While reading “The Problem When Sexism Just Sounds So Darn Friendly” by Tannenbaum, you can see that she discusses two different types of sexism which are “Hostile sexism in which it is characterized by negative attitudes toward women,” and “Benevolent sexism which seems more positive in tone, but it is more harmful as it undermines the perception of woman’s competence” (Tannenbaum, 2013).
The evidence helping Tannenbaum is supported by Peter Glick and Susan Fiske as they wrote a paper on the concept of ambivalent sexism in 1996. They argue that in benevolent sexism, women are more often viewed stereotypically in society rather than their unique selves. After reading through, I can somewhat say that I understand where Tannenbaum is coming from.
I liked her perspective on both sides of sexism; however, hostile sexism was rarely explained by itself. I would have liked to read more examples and see the evidence with both sides of sexism before agreeing or disagreeing with the author’s argument. As a woman, I can say I have had many experiences with benevolent sexism, but I have also had many experiences with hostile sexism and both are easy to defend.
A good point brought up during the discussion is women in the workforce. This being. women’s wages have always been lower than men’s and women’s jobs are viewed as less masculine than men’s even if they’re doing the exact thing. This also ties into the Discrimination in the workplace and all the stereotypes that play along with that as well.
Like I mentioned before, benevolent sexism is portrayed throughout the workplace as women are viewed as gentle and nurturing, rather than competent and ambitious. After the lecture, we had to watch a YouTube video of a woman giving a TED Talk of women in the workplace, and I specifically remember her explaining that there are more CEOs of the name John than CEOs that are women.
As we look back at the reading mentioned before, I would like to add that Tenenbaum explained, “Women exposed to benevolent sexism we’re more likely to think but there are many advantages to being a woman” (Tannenbaum, 2013). going back to the notes we can see that women make up 47% of the paid labor force and that these gender wage gaps have improved immensely in the past 49 years. Women are beginning to defend their gender in the workforce and there are visible changes.
Looking back to the history of women in America, we know that women did not have the right to vote and that women were known to just cook, clean, and take care of the kids. If you did anything without your husband you were seen as defiant and unruly. When we compare it to sexism today, we can see that little improvements have been built to help women vote, go to college, and mentioned in the notes, create the sexual harassment awareness and statutes.
Sexism will always exist as you cannot simply abolish a man’s thought toward a woman. This especially affects those of different races. Not only are these women of color objectified because of their gender, but even today they struggle with poverty, the wage gap, and healthcare. It is hard to overlook benevolent sexism like it doesn’t exist because women going into the workplace already have that mindset of being pushed down by men.
Trying to find a solution for sexism is impossible as there will always be bias in America. Women will always be seen as lesser than men. One of the first steps in lessening the effect it has on women is to show women in men’s positions on television, the media, even politically. Trying to fix benevolent sexism is an obstacle as well because it is created through the thoughts of other people.
The best way to limit the way we see or hear about sexism is to educate through ads, media, and to listen to real stories from women who endure benevolent sexism in their day to day lives. After educating those people, then the next step is to initiate movements helping women speak out and share ideas they have to help other women encountering sexism as well.