Throw Me the Ball: On Common Microaggressions Toward Women

Throw Me the Ball: On Common Microaggressions Toward Women

"Don't be such a girl." "Is it your time-of-the-month?" "Do you need help, sweetie?"
2241
views

I am not good at sports. I’m actually not too good at swimming, either. So it will come as a surprise to literally everyone that I played a damn good game in a recent water polo scrimmage. As the clock neared “04:00,” marking the end of my swim class and the match, I doggy-paddled all the way to the end of the lane, swimming into the perfect position to make a goal.

“Throw me the ball!” I yelled over all of the furious splashing of my teammates and opponents. “I’m open!”

By random assignment, I was on a team with far more guys than girls. I watched two of my male teammates swim towards me, one falling to my left and the other to my right. I looked at the guy on my right, the one holding the sticky polo ball over the water, and shouted again: “Throw me the ball!”

He looked straight at me then proceeded to throw the ball to our other teammate on my left, who then aimed in a haphazard arc to the end of the lane. We missed the goal.

Throughout the scrimmage, not a single guy on my team would throw me the polo ball. I know that I’m little, and I know that I’m not the strongest or fastest swimmer, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve a shot.

My experience in my water polo match got me thinking about common microaggressions toward women, or everyday instances of sexism. In this context, I want to examine microaggressions that people (both men and women) may not even realize that they impart to women. I will not be diving into broader consequences of institutionalized and culturally embedded sexism, and I will be examining general experiences that all women may have, regardless of class, race, gender, or sexuality.

So, what exactly is a microagression? It’s an indirectly or unintentionally discriminatory comment or action against an individual or persons of a marginalized/minority group. It’s a subtle offense. Microaggressions are often discussed in the context of race and liberal racism. An incidence of racial microaggression may involve a person saying, “I’m not racist—I have black friends!” or “What kind of Asian are you?” It’s not overtly offensive but is still wrong.

Microaggressions against women work the same way. Semantically, "microaggression" means something different than "sexism," "misogyny," and "chauvinism" because it implies that misogynistic attitudes are so deeply embedded into our culture that people do not consciously realize that certain, misogynistic actions that they take are offensive. They’re ubiquitous experiences that aren’t always detected by the public radar. A common example of a microaggression toward women is a phrase along the lines of, “Don’t be such a girl.” Calling someone a “girl” in a derogatory fashion when they are exhibiting great emotion, hesitation, fear, or pain implies that women are weak, fragile, and unable to cope in situations of high stress or which require certain exertion. It also implies that people are supposed to be strong and stern, showing little to no emotion, like men (this opposite inferred from the insistence that one should not act like a woman). This dichotomy between social expectations for men and women further perpetuates damaging gender bias.

Here are other examples of everyday instances of sexism against women:

Verbal:

  • “That’s not very ladylike.”

Phrases like this push gender stereotypes onto women. The concept that women are supposed to be sweet, quiet, and obedient (think: seen and not heard) should have died a long time ago.

As if menstruation is something to be ashamed of. As if women don’t have the right to display negative emotions unless they are “PMS-ing.” It’s high time to stop treating menstruation as some kind of ugly disease and to stop insulting women when we’re upset. Men don’t get flack for being grumpy on their bad days; why do women? Showing emotion is simply being human. Leave our uteruses alone!

  • Condescendingly using pet-names to refer to women, especially when mansplaining

I’m interested to know if location determines which pet-names strangers/co-workers/teachers/peers use to refer to women. Here in Texas, I hear women (including myself) referred to as “honey,” “darlin’,” and “sweetheart,” not to mention variations of “baby” in especially uncomfortable circumstances. And this honey is sick and tired of it.

In action:

  • Catcalling

If I hear one more wolf-whistle, one more shout from a passing car, one more lewd comment from a stranger downtown… If I see one more man trailing a woman down the sidewalk and making her afraid for her safety… If I see one more man make an unwanted advance on one of my friends… I think I will spontaneously combust. There are reasons why I carry my keys between my fingers like Wolverine when I walk home alone at night, and one of those reasons is that catcalling makes me uncomfortable and scared.

  • Taboo surrounding men and women being “just friends”

Harry and Hermione were best friends, and there was never one instance of “sexual tension” between them. Now let me hang out with my bros in peace.

  • Inferior positions at school/in the workplace

Come on, let us girls take the lead for once. We know what we’re doing. And don’t you dare ask us if we can put you in touch with our boss. WE are the boss.

  • Interrupting women in conversation

Women are constantly fighting for their voices to be heard. From conversations at the water cooler to discussions on progressive demonstrations like the Women’s March, there will always be someone out there who: thinks their voice is more important than a woman’s; thinks they can finish a woman’s sentences; refuses to listen just because the speaker is a woman. Don’t let their voice be louder than yours. You deserve to be heard.

I’ll admit: I have been guilty of imparting microaggressions to my fellow females. There have certainly been times when I have gossiped about another girl out of spite, or made an assumption about a girl because of the way she looks, or frowned at so-called unladylike behavior. But by learning more about liberal microaggressions toward women, I have become more conscientious of my actions. I’m getting woke and standing up for fellow women. Cultural shift happens when each person makes an effort to make a change, no matter how minimal. If each of us can stop just one microaggression in its tracks, imagine what a better place the world would become not just for women but for everyone.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Popular Right Now

6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.

108616
views

2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The State Of Our Country Motivated Me To Major In Political Science

I'm very happy I claimed the major I do now.

133
views

I didn't always know what I wanted to do. I was raised on the idea that I could only be three things. I could be a doctor, lawyer or a teacher.

Over time, I tried to fit into those roles. I shaped my interests into those jobs. Although I had already decided, there was always a voice that questioned that choice.

I was very quiet because I knew how my parents would feel if I decided I wanted to be something that may not have fit into the small criteria I was given.

First, I'd like to explain why my parents held such a concept in high regards. My parents are immigrants who had to work incredibly hard to get me through school. They always had to pull through so they could get me what I needed. They had no problem working this hard if it meant that I could secure my future by going into a career that would bring in a good income. These were the jobs they associated with this.

However, the last two years of high school, I found myself attracted to our political world. I love history, I love the law, but most importantly, I love helping people.

I saw the state our country and thought that I'd like to change it. I think politics has become too much about money and too little about helping the people.

Studying political science is the most fulfilling thing I've done thus far. I feel like I will be able to do something for others.

My goal is to create change, even on a small scale. I want to give back to the people. I want to help them improve their lives. I want to show people that there are people who are on their side.

I want to give back to my parents, the people who have supported and fought for me.

There are the reasons why I chose what I did but more importantly, I do this for my parents but I also do it for this country.

Related Content

Facebook Comments