Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is Sexism Bad?

Male & Female Hansi (Chinese Characters) side by side, with archaic Japanese meaning "Husband & Wife" or married couple. The female character (left) is a nurturer as the artistic aura of the image conveys, while the two characters that symbolize masculinity (right) are a hand holding a hoe and a rice field, the laborer. Courtesy of Wikimedia user AnonMoos.

No one asks this question, but many extremely successful men and women are sexist against the other gender. The reasons that, as far as I can tell, are given for Sexism being bad are mostly flawed. See, we assume that because it has some similarity to Racism (so does the tendency of airlines to charge seniors and kids different prices then adults, and for that matter patriotism) it therefore must be bad, but racism has no basis in the human character and no function in tight knit relationships.

To clarify, by "Sexism" I mean the tendency of people to hold the other gender, or its' perceived attributes, in contempt. I do not mean the tendency to discriminate in the workplace, sexually harass, or worse. These things are acts of Greed, Lust and Violence, are against human rights, law and public safety, and should always be illegal. The Sexism I mean is simply believing that the other (masculinity or feminity, or men or women) is inferior to your own. In other words, Sexism in your mind.

The reason I believe Sexism could be healthy is because it allows you to define yourself and have deep root in your own character, rather then a character imposed from outside. Assuming they practice sexism, masculine women and feminine men tend to look down on man and woman, while masculine men and feminine women tend to look down on the traits, femininity and masculinity, as masculine women and feminine men are criticized for not complying, and must hold their own against society and try to balance themselves, while feminine women and masculine men are defined within those traits and fight those who fight against them. I have no scientific studies on this, but my own personal experience seems to validate what my reason contrives.

It also creates a hierarchy of dominance within the family, preventing fights and working towards the happiness of all. You will have to be careful how you choose your mate, of course, but once you have selected one who is willing to be inferior, and wants to be taken care of, the rest should be easy. Further, as long as you are not trying to force this on someone who is not willing (which never works anyways) there really isn't a moral crime in it, as some people are genuinely weaker in character and want a big strong papa or mama bear who can take care of them. Avoid embarassing them in front of their friends, of course, but otherwise it seems mutually beneficial. I know a lot of strong families have stayed together this way.

Does this actually mean you have legitimate reason to look down on the other gender? No. But then again, can every country in the world really be the greatest?


askcherlock said...

My mother was a "feminist" but I have always tried to shrug off such labels. As a woman I far prefer the company of men, and I would much prefer working for a man than for a woman. Women get their claws out if they perceive a threat. Men will be encouraging. You are so right, though. When choosing a partner, it works best when the gender-types compliment one another. Lots of food for thought here.

anticsrocks said...

Everyone, whether they realize it or not treat genders differently. Case in point, my daughter-in-law, who is a sweet girl and great mother to my grand daughter acts differently towards me than towards my wife. She and my son are staying with us for a few months while they get on their feet and so our daily routine has changed around our house. My wife and I have children, a 9 month old and three teens. Everyone is expected to help out and everyone has chores, or household responsibilities. One of the responsibilities our daughter-in-law has is that she washes all the bath towels. Now with nine people in one house, that can be quite a feat, lol. I tell all this to set up the following point. When my daughter-in-law gets behind on keeping us in clean towels, if I remind her or ask her to wash towels, she is okay with it. If my wife, her mother-in-law, asks, then she gets defensive and, well pouts a bit. She does what is asked of her, but reacts differently. I mentioned this to her mother and she said that it was the same when she was growing up. She reacts differently towards males than females.

I have a degree in Psychology and I can totally understand what you are getting at here. I agree that we all have inherent biases, many of which we may not be aware of.

Sorcerer said...

hey dude..nice writeup..
loved readin your blog
will visit again

FaithfulinPrayer said...

I think we all like to poke fun at the opposite sex, like how men can't seem to get their clothes in the clothes basket which is just a couple of feet away, lol.

I'm like the earlier person, I like the company of men better than women and I like working for men better than women.

As far as having someone inferior to you as a wife, I have found it hard to find a man willing to take a lead role. Probably just my bad choice in men.

I do feel God made men and women different and we should be happy with who we are.

Nothing Profound said...

As always, I fall on the side of specifics and the individual case. Whatever arrangement works for a particular couple or family is acceptable to me. However, one must remember that things change and the human person doesn't stand still and what seemed reasonable one day may seem intolerable and oppressive the next.

Anonymous said...

You entertained me briefly in class today, so I'll throw some constructive criticism your way.

