Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender, p xxvi:
When the environment makes gender salient, there is a ripple effect on the mind. We start to think of ourselves in terms of our gender, and stereotypes and social expectations become more prominent in the mind. This can change self-perception, alter interests, debilitate or enhance ability, and trigger unintentional discrimination.
There is a large body of research that demonstrates this. It’s not some fuzzy thing that we just guess at.
This is why it’s so maddening that sexist sneering and “joking” and one-upping and epitheting is still, after all this time, considered normal and ok in a way that the racist or ethnic equivalent just is not.
Want to test that? Just imagine Tom Harris, Labour MP, tweeting “What a hero! Fearless protester chucks an egg at EdM and runs away. Like a Jew. Throws like a Jew too.”
SeewotImean? He’d never say that. It would be career suicide. But girl? Oh well that’s completely different.
No it isn’t. No it isn’t, you brainless heartless bastard. You just added another mite to the huge pile of stereotypical inferiority that girls are subjected to from birth. You just made gender salient, and you reminded the gender in question that it’s sneaky and cowardly and weak. And you wouldn’t do it to people of other races, or nationalities, or immigration status – but you’re happy to do it to girls.
What a hero.