Sexism Essay

If one takes a close look at the contemporary American society, one will be able to identify a number of social issues that should be taken care of. One of them sexism. While a part of the population denies the fact that it exists, another part points out that the manifestation of sexism are numerous and are visible in almost every area of the social life. As usual, the truth lies in the middle. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that sexism is a serious issue that should be taken care of for the sake of the development of the society in general. Pay gap, glass ceiling, and catcalling are three major examples of sexism that is happening in the United States; it is important to carefully examine their nature to find a way to deal with them.

To begin with, it is important to address each of the issues mentioned above individually. To put it simply, this aspect of sexism is manifested in the fact that for every dollar that a man earned, a woman earns approximately 80 cents (Marcotte, 2008). In spite of the fact that this figure represents a great improvement in this area, it is still not enough. It has been calculated that I the bridging of the pay gap is carried out at a rate that is witnessed today, it would take another century to close it (Cole & Hassel, 2017). One of the major problems with gender pay gap is that it is often seen as a logical extension of the patriarch system. There is a stereotype according to which a man is supposed to be a breadwinner; that is why the system reinforces this state of affairs by allowing men to earn more. It is clear that this puts women at a significant disadvantage.

The second example of sexism is often described as a glass ceiling. This is a metaphor that stands for a situation when women are not able to advance in their career even though there are no visible obstacles to that (Mumby, 2011). It is important to point out that this is a serious issue not only in the corporate world: many other areas of social life have remained excessively conservative and are not likely to admit that they feature a glass ceiling  (Branson, 2007). A good example is politics: while the public hailed the first African American president, it was clear that many people were not ready to admit that a woman can be a president. However, this contrast between the acceptance of race and inability to accept gender is striking as it is something that it is unthinkable in the twenty-first century.

The last aspect of sexism that should be mentioned catcalling. Bates (2014) insist that it is a serious problem and should be qualified as “street harassment” or even “little rape”. The root of the problem lies in the fact that the public seems to approve the idea that catcalling is a sign of excessive male sexuality and is somewhat beneficial for women (Paludi, 2010). Nevertheless, the evidence should that women experience a considerable amount of stress and humiliation in the course of it. All this leads to the objectification of women which is a clear manifestation of sexism as well.

No matter how surprising it might seem, there are people who reject the ideas mentioned before, pointing out that the elements of reality may not have been interpreted properly. For example, Barker and Jane (2016) believe that pay gap is something that occurs naturally because of the differences in the approaches that women and men tend to use. Another point of view was expressed by Thomas and Drake (2016) who think that the entire concept of the pay gap is fabricated since it is impossible to objectively compare two employees. This means that the higher amount of money that is awarded to men can be explained by their qualification or other skills that they possess. That is why pay gap should not be seen as a manifestation of sexism since it is a natural phenomenon that might have been explained in the wrong light.

There are also views that reject the phenomenon of the glass ceiling. For example, Benatar (2012) points out that higher positions often require skills and patterns of behavior that women rarely exercise. It is not that they are unable to behave in a certain way: they simply are not likely to be fit for that position based on their past experience. In other words, there are certain fixed patterns of behavior that men and women naturally follow and higher positions will mostly benefit from those patterns that men rely on. In addition to that Weiten, Dunn, and Hammer (2016) also note that the requirement to have at least fifty-fifty boardroom is not realistic and, to a certain extent, harmful.  The major problem with those who believe in glass ceiling is that they insist that women should be promoted just to create the vision of diversity which is something that no one benefits from.

Furthermore, there are views that represent catcalling from a completely new perspective. Thus, Sue (2010) suggests that to a certain extent, cat calling is a natural process that takes place in the social environment and serves as a valve that allows certain men to release their sexuality. Obviously, this is not a positive process, but it is as natural as other phenomena that are witnessed in the society. Therefore, there is no need to focus on it, arguing that there is a certain conspiracy against women. Richards (2014) believes that in some cases catcalling might be misinterpreted by both sides involved it in. On the one hand, a man might consider this to be a friendly gesture that will signal his interest in a woman. On the other hand, the woman might misinterpret it as a gesture of harassment.

In spite of the fact that the points of view that were mentioned above seem to be quite convincing, it is necessary to point out flaws in their reasoning. First of all, one should note that the economic system primarily puts emphasis on the result of work and not the way in which it was carried out. That is why, in theory, both men and women must be paid equally as long as they are able to deliver similar results. Therefore, it is not the qualification or the process that matters, but the result. So, it is clear that the current system favors men over women greatly for no particular reason.

Speaking of the notion of the glass ceiling, it is important to keep in mind that this is a phenomenon that has been witnessed across different industries and times. Therefore, it may not be a simple coincidence: there seems to be a systematic oppression of women as well as their opportunities. The worst part of the problem is that by depriving girls of successful role models, the society reduces chances of having strong female leaders that should be promoted to higher positions. It is obvious that all this results in the emergence of the vicious circle when few prominent female leaders are identified and promoted because they do not have a real-life example of such success.

Finally, as for catcalling, the deep investigation in the reality of it will reveal that there can be no doubt about its true nature: men objectify women and the latter do not benefit from it in any way. One of the major problems associated with this phenomenon is that it is difficult to track down. That is why it seems that the accounts of it are always subjective and, therefore, not particularly reliable. There is no doubt that it would require a significant amount of effort on behalf of all members of the society to end this phenomenon. However, since this is not realistic and such behavior us silently approved by the public, there is no chance that it will disappear in the future. All this leads to the understanding that substantial changes in the social environment are needed to make sure that catcalling goes away. This calls for a deep dialogue in the society.

Having examined all the points that were mentioned in the paragraphs above, one is able to come to the following conclusion: sexism is a serious issue that can be easily identified in the United States. Three major manifestations of it were discussed in this paper. The first is pay gap. Though there has been some improvement in this area, it is clear that the current system does not treat women fairly and deprives them of the money that they could have earned. Secondly, the phenomenon of glass ceiling also shows that women are not able to show their full potential as they do not have an opportunity to hold a higher position. Thirdly, catcalling is an issue that many fail to acknowledge, but it is serious nonetheless as it leads to the objectification of women. The latter feel humiliated and harassed; so, it is clear that they will not benefit from it.

References

Barker, C., & Jane, E. A. (2016). Cultural studies: theory and practice. London: Sage Publications.

Bates, L. (2014). Everyday sexism. New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martins Griffin.

Benatar, D. (2012). The second sexism discrimination against men and boys. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Branson, D. M. (2007). No seat at the table: how corporate governance and law keep women out of the boardroom. New York: New York University Press.

Cole, K., & Hassel, H. (2017). Surviving sexism in academia: strategies for feminist leadership. New York: Routledge.

Marcotte, A. (2008). Its a jungle out there: the feminist survival guide to politically inhospitable environments. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press.

Mumby, D. K. (2011). Reframing difference in organizational communication studies: research, pedagogy, practice. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.

Paludi, M. A. (2010). Feminism and womens rights worldwide. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Richards, R. S. (2014). Transnational Feminist Rhetorics and Gendered Leadership in Global Politics. New York, NY: Lexington Books.

Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions and marginality: manifestation, dynamics, and impact. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Thomas, U., & Drake, J. (2016). Critical research on sexism and racism in STEM fields. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

Weiten, W., Dunn, D., & Hammer, E. Y. (2016). Psychology applied to modern life: adjustment in the 21st century. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

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