In different ways, we were led to believe at birth that we were better at certain activities, especially those involving skill, strength, physical effort, or competition with others. We grew up with the understanding that to be a “man”, we had to show it by having dirt on our face and hands, away from other options that did not involve all this, to which we attributed “girlish” characteristics.
For most societies, this type of “feminine” activity has a negative connotation, and is linked to upbringing, care, weakness, and service to men; it is instilled in them from childhood as daughters or sisters, and as they grow up in front of their partners.
Fortunately, we are living a change in the vision and openness of society, and as men, we have the responsibility to grow with the steps that are being taken to be part of a more just and equitable society, as well as inclusive and respectful.
Sexism everywhere and all the time
How many times have we not only heard but used phrases like: “how delicate you are”, if any man complains about something; or the typical: “you are a ‘smock’” if any man actively participates in the decision making and activities of the home together with his partner.
Besides these examples taken towards men, there are those direct to women, when practically all their positions or actions are questioned, hence we are more used to ask “how were you dressed?”, when they denounce some kind of harassment, justifying the violent behavior of men who, under the manly precepts, only respond to their animal instincts.
In Kate’s Manne definition, sexism rationalizes and justifies patriarchal norms. The sexism often attempts to make patriarchal social arrangements seem natural, acceptable, or inevitable so that there appears to be no reason to resist them.
Sexism is so embedded in our minds that most of the time we do not realize it; however, this is not a justification, since we have more and more information about gender equality and equity issues, and it is our task to re-construct our vision of the world and the privileges of being male in a manly society.
It is important to point out that sexism sustains more serious violence; it has been proven that physical violence is only the escalation of other forms of it and that they are reaching higher levels as the belief of male dominance over the feminine, of men over women, is supported.
Am I part of the problem?
Unfortunately, most of us are, but the important thing is to realize this kind of behavior and change it, it’s not too late.
One of the things we could do as men are to listen more and give less opinion on issues we don’t fully understand. Before judging, it is important to listen to the comments of women, who have been relegated to second-class status for decades.
Another way of contributing to change is self-observation: what manly and micro sexism behaviors perpetuate, why I do it, how I can change it… It is a work of reflection that helps to broaden our socially imposed beliefs and to re-construct our position.
Similarly, the silence and complicity of ignorance must be eradicated, if you witness a situation of macho violence, even in the sexism discourse, do not remain silent, it is important that other men know that what they are doing is a form of violence, you may not have the opportunity or power to intervene in all scenarios, but let’s do it in the most possible. The fight against male chauvinism is also ours.