Sexism is heavily ingrained into the English language, whether we notice it or not. On the daily I hear people say, “Hey, guys!” to a group of girls. While this isn’t outwardly offensive or demeaning, it shows that we have a long way to go and how important it is to be conscious of our word choice.
Firstly, I want differentiate between those who are ignorant versus those who are clueless. People who are inherently sexist understand the effects of their words and believe in supremacy. Those who are clueless simply do not realize that their words have power and those are the people who can be educated. We shouldn’t yell at these people for their mistakes, but calmly point out the impact of their words. Shaming someone for their potential misunderstanding will only make them embarrassed, angry, or frustrated and make them less likely to listen. I believe cluelessness is a result of sheltering or a lack of exposure. Many people have a hard time understanding things that they have never experienced.
On another note, a common word thrown around by people is p*ssy. In English, calling someone a p*ssy is synonymous to calling someone weak. This is problematic because it implies that female genitalia is “weak” and therefore women are weak. The usage of a vulgar term that pries on supremacy is and can be offensive towards women as it reduces women to being incapable.
So, how do we combat this issue of “innate sexism”? In simply being aware of the words we use, we can start the conversation. It’s okay to trip up, we all do it, but acknowledgement is a step in the right direction.
Post written by guest writer Rianna Mukherjee