To Those Who Believe Sexism is Over...

Sexism is very much alive and well, and denying that only makes the problem worse. Sexism exists in all walks of life and for many women is unavoidable in day-to-day life. 

Here are just a few examples of the effects that sexism has had on society: 

Sexual assault and rape

Please hear me: many times, rape and sexual abuse are a result of sexism and men feeling superior. Men capable of such an act feel entitled to women’s bodies. Of course, rape happens to all genders, but stating it as a defense against women raising the concern is also part of the problem. Women are sexualized in just about every aspect of life, whether it is a television commercial with an attractive woman in a cell phone commercial, or the revealing uniform requirement for the waitress at a casino. It's an unfortunate reality to live in a world where females are so overly sexualized that they constantly fear for their safety.

Dress code violations that conveniently only target women and girls

Telling young girls in grade school that their clothing is inappropriate because of a shoulder not covered by fabric or a skirt that doesn't reach the knee cap is not acceptable anymore, although it still happens often. And it certainly was when I was in middle school. I can remember because I was often flagged for dress code violations because of my favorite over-the-shoulder tops that I sported or the leggings that I wore to be comfortable. It is sexist to isolate someone because of their gender and sexual appeal.  

I am sick and tired of seeing stories in the news about young girls being pulled out of class or banned from a school dance because of their clothing. If for some reason what these woman and girls are wearing is a distraction to any men and boys in the room. Parents and educators, I challenge you to address the bigger issue: women do not exist for a man’s enjoyment. Teach boys that woman are people too and they do not exist for their enjoyment. Period.

Mommy shaming

Whether it’s a family member, a co-worker or even a close friend, women often face criticism about how they choose to parent their children, spend their free time and the decision to work or not. The interesting thing about this is these same issues are not relevant to most fathers. Fathers are looked at as the “provider” of the family and are expected to work and at the same time can spend their free time as they please. Unfortunately, most mothers don’t have this luxury.

Spending time in the morning doing their hair instead of being with their children every hour of the day is shamed. Working while having children is often seen as selfish. Children need to be the woman’s number one priority and the man can choose where the children fall on his list of priorities. Perhaps it is the reason why there has been a decline in woman wanting to have children. As a soon-to-be college graduate, I have worried about having children someday and what that would mean for my career and the criticism I anticipate if I choose to do both. The double standard has to stop. 

Locker room talk

Talking about women in a derogatory way sets a tone for men to act as if they’re superior and women are objects. When young boys are raised in an environment where respect for woman is optional, it continues throughout their life and continues to worsen. Making jokes that seem harmless behind closed doors can translate into actions and behaviors towards woman that are inappropriate and disrespectful. "Boys will be boys" is an overused, absolutely unacceptable way of thinking. 

There is still a much different standard set for men and women. If you're not contributing to the problem, then join the revolution that is working to find the solution. We don't have time to waste.