Sexism is Hard to Explain
Kel Campbell

I’d like to propose a slightly different take on the two-door-incident: this is not about sexism, this is about a guy fascinated with a woman making a bit of an idiot of himself. And as such rather sweet than despicable. He needs a pat on the head rather than a telling off, if you see what I mean.

Now joking aside, there is certainly sexism out there (I work in IT and I’ve seen it — I am a guy and I am sometimes stunned by my colleagues behaviour) having said this though, I think, again we have to differentiate three things (and I am stereotyping):

  • gender neutral male behaviour
  • male fascination with females
  • sexism

I think the difference is as follows:

In the first case males 0r humans in general have certain traits of behaviour, they may be polite, patronising, bastards, whatever and they use this in a situation independent of gender context. I have worked with clients male and female who have treated me despicable or nicely or over-nicely. But there wasn’t any sexism intended. It was simply them being themselves. For instance a very senior client the other day, when we talked about data protection, used buying (I kid you not) a strapon harness for ones wife as an example. Now what should I take from this: was he being sexist? he rarely new me. I might be gay or bisexual (we are both married). I think it was just his dirty mind without any second thoughts. So when you have a bad day at work and have a go at a female colleague or you make a sexual joke or a compliment about clothes or looks that may just be in the moment without any relationship to the gender of the other people involved.

In the second case, I can just say that most men I know (including some gay ones) are fascinated by in the most positive way. We like watching women, we like seeing them do things. Some men may like women more slutty others find intelligence or emotions attractive. I see this day in day out at work. We work in a mixed IT — Marketing environment, so very many nerdy males and a lot of young beautiful women. And as it is in the English Midlands, some of the women dress in a manner that in some other countries may be deemed club rather than work wear. And these women get glances. But in most cases in an appreciative way, without any expectation, patronising or sexism.
Also, don’t confuse with men when amongst themselves and maybe a bit drunk, talking about women or rather their fantasies as sexism. Most men can very well distinguish and also can keep the two very separate.

Of course, there is true sexism as well. But to be honest there are two types: The very open clearly visible and the worst kind, the very subtle type of sexism which is nearly impossible to prove but still there, that type the keeps you from getting a promotion, getting the same type of recognition etc. Now that is what we all need to work on and get rid off.
All the other cases I think we all need to loosen up a bit.

So me holding the door open for you (I live in the UK) or buying you a drink is just politeness. Me buying you multiple drinks is a sing of affectation which you have the total right to accept or refuse. And if you refuse, I need to let go. If you accept many drinks then I should be allowed to test the waters of maybe you are interested in a more in-depth relationship, etc etc

(Note, I am using drinks as a tongue in cheek example, but this could be replaced by literally any other form of engagement).

I think my point of all of this is that please, can we all just loosen up a bit and stop seeing the devil everywhere? Let’s just be normal human beings. Otherwise we keep on second guessing each other and make this a really really bad society to live in.

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