The science of calling out sexism?

A lot of people, male and female, are often afraid of calling out instances of sexism. They don’t want to be perceived as oversensitive or troublemakers, or they’re afraid of angry backlash.
I say “they,” because I obviously don’t have a problem with blowing up the whole internet in order to call out sexism.

But is this an accurate representation of how men respond to accusations of sexism? One study says otherwise:

In a recent study, conducted by Robyn Mallett and Dana Wagner at Loyola University Chicago, male participants were teamed with a female partner (who was actually a confederate in the experiment). Their assignment was to read a set of moral or ethical dilemmas and discuss together how to deal with each situation, including one in which a nurse discovers that a hospital patient has been given tainted blood.

During their discussion, the female confederate confronted her male partner either for sexism (i.e., having assumed the nurse in the story was female, which every male participant did) or in a gender-neutral way (i.e., disagreeing with the male’s suggested solution to the dilemma).

As expected, men had much stronger reactions to being told that their remark was sexist than they did to mere disagreement. But the reactions weren‚Äôt what you might expect. The men accused of sexism smiled and laughed more, appeared more surprised, gestured more often and with greater energy, and were more likely to try to justify or apologize for their remark. But they did not react with more hostility or anger ‚Äď in fact, they reported liking the female partner in both conditions equally well, and were generally pleasant across the board.

At first, that sounds great. Yay, men who were called out for the sexism smiled more and didn’t respond with hostility! Time to go politely tell MRAs how they’re wrong!

But I have a couple of concerns about the study. For one, their sexist remark…isn’t that sexist. Assuming a nurse is female is based on pure probability rather than assumptions about gender roles. The vast, vast majority of nurses are female, therefore a nurse in a story is much more likely to be female. It’s not like 50% of nurses are actually male, but it’s still perceived as women’s work.

This may seem like nitpicking, but I have a feeling men would react differently depending on what type of sexism is being addressed. It’s easy for a man to go “Whoops, yes, I suppose some nurses are male.” But it’s hard for a man to go “Whoops, yes, I suppose I do have (insert any type of male privilege I’ve never thought about and vehemently disagree with here).”

I’d also like to see results from how the men felt long after the exercise concluded. Were they just acting nicer when they were in immediate social interaction with the woman? Was in genuine? Did they turn around and start telling their buddies about how she’s a stupid oversensitive bitch, or did they really change their minds about sexism?

And finally, I’d love to see this repeated in the setting of blog comments or a forum. What happens when you put the internet between two people, and you have the drug of anonymity in your system? I know it’s anecdotal evidence, but I don’t exactly see people skipping together through e-fields of daisies after an accusation of sexism.

More science! We need more science!


  1. says

    The problem with a scientific study is that it involves controlled conditions. Often, in the real world, conditions are anything but. Calling into question a sexist remark in a bar or coffee shop or some other setting is liable to trigger a reaction which is far different. This should not be taken as tacit approval of confronting sexist remarks, only that there might be some hope that doing so would not be met with instantaneous revulsion or violence.

  2. says

    “One hundred-nine college-aged males participated for course credit or $8.” – I wonder if the participants were more representative of the larger¬†population that the results would be the same?

  3. says

    The question is what careers are close enough that an assumption of gender would work for? Grocery clerk? Barista?Frankly, the example is bad. I agree with you, Jen, but for different reasons. The example isn’t bad design because it’s a nurse. It’s bad design because it’s hypothetical. ESPECIALLY in a theoretical/philosophical case on morals. Kill one to save many? That was the subway scenario (or whatever they called it in the study), and it’s been proven impossible to meter, because it’s easy to justify when people can coolly rationalize, but in the heat of the moment, things often change. Same thing with abortion or euthanizing fetuses with birth defects. That is why the study is flawed.If they wanted a study that worked, something where they engineer a scenario where the man is forced into a sexist assumption, and then see their reaction, that would be more useful.

