How sexist friends were
Good old, everyday sexism - an admission
Discussions about the gender pay gap - there every now and then, but somehow not really, because so far it shows the differences in pay between the sexes rather than ironing them out. Even if the gender pay gap in Germany has "decreased slightly" in recent years, women * still earn an average of 21 percent less per hour worked than men. * With the introduction of the minimum wage, the lower wages were significantly higher, so that the The gender pay gap is smaller, but every fourth woman *, in contrast to every seventh man *, earns less than 2,000 euros gross per month, despite being employed full-time. It should not be forgotten that 30 percent women * work in the low-wage sector compared to 19 percent.
In addition to boys' clubs in business, the middle-aged white man who can be found all over the world, the genres Manspreading (as a man sitting very spread-legged and very defensive in public transport) and Mansplainer (as a man, explain things without being asked, of which he often has less idea) in peaceful coexistence (as in numerous Google image searches, subway trips, group work, ... the list is long).
Professional life, apart from part-time jobs, seems to me, like many other students, still a long way off and Mansplainer is still happy to be accepted if it is only a matter of being able to pass a course without grading with the least amount of effort. But the little friend of the routine also waits in the tough hours, somewhere between studying and part-time job. Somewhere on the way to university, at the kitchen table in a shared apartment, at parties, at Späti. Somewhere between unsolicited instructions on the street, evaluative comments on the external appearance, on the cooling shelf on smoothies in glass bottles printed with “cheeky” slogans, on the many beautiful, sadly designed City Light campaigns at train stations, on those with countless half-naked women, the rest no Abitur required, either fresh meat or chassis is advertised.
Is that "normal" or can it go away?
In the beginning he may only wait on the corner at night while you walk home from a party with the house key in hand. Maybe in the club or at the flat share celebration, when the "no" was simply overheard and overlooked again with the loud music and the many colored lights. Maybe it just moves so close on the subway that the outer sides of the thighs touch. Perhaps he has already explained to you at work that you couldn't know that, as a woman *. Or a situation was dismissed by saying that it would be very typical for a man *. Perhaps at the beginning he only appears now and then, barely noticeable, "friends" quickly dismissed by a shrug. Perhaps he also needs one or the other article, one or the other book, seminar or lecture topic, one or the other conversation, at least that was the case with me, until it becomes apparent that the little friend in advance, not just now and then Visitors come, but actually like a loyal companion has always been there: he, the good old everyday sexism.
And suddenly “the private is political”; the central slogan of the women's movement, which tries to raise an interpersonal matter to a social level in order to name behaviors that were previously considered "normal" as what they have always been: sexist and misogynistic.
Everything so simple and so beautiful
I no longer know when I started to worry about it - when I no longer found feminism too complex, when Emanze was no longer a swear word for me and I began to think about many of my actions and situations into which I was thrown, to reflect. It took many articles and many books before I understood, for example, what #metoo actually wanted.
As of October 2017, women * described their experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault under #metoo. Keyword Harvey Weinstein… Another example: from January 2013 sexist attacks, jokes and comments by men * against women * were collected under #aufschrei. Since this hashtag managed to get media coverage and a political theme, it won the Grimme Prize at the time. Many women * were able to report on their experiences, they were listened to, they were noticed.
Both phrases have in common that they mainly show the extent, the injustice in everyday life and the existence of unjust power relations based on gender. That such issues are no longer neglected or made up for with a shrug. That both men * and, above all, women * are made aware of everyday sexism, because they can finally find a space that is effective for the public and can be heard. It all sounds so simple and so beautiful. Even if women * are now allowed not only to study at universities, but also to walk on the lawn, unlike the protagonist Maria in Virginia Woolf's “A Room to Yourself”, they meet not only in professional life, but also at the University on sexist, aggressive and mostly also discriminatory remarks.
