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The definition of sexism adapts through the ages.

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The definition of sexism adapts through the ages.

Sophomore Allison Crist wears a shirt about the dress code.

Sophomore Allison Crist wears a shirt about the dress code.

Sophomore Allison Crist wears a shirt about the dress code.

Sophomore Allison Crist wears a shirt about the dress code.

Sara Siebenhaar, Journalist

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The topic of sexism has been controversial for what seems forever, but modern sexism is different from the traditional ideology of what feminism really is. According to Sage Knowledge,the website, modern sexism includes both older, overt forms of sexism and more subtle and less often recognized expressions. Traditional sexism isn’t as subtle, thus not as ignored. However, sexism is still predominantly a problem in modern society. According to the National Education Union, over half of female students and a third of male students have witnessed someone using sexist language at school. In addition, 64% of teachers in secondary schools hear sexist language on at least a weekly basis.

 

Sexism in schools is undoubtedly apparent. Keratha Mills, senior, has concerns with how sexism plays a part in the school dress code. “The dress code is an issue. Women get addressed more than men because their education matters more. Or, they hypersexualize the female students here. The students here are usually minors, so that is pretty gross.” She then carried on, “The sexualization is an issue as well. Sexual harassment is so common that almost every girl I know has experienced it. Most girls (when talking about their experience with sexual harassment) are neutral, as if it weren’t a big issue.”

 

The National Education Union shows that over a quarter of female students have been subjected to unwanted physical touch while at school. Although males experience these things as well, the numbers are drastically lower. Only 4% of males have experienced the same nature of events. Yet, over 58% of females have witnessed sexual harassment, so why do these numbers continue?

 

The subtlety of sexism is shown in different forms. For instance, benevolent sexism is a form of sexism. Benevolent sexism is in basic form someone thinking they’re gentlemanly but actually viewing the women as a weaker sex. This is exhibited when others say, “You shouldn’t do that, you’re a woman.” These acts of chivalry are not motivated by helping the female or respecting her, but that they genuinely believe she cannot commit these acts because of her gender. This is also shown with the saying, “Women naturally have nurturing instincts.” This means that women cannot be dominant or take control, that they’re meant to be soft.

 

Another type is hostile sexism. This form of sexism is the belief that feminism threatens manhood. This is usually shown in phrases like, “Women belong in the kitchen.” Phrases as such hide toxic masculinity and their fragile self esteem. Toxic masculinity not only degrades women, but can put men in bad situations as well. The inherent belief system behind this is that men are strong, women aren’t, which only limits both to subjective roles that can be achieved despite gender.

 

In combination of both, ambivalent sexism is the combination of both. Usually the belief system that strong women try to control men and that women should be soft and cherished by men is what is exhibited. Both of these philosophies can be dangerous for the empowerment of women and men both. The information on these types of sexism was provided by the website Ram Pages.  

 

Student Sydney Pennington, a junior, gave a rallying call to put an end to these events. “The main way to end it is to voice it. You’ll be mocked, but you have to say something to put an end to it.” English teacher Debra Brewster agreed, “The only way to end it is to say something, but with it being said that it wouldn’t completely end all of it. Calling people out will make them retreat.”

 

In order to prevent the continuation of these forms of sexism and more, educate others on what they’re doing and how it affects others. By educating others on why these things are sexist can push them to advocate for the change and to make changes within themselves.

Statistics showing sexual harassment in schools.

Statistics provided by the National Education Union.

1 Comment

One Response to “The definition of sexism adapts through the ages.”

  1. Elizabeth McAvoy on April 17th, 2019 2:11 PM

    This article touched on so many facets of this issue, and it was well-constructed, fair, and balanced. Thank you for your insightful examination of this issue. Women of my generation dealt with these things as a matter of course, and we had no real outlet or process for addressing it. Most of us had to suffer in silence or risk job loss, demotion or worse. Thank you for mentioning that men are also victims of harassment. This point is often overlooked.

    Thank you for giving others encouragement to break the silence!

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The definition of sexism adapts through the ages.