  4. says

    This reminds me of a riddle someone once asked me:”Suppose that you are a newly hired pilot for a major airline, and are sitting as a co-pilot on a commercial flight.¬† You and the captain talk at length in the cockpit during the flight, and the captain invites you to dinner at a fancy restaurant after you have reached your city of destination.¬† When you arrive to meet the captain at the restaurant, you see that the captain is wearing an elegant, bright red dress, diamond earrings, and red lipstick.¬† What do you say to the captain?”I unconsciously pictured a white man with salt & pepper hair dressed in drag, and replied by joking something to the effect of “I didn’t figure red was your color.”¬† Then the guy asking the question pointed out that he never specified the captain’s gender.¬† Bricks were shat.I think that this little riddle actually made me more conscious of subtle gender biases.¬† I know that they aren’t as big a deal as male privilege, but still.

  5. Madison Burnett says

    a psychological study would very nicely work for a situation such as this. it qualifies as scientific and they’ve figured out decent ways around the variables that make people people

  6. jose says

    I tend to think calling out sexism generated laughs and smiles because humor is a way to trivialize something. Calling out sexism is not just a personal disagreement, it upsets the whole organization of society. Making a joke about it is the best way to minimize a problem perceived as extremely dangerous; to make it a no big deal or even to deny there is a problem at all. And then you know what’s next: “Jeez, you women whine about everything, you’re overreacting, you’re being too emotional”, etc.A personal disagreement on the other hand affects just you, not the entire world, and in those circumstances you feel more secure because you know your reasons and why you did what you did and said what you said, so it doesn’t trigger the minimizing, mocking reaction.

  7. Erulóra says

    “The question is what careers are close enough that an assumption of gender would work for? Grocery clerk? Barista?”Few are as lopsided as the one they chose. ¬†About 95% of nurses are female. ¬†Very bad example.

  8. Karen L says

    I think the reaction is likely to be far different when you have one man and one woman interacting face-to-face, and there is no audience, vs. the more normal situation of multiple people (in a work place, on a forum, at a conference).I think most people try to react — even to potential conflict — in a friendly manner when they are interacting one-on-one with someone they don’t know well and when there is no audience.¬† The only person’s opinion you have to care about in that situation is the one you’re with.¬† And in this case, if the man considers the woman he’s with attractive, he may be particularly concerned with appearing attractive to her, thus further reducing his potential for an angry reaction.But when a guy gets called out for sexism in front of others, and particularly when not face-to-face, I think the dynamic is very different.

  9. Eric RoM says

    “Assuming a nurse is female is based on pure probability rather than assumptions about gender roles.”Like THAT was ever accepted as a defense.¬†¬† Not.¬† It is to laugh, derisively and with pointing.

  10. Jim Baerg says

    BTW can anyone think of a better term than ‘privilege’ for this cocept of¬† ‘male privilege’, ‘white privilege’, ‘christian privilege’. When I ran into lists of privilege in that sense they were mixtures of what I previously thought of¬† as privileges ie: it is an injustice for someone to have it, and rights ie: it is an injustice for someone to not have it.Eg: it is not an injustice that I can walk the streets at night without fear of getting raped. It is an injustice that many women cannot.I suspect confusion being the meanings of the term ‘privilege’ leads to an unnecessarily hostile reaction to being told one is privileged.

  11. John H says

    “Privilege” just means “private law” (literally, straight from the Latin): it’s connoted as bad because in a cultural tradition with a long history of concepts like equal rights and democracy (even in cases where the scope is very limited e.g. only White, landed males), we see laws (whether they be formal policy or, in this case, cultural) that only apply to select groups as bad. I think you’re mis-identifying the privilege in your example, too. The problem isn’t that men don’t have to worry about being raped as much as women do, the privilege is male sexual privilege qua rape, which is entirely problematic. The privilege is that many people view men raping women as an acceptable behavior in some/many/all circumstances, while very few people think raping men is okay (there are some exceptions to that one too, mostly to do with heterosexual privilege) – the fear of walking the streets alone aspect is just a consequence of that privilege.

