Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Definition of Sexism

Before I get too far, I should offer a definition of "sexism," because I use both this term and "reverse sexism" in situations where one sex is being favored over the other.

What I mean by "sexism" is "an institutionalized system of privileges and rights granted preferentially based on sex." Whatever is more prevalent in an institutionalized system is termed "sexist," and reactions to that are "reverse sexism." So, because "sexism" is traditionally discriminatory towards women, I use "sexism" to mean "favoring men" and "reverse sexism" to mean "favoring women." Hopefully soon I won't be able to distinguish whether I should be using "sexism" to mean "favoring men" or "favoring women." (In some places, such as the family court, it is already more appropriate to use "sexism" to mean "favoring women," but until we get rid of a few gender stereotypes, I won't apply the terms in that reversed form universally.)


  1. The thing is, while the family court system as it stands does favor women in many cases (discounting cases of divorce and abuse that tend to be a lot more balanced than the sensational cases of pregnancy out of wedlock that dominate the news), the root cause of that is that women are still seen as the only nurturing forces in our society, to the exclusion of anything else they may be good at.

    Also, another thing I don't understand is why the issue raised is always the case of the mother getting custody where the father doesn't. According to the law in most states, gender bias in awarding custody is not supposed to be a factor. And if it is in practice, it shouldn't be.

  2. I agree, they should stop using just males to test medicines*. Men shouldn't be treated like lab rats any more than women. (I hope you're not saying that is somehow discrimination against WOMEN??)

    I'm really being facetious with that first part before the asterisk - this reminds me of the feminist groups who claimed, "Only 14% of all medical research focuses on women!!" Really? Only 9% focuses on men. The rest is both together. duh.

    Where exactly are you getting your information? [my reference for the above is Farrell]

  3. "gender bias in awarding custody is not supposed to be a factor"

    BIAS is neve SUPPOSED to be a factor, in anything. That's why they call it 'bias'.

    I can almost here you saying, "Well, the problem SHOULDN'T exist, so maybe it doesn't!"

  4. "neveR supposed to" in the above