“Because I’m a Man…”: Sexism in the 21st Century

In comment|BOOK, society|BOOK on January 6, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Sexism is a trait of our ever-changing society, affecting the modern day lifestyle in more ways than you could imagine.

In both heterosexual and gay relationships today, there appears to be a consistent need to search for the ‘man of the relationship’ and to determine which sex, ‘wears the trousers’.  These concepts are suggestive of a dominant ‘male’ figure and possibly a lesser ‘female’ figure. This is clearly an extremely dated view as most of us are well aware that women are more than able to make decisions, do D.I.Y and take on the role of the breadwinner. Further to this, the evolution of today’s families has seen an increasing number of ‘stay at home dads’, leaving the mother to provide for her family. Since 1993, there has been an 83% increase of ‘stay at home dads’ in the UK and popular films such as Daddy Day Care (2003) are a creative display of these changes.

Also, in popular culture, it is often thought more socially acceptable for men to sleep around, as it seems that when women have a lot of sexual contact, they are automatically depicted as village bikes. “Why are women different?”, you ask.  It appears that when it comes to sexual expression, women become objects of controversy.  Through the porn industry, women are seen to be performing for the satisfaction of men, demoting them to spectacles and arguably promoting sexism.

It could be perceived that a lot of men are intimidated by women who are confident and have high self-esteem.  Those who love their bodies and work hard to take on society’s prestigious roles become a threat. There seems to be a fascination with powerful women, such as Oprah, who have pushed the boundaries of modern sexism, throwing tradition out  in the most sophisticated of ways.

Regardless, there is still a struggle for women to break through the ‘glass ceiling’ and achieve their potential.  Does it pay to be sexist? The relationship between modern sexism and career outcomes (Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 69) found that modern sexism is positively related to promotions.  When relying on men for advice, communication workers received more promotions than their colleagues who were less sexist.

Sexual harassment has also been a significant problem for women at work. However, it is a costly mistake to assume that men are not exposed to the same abusive treatment.  Many individuals seem to overlook male rape, and some even refuse to believe it can happen, when in fact a man can be as much a victim of rape as a woman can.

The same can be said for male victims of domestic violence.  As males are deemed the stronger sex, the image of a violent woman is not easily accessible.  However, the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and the American Psychiatric Association found that 50.3%, of women were the instigators of domestic violence 70.7% of the time. Where sexism has always been linked to women, it seems sexism towards men is alive in these cases, turning the idea of the victimization of women completely on its head.

Although modern sexism is a hard pill to swallow for both genders, it seems to be that in general, women are still fighting issues such as the ‘glass ceiling’ and will be struggling with these problems for years to come.  However, on reflection, today’s society provides a vast array of opportunities for women; allowing them to be confident and ambitious, giving modern sexism the kick in the balls it deserves.

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