We’ve all been there. We’ve heard some dumb sexist or misogynistic comment that offends, either directly or indirectly, and you want to speak up but you don’t know how what to say, or how approach the issue and avoid being labelled a bitch or prude. Whilst we can’t promise that anyone who is sexist, (or homophobic, or racist, or discriminatory in any way) will actually listen, we’ve got some tips for the best way to confidently approach this problem.
- Self Educate.
I’ve heard a lot of girls claim that they didn’t really know how to rebuttal when put up against sexist comments/harassment, or that sexism ‘didn’t really affect them’ in any way. But once you start delving into the big, scary world of feminism, it is scary to learn how sexist our culture is – and perhaps you will be surprised to learn how sexist you have been to your own gender. On a side note, feminism is actually defined as ‘the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men’ not just some ‘Girls RULE, Boys DROOL’ policy for man-hating dykes, as most people seem to believe.
This sexism surfaces in multiple ways that are actually considered socially acceptable by most without question. Think slut shaming, rape culture, the 17.5% pay gap for some beginner examples (and that’s just in Australia, a first world country, the women less developed countries have it much, much worse than us). So basically, the more educated you get on the subject, the more confident you will feel discussing it, and the more likely you are to blow away the sexist bigots with your knowledge.
2. Stay Calm.
After all that educating you’ve done on how gender inequality still exists, you are probably going to be seething mad when a old white man tells you that a) sexism doesn’t exist, b) you’re being a ‘femi-nazi’ or c) that you’re just whinging and looking for attention. But you must remember not to fling anything within reach at his head, but instead graciously offer up some pearls of your new found wisdom on how while gender equality has come along way, we need to address the less obvious sexist infiltrations into our culture. Remember, we are trying to generate discussion, not a brawl.
3. Be Assertive.
While this one seemingly contradicts the last point – let me specify. Being assertive does not mean being aggressive. Being assertive means being confident and standing up for yourself or others. As long as you don’t swear, scream, threaten or throw around personal insults in your discussion or rebuttals about sexism, then you have successfully kept it civilized. If you still get called a bitch or a prude or a femi-nazi etc., just remember you, the woman, have been the bigger man.
Don’t forget to share your tips, stories or opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org (all submissions will be kept anonymous).