Contrary to popular belief, sexism is not dead. It’s alive and well.
Writer Laura Bates’s 2016 book, Girl Up: Kick Ass, Claim Your Woman Card, and Crush Everyday Sexism, is about confronting sexism in the here and now. She writes about everything from unwanted flirtations, to the double standards that women have to deal with every day and how to deal with the sh*t that women hear and read about in the press everyday.
I really liked this book. I really liked it because it dealt with sexism on a practical, everyday level, not on a hypothetical academic level. Using her own experience and of others, she calls out the bullsh*t sexism is still unfortunately part and parcel of our culture. She also provides practical advice when dealing with sexism head on.
From a certain vantage point, one could say that while feminism, both as an ideal and a movement was needed in the past, but it is no longer needed. Women are free of the political, social and economic constraints that kept their fore-mothers in virtual slavery. We can do anything and everything that we set our minds to. We are equal to the men around us.
That is a mirage. While it is true that the glass ceiling is breaking, it is far from being completely broken.
In the book Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates (who also founded the website and the movement of the same name), Ms. Bates explores how sexism and misogyny are still rampant in our world. Using tweets, interviews, statistics and personal stories of women coming from women around the world, the book shows that despite our progress, we still have a long way to go.
She talks about everything from the ideal and unattainable image of women coming out of Hollywood and Madison Ave, to workplace discrimination, pay disparity between men and women and the scary statistics of rape and sexual assault. The women whose experiences are profiled in the book are of all ages, all income and educational levels and come from various parts of the world. But their experiences are frighteningly similar.
This book is a revelation, for both men and women. It woke me out of my doldrums. It reminded me that women are still being seen as second class homemakers/cooks/cleaners/baby-makers/sex objects who have yet to achieve the goal of complete equality. We must continue to fight for our rights and our achievements, they were hard-won and will continue to be hard-won. The chapter that stood out for me was the one that reminded me that feminism is not just a fight to be fought by women. We need our male counterparts to fight with us. Without them, our fight will be one-sided and harder to win.