Sexism or gender discrimination is a form of prejudice based on ones sex. Sexism in most cases is founded in the societal or cultural believes. Although, the term sexism is mostly used to reefer to discrimination of women in a patriarchal society, sexism actually means discrimination based on any gender. Sexism is common in work places or academic institutions. Sexism impacts negatively on the academic, career path and entire reasoning of an individual’s family and even the entire communities. Various institutions including religious organizations, family and centers for higher learning deal with gender discrimination year in year out. As an individual, I have had negative experiences because of sexism. Therefore, there is need to address an individual’s socio-cultural stereotypes and institutional forms of sexism in our societies. All human beings irrespective of their social setup must be treated with equality, dignity, and respect and granted the choice to decide what best suits their needs. In this paper, I have discussed sexism based on my personal experiences.
Sexism is favoritism based on gender and baked up by societal mindsets. Most societies are governed by the principle of the law of small numbers and the cultural elements. Sexism cuts across all sexes. It entails stances which support discriminations like labeling sex roles and generalizing an entire sexual category. It is deeply rooted in fear, traditions, hatred and a feeling of being superior. Many societies have moral laws which act against sexism in our places of work or any other area in the societal institutions. Progress has been made though this issue affects our societies severely and its attitudes cannot be easily scrapped off. Sexism can take a wide range of perspectives or rather forms like in our societies women should just focus on house work and rearing of children rather than persuading their dream careers. Sexism also manifest in gender where those from same sexual category often disparage themselves basing on ideas rooted in sexism.
Sexism also occurs when combined with racism and prejudices. To completely eradicate sexism, a society has to have that courage and readiness to condemn those who exhibit unwanted behavior while giving an eye to oneself behavior. The best way to fight sexism is through emulating good examples. Men all over the world have the perception that they have power making them have the privilege over women. Therefore, women lack the power that men naturally acquire in the society. Many people believe that women are supposed to be submissive to men. With one excuse or another, some privileged groups always manage to oppress the underprivileged group. Almost every aspect of history would have been different in absence of discrimination, slavery, social class, gender roles and so on.
Sexism is a product of stratification that is power and structure. Social stratification refers to the unequal distribution of power, wealth and status in the society. This forms the basis for disparities in our societies hence creating classes. People who have power can easily discriminate against those who are at the lower levels. The power of sexism has negative effects on person. Women admit that their experiences of sexism are similar. Sexism entails events such as disparaging comments and sexual harassment to more critical issues like sexual assault and physical assault. In most cases, women conceptualize sexist ideologies internalized when they give in to the negative attitudes, beliefs and cultural norms about the role of women in society. Extreme sexism is believed to cause mental health problems in women, mainly sentimental symptoms such as depression, anger, and anxiety. Though, most studies about sexism focus on the impact on women, men are not exempt from its negative effects either. Although, the system of sexism benefits men, they too are socialized to conform to gender norms. These include norms about appropriate emotional expression which in turn, may contribute to mental health problems.
In our academic institutions and work places, gender discrimination happens day in day out. I discriminated against a female student in our class group work just because of the power vested upon me by our group members. I also discriminated her basically because she came from a modest background and she depended on charity. From my reasoning, I came from a middle class, therefore, I expected her to respect my position by being receptive. I dismissed this particular lady because to me, she was from the lower class and lacked several possessions that most of my friends considered indispensable. Furthermore, according to me, I did not see her impact to the group as a lady. Back then, I used to believe that women were suppose to submit to men and men were not supposed to be very weak and undecided before women. In my opinion, those who were less privileged were not supposed to interact with the privileged individuals in the society. I used to cherish power and prestige. My selfish actions impacted negatively on the lady. I later came to appreciate the consequences of my actions. I realized how the lady felt and I organized and apologized to her after sometime. The impacts of my actions entailed the physiological and psychological burdens to the lady. She had stress and looked down upon herself which greatly affected her grades. She suffered from significant anxiety, depression and resentment.
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Power is actually important in the equation of sexism in that without power one lacks the driving force needed to discriminate prejudice towards the opposite sex. Men collectively have the power that women do not posses. Power changes based on a person’s way of life. This vested imbalance of power translates to the indifference in the bang of the man showing acts of biased intentions towards women and vice versa for women. Both of them are human beings and they experience the same magnitude of hurt, but men have got a full organization of the past, traditions and in most cases legal systems and scientific proof that renders intensity to what they say. It is obvious that women can not compete with men in such setups. Women can not match the resources, prestige or status that men hold in the society. Although, property and power are objective, prestige is subjective for it depends on other people’s perceptions and attitudes.
The social structures were also based on language where sexism arises in that it paves way for the use of the assorted crude slang terms. Sexism has indeed, penetrated our society and it is deeply embedded in the ideologies of traditions passed down. The entire experience that I had was basically influenced by the factors above. Sexism is a structural phenomenon that is widely interconnected through patriarchy. This is a system where male power is enacted, be it conscious or unconscious, exploitation of women, sexual minorities and transgender individuals is proved by the oppressor to limit access to resources and to rationalize dehumanizing attitudes, ideologies and actions. Sexism is defined by result, not the intent. Scholars also proves that the development of healthy sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression is an important entity of human growth. Sexism is rampant in work places because of the belief that men are efficient and better in decision making than women. Women have been made to believe in this analogy in that they do not attempt to challenge men.