Sexism in our culture is alive and well, no matter what your high school-dropout family member on Facebook might say — you know who I’m talking about. With sexism, such lovely subjects as slut-shaming and body-shaming persist.
It’s time for men, women and people of every other possible gender identity to stand up against sexism and outdated views.
Why? Because these forms of abuse have real mental and physical effects on people and on our world.
As a writer for The Echo, I occasionally have to cover stories dealing with unpleasant subjects. None are more unpleasant than sexual assault, a crime that occurs frequently on college campuses.
When I hear excuses for sexual assault and similar crimes, usually involving phrases like “losing control” and a quick and superficial analysis of the victim’s attire, it makes me sick to my stomach. It’s childish to blame someone else for your own crimes.
Women should not be afraid to walk down the street alone. Women should not be afraid to express themselves in the manner that they find pleasing and comfortable when wearing “revealing” clothing. Women should not be afraid to go to college and be educated in fear that they will be more susceptible to sexual assault. And yet, here we are.
This is all further stimulated by the belief that men lack control over their sexual urges and that they shouldn’t be blamed for something biological.
As a man, I can provide some very convincing inside information: We do have control over our sex drives. Some men simply have no desire to control themselves and treat their hypersexuality as something innocuous and even typical. Why is that? Well, self-control is, apparently, too hard!
As we’ve recently established, I am a man, so I don’t know sexism in the way a woman does. I will also never experience racism the way a minority does, because I am white. I am, simply put, a part of the majority.
I don’t, however, think that men can never experience sexism. As a matter of fact, I think that, in many ways, men fall prey to the very gender roles and sexist behaviors they help create.
In high school, simply because I was well-read, short and unathletic, I was called names the likes of which I know for a fact would never be allowed into print and, therefore, I will not include them here.
These insults came not just from my fellow boys, but from girls, too.
All of society falls into this trap of believing that women ought to be one way and men another. This idea that men have to be meat-headed cavemen is just as toxic to them as the idea that women should be submissive to men.
We all have the capacity to be sexist. There are always moments in life when we can make an individual who is different from ourselves feel less than equal to us. But this must also mean that we all have the ability to make a difference in the world.
I know that one article in a student newspaper at UCA won’t change the hearts and minds of men and women all over the world. When this is published, we won’t all lock arms in front of the Student Center and sing carols followed by a giant group hug in a wholesome moment of civil unity.
This won’t end genital mutilation, sexist school dress codes, bullying or sexual assault.
But maybe one single person might stop and think. And a thought is a very hard thing to destroy.
Change starts with thought. The method in which change is accomplished is done from an individual level and works its way up to a societal level.
If humanity can begin to be on the same page about sexism and gender equality, then perhaps the world can one day become a safer and more unified utopia.