Photo Credit: Zack Minor — https://unsplash.com/zackography

This Is What We Don’t Understand About Sexism.

A popular cry among men who don’t understand sexism is that women can be sexist too. They like to hold up examples of women commenting on how attractive men are, or to some extent objectifying men, as undermining the entire movement.

If you are one of those people, I want to tell you that you don’t understand what sexism actually is. You don’t know how it works, you don’t know why it’s wrong, and you probably just think it means one gender criticising another.

Sexism happens when the gender that has more power uses that power to belittle, criticise, put down, control, or sexualise the other gender that has less power. It’s not necessarily in what a guy is saying or doing, it’s in the power that he has over a woman.

When a man comments on how sexy a woman is, he’s tapping into thousands of years of men beating down women, treating them as sex objects and devaluing them as people.

When a woman comments on how sexy a man is, thousands of years of fucked up human history teach us that she’s putting herself in danger by even opening her mouth.

If the two genders were on even ground, this wouldn’t be such an issue. You might be a tool, but you wouldn’t necessarily be sexist. If the two genders were on even ground, it would be toolish for a woman to do the same thing to you.

The fact is, we’re not on even ground.

Men are paid more. We’re funded more. We’re supported more. We’re believed more. We’re given more. We’re offered more. We demand more.

We’re raped and brutally murdered a whole lot less.

That all contributes to our long standing position of power, where we do have the opportunities and the influence and the clout that many women don’t have.

Because of this uneven footing, we lose the right to interact with women on an even ground. When we have so many advantages, it’s no longer fair.

There’s nothing wrong with winning a game of football. But there’s something wrong with it when your team has all the gear, more players, a history of extreme violence and enough weaponry to severely damage the other.

That’s not playing ball. That’s being an asshole.


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I’m Jon Westenberg. I’m passionate about writing, marketing, business and creativity. You can ask me to work with you, invite me to speak at your event, or set up a conversation on your podcast. I’m excited to hear from you!

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