The Nature of Male-Dominant Sexism

by Jim Farrar (1975)

There is a very interesting revolution occurring in America today. No, the Black Panthers are not preparing to riot again, the South has definitely decided to remain in the Union, and Russia is letting us keep Alaska.

The rebellion that I’m referring to is of more serious consequence, for it is aimed at the very roots of civilized society. You see, women want to be liberated, they want to enjoy, and rightfully so, the same “rights” that we men have taken for granted all these years. “But they can vote,” you tell yourself, “women do have the same rights as men, the constitution even says so. What more could they want?” Quite a bit, turkey.

Women don’t give a damn about your magnanimous constitution, your Bill of Rights. They’re more concerned by the fact that they’ve been socially typecast by men. Yes boys, the ladies object to the stereotypes that you’ve imposed upon them. They don’t like being regarded as the mental and physical inferiors of mankind, useful only in the role of wife, mother, and servant of the male. To believe as such would make one a sexist, which is the subject of this essay.

So what is this creature call the male sexist pig? Aha! I thought you’d never ask. The dictionary defines sexism as a form of exploitation and discrimination by men against women, which is perhaps the place to begin this discussion. You see, sexism is a philosophy, a way of life for many men who have been brought up to believe that this is a man’s world, a man’s world in which women should have a minimal role.

To the male sexist, a female is “good” as long as she remains docile and obedient, conforming to the role that has been assigned to her. Ironically enough, this attitude is usually instilled in the sexist at an early age most often by his mother! Impossible? I hardly think so. We all know that, traditionally, the man has been the head of the family, and the woman, as well as the child, recognizes this fact. The young potential sexist pig probably grew up in a home in which Daddy is always consulted before Mommy, because he’s the “boss.” He has the authority, the final verdict rests with him. This “man is king” attitude is consequently carried over to adult life, where the sexist continues the example which had been set forth in his childhood.

We know what the sexist pig believes, but we still don’t know how he behaves. How can you spot one in a crowd? Well, sexist behavior manifests itself in two distinct ways. The first of these involves semantics.

Many feminists have long contended that the entire English language is sexist in nature, thus forcing women to see themselves, according to publisher Varda One, “through a male mirror which distorts and insults them.” Phrases such as “Miss” and “Mrs.” are particularly objectionable to women because they not only denote gender, but marital status as well. Many women have adopted the world “Ms.” instead of the usual “Miss” or “Mrs.” more often than not, to avoid the stigma of being an unmarried female. Going farther than that, Varda One advocates dropping all words that denote sex, using instead genderless words such as “ve” for “he” and “she.” We would, in effect be a sexless society if we were to follow this example. This is just as damaging, if not more, to our society as sexism. It is entirely “healthy” to distinguish somebody by his or her sexual status, just as it is considered normal to call Bill and Jane by their proper names. Even the word “Ms.” is feminine.

The language of the sexist pig, then, is distinctive in that it is truly disparaging to women. “This is a man’s job” is a classic sexist cliche, as is the phrase “she’s only a woman.” Both statements are based upon the sexist assumption that the female is innately inferior to the male, and therefore incompetent in any activity in which she is forced to compete with him.

More important than sexist language, however, is sexist action, the actual discrimination and subjugation of women by men. No doubt about it, the insult occurs there. You see, not only is the male the head of the family, but the head of society as well. In the working world, the man is always hired before the woman. The sexist knows that women have their own jobs, such as secretarial work, nursing, and so on. It stands to reason, then, that all the major positions in our government are held by men. Hell, President Ford (a man) is “reluctant” to appoint a woman to sit in the Supreme Court. The stigma of femininity strikes again.

The point I’m trying make is that a true male sexist pig shows his colors by his actions, whether it be by his refusal to hire a woman for a key position in his company or by marrying a woman for a housekeeper. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that constitutes a male sexist pig.

Work Cited

Israel Shenker, “Is it Possible for a Woman to Manhandle the King’s English," Comp for Fun (Boise: Boise State University Press, 1975), p. 158

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