  12. Timmy Hunter-Kilmer says

    My dad was a nurse before his back went out, so I think I’m pretty much immune to unconscious assumptions on that front. :P

  13. says

    No, I can tell you as an instructor who never uses the term “privilege” despite talking about these kinds of injustices on a daily basis in the classroom that there is still the same pushback from people, both men and women of all backgrounds.

  14. says

    Aside from the many other problems with this, there’s a particular corker in the methodology which had the female participant calling out sexism even when the male participant used completely gender neutral language, which it seems a fifth of them did.Also, what’s with citing the media coverage and not the actual paper?

  15. Mloren says

    This is of course purely anecdotal evidence and since I read your blog I’m obviously not an ideal test subject, but I generally want people to point out if I make a sexist comment or similar. My response is usually “whoops” and then I rethink my position and try not to do it again. I never get angry or blame the person who pointed it out.

  16. says

    Elevator gate caused me to profoundly change my perspective. I¬†genuinely¬† disagreed with what constituted the ‘feminist’ perspective, initially. I also balked at the idea that men should be, or could be, feminists. I have¬†legitimately undergone a sea-change, and it took a lot of patience. I went under the presumption that perhaps half the human species might have a point. As it turned out, they do.

  17. Azkyroth says

    But if already emotionally loaded terms that lend themselves to being misconstrued weren’t used, the minority of “reformers” who are in it solely for the smug superiority and judgmental bullying wouldn’t have the chance to gloat after being misunderstood. *sigh*Maybe “security?”

  18. dasunt says

    I assumed male as well. ¬†Plus, white or salt & pepper hair.Interesting. ¬†We both share the mental picture of pilots being male as well as being older. ¬†Where does “older” comes from? ¬†TV?But I thought it was awesome that he was so secure that he can assume the trappings of traditional feminist appearance and yet believe he won’t be thought less of at work. ¬†(Which, I guess, would apply if the captain was a she instead of a he.)

  19. dasunt says

    TV Tropes has an entry on “rape is okay when it’s female on male”.As one part of that page puts it: ¬†Wedding Crashers, as noted in the page quote. She literally ties him up while he’s asleep and when he wakes up tapes his mouth shut to stop his protests, and the next day he calls it a “midnight rape”. Yet he falls in love with her and marries her by the end of the movie, and this is a comedy. They would never, never dare film this with the genders reversed.

  20. BCskeptic says

    I generally go through the days with this illusion that sexism isn’t out there.¬† And then I face it head on, either in myself, or in others, or in combination.Some years ago, a young female project manager was to give a presentation to some external organization “suits” (all males) to assure them that project management was on track.¬† This young female was somewhat¬†“feminine”¬†in her mannerisms (very competent, very “professionally” dressed) and my boss felt it wouldn’t go over well in the presentation.¬† I was essentially told (ordered) to talk to her to get across the point to be “professional” (read: “old boys club” cold) in her presentation.¬† I (and she) felt very uncomfortable having this conversation with her, and it was later I realized why: I should have told my boss to “fuck off”, as what he was telling me to do amounted to sexism, by essentially telling her not to be herself.¬† In the end, her presentation was stellar and “professional”, but something–her personality–was lost/missed, and I never ever told I was sorry.¬† I regret that.So, sometimes sexism creeps up on you in unfamiliar ways and is hard to recognize.¬† We have a long way to go, but in my world at least, I believe we’ve come a long way in the last 30 years, with bumps along the road.

  21. Svlad Cjelli says

    I’m normally so unpleasant that if I were trying to be polite, I would avoid saying “nice dress” as I think of it as sarcasm by default.

