Subconscious Sexism

Many people respect men more than they respect women.

When a man complains about something, many people subconsciously assume that what he has said is rational or backed up by statistics. Whereas when a woman says the same thing, people are more inclined to view her as being whiny.

In reality, the man and the woman are just as likely as each other to have a certain level of statistical knowledge or emotional drive, but people respect the man’s opinion more.

I sometimes notice this faulty gender stereotyping in my own thinking. When I picture a man saying or doing something, I can view him differently to how I view a woman doing the same thing.

For example, if I see a man cooking or looking after a baby I might slightly recognise what he is doing more than I would recognise a woman in the same position. This is because I’ve absorbed the well-known male and female role stereotypes. And I don’t do this stereotyping on a conscious level at all. It is such a slight bias that it is very difficult to notice it and pin it down. It is even harder to put it into words.

The great thing is that when I do observe this kind of thinking in myself, I am able to challenge it. It does make me wonder about all the other subconscious assumptions I make.

Another thing I sometimes do without thinking is excuse people’s lack of niceties if they’re male. Not out loud, just inside my head. And this isn’t because I think men aren’t nice, it’s just something that I’ve picked up. In fact, it’s taken me ages to realise that I do it.

Once again, it is a faulty thought pattern that can be fixed. Unfortunately, I’m not the only person that needs to fix it in their mind.

It is frustrating when people have higher expectations of women being agreeable, nice and polite. And the thing is, most people don’t even realise that their expectations of women are slightly higher. I certainly didn’t, until quite recently. Before, I’d always known that there was some kind of difference but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

People tend to be more accepting of males that make cheeky or insensitive remarks. I often wish I could make silly jokes that aren’t too sensitive, but I know I wouldn’t get away with it because I’m female. People might not object out loud, but they probably would in their heads.

Knowing this, I am going to go ahead and make those silly remarks. I won’t be rude, but I won’t let being female stop me from doing anything I’d otherwise do, no matter how small.

Keep challenging your own assumptions. Have a good night.

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14 thoughts on “Subconscious Sexism

  1. Well said. 🙂

    By the way, one of the benefits of writing fiction, as you may already know, is that your characters can get away with saying the things you wish you can say. If someone has a problem with something a character says, they tend to hate the character, not the writer. 😉

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    • Haha, that is a very good point! What you said reminded me of just how suited writing fiction is to being able to say/do things you wouldn’t be able to do in real life. For example, when I think of a pun or a joke that would be too random, unfitting or silly to say in real life, I can work it into a story and not have the idea go to waste. Also, if I have some kind of “what if” theory I can recycle it and give it to my characters >.<

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    • Hi James,
      Thank you for reading and commenting! I started reading your post, it’s really good, haven’t finished it yet, though. Haha, I’m actually fifteen now, not thirteen anymore, but for ages I couldn’t figure out how to change that widget that said I was thirteen! I finally figured out how to remove it yesterday, no more confusion, phew.
      What am I reading and listening to? Do you mean reading, book-wise or blog-wise? Well, I’m reading a book called, “Fifty Shades Of Feminism” which I got for Christmas, it’s a collaboratively written book, so each chapter is by a different feminist. And I’m listening to a lot of stuff by The Mission. What about you?

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  2. I guess you are right, even though I am lucky enough that my family always supported feminism (in their own way, whatever male thing i did without anybody else talking me into it was supported more than when i did something stereotypical female… which… ok, isnt feminism actually but i think you get my point?) there will always be some kind of stereotypical woman / man roles :-/

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    • I do get what you mean! Hmm, I do think that society will evolve to gradually diminish the stereotypical gender roles, but it will take a long time. In the past 60 years it’s become normal for women to earn money which is quite different from the position they used to hold before. Imagine what progress can be made in terms of equality in the next 100 years, in a far more open-minded society in COMPARISON to previous times. People now have the advantage of the internet, and more opportunities to have their opinions heard and to change people’s attitudes. Unfortunately, like you say, there will always be people who continue to stereotype the roles of men and women, and as society we’ve got a long way to go. When the mainstream media catches up we’ll know we’re on a slightly better path. Thank you for reading my post and for sharing your thoughts! I look forward to reading more of yours. x

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  3. Pingback: The Week’s End // All Sorts of Interesting Stuff | ZEN AND Π

  4. I do agree with you-it seems like everyone does it. It’s almost a kind of nudge as if my instincts are saying ‘that’s not right’, then instantly after that I think ‘wait there’s nothing wrong with that’. Weird.

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  5. Another “wise piece” from one so young….you sure you’re not an “old lady” in the body of a teenager??? ❤ Beautiful piece, J! How was your Xmas??? Hope it was love-filled!!! Happy New Year, Sweetie! ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lucie, thank you for reading and commenting once again! 🙂 It’s really good to know that my opinions are heard (and agreed with, that helps too LOL) especially by bloggers whose posts I enjoy as well!
      Haha, that would be cool. That reminds be actually that there was this annoying widget that was attached to the bottom of my blog saying I was 13 when I’m now 15 and I spent hours trying to figure out how to change it. Finally figured out how yesterday, thank “god,” because I thought the widget would be there for life! Gonna head over and read some more of YOUR posts. Seeya round.

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      • You’re welcome, J! You’re a talented young woman (whether you’re 13 or 15!). I don’t complement unless I sincerely mean it. You’ve got a raw talent. I hope you have someone that’s actively mentoring you and encouraging you. Happy New Year! (((Hugs))) Lucie

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