After reading this article and ignoring all the little flaws like 1. did this even happen as described and 2. God didn’t make anything, genetics did I still find it unnerving that even in comments and social media replies, people are still blaming the victim.
I think it’s time we start cutting certain verbal habits from our daily dialogue. Sexist cliches only serve to reinforce hostile environments for all females.
1. “Fathers lock up your daughters.”
This phrase is used as both positive reinforcement for boys (a man so attractive he can sleep with anyone he wants) and negative (uh oh, pervy Mr. Swanson is coming to town!). In each case the assumption is that girls cannot help themselves and need to be “protected” from men and that men cannot help themselves so locking them up would just be a crime.
2. “Boys will be boys.”
Another Nature vs. Nurture argument that assumes genetic drive is 100% un-maintained by environment or social norms. Also, false. “Boys” assuming the already incorrect attitude that there are predefined binary genders, will not “be boys” unless they are raised to act that way. In this cliche case: aggressive, overtly sexual and unfaithful. Not only does it insult and question the worthiness of any male who does NOT wish to act this way, but it excuses bad behavior and choices.
3. “… for a girl”
This one is usually tacked on to the end of a genuine compliment. Rather than accepting that a woman can be talented at something in an entire field, the speaker decides they should be ranked against ovary bearing competitors only. Never mind that many female athletes, entertainers and scientists have surpassed their male counterparts throughout history, there is still this need by some to say “she could have done even better if she had a penis.”
4. “Look so pretty when you smile.” “Just smile.” “A smile is so much nicer.”
I understand that this is a genuine truth. People ARE more attractive and inviting when they look happy. The reason I include it is that I never once heard this phrase uttered to any of my three brothers. Never once to my dad, my boyfriend or any male character in a show or film. So why this silly stigma that women need to be giggly perky 24/7? The perpetual cheerleader stereotype. The waitress, stewardess, secretary etc. Unless that is your NATURAL personality, having false delight forced on you is cumbersome and constantly frustrating. I once had a manager tell me I should be “smiling more” while washing dirty trays. Sure, if I want to look like a crazy person!
** I will add more as I come across them. **
So please, make a conscious effort to scrub these cliche ideas from your vocabulary. Future generations would be thankful if they knew. 😉