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SEXISM

NOTE: Gender equality is still not guaranteed by the US Constitution.

"I am not a thing."
—Sign held by a woman at the SF Women’s March, 1/21/17

Here's a tape of Trump speaking to congratulate Ireland's new Prime Minister on 6/28/17. He interrupts the conversation to comment on a female Irish reporter's looks. He calls her over. "We have all this beautiful Irish press...She has a nice smile. I bet she treats you well."

LEARN: What is sexism? Discrimination based on gender, and the attitudes, stereotypes, and cultural conditions (including media) that promote this discrimination. This prejudice is typically unconscious—that is, the sexist isn’t aware they hold discriminatory attitudes toward women. Their attitudes are, however, identified in their behavior. A recent example of this in the news was the "Google Memo," written by a high-level Google engineer, filled with sexist pseudoscience and nonsensical interpretation of the robust literature on personality and gender. As a clinical and personality psychologist from a major research university, I'm familiar with gender differences research. The findings are inconsistent with the memo (e.g., women's stress tolerance is actually a bit better than men's [men die of heart attacks in higher numbers]; narcissism, sociopathy, fetishism, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and schizophrenia are disorders much more commonly found in males; "neuroticism" is a factor label, not a diagnosis--a name researchers have given to emotional intelligence and sensitivity to others, among other things). Here is Business Insider's take on the memo; here's the New York Times'.

The Wall Street Journal offers a sobering summary of the 2017 Women in the Workplace report, released 10/12/17. Read Understanding Prejudice: Sexism, with links about sexism, women’s rights, violence toward women, feminism, sexual harassment, gender inequality, and a reading room. Consider how Trump's campaign, and slogan (as of 6/17), appeal to masculinity, as reported in this fascinating TIME article (Sweeney, 6/9/17). Consider why women are expected to smile (Thorpe, Bustle, 7/13/17).

What is the objectification of women? Treating a woman as if she were a thing, with no feelings or thoughts. Here’s a report on a study that demonstrates that the objectification of women is a real, measurable phenomena and discusses its effects (Villarica, The Atlantic, 5/24/12). The original study can be found here. Sexism and objectification limit women’s representation in male-dominated fields, such as STEM. On the discrimination of women in science, read STEM Women and Sexism. On the blatant institutional disregard for sexual assault victims on campuses nationwide, read Betsy DeVos, This is What Sexual Assault Survivors Want You to Know (7/13/17, Teen Vogue) on her refusal to support Title IX, which protects women from institutional gender discrimination. In mid-October, 2017, the Twitter hashtag #MeToo exploded with thousands of women telling their stories in solidarity with Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault victims. Across governmental epidemiology studies (summarized here by the nonprofit, RAINN), it is estimated that, in the US, 1 in 3 women are sexually abused as children, and 1 in 6 women are raped as adults. Although women do commit sexual assault and males certainly do get assaulted, 95% of the perpetrators are male, and 90% of victims are female. Why?

What is misogyny? Dislike, contempt for, or internalized prejudice toward women. Dr. Brogaard writes, in 12 Ways to Spot a Misogynist, "In most cases, misogynists do not even know that they hate women. Misogyny is typically an unconscious hatred that men form early in life, often as a result of a trauma involving a female figure they trusted." (Psychology Today, 2/12/15) Sound like anyone we know? Donald Trump was raised by a harsh father and a mother who didn't protect him. "To prove you were a man, you were supposed to come out of your (mansion-like) cave and eat only what you killed yourself."(Dean, The Guardian, 3/26/16) And his mother? An immigrant from Scotland. "A penniless, low-earning worker seeking America's promised lands is exactly the type of immigrant Donald Trump's campaign is seeking to control. And yet it has been revealed that Trump's very own mother was one such migrant." (Genova, UK Daily Mail, 5/22/16)

 

Don't believe the US suffers from sexism? This Twitter thread satirizing how men talk about women is too good (Herreria, 9/3/17, Huffington Post). All of us internalize societal attitudes from a young age. Rather than blame men, it would be wiser to look inward, change our own behavior, and work to educate others about the destructive power of sexism (see Stop Sexism section for how). Do you hold sexist attitude? The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory: take this test and compare your score with others’ worldwide! We are conditioned to hold unconscious sexist attitudes by a masculine-dominated society.

Did sexism affect the 2016 election? Absolutely. Here's how, and how we know. And here's how it is inspiring a new wave of resistance: UK Guardian, 3/7/17.

Is Trump sexist? Apart from the quotes and new policy above, here is a sample which demonstrates that, despite his words to the contrary, Trump has a long, observable record of sexist actions: During his state visit to France 7/13/17, he took a long look at France's first lady and said "You know, you're in such great shape. Beautiful." (Newsweek video). Donald Trump Sexism Tracker: Every offensive comment in one place! (UK Telegraph, 11/9/16) The Lasting Harm of Trump-Style Sexism, (Khazan, The Atlantic, 11/4/16); Trump wanted to fire women who weren’t pretty enough (Pearce, Los Angeles Times, 9/29/16) ; and Trump and his companies accused of mistreating women in at least 20 lawsuits (Kelly, USA Today, 10/9/16) Trump is the subject of a scathing 6/29/17 article by The Washington Post's Amber Phillips, Trump's Mika Tweets Underscore a Dark Reality: For Him, It's Always About Gender. The British House of Commons cancelled Trump's visit to Parliament, citing racism and sexism. Trump sparked outrage on 2/3 over his new dress code for the White House:"The president wants the men who work for him to wear ties and the women to dress 'appropriately.' Dresses are apparently preferred (check out Twitter's #DressLikeAWoman). Remember a male Senator telling Senator Elizabeth Warren to basically sit down & shut up as she read a letter from Coretta Scott King to the Judiciary Committee, who initially denied Sessions a judgeship (names of those Senators voting to silence her can be found in the Flip Congress Blue section). Despite all this... most of the GOP is still behind Trump. What message does that send to young people around the nation?

TAKE ACTION!

Go to:

Human Rights: Sexism: Stop Sexism

Human Rights: Sexism: Challenge Internalized Sexism

Human Rights: Sexism: Did Sexism Affect the 2016 Election?

Human Rights: Women's Rights: Reproductive Rights

Human Rights: Women's Rights: Pay and Position Equity

Human Rights: Women's Rights

Human Rights

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