Sexism, Ash Chambers

Prejudice is at the heart of a lot of negative attitudes towards certain groups. These groups can be based on separating factors such as race, sexual orientation, or gender. Sexism is type of prejudice where negative attitudes and actions are aimed towards people of a given sex.

Almost everyone has experienced some form of sexism. An experience where people’s actions/attitudes towards you were more based on your sex than any personal quality you had. Unfortunately, the majority of my bad experiences with sexism was actually in the LDS church. It started in Young Women’s. The Young Men’s group would be provided with activities like paint balling and hikes. We had quilting and cleaning the church. It was demeaning and frustrating that our fun activities were ‘home maker’ preparations. When I got to BYU, I had experiences with home teachers and bishops saying that my goals for graduate studies were a ‘good backup’, in case anything happened to my husband. And when I was dealing with extremely serious health issues, some guys thought I must just be ‘cranky from my period’. And when I tried to find boys to play hockey with me or go mountain biking, the attributed my interest to romantic inclinations, because it ‘wasn’t normal’ for a girl to just be into those things.

Although these examples form more of a net of examples than a single instance, they well illustrate sexism today. I do not have too many glaring memories of outright, hostile sexism. It’s more tiny things that add up and up until they are unbearably demeaning. Many encounters with sexism can be benevolent–unintended and thought to be ‘good natured’. But this attitude still forms a basis for negative behaviors towards my sex. My individual qualities are often ignored in favor or an idea of ‘what a woman should be’. These negative attitudes and discrimination are what add up into sexism.

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