The sad fact is

Soraya Chemaly has a piece on the ubiquity and invisibility of everyday sexism.

A point she makes at the end should be a post-it on everyone’s forehead for a few years.

The sad fact is that while it is polite to express sexist ideas, confronting them is considered the height of rudeness and humorlessness. When a man at a neighborhood cocktail party comments rudely on my breasts or when another in a meeting interrupts me incessantly while trying to talk to other men, it is me, not them, who is considered hostile and unpleasant for saying, “My face is up here,” or “Would you please stop interrupting me?” When my children’s school fails, year after year, to teach my children a gender balanced history or enforces dress codes in sexist and homophobic ways and I am compelled to point these practices out as deleterious to girls and boys, reception to these ideas can be best described as tepid.

It’s true you know. You’re really not supposed to say anything. You’re supposed to sigh, and fume inwardly if you have to fume, and carry on as if nothing had happened. If you say anything you’re a bitch, a pain in the ass, a harpy, a Professional Victim – an ideologue, an obsessive, a keyboard warrior, a drama blogger, a source of division in a previously affectionate paradise.

Remember when I said anything about Shermer’s bit of casually smug sexism? Hoo-boy – outrage. His casually smug sexism was fine, my pointing it out was horrendous.

It’s a long long road up a high high mountain.


  1. says

    Yes, taking honest offense makes you “PC” and you get told to relax, chill, lighten up. I have gotten the suspicious side-eye from men that I’ve called out on this stuff before, as if they are thinking “hey, we expect the chicks to be offended by this, but come on, you’re one of us, what’s your problem?” Only once in the last decade can I remember a guy who made a sexist comment react to my response with “you know, you’re right, I wouldn’t want anyone saying that same thing about my sister.”

  2. ludicrous says

    That’s why we men must must be on the alert to interrupt sexism at the time. It’s so much easier for us to do, whatever backlash ensues is comparatively trivial for us. The only hesitation I can think of would be in those situations where the woman or women involved might prefer it be ignored. We can only guess when that might be the case. Another caveat that occurs to me is that it be genuine and not done to accrue points though we may not be clear of our motives.

    If there is an “Interrupting sexism for men – 101” on line somewhere a reference would be appreciated.

  3. Blanche Quizno says

    I have run into the same reaction – from men AND women – when I have objected to Christian stuff being allowed into their high school. I think it’s more challenging the privileged, whoever they may be and in whichever way they are privileged, to claim equal standing even though you are not in that privileged group – THAT is what gets you condemned, in all sorts of lovely derogatory shaming terms.

  4. theoreticalgrrrl says

    When I see someone male being treated badly, it’s not necessary for me to remind myself that I have two brothers or a dad to realize it’s lousy and wrong. I guess I’m weird that way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *