Modern Sexism... more dangerous than ever.

This quote is from one of my favorite dumb blondes women. Marilyn was adept at hiding how intelligent she really was... because pretty and smart couldn't coexist in harmony in those days.

Hell that still rings true today. I can't even begin to recount the times where I had to "go the extra mile" to prove that I was worthy because I had blonde hair and big... eyes. This captioned me, in certain situations, as being a "bitch". 

We've come an awful long way with sexism... but it still hasn't been eradicated. I hear SOME men say "You've come a long way baby" (or some derivative therein). "Women are even bosses now" 

EVEN? BOSSES? Oh my goodness!!! We should be SO very proud that us womenfolks have been allowed to hold positions of power. Thank you ever so much for allowing us to still make 77% of what you do yo. What I say to "SOME MEN" is...
Thank you so much for your acknowledgment of the efforts of millions of women who've had to deal with such a laissez faire attitude about WHO THEY ARE. Thank you for capturing the entire women's movement with a defensive tone and a story about how girls have treated you "mean" in the past. 

A bit reminiscent of the recent supreme court ruling about voting laws yes? Apparently we don't NEED the Voting Rights Act of 1965 anymore... that act that thousands of people died for... because racism simply isn't an issue anymore. (The epic media blitz over a young black man in a hoodie who was shot says otherwise.)

Yet in our day and age of "female enlightenment" there are still countless stories of young men raping and videotaping young women and circulating it on the internets for all their high school classmates to see. "She deserved it. Did you see how she was dressed?" is still a defense.

There are still power differentials and double standards and the view that the very best way to attack a woman is to hit her below the proverbial belt... slut shaming is the new... same term as always. 

Is it better? Of course. Do ALL men think this way? Absolutely not. Some men I've had the pleasure of knowing are more advocates for women's rights than some women are. Hell many times women will shame other women before men do... gossipy back-biting bullshit that we've been trained to do if any woman steps "out of line". It's so ingrained, this fold your hands in your lap and be the "Good Girl" schemata and shun the ones that aren't "good", that we do it to our damn selves.

Ever hear a girl say "I just don't get along with other women"? And then when you ask them why they say "Because they're catty and backstabbing bitches".  Oh? You mean acting like you're doing now? Right. Gotcha. 

We're so used to comparing our insides with other women's outsides that we've lost our own sense of worth along the way.  Every other woman is held up for comparison and sometimes we find ourselves lacking. The scary secret is... that woman you're comparing yourself to is probably comparing herself to YOU. It's a vicious cycle of have/have-not that will never be stopped until we change the judgment criteria. 

At a softball game my daughter's friend proudly told me she was going to be a "nerd girl" for Halloween. Before I could get out how awesome nerds are and that I'm a nerd and nerds are cool... this other mom said in a derisive tone "You're too pretty to be a nerd." I choked down the urge to chastise this woman with a roundhouse to the forehead and said "Being a nerd doesn't have anything to do with looks... it has to do with REALLY liking smart things. And being smart makes ANY girl pretty". 

Modern sexism exists, perhaps not in such a prevalent way as in the good ole' days of the 1950's. It's gone underground... into the whispers where it's even more dangerous. Because things said under his/her breath are things that people KNOW they shouldn't say... internalized rhetoric from years gone by still has a hold on the psyche of the world. 

Smart IS pretty. Looks and intelligence are not mutually exclusive. A girl can like Chemistry and Jimmy Choo, Physics and fashion, Philosophy and funky jewelry. On a conscious level you're saying "Duh. We KNOW." But do we really? Do we really take the time and extreme effort to challenge ALL those core beliefs handed down from our baby boomer parents of the 1950's?

It's hard. I know. I have four daughters who bombard me with question after question, ranging from "Is it okay to not like pink" to "Can I like boy toys?" to "This boy called me a BITCH and I didn't know what to say back" to "This boy says he likes me but said I'm smarter than him so he won't go out with me. Mommy what should I say back?"

Yeah. An 8 year old boy called my 8 year old daughter a bitch. That was a whole barrel of laughs bullshit to deal with. (I could write pages about that one... but I'll spare you my agony) 

People. We need to start educating our girls (AND boys), handle to tough questions, and be examples ourselves of how to deal with Modern Sexism. We can stop perpetuating this whispered cycle of inner violence against ourselves as women... because truly it's up to us to bridge the gender equality gap. 

~ a.G.~ 


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