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Monday, September 29, 2014

Sexism is Alive

Let me rant a bit about the words we use to describe people. In particular, female people and male people. Notice how often you’ll find the following identification of a man:
John Smith, a handsome father of three and grandfather of two, looked appealing, his thinning gray hair and opulent mustache showing off his sparkling blue eyes. He wore a slate gray wool suit with solid blue tie, a matching handkerchief in the pocket, and appeared slightly nervous as he addressed his adoring audience.
Or the following identification of a woman:
Joanna Smith, a skilled cardiac surgeon (lawyer, stockbroker, economist, author, actor, drummer), strode confidently onto the stage and spoke directly to the crowd of 300 amassed to hear her speech. Dr. Smith’s discovery of less invasive heart surgery techniques will save many lives in the future.
While these depictions are slightly stretched, the reality is that a man is described by his status and accomplishments while a woman is described by her appearance, in detail, with notations of offspring.

If you don’t believe that sexist discrimination is still alive, do an Internet search for the “leading women sportscasters”. You’ll find a group of photogenic young women, mostly blonds, exposing decolletage that reaches halfway to their toes.  Now do a search for male sportscasters (or even just sportscasters) and you find lists of men with depictions of their journalism backgrounds and/or sports connections — and no photographs.

Oh, didn't I mention it? Almost all of those photogenic blonds listed their sports experience as “cheerleader”.