Everyday Sexism: The Effects of Following It on Twitter

Wow. Just, wow. How long has it been since I wrote a post? A month? And before I’d have double-daily updates.

Anyway.

I’ve been reading a whole lot about two main issues lately – sexism and racism. This is because of the Boston Marathon Bombings, and because it was the birthday of Everyday Sexism, an awesome Twitter account dedicated to collecting examples of sexism from around the world, from both men and women, whether about rape, or just hurtful comments and the like. It’s definitely worth a follow, as it’s an incredible eye opener to what actually happens in our world.

It’s easy to kind of think that sexism isn’t such a problem anymore because, hey, look, we HAVE made advances, women wear trousers now! And they can have any job they want! Wooo!!!

But the truth is that if you look a little closer, it’s obviously not true. Women in traditionally masculine lines of work are still uncommon, or insulted, or just…well, think about it. How many women tradies do you see? Plumbers and the like? Maybe that IS just because women don’t feel like becoming mechanics or electricians, or maybe it’s because they’re still laughed at if they dare say they want to be one. 

It might not be so obvious as that – sure, they’ll get an apprenticeship or whatever,  that kind of blatant sexism is harder and harder to get away with these days. But odds on, the people she works with – that is to say, the guys she works with – won’t support her choices fully, they’ll make fun of her for being female. ‘Go make the sandwiches, love.’ Or much more degrading things, perhaps suggestions that she should be the group’s shared sex toy or other horrific things. (There are so many examples of this happening, it’s sickening.) 

And the women will do it too. ‘She’ll never find a husband, that one.’ ‘Men don’t like a woman to be doing their jobs.’ As if the poor girl would even want to marry someone who cared so much that she was a plumber! Even worse, women start to act as though something is wrong with the woman for being ‘masculine’ – they say she’s a disgrace to her own sex, or imply that the reason she decides to pursue such a career choice is that there is something inherently lacking in her, like no true normal woman could ever want to do a job like that.

Awful, don’t you think?

I mean, I’m all for being ladylike. In fact, it’s kinda on the top of my list in ‘desirable traits for myself’. Well, near the top, anyway. My mother has always raised me to be feminine and ladylike. And I appreciate that, I really do, I think it’s important and I would definitely teach my own children to show the same quality.

But having said that, she never stopped me from climbing trees as much as I wanted, or playing at knights and wizards with my older brother. She just insisted I wear pants if I was doing that, because hanging upside-down from tree limbs is rather unladylike in skirts. And if we were going somewhere nice, I had to wear something nice – often a skirt, true, kind of mostly because lots of my pants were jeans and sweatpants type things, perfect for playing and climbing and such. 

My point is, femininity and being ladylike are good things, and perfectly achievable by women who have typically masculine jobs or likes or hobbies or whatever else. You can be a mechanic, and wear greasy overalls, and be feminine, and ladylike. Or you can be feminine and ladylike in soft wool dress and pearls and heels, being fancy secretary or something else suitably womanly. A nurse, perhaps. 

****Begin self-explanatory section no longer particularly relevant to sexism****

I would dearly like to delve into the issue of vulgarity and femininity, and masculinity, but then again, there are a number of issues I want to address, and have been wanting to for some time, ever since I started following Everyday Sexism and formulating my own slightly more complex ideas and opinions about sexuality and equality and the like. 

You see, I’ve realised that there are a lot of issues in the world, like sexism, and they’re all hopelessly complex and as a 15 year old I am rather hard pressed to understand it all. My opinions on the matter are kind of…dumb, poorly thought out, uninformed, biased – in short, the product of an immature teenager’s mind. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try and find out more about these issues, even if I don’t quite ‘get’ all of it. So that’s what I’m going to do – only, I have to remember that as a 15 year old, no one expects me to be able to offer a valid opinion on all these issues, so it’s kind of…OK if I don’t champion every issue in the world. As in, obviously I care that racism exists – I mentioned at the start of this post that I’d been reading about it recently, after this whole ‘white terrorist’ thing with the Boston bombing and the Chechnan brothers apparently responsible for it. But I don’t have to keep reassuring people that I am, and seeking ways to make myself heard – there are lots of people doing that already, who people will listen to more than me anyway. And I do kinda have to remember to keep my own sanity and focus on schoolwork and relationships and boring stuff like that, sometimes, or I get seriously…upset. And that’s not good. 

Anyway, that’s just my two cent’s worth, of course – I hope to write some more about sexism and my views on it soon, but I’m notoriously bad at keeping my promises to myself, even! 

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