A tale of insidious sexism

Posted on 2 November 2012

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So there was this guy on Twitter the other day who was saying he wanted to help professional women in a male-dominated industry set up a support group for themselves.

When it was pointed out that the best way he could help was to shut up and let women take care of themselves, he decided that setting up a group to support only women was sexist and left the conversation in a huff.

Sexism that seems positive and where the perpetrators really do want to help is one of the worst kinds, I reckon.

The problem wasn’t that he wished these proactive women well – that’s the nice part. It was that he thought he needed to help. That women weren’t capable of empowering themselves so he felt responsible to jump in and take charge of their self-empowerment.

Men, if you think this, it’s not because you’re terrible people. Seriously. The entire world is set up to tell everyone that women are weak and incapable and powerless to help themselves. You – and we! – have been getting told this by every person and every piece of imagery and every movie and TV show and play and game you have encountered you since you were born.

And if you think women should get organised, you may be halfway there! We need you to be helpful but we need you to do so by letting us help ourselves and telling everyone you know that you think we’re doing a good thing.

Men and women unite to break the cycle!

Women, speak up and organise yourselves!

Men, shut up and applaud!

Image: DSC_5153 by Trishhhh under a Creative Commons Attribution licence
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