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Sexism, Hidden In Plain Sight

Angelica Olivas, Editor

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Film producer Harvey Weinstein is currently in the limelight — but not for anything he’s done in the film industry.

There have been more than 60 accusations of sexual harassment against Weinstein as well as 27 accusations of sexual assault, according to a Slate article.

Weinstein has been fired from his own company, and his wife announced that she plans to divorce him, reports Rolling Stone magazine.

Senate candidate Roy Moore allegedly tried to initiate sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, according to a Politico article. People across the country were shocked when they heard this, but even more shocked when they heard that Alabama state auditor Jim Zeigler told an Alabama newspaper that Moore’s accuser should be prosecuted because it is normal in evangelicalism for young girls to be in relationships with older men as long as the relationship is “parent-sanctioned.” Kathryn Brightbill, who grew up in the evangelical movement, writes in a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece that when this happens, the girl “may be forced to repent the ‘sin’ of having seduced an adult man.”

Cameron Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, was participating in a news conference when a female reporter, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer, asked him about the route of receiver Devin Funchess. His response, while laughing and smiling, was, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.”

He’s since been pulled from a sponsorship with Dannon Oikos Yogurt, and the NFL commented on his statement saying that it was “plain wrong and disrespectful.”

Newton apologized through a video posted on social media the next day. He said, “What I did was extremely unacceptable. I’m a father to two beautiful daughters and, at their age, I try to instill in them that they can do and be anything that they want to be.” He continued, “The fact that during this process I’ve already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realize that the joke is really on me. And I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this. To the young people who see this, I hope that you learn something from this as well. Don’t be like me; be better than me.”

But Rodrigue, along with the many women who have accused Weinstein, are just some of the endless number of women who face sexism every day, and few men get criticized for it in the public eye.

“Sexism” and “gender discrimination” are defined as prejudice or discrimination based on sex.

A 2015 Pew Research Center survey found that women are more likely than men to say that there is gender discrimination: 65 percent of women say there is, but only 48 percent of men agree.

The larger problem here is that there are people who do not think that there is still gender discrimination or rape culture in schools, work places or anywhere else.

One of the biggest issues is that people don’t generally understand the magnitude of the problem, which is exactly why the #MeToo movement on Twitter began circulating. It was started by actress Alyssa Milano to show people just how many women have been sexually harassed or assaulted. Twitter reports that as of Nov. 9, more than 1.7 million women and men have used the hashtag in 85 countries.

In reality, it’s not so surprising that people don’t see the problem in objectifying women because it’s done so often that it’s normal and casual. In a New York Times article, Sam Polk writes that “casually objectifying women” brought him and his friends together, as it does for many men. He references the Yale Fraternity that chanted, “No means yes, yes means anal,” and he was “aghast,” but at the same time he “understood the thrilling camaraderie those young men must have felt from joining together to say something obscene” because it’s not cool to be different.

For example, when CNN host Brooke Baldwin asked Fox Sports radio host Clay Travis a question about Trump, he responded, “I only believe in two things completely: the First Amendment and boobs.” Travis was attempting to be witty, but he wound up offending many people, women and men alike. On the other hand, some people wouldn’t understand why people are offended by Travis’ comments. Many think it is funny to joke about objectifying women because it has become so normal in our culture, even though it disregards their worth.

Even though this issue of gender discrimination tends to mainly focus on women, men can also be discriminated against and damaged by it. In a number of cases, women have accused men of rape to receive fame and money, or to ruin a man’s reputation, when the allegations are false. In August, Jemma Beale was sentenced to ten years in prison for falsely accusing 15 men of rape and sexual assault.

Some companies are trying to reduce the gender discrimination in their workplaces. GoDaddy, a web hosting company, used to feature advertisements with women in bikinis and sexual innuendos, but according to Charles Duhigg, writing in the New York Times, GoDaddy is now among the nation’s top workplaces for women in tech because of their policies on equal pay, their diverse workforce, and their approach to promoting women and minorities.

As Duhigg asks, “If GoDaddy can turn the corner on sexism, who can’t?”

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Sexism, Hidden In Plain Sight”

  1. Torin Sammeth on December 4th, 2017 6:00 pm

    You start with a list of sexual harassment cases from more than 60 women and state them as if they are 100% fact. Have all of these cases been proven true? I am not saying that sexism towards women is not real., I just feel that the beginning information could be misleading.

    [Reply]

    Ramona Park Reply:

    Whether it’s 6 or 60 the fact remains that there have been allegations of sexual harassment that need to be taken seriously. . You’re missing the point here—even without going through the courts, these men have been charged. You can’t deny all the global reporting going on regarding sexual harassment, not even just Weinstein but people like Matt Lauer as well.
    If you fail to see the point of the story (which I am not saying you are) please ask yourself, if you grew up in a red room, would you be able to recognize the color red?

    [Reply]

    Torin Sammeth Reply:

    That’s not my point. I agree completely that even if it’s just one women being sexually harassed by a man, that man is in the wrong and should be punished. My point is that these are allegations. And as you said these men are being charged without even going through the courts. For anyone, man or woman, that is wrong. They are not receiving a fair trial that is guaranteed to them by this country’s constitution. They are innocent entail proven guilty. And yet even this article states it as if these men have already been proven guilty, which if these are just allegations, they have not. I am not trying to say that sexually harassment is okay because it’s not. I am however trying to bring up the point that the information in this article has a small amount of bias in the way it is presented. The definition of an allegation is a claim, usually without proof. So, if these claims of sexual harassment are at this time simply allegations, they should not be presented as a fact.

    [Reply]

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Sexism, Hidden In Plain Sight