  22. NPYundt says

    Thats a trick question. ¬†You assumed a male in drag, which shows you are willing to accept that a man could wear a dress, but not that a female could fly a plane. ¬†I would (under conditions where I didn’t already know it was about sexism) have assumed that the pilot was female once told of the dress, which shows that I can accept a female pilot more than I can accept a male in drag. ¬†Not that it is true, I love Eddy Izzard, a notorious cross dresser. ¬†Also it should be noted that my cousin is a female pilot. ¬†Assumptions aren’t¬†immediately¬†sexist, they are a matter of personal experience (I meet more female pilots than male¬†cross-dressers). ¬†True sexism would be expressing any¬†opinion¬†that one or both possibilities shouldn’t happen or are in some way disgusting.

  23. says

    I almost always use luxury, instead of privilege.¬† People hear “privilege” and they think money.¬†¬† So, they will deny having pricilege, if they don’t have money.¬†¬†¬† Then there’s always the pernicious “reverse” fallacy, i.e. affirmative action is “reverse racism”, ladies nights at bars are “reverse sexism”.Luxury is a better word for intorducing the concept to someone, I think.

  24. says

    Totally agreed.¬† I had this “conversion” well before elevatorgate, but I was the misogynistic fag who hated women, because I was constantly being compared to them.¬† It was revolutionary to me to realize that homophobia is misogyny’s eldest son. Once the eyes are opened though, It’s hard not to feel like a fool for not having seen it sooner.

  25. SeanK says

    Laughing is pretty much the same response I get when I tell my female friends there actually are women working in my Computer Science field Рalbeit not many.  They always picture a geeky male when it comes to computers.  Their next response is to suggest the only women interested in this field have to be foreign.

  26. John Kruger says

    I find that calling someone sexist often gets thesame response as calling someone racist.¬†It ends up being a character attack that glosses over any rationaldiscussion.I also suspect that the tone of the accusationwould be important.¬† ‚ÄúIsn‚Äôt it sexist toassume the nurse is female?‚ÄĚ will no doubt be received much better than ‚ÄúI can‚Äôtbelieve how sexist you are!‚ÄĚ.¬† The firstconcentrates on the bad assumption, while the second concentrates on thecharacter of the person.

  27. kiwiyogurt says

    But I have a couple of concerns about the study. For one, their sexist remark…isn’t that sexist. Assuming a nurse is female is based on pure probability rather than assumptions about gender roles. The vast, vast majority of nurses are female, therefore a nurse in a story is much more likely to be female.Really Jen, really? If someone assumed that a scientist in a story was male just because most of them are “based on pure probability,” as a scientist you’d get a little annoyed wouldn’t you? ¬†Just because “most of” a certain category are a certain gender ¬†doesn’t mean we should go on assuming that. ¬†That’s the kind of assumption that keeps those skewed gender roles in place, because boys grow up thinking they can’t be nurses, and girls grow up thinking they can’t be scientists or doctors. ¬†It doesn’t matter that the nurse in question is likely to be female. ¬†We still don’t know for sure, which is the point.I agree with you that it’s not the best example to use, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be called out, or that it’s not important to challenge those assumptions. ¬†As a woman in a very male dominated field, I would appreciate if people would stop assuming that a male-dominated job is a man’s job, or that so few women do it that’s it’s not worth being gender-neutral when talking about people that do it. Same thing for a female-dominated job like a nurse.

  28. JamesEmery says

    I honestly feel that charges of sexism/privilege are thrown around a bit too carelessly, but that’s only because people are sometimes a bit too… enthusiastic about their passions, and will often see things where they don’t really exist.¬† This is, of course, not always true.¬† Issues of gender/race/orientation/et cetera certainly exist, and must be called out and handled appropriately if we’re to ever achieve the most fair world possible.¬† However, careless charges thrown about without good reason generally only make the accuser (and associates) look bad.¬† Please take note that this comment is gender-neutral, and applies pretty well equally to MRAs and feminists.¬† Also, anyone on either side who claims that this doesn’t occur on THEIR side in an unobservant imbecile.¬† While I agree to a point with many of the main tenets of feminism, and to a smaller degree with the M-P movement, I refuse to associate closely with either, because too many people are too interested in being *ahem* MORE equal than others…

