Questioning sexism and escaping stigmas

By Jessica Broverman, Editor

Sexism has been a part of history since the dawn of time. It will forever be a part of society whether we would like to admit it or not. It is proven that men are often more physically capable than women. Women tend to be more nurturing than men are. Even though these facts have been proven repeatedly, we still expect more from the opposite sex. Just because a man doesn’t have the same chromosomal make up as a woman, that does not mean that he shouldn’t be able to nurture his children when they are in need. A woman can also win first prize in a weight lifting competition. Therefore, why is sexism so complicated and why do we still practice such a mundane form of criticism?

All throughout our lives, we are pushed and even programmed to think in a feminine or masculine manner. Boys are given a G.I Joe to play with, not a Barbie. Girls are told to “act like a lady”, while boys are advised to “man up”. Though these stigmas appear harmless, they are actually setting children up for a mentality that they will forever be forced to categorize themselves with.

For centuries, men were the strong breadwinners, while females were the homemakers who were submissive. Over the years, these roles have slowly changed, but have still carried an undertone of the male and female role, as it was just a matter of decades ago. We still expect men to earn money for the household, but we also expect them to take out the garbage, mow the lawn and watch ESPN. Women are still expected to keep a household spotless, take care of the children, do grocery shopping, keep herself looking a particular way and contributing to paying for bills.

We can look back at how things were circa 1950’s. Everyone had a role, knew that role and performed those duties without much complaint or disorganization. Though it is ideal for everyone to have a single assigned job, that is not very gratifying. Charley Chaplin starred in a comedy in which he worked in a car factory as a line worker. Because he did the same job repeatedly, he began to struggle with his duties and found himself wanting to leave his obligations. So what is Chaplin trying to tell us? Though his performance is not directed at sexism, it does show us that doing one job continuously is not conducive to a satisfying environment.

This has led our society to develop different roles and has given everyone, men and women, the opportunity to branch out and have more freedom. You would think that since we have these new opportunities for different jobs and roles in our community that sexism would have diminished, but it clearly has not.

While a man can be a stay at home father, many judge the fact that he is not providing for his family from a financial perspective. A woman can become a lawyer, but many times is viewed as weak due to her being a woman. In an article published on it is stated that, “Feminists are taking men for granted, betting that men won’t voice their inner objections to radical feminism and its male-bashing and questionable agenda, but men will get their fill and it is our aim to speed up that process!”

When a woman was asked if it is okay for a boy to play with a Barbie doll she responded with, “Definitely not! That’s why (there are) so many freaks in the world now. Boys shouldn’t play with any female dolls. Okay, nothing wrong with G.I. Joe cause they don’t have hair first of all and they are skinny little men. Barbie (has) female parts and has hair and make-up.”

These are both sexism at its finest and most hateful. We have come so far in so many ways over the years and yet we still put down one another over things that should be accepted if not encouraged. Letting little boys play with a Barbie will not harm their physical, mental, verbal, or meditative stability. Being a feminist does not deem you a male-basher. The sooner that men and women uplift one and other, the sooner that we can become an equal society where women can wear a combat uniform without a second glance and a man can be a nurse without someone questioning his “manliness”.