The Importance of Noticing Subtle Forms of Sexism

I recently experienced sexism in a subtle form and it reminded me that society is constantly projecting the notion that women are not as important as men in our society.


A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I were eating dinner at a restaurant in Lexington, KY. The server’s assistant, a man in his 40s, brought bread to our table. He introduced himself to my boyfriend then said, “Let me know if you need anything else, sir” and walked away without acknowledging me. After he walked away I asked my boyfriend if he noticed that the man had only spoken to him. He said he hadn’t noticed.


Incidents such as the one described occur often and most of the time the discrimination is overlooked or ignored because, on the surface, it appears to be insignificant. Making a point of recognizing the sexism and reminding oneself that it is inaccurate and rejecting the experience is important. Subtle sexism can easily be internalized and buried in the subconscious. A younger version of myself would not have noticed the sexism in the incident at the restaurant because I had been subconsciously conditioned by our society to view it as the norm. This mentality needs to be shattered.


Now that I am older and more educated I am able to identify subtle forms of sexism that I encounter and by identifying them I prohibit myself from internalizing the message that “women are less than men." It is crucial that women are able to identify sexism in any situation, no matter how small, that way women can consciously remind themselves that the person displaying their sexist mentality is misguided. Women need to take an active role in rejecting the message that society feeds us about ourselves. It is important that women are aware of the all forms of sexism because awareness is the first step toward change.