  29. says

    Something else worth pointing out:IF (note the if) we accept the notion that the society we live in has some systemic problems when it comes to imbalances of racial, gender, and class equality…THEN (again, note the if) it should be expected that most people will have some kind of internalized racist, sexist, or class-ist tendencies.One of the criticisms I would lay against feminism is that sometimes our critical feedback can be disproportionate to the behavior in question.I took a women’s studies paper in Uni, and once saw a lecturer tear bloody strips of a male student because he asked a question and used the word ‘girls’ instead of ‘women’.¬†—————————————For those interested, the context was the ratio of men to women graduating from mathematics courses in the university in question. The male student was asking if the graduation rates of women in those courses was matched by the ¬†enrollment rate, which is actually a reasonable question. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I do remember thinking that he phrased it really, really badly.The¬†the lecturer tore strips off him for his turn of phrase, then dismissed the question without answering it. I was not impressed.An example of a proportionate response would have been to re-phrase the question in a better way and explain why the differences matter. Then answer the re-phrased question.

  30. says

    I’ve been conditioned by a bunch of these kinds of assumption-tests in secondary school.So when I got to ‘bright red dress’ and especially ‘red lipstick’ my mind went straight to ‘beautiful woman’ mode.So my answer for what I would say is probably: ‘Stammer, get flustered, then say something really stupid.’

  31. Caitlin says

    I’m a nurse, and I work on a hospital unit that employs 28 other nurses, and none of them are male.¬† I’d say assuming a nurse is female is generally accurate.¬† HOWEVER:¬† there’s a far higher percentage of males as nurse practitioners or with master’s degrees than regular staff nurses.

  32. JamesEmery says

    This is still true in many places.¬† However, where I live, Carilion employs a LOT of male nurses…¬† It’s probably close to 30% or so here…¬† Also, shockingly en0ugh, I actually know of a man that works, as a teacher, in a local DAY CARE CENTER.¬† Now, THAT is rare!

  33. says

    IN other words, you don’t want to examine your privilege because it makes you uncomfortable, therefore all those vitchez must be making it up.¬†¬† Its def THEIR problem, not YOURS.We don’t need pseudo-allies tone trollers.

  34. JamesEmery says

    Bruce, your understanding of nuance is lacking somewhat.  Also, you just straight-up put words in my mouth (hence, you practiced outright lying, awesome!).  Good job; you just demonstrated exactly what I was talking about.

  35. JamesEmery says

    Agreed, although I’d go so far as to state that there’s no ‘if’ to it…¬† There ARE internalized tendencies on all of those subjects, and no matter how hard a person tries to overcome them, they will always suffer from at least a little of that problem.

  36. JamesEmery says

    I’d hold that giving them a concise explanation of exactly what they did wrong, THEN explaining the concept of privilege to them (after they’ve accepted and agreed to the first part) would probably be the most effective means of correcting someone…¬† I wrote a very long tract somewhere just recently on exactly what Jim Baerg is talking about.

  37. JamesEmery says

    Keep fighting… It sounds like you’re doing the right things :)¬† While it’s hard to get the point across without sounding condescending, you’re probably getting it across to more people than the angry types are :)

  38. says

    I am concerned that the guys laughed sounds to me like they where laughing off silly feminism “yes of course men can be nurses” to placate the women.

  39. swansnow says

    I recall that when I first went to university, it was very difficult to use the term “women” for a couple of years. I had grown so accustomed to calling myself a “girl” in high school, that it was very awkward to suddenly use the term “woman” just because I was now in college. Especially since I was 17. I had a hard time thinking of anyone younger than 22 or so as a “woman”, since that term had always been reserved for people much older than myself.

    I imagine it’s equally difficult for young men entering university to make that mental transition.

