Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sexism in the Senate - Summary 1

In the recent article, "Sexism in the Senate", from the Washington Post, author Ruth Marcus discusses a new book titled Off the Sidelines by Kirsten Gillibrand, which details Gillibrand's experiences of sexism and sexual harassment in the Senate. Marcus' opening point is perhaps her best: that reports of women experiencing sexism in the workplace are common place and unsurprising. Beyond that, this article simply feeds the notion of sexism being a bearable, ignorable institution, rather than a real, everyday experience that can only be solved by men keeping their thoughts to themselves. Marcus makes lots of excuses for the comments like "[d]on't loose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby", and "you're even pretty when you're fat" made by grown men. (Paragraph 4, 5). She posits that "Gillibrand's colleagues" aren't "intending to be demeaning", but rather, "[t]hey find themselves around a younger female colleague and... don't know how to handle it" (Marcus). This is the kind of nonsensical statement that excuses men for their inappropriate and prejudiced behavior. Would any of these "prestigious" men deign to say such things to their male counterparts? If a boy is young, he doesn't know better. If he is old, he simply grew up in a different way. And now? Perhaps he had a lapse in judgement. Until women stop justifying the hurtful and ignorant quips of others and begin to demand accountability and consequences, sexism will continue to thrive. 

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