind, compassionate, caring, nurturing—these are some of the many qualities that a woman possesses and based on these very qualities there are certain jobs which become labelled as woman only. So it becomes a woman’s job to cook and to take care of her children and husband. Outside this sphere, some other easy jobs like teaching are perfect for her.
If this is to be considered true, then why are kitchens in various hotels still male dominated? Why women still have to fight their way through in academia or any other field which is considered to be for a woman? Why is parenting only a woman’s job and not just a responsibility of both parents?
A job is a job. By labelling it as a woman’s will only make you a sexist.
4) She Is That Kind Of Girl
Being that kind of girl means you have been around. Basically, this phrase is used to slut shame women without directly calling them a slut. It is not only sexist but also showcases the double standards of our society which wishes to suppress a woman’s sexuality and at the same time praises a man’s.
5) I Am Not Like Other Girls
This is yet another phrase used in the guise of a compliment which it definitely is not. In fact, it is the exact opposite of a compliment. It is an insult to all women and belittles their existence. It suggests that being a girl and having girly qualities is bad. The different girls are romanticized and considered above the rest. It gives them a feeling of entitlement which enables them to judge and ridicule other girls. So this phrase apart from being sexist and demeaning, it also drives a wedge between girls by pitting them against each other.
These are only a few examples of sexist statements that are prevalent in our everyday communication. We should take it as our responsibility to stop their use and do our one bit in fighting sexism.