  40. James Power says

    I honestly can’t stand being told I have “privilege” in this context, or in practically any context. I find it incredibly insulting. I always feel like saying “Well so do you, so bugger off”. But being told I have made some assumption that is sexist is totally ok, I don’t find it insulting at all to have someone take the time to explain how my thought process is having a negative effect on a group of people. I am usually very pleased at being given the opportunity to fix that and to improve communication with people outside my (insert label here) social group. To insist that all men, indeed all white men have privilege is to defeat any hope of communicating effectively. You have essentially just said all you “social group” are the same. Which is exactly what you’re asking the person you’re speaking to not to do. There is no question that most white males enjoy social privileges not available to others outside that group so there is no defence against an accusation of privilege, there is no way for the individual to take ownership of the accusation and fix it. Saying “your” assumption is sexist empowers the person you are talking to to take ownership and fix it. Frankly the vast majority of white males I know are quite happy to improve their social skills, but they can only do their own… and the people they speak with once they have been empowered to see the problem and learned to fix it.

  41. scenario says

    I’m glad you pointed out the difference between sexism and unconscious but not totally unreasonable assumptions.

    When I hear kindergarten teacher, I always picture a woman. I’m sure that there are some men teaching kindergarten but I have personally never seen one. By the fourth grade or so that assumption is less valid.

    The difference is what happens when its pointed out. If the reaction is basically, of course there are male nurses, then I lean towards unconscious assumption. Noone can go through life examining every assumption and everything they say every minute of the day looking for things that might cause offense.

    I catch myself in this type of thought all the time. I was flying one time and I saw a woman pilot and my first thought was surprise at seeing a woman. My second thought was why not, good for her. I only care that she’s good at what she does. Her sex is irrelevant.

    The assumption that I unconsciously make that bugs me every time I think about it, is that all doctors are male. My primary physician, dentist, and a couple of specialists I see occasionally are all women. When I’m introduced in person to a doctor, I’m so used to women doctors that it doesn’t surprise me at all to see a woman doctor walk through the door. I doesn’t occur to me to be surprised. By why is it when I read a story and it mentions a doctor, I usually picture a male?

    Sexism should be called out. It bothers me when the salesperson always asks me questions, even though my wife knows a lot more about the subject then I do. Assuming a persons knowledge based on their sex is sexism. I can live with it until the point where I tell them my wife knows 10 times more about a subject than I do and they continue to ask me. At this point I write them off as an idiot.

    On the other hand, is it sexist if you hear that someones first name is Jane and you think of a woman?

  42. julian says

    Personally I never use ‘privilege’ since I’m not well versed in its nuances. That said, I’ve seen it used enough times to know most women (and people in general) who use it don’t expect you to ‘fix’ the larger societal issues. It’s used to help explain why you might be missing what’s wrong with situation X or why Y might be inappropriate. An exercise in ‘put yourself in my shoes’ almost.

    I’m a little curious as to how (or maybe who) gave you that impression?

  43. James Power says

    It was a friend who is much better versed in the politic and theory of feminism than I have used it while discussing something on her blog. I would prefer if someone might just say, “put yourself in my shoes” though I frequently find myself unable to get into women’s shoes so even that is not always helpful. If the question “why do you feel uncomfortable with what I’ve just said/done?” could be answered I would much more appreciate it than being accused of having some kind of status I frankly don’t see. In that way I could see where my social conditioning is leading me astray. To call me privileged because I was brought up a Catholic in a strict Catholic country is an absurdity. I have to deal with idiotic problems which stem from a legal system built on the assumption that women should be in the home having babies and thus assumes that I should never be in the home and should have minimal contact with my children. There is not only the astronomical wrongness of dismissing the value to the world outside the home that half the population has that I have to facepalm about, there is the idea that it’s some kind of privilege to me to have my children taken from me and be moved out of my own home should my relationship with my partner ever sadly end, even if she is the sole earner in that relationship. I suppose my point is, to speak of privilege is to ignore the fact that you have privilege too.

  44. julian says

    I suppose my point is, to speak of privilege is to ignore the fact that you have privilege too.