And then again and again you ask yourself: Was that really that bad? Wasn't it just an unhappily worded joke, a badly made compliment? Maybe I misunderstood the whole thing?
Where does sexism begin and where does it end?
The boundaries seem fluid. But maybe it helps to say: sexism begins wherever a gender is devalued, degraded and power structures are exploited, wherever insulted and harassed, verbally and non-verbally, based on the respective gender affiliation or orientation. With 44 percent of all women and 32 percent of all men confronted with sexist attacks on their person, this is not only a phenomenon that can only be reduced to women *, it is especially a big problem when we consider that we in Germany currently have a binary equal distribution of the sexes (male / female). Sexism is perceived and differentiated in different forms, takes place in relation to specific people through strangers, acquaintances and friends as well as relatives, medially and structurally. According to a study by the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth, or Bmfsfj for short, sexism occurs most frequently in public places at 46 percent, often at work (41 percent), but also when using public transport (30 percent) and at Friends or acquaintances at home (17 percent). 71 percent of women and 53 percent of men with a university degree have experienced sexist attacks against themselves or others. A very high percentage compared to other degrees - for both genders! Women are more likely to fall victim to sexism, but men, women *, men *, who unfortunately find weight far too seldom in such studies, are confronted with this everyday problem.
When I started writing this article for the Eigenart, I wanted to write about feminism. It should be an editorial. For half an eternity I couldn't decide what to focus on. However, one thing had been on my tongue for some time. I would like to emphasize that I am a cis person. I cannot and do not want to speak for non-cis persons because I am telling from my perspective. This does not mean discrimination, but rather the appreciation of a maturity that I do not want to deny anyone.
As part of a group work at the university, it all started with a stupid joke. Another time something that was actually taken for granted was explained in such a way as if one were difficult to understand or simply had no idea. Most of the times one opinion has been put above the opinion of the other for no apparent reason other than sex. Sometimes dissatisfaction with a result was dismissed by the fact that one was menstruating and was therefore in a bad mood. Another joke that is not meant to be that, but actually exactly the same as the next overbearing anecdote: sexist. Suddenly a lot is justified by gender and then suddenly there is this feeling that you are being made more of a woman than you would perhaps define yourself. Because structural barriers in gender inequality or not, even openly speaking that one is not "okay" with such situations leads in very few cases to an apology, a rethinking, a discussion about it or even a reflection. Wishful thinking, but like so many other things, that is “typically woman”. But it is also a related downgrade to a gender that is more defined by society than by the person concerned in such situations. "You shouldn't act like that, you have to put on a thick skin anyway if you want to survive in the world out there." But even with the thickest fur in the world, the smallest papercuts can still be pretty painful.
How good that in the 21st century pure survival “out there in the world” no longer depends unpredictably and exclusively on the respective gender. And it is also good that many women's movements before the 21st century fought for women * to be allowed to work and open a bank account without the consent of a husband. That they are no longer held responsible if a marriage ends in divorce or that rape in a marriage is part of the marital obligation. It is important that sexual assault is spoken of in a publicly effective way, that menstruation taboos should be removed and luxury taxes on period products abolished and that the middle-aged white man be made fun of in various formats.
But it doesn't change the fact that such sexist and abusive comments, jokes or situations still happen everywhere and far too often. It doesn't change the fact that constructed gender inequality is still deeply manifested in the minds of all genders and in society, that prejudices are there and difficult to break down, and that a difference is still being made. It doesn't change the fact that such issues need a public. They absolutely need them. They need the knowledge of the fact that no one is better or worse than others because of their gender and gender. You need a sensitization, a knowledge of the limit at which sexism begins and ends, a listening to yourself and reflecting.
That too all sounds simple and beautiful. I myself needed a lot of input, role models, conversations and, above all, self-confidence in order to notice where my personal limits are. But above all I needed an admission: Everyday sexism lurks everywhere and that is not "okay" - not as a woman, not as a man, not as diverse, not as a person.
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