The Echoes of the Mind (142) Sexism


Paternalism is old as corsets, but it has only been recently recognized as a form of sexism, rather than merely “complimentary” to women. ~ Laurie Rudman & Peter Glick

The descent of hominins is a portrait in social stratification, beginning with gender. Male sexism is practically universal but varies by political orientation. Whereas liberals tend toward a touch of equality, conservatives are sexists to a fault.

Because masculinity is stereotypically associated with leadership in the US, conservatives’ preference for traditional gender roles and low tolerance for uncertainty may require women’s leadership aspirations to be tempered by strong associations with femininity, particularly in their appearance. ~ American psychologist Eric Hehman

The 2016 US presidential campaign is illustrative. The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, was exposed as a sexual predator, leading to widespread condemnation. The form of denunciation was revealing. Whereas more liberal politicians talked about respect of women as individuals, conservatives construed women as objects of possession: “our wives and daughters.”

For a lot of Republican rhetoric, there is a notion that it’s men talking to men. It sends the message to women: “You don’t belong here; you’re maybe the subject of the talk but you aren’t a participant in it.” ~ American linguist Robin Lakoff

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When you’re a star, they let you do it: grab them by the pussy. You can do anything. ~ Donald Trump

Donald Trump was elected president despite his avowed appetite for sexual predation, as well as a host of insensibilities that should have disqualified him – but he was running against a woman, who just happened to be one of the best-qualified candidates in American history. By contrast, Trump had no relevant experience, and his manipulative business management practices were known to be abhorrent.

Women run for office to do something, and men run for office to be somebody. ~ American political scientist Debbie Walsh

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Though conservatives tend to be more egregious troglodytes, sexism infects the entire political spectrum. The United Nation has long pledged gender parity, but that’s just lip service. 90% of its senior leadership positions go to men.

No woman as ever led the UN. In 2016, 7 qualified female candidates were rejected in favor of a man. As cartoon compensation, the United Nations announced that it would appoint the comic-book character Wonder Woman as an “honorary ambassador” for “the empowerment of women and girls.” After concerted protests over the sexist tokenism, the UN dropped the mascot.

The reality is that the character is a large-breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots – the epitome of a “pin-up” girl. ~ reconsider Wonder Woman petition to the UN

More significantly, the United Nations has allowed sexual harassment and assault to flourish in its offices around the world. Accusers are ignored and perpetrators free to act with impunity.

If you report it, your career is pretty much over, especially if you’re a consultant. ~ UN World Food Programme consultant

There are no options to get justice, and I lost my job too. ~ UN worker who was raped by a senior UN official still at his post

Women in politics are invariably harassed. Over 80% of female parliamentarians around the world have been subjected to psychological and/or physical violence by men. Over 40% have been threatened with death, rape, beatings, or abduction, including threats to kidnap or kill their children.

Female politicians must constantly deal with old-school thinking about their appearance, how they express themselves and behave, and the role they should play. More generally, their excessively or insufficiently feminine demeanour is a subject of regular and widespread comment, attacks, and derision. The same is true of their conjugal status, emotional, sexual, and family life, imagined or real. ~ Inter-Parliamentary Union (2016)

At some point in their lives, over 80% of the world’s females are sexually harassed. For attractive females the barrage is unending.

Sexual assault, even rape, is rarely reported. Women rightly fear they will face disbelief, inaction, blame, or retaliation.

They become troublemakers – nobody wants to hire them or work with them anymore. ~ American sociologist Jennifer Berdahl

In 1998, the US Supreme Court sanctioned sexual harassment in the workplace by allowing companies to point to their bureaucratic procedures as an affirmative defense.

Assertive coping responses at best have little substantive impact; at worst, they increase damage to job, psychological and health status. ~ American psychologist Mindy Bergman et al

An ironic constant is that the dominant sex is sociobiologically less qualified than those coerced into submission. If competence were the key to managing organizations, women would regularly run the show. Instead, men dominate every cultural domain that is of concern to them.

Categorization based on sex is the most basic social divide. Globally, women’s gendered roles are regarded as subordinate to men’s. ~ American sociologist Cynthia Fuchs Epstein