    Again that’s also one of the big things I’ve seen feminists try to get across. We all have some kind of privilege in the society we grew up and realizing what it is helps us see things better from the other side.

    To call me privileged because I was brought up a Catholic in a strict Catholic country is an absurdity

    But doesn’t that make you part of the majority and almost by definition (and sorry about this) privileged over those that weren’t? Privileged in that your upbringing (Catholic) was more acceptable than that of a Zoroastrian?

    It doesn’t mean you can’t have suffered or that you partiularly enjoyed your station in life (I’m assuming you’re agnostic/atheist). It doesn’t even mean someone from a different background couldn’t have had a much easier go of it than you.

    Sorry if I’m just repeating things you’ve already heard.

  45. James Power says

    I suppose how one might define privileged from the outside of the Catholic majority would be very different to being on the receiving end of attention from members of the Church. Or indeed being expected to ostracise friends and family because the clergy took a dislike to them. I was lucky not to be in this position but my parents weren’t.

    I see the point better now about the use of the word, it is refining my objection to it certainly though I’m still not 100% happy with it. Someone above suggested luxury but I don’t know if that works either. Perhaps my problem with it is that I have an idea of what it is, ie. the person doing the thinking is using a socially conditioned part of their brain to make decisions without seeing the bias, but I don’t feel that privilege is a good word for that. I suppose as a Physicist I don’t consider it a privilege in the slightest to think and not have my thoughts be based properly in reality. I see it more as a disability.

  46. BlackHumor says

    I gotta say, I totally believe the conclusion of the study (even though I agree it did not itself prove its conclusion and so more research should be done).

    It’s actually quite difficult to make someone react in a hostile way. People (especially the kind of geeky people that generally gather on atheist blogs) almost always overestimate how hostile other people are.

    Internet excluded of course; if 10,000 people pass by semi-controversial statement X it’s not surprising if 10 or so react angrily. But that’s still 1:1000 odds and not so not seriously generalizable to meatspace.

  47. Dizzy says

    If you want to see sexism in action, try the Army.

    I used to be a soldier, which is a terrible career choice for a female. Sexism is everywhere, and that’s a big part of the reason I left the Army.

    This isn’t a study, so forgive the anecdotal nature of this comment.

    I’ve found that male soldiers don’t usually respond with anger or hostility, but they hate getting called out for making sexism comments. They usually justify why they’re right to have sexist feelings and they tended to make me feel bad for calling them out. They minimized the way those comments impacted me and made me feel like I was being oversensitive and hysterical, that I should just chill and allow them to discriminate against me.

    They would say things like: because they once had a shitbag female soldier, all female soldiers are shitbags; female soldiers destroy a unit’s comraderie simply by being female; all wives are evil, cheating whores that trusteder be trusted;

  48. Dizzy says

    I would love to see an experiment on sexism done in the Army.

    I used to be a soldier, which is a terrible career choice for a female. Sexism is everywhere, and that’s a big part of the reason I left the Army.

    This isn’t a study, so forgive the anecdotal nature of this comment.

    I’ve found that male soldiers don’t usually respond with anger or hostility, but they hate getting called out for making sexism comments. They usually justify why they’re right to have sexist feelings and they tended to make me feel bad for calling them out. They minimized the way those comments impacted me and made me feel like I was being oversensitive and hysterical, that I should just chill and allow them to discriminate against me.

    They would say things like: because they once had a shitbag female soldier, all female soldiers are shitbags; female soldiers destroy a unit’s comraderie simply by being female; all wives are evil, cheating whores that can never be trusted; and my favorite, no woman is ever raped because any female who brings a male up on rape charges is just trying to destroy his career because he pissed her off. Hell, a male soldier in my squad sexually harassed me for four years and my sergeant did nothing because if I wasn’t so mean to that soldier, he would stop harassing me.

    These aren’t bad men. They’re not evil or deliberately cruel. But the very nature of the Army allows sexism to flourish.

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