Andrea Rubenstein defines sexism as “both discrimination based on gender and the attitudes, stereotypes, and the cultural elements that promote this discrimination… Men as a class are privileged over women as a class, an important, but often overlooked, part of the term is that sexism is prejudice plus power.” Men use this power to control and manipulate women who they perceive to be weak, and should be “protected, supported, and adored … to make a man complete” (Rubenstein). This gender binary gives men the power, as Sensoy and DiAngelo suggest, their masculinity is strengthened through violence and ensures subservient, passive, and eager to please women (2012, p. 83). This gender binary must be disrupted, as no one should live in fear, be manipulated and controlled.
The only way to stop sexism is for us to challenge our society. Sexism is such an insidious disease it has managed to “adapt and change over time, while still maintaining inequitable outcomes” (Sensoy, & DiAngelo, 2012, p. 80). Sexism effects all women no-matter where they are from, their class, or their sexuality. Women make up 50% of the world’s population and are all subjected to sexism. We need to challenge and disrupt the normative narratives on how men and women perceive themselves, and how society perceives them, at every turn.
While we are challenging these normative narratives, we should also consider the different sexual orientations within each group. Colonization has constructed the gender binary of man and woman, but in reality, sexuality is much more complex. In Dr. Alex Wilson’s presentation, she explained that in the LGBTQ community 56% of transgender people attempted suicide; 21% of two spirited men committed suicide, and 39% of two spirited women committed suicide. These numbers are staggering. We need to break down the gender binary wall, and claim “sovereignty over our own bodies” (Wilson). The gifts and talents we all have, are gifts for ourselves, families, communities, and society, we need to accept and treasure these gifts rather than be imprisoned within colonial walls of unfounded idealism.
Rubenstein, Andrea. (2007). “What is “sexism”?” https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/
Sensoy, Ozlem. & DiAngelo, Robin. (2012). “Is everyone really equal?” An introduction to key concepts in Social Justice Education. Columbia University, New York.
Wilson, Alex. “Our coming in stores: Cree identity, body sovereignty and gender self determination”. https://ro.uow.edu.au/jgi/vol1/iss1/4/