This is a short post, but immediately, I notice abundant grammar errors. For being a traditionalist, you should pay more attention to traditional English. I'll refrain from listing the errors for thrill of having you find them.

Lots of people ask this question, including philosophers going back to Aristotle and beyond. Starting any text with this statement is just arrogant, which seems to be your motif in so many assumptions. Depending on your evolutionary views, it is pretty widely accepted that sexism is a cultural phenomenon, not an inherent one.

Of course, I realize this is a blog, and if there is any place to express unsubstantiated opinions, it's here. So I'm not judging, but only saying that you shouldn't claim "any angle" when your angle is both precise and stagnant.

I admire your passion towards these subjects. I don't think I agree with any of them, but that's no shame on you.

Jeremy Janson said...

@Anon: I don't know what exact statement you are referring to, mostly I started with questions but as you said, it is "a short post" and one meant for further discussion by readers like yourself. Getting people to ask these questions is inherently valuable, and if you don't appreciate that, you either don't appreciate thought, or you don't appreciate your fellow man. Either way, your problems a whole lot worse then arrogance.

Mathematicians make many assumptions, then show how they are contradictory to each other, in order to narrow possibilities and thus find truth. Alternatively, they can also show that an assumption must be true by induction, taking a base case, and then showing that when one is added to the original input, the assumption still holds, showing logically that it must hold at all points after the original. In some cases, it may go nowhere, but in no case would any serious mathematician say that "assumptions" are not valuable.

It seems to me that many people look for far higher degrees of certainty then they can ever receive. Truth is, all forms of truth are flawed. Even Science, what we as a society hold as the most definitive, rests on assumptions (like the Universe doesn't change) that cannot possibly be proven and are, yes, arrogant, but nowhere did you specify how that affected anything I said. The fact that you are so quick to throw out thought of any kind and attack the person instead of the ideas or evidence makes me wonder about your own character.

Honestly, it really doesn't matter. This is a discussion of human relationships, and culture, which is even less scientific. The mere fact that it could be true probably means more then the fact that it is. And we are talking about "healthy," not "natural," so evolution et cetera really makes no difference.

Besides, isn't it arrogant to assume that society has no influence from the outside world? Isn't it arrogant to assume that our environment is not part of us? In fact, your very answer suggests (but does not prove) that your assumptions are false. To prove false would require far more, perhaps infinitely more, work. In any case, stop being arrogant.

And no, just because my politics are RIGHT-POPULIST (ie. redneck) does not mean I give ouune freggin' crappola about yo' Gramma'. In fact, most people who do are liberals. I have a schedule, and if I run around checking this blog for grammar errors, that gives me less time to post new material and promote it. Anyone who thinks grammar is more important I don't want reading this blog. So you can just go home to your emasculate (sp?) room and worry about that tiny speck of dust lying on the floor. Just out of curiosity, do you use latex gloves or plastic ones? My guess is plastic in case yo' buds yarr' allergic!

As for my claim to "any angle I CAN FIND" I did describe at least one other angle in the Second Paragraph when I looked briefly at the societal, as supposed to the personal. (Private vs. Public) I also looked at the angle of objective truth in the last paragraph very briefly, though that one could be dismissed right away. The picture with description at the head of the post is the angle of antiquity, and I comment about the ehtical angle briefly in the third to last paragraph. Maybe I'm not good enough at finding angles, though your lack of an example lends no credibility, but as for "[my] angle is both precise and stagnant," I don't think so.

NP, in the comment before yours, said most of the truth in your statement for you. Mostly you added the rest. Sorry if I seem a little rough, but your condescending attitude was asking for a spankin'.

Still, thank you for your honesty, although besides crediting you as honest, I'm really not impressed so far. You come off as a superficial fraud, and I genuinely hope you aren't wasting your parents tuition money on a science or engineering education. I will try to see you with brand new eyes if you reply further. If not, it probably doesn't matter anyways. Shanti! Shanti!

Jeremy Janson said...

@NP: Thanks for stopping by. That's actually a very good point, and one I should have thought of in my article. I guess you just have to love each other enough to make do, and sort it out on a case-by-case basis. If I think of anything later, I'll post it.

Anonymous said...

I can't face dragging myself through your replies, not just yet, but I'm surprised that I found nothing offensive in this article! lol! Essentially (it seems to me) you are saying relationships work easiest when there is a clear division of power, that this is malleable, rather than predetermined by gender, and that we make judgements about the opposite sex subconsciously to help us define our own character. As long as this never strays into prejudice, but remains a minor concern it can be beneficial. Fair enough!

Jeremy Janson said...

Awesome!!! I'm glad someone understood it!