Sex Discrimination – As Seen Through A Teen’s Eyes
You are a lesser person than I am. Because I am the gender that I am, you deserve to be paid less. You also do not deserve the same rights and, in social settings, you should only act a certain way. Because you are you, and I am me, I am better.
This is called discrimination. Discrimination of any kind comes from a place of ignorance and lack of understanding toward someone who is different than you. What I’m going to be talking about specifically is sexual discrimination.
Sexual discrimination is any kind of discrimination against someone on the basis of sex. This includes the discrimination of LGBTQ people, as their sexuality is a part of their sexual identity.
When you think of sex discrimination, you probably think about a work environment where a woman is getting paid less than a man, or a woman is not promoted simply because she is a woman. While these situations are often true, sex discrimination is something that could potentially happen to anybody. Take for instance a situation where a man is working as a nurse. In such a female-dominated job sector, it is common for men to be discriminated against. I recently read an article about a man who was working as a nurse in a hospital. Because of his gender, he was required to have a female attendant with him if he was working privately with a female patient. This is just a small example of a larger issue.
The fact is, for both men and women and anyone in between there are social standards which we are expected to live up to. A women is supposed to have children and care for them. Men are supposed to be businessmen and bring home the bacon for the family. Those who are transgendered are expected to simply choose a gender and stick with it. Men are not supposed to wear dresses. Women are not allowed to go topless in public. Once you start to identify these standards, the reality of what our society has labeled “female” and “male” lifestyles begins to emerge. We live in a society founded on the idea that women are not equal to men. We live in a world where a feminine man is ridiculed and is not allowed to simply wear a certain style of clothing. We live in a world where someone cannot marry someone else only because these people happen to be the same gender.
In our personal lives, how do we overcome these societal faults, which are often caused by our rampant mass media culture (which has proven itself a very terrible gauge for the facts of reality)? We can start by opening our hearts to others in very small ways. When I see those who are homeless, I often jump immediately to conclusions about them. But what if, every time I was about to judge the person, I thought back to the time when I was paid less than my male co-worker? When I think back to that small challenge alone, I think about what this person must have been through to get to where they are now. Suddenly, I see them less as an object and more as a real person
When we stop to truly think (something which our culture encourages us not to do) about the situations we are in and the people who we are judging, we can begin to understand that people are not just passing moments or ideals. They are real people.
Conversely, if you are the one being discriminated against, do not stay quiet. Ask yourself, are you worth just as much as the person who is getting paid more than you, has better opportunities than you, or is simply preferred because of their gender? When we place ourselves on equal standing with others, it is hard to find reasons why we are not treated equally.
It is important, more than anything, to speak up when you feel there is an injustice of any kind. If we want to better our world and the world of those we meet, we cannot keep silent and let social stigma continue to dictate our lives.