Sexism-Patriarchy Essay

This essay has a total of 1968 words and 9 pages.


Brian S. Slevin

Sexism by definition is discrimination by members of one sex against the
other, especially by men against women, based on the assumption that one sex is
superior. It regards women as inherently inferior intellectually,
psychologically, and physically to man. This view, is shared by both men and
women, and has historically shaped institutions of world society. It has been
continued through the cultural modification of groups of people through
prolonged and continuous interaction involving intercultural exchange of
generations of children with resulting differences between the sexes.
On-job sexual discrimination such as low-level work experience caused by
traditional sexist viewpoints has hindered allot of female job promotion. Women
with the same qualifications as a man that applied for a job would be turned
down based on the simple fact that they are a woman. Prior to the Women's
movement women were constantly discriminated against in this manner. Sexual
discrimination still exists but its occurrence has drastically reduced, subtle
discrimination is however, still quite prevalent in our society. Salary is one
aspect of this still present discrimination, a vast majority of women employed
in the work force today receive less of a paycheck for the same amount of hours
worked on the same jobs as men. This is reinforced by the low number of women
who have a high paying, high powered job. There are a significantly higher
number of women who have little or no power in decision making and earn a low
salary. The women that do get promoted are often the subjects of rumor and
remarks made in poor taste. Men just can't stand to see they're egos shattered
and so they lash out against the woman with authority. They demean her position
and make it seem less important or trivial. All of this does hurt female self-
esteem and is just one of the ways sexism hurts women.
Women are not just harassed verbally but physically. "As in the movie
Flashdance, the male employer comes on to the female employee. In lawsuits,
such "coming on" is considered sexual harassment; by definition it is considered
a misuse of his power. When she resists and he persists, as in both the movie
and the Harlequin formula, it is an even clearer form of sexual harassment." In
many cases if a woman does not give in to a man's sexual advances she stands the
chance of losing her job! This was the tendency and in many instances still is
the tendency of many men who have authority over women. Sexism runs rampant in
every facet of our society. It even reached the Presidency a number of times
and the Supreme Court. Two prominent examples are Bill Clinton and the
accusations made by Jennifer Flowers and Judge Thomas's alleged sexual remarks
to Anita Hill. Granted these were never a hundred percent proven cases of sexual
harassment but they are sufficient enough to show that sexism reaches everywhere
in our society.
Women in many instances have to be very cautious as to what they wear to
work. If they're employer finds them attractive it could mean a sexist advance
or two. Any woman has to be on her guard against traditional sexist men. "If
femininity got lost in the pursuit of independence, a woman would lose power
(because real power means having control over one's life), which is having the
option to work and not to lose one's gentler side." Sexist tendencies don't
just abuse women in the work place but also at home. The traditional sexist
view of a head of any household is the man. When this idea is threatened, it is
as if their masculinity were being stripped away.
Physical violence is sometimes caused by a sexist man who feels as though
he has to reclaim his home. This is the type of man that feels women should be
kept underfoot. There are plenty of other reasons men batter their wives, but
this ranks highly among them. Contrary to popular beliefs (both of men and
women) the incidents of men who are physically violated in comparison with
women is relatively equal.
Sexist men are influenced by many sources in society, one very basic source
is that of the father. He would often, inadvertently and sometimes purposely
plant the seed of sexism in an impressionable young mind. The media, which is
also sexist tends to portray a woman at home cooking, cleaning, and taking care
of her children. Now with the accusations of sexism running rampant in the
media they have toned down on female portrayal as being weak. They now have
more opposition then they used to have from feminist organizations (National
Organization for Women) and Brian S. Slevin discrimination laws.
Today's sexist man is a careful and disheartened individual. Long gone are
the days when sexist viewpoints can run free in society. This is allowing women
to finally gain momentum in their overall goal for equality. There is somewhat
of a balance between traditional sexist tendencies and the new sexist man. This
balance is maintained by, subtle differences between the two. The traditional
sexist man believed that being a devious man was a good plan in life, and that
devious women were merely plotting against them. But the new sexist man might
say that women use power deviously when they marry for money. Stubbornness and
weakness are still looked at as female traits among many new sexist men. This
balance is a complicated one and traditional sexist beliefs both influence and
reinforce new sexist tendencies.
Some sexist ideology is actually sometimes good for women. Most sexist men
still think women shouldn't work or pay for things. To a woman with low self-
esteem this could be a plus, because she could stay at home and only have to
shop and basically live life as a maid. The new sexist man may split some of
the money making and spending responsibility, but he is eventually the one that
makes the final decision in where and how the money will be spent or saved.
Confusion is often the grave result of this uncertain balance in decision
and responsibility. "A woman often finds she has difficulty fully sharing
responsibility for the income. He finds, often, he has difficulty fully sharing
responsibility for the child care and housework." For women who are not already
married, simply dating can be a powerful dilemma. Many single men share a
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