Sexism In Today's Society

Sexism In Today's Society

Because after all this time we are still not all equal
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Men are supposed get a high paying job, work hard, and expect to come home to a wife who cooks and cleans the house while he goes to watch sports. This is the American dream right? This stigma still clings to many (while admittedly may not be as extreme) even though we tend to brush it off and ignore its existence. Throughout my journey as a young adult navigating through life, I have found that sexism is much more of a problem than I ever thought. I continue to learn more about this issue everyday, and it's not going away any time soon.

We come into this world without any knowledge of how gender roles shape our society, as we grow, we quickly learn to conform to social construction of these rules. We say we've moved forward and it's not an issue, but we're not there yet. Modern sexism is more prominent in our culture than ever before, it embodies itself in our society without us even realizing. It exists in every age, gender, and belief. The expectations placed upon men and women today are stronger than ever, and the expectations define much of our culture today.

You're a girl, so act like one.

This stereotype is instilled into us so much that it's hard to see past it. Women face objectification in almost every pursuit they attempt, whether it be in the workplace or in a relationship. We are told to act a certain way and are expected to conform, and if we don't, we face even more criticism. We are taught from a young age to grow up quickly and always watch our backs. We walk the streets conscious of every move we make, phone in one hand and pepper spray hidden away in our bags. We can't even go to our car without the fears of catcalling and the many threats of rape culture that haunt our daily thoughts. Rape culture has made it impossible to go our own way without worrying if the person behind us is following us or just going their own way.

We must dress a certain way and be as modest as possible so we don't look like we're "asking for it". Young women get their freedom of choice taken away by extreme dress codes that do more harm than good. We are told to look pretty and gentle just for the boys, and let the men do the heavy lifting. Because our gender has defined that we are not capable of anything else. We aren't encouraged to continue our education or career goals the same way men are because we are supposed to stay home to take care of the children. Our culture makes it seem almost taboo for the woman to be the bread winner, because women are seen as the ones responsible for raising the children and cleaning the house. But what if that's not what we want?

But boys will be boys right?

Although we may not acknowledge it as much, men face suppression just as much as women do. Men are told to be masculine, to show no fear, to suppress any emotion that may come across as soft or weak. They are told they must act tough and have a love for sports, but a love for literature and education is almost never highlighted. They never learn to take responsibility for their actions because society tells them their gender makes it okay, girls are the ones asking for it. Men will never learn if they are not taught that their actions are not okay. "Boys will be boys" will never be an appropriate excuse. They never have to grow up the way that girls are forced to.

Many think these beliefs are long gone, but I have been amazed by the amount of men (ones I have dated, ones who are my friends) who have been taught their entire lives to strive for this type of dream because they know nothing else. These days, it is difficult for men to pursue their passion in the arts because of the fear of not making enough money to impress a girl. They are told they must be chivalrous and respectful to women without knowing what this actually means. Men are taught once they marry a woman they become property, and for some skewed reason women are supposed to go along with this. Why is everyone expected to fit into this picture perfect stereotype?

Sexism is still a problem in our modern day culture, and every gender is to blame. We all face oppression in one way or another, it's time to stop ignoring this and make a change. Women are strong, men have feelings, every gender has a right at finding equality and breaking these stereotypes, modern day sexism does not need to be a problem if we don't make it one.

Cover Image Credit: The Huffington Post

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Dear America, We Can Step Forward As A Country If We Stop Believing That Only One Belief Is Valid

It's time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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Dear America,

2018 was a year of political strife and conflict. The left and the right fought constantly. Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the tiniest mistakes, and there were only a small number of successful bipartisan deals. Politicians and citizens alike seemed more concerned with sticking to party platforms, even ones they truly didn't believe in, rather than compromising with the other side to improve our society.Yet all this name-calling and hatred — what does it do in the end? What does it accomplish?

We've only seen an increased polarization of American politics and an expanded hostility towards "the other side." We don't consider the well-being of each and every person in America and the bettering of our society, or the building of a stronger world for our children and grandchildren.

We spend so much time insulting each other's political beliefs that we forget probably the most important fact that links us all together: We are all human. We all share the same basic needs, the same struggles, the same moments of happiness and sadness.

And yet we are willing to put our similarities aside and only focus on our differences. We are willing to thrust ourselves into the deep anger and loathing that comes in attacking those different from us. We are willing to parry insults behind the safety of a phone screen and forget all about what makes us alike. And we are willing to gloss over the fact that we have more similarities than differences.

SEE ALSO: Dear Trump, Thanks For Transforming Me Into A Responsible, Educated Citizen

Yes, political beliefs make a person. Political beliefs define the values, ideas and thoughts of a person. But sometimes, we have to reach over those beliefs, as hard as that may be, and focus on the bigger picture at hand. What will insulting someone because of those beliefs do? It definitely won't change their views or make them see things from your point of view.

It's sad and frustrating that this endless fighting doesn't even occur between two countries or two governments or two nation-states. Instead, we see arguments and strife between two family members, two neighbors or even two strangers, all living in the same community and under the same government, all sharing more similarities than differences.

We need to stop focusing so much on singular ideas. We need to stop believing in the close-minded idea that only one thought is the best thought. And instead of wasting energy trying to change other's opinions, we need to use that energy and time to promote unity and emphasize our commonalities.

These past few years have truly divided America. Let's make 2019 a year of unity, because only through unity can we step forward as a country.

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