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7 Situations You Probably Didn’t Even Realize Were Sexist

More from Nupur Saraswat

By Nupur Saraswat:

Every time somebody gets away with calling the female gender the “gentler sex” or the “fairer sex”, it’s a battle lost. Every time a daughter is given a pink bike and a son is given a blue bike, I cringe a little. Every time a gender neutral word is given a gender by a culture, humanity takes a step back. Here are 7 situations you didn’t realize were sexist –

everyday sexism

1. You correct yourself if you describe a man as “pretty

“Pretty” is described as being attractive without actually being beautiful. It is almost a compliment. Why is a man pretty ugly or pretty handsome but never just pretty? Women have had meltdowns over this word. Men have written sonnets about how other girls are “pretty”, but You My Love, are “beautiful”. Why have we reserved such a “degrading” word for women? Think about it.

2. When you hear “rape”, you think of the female gender

Face the facts – men get raped too. It may not be as familiar a reality as a woman getting raped but in this perfect little world of ours, this is an actuality. They are abused, they are molested and they get raped. It doesn’t make them any less of a man, just like it doesn’t make the rapist any more of a man.

3. Earrings

Bracelets — you have a wrist, why not decorate it. Necklaces — Let’s keep a noose as close as possible! I understand the idea of embellishing all the hinges and joints of a female body. But a completely unnatural hole in your ear loop? It dawned on me when I found myself asking a new acquaintance why her ears were not pierced.

Since the time I was able to wonder, I have wondered, why drill a hole in your ear loop just to add extra metallic weight? Sadly, before I could even question, I was branded with the Holy Hole.

4. You know too many words for a woman with multiple sexual partners, not one for a man

Imagine a prostitute. You are now thinking of a woman in fish-net stockings (don’t deny it).

No, I was talking about a MALE prostitute.

It’s all in the semantics. Whore. Harlot. Prostitute. Call girl. Slut. You have too many words to describe a promiscuous woman. What do you call a man who decided that it’s his life and only he decides how many women are too many women? A man who decided to sate his sexual drive via multiple partners? Probably a “player”. The funny thing is that you could replace the woman with a football and he’d still be a player. But she? She will always be a whore (GoT reference, muhahaha).

5. Saris

In early medieval times, a conference happened. Of men. They decided that they will convince the women population that draping themselves in a four feet long cloth is the most “decent” attire they can wear. Oh, but wear it in such a way that we can stare at your stomachs for ages to come. And hence Sari came into existence. Yet, if the same midriff or the same “amount” of midriff is left bare in a crop top, be prepared to be ostracised.

6. When my mother says “Who are you going to impress”?

When I wear something pretty. When I put on make-up. When I buy expensive innerwear. When I decide to strut on heels. Who am I trying to impress? Why is it so difficult to comprehend that when I look good, I feel good? I am trying to impress myself. Like every normal person, I like to highlight my good features, hide my insecurities, put on my best shoes and hope that nobody notices that I am having a bad hair day. I am trying to do the best I can to not get lost in this crowd, Ma.

7. You have apologized for things nobody should have to

You have said the ever-so-casual sorry for things you don’t need forgiveness for. Wearing your favourite pink dress or while getting your manicure done, because it’s such a “girly girl” thing to do. Before asking that obvious question, because you thought it sounded stupid and a man would definitely know the answer to that. When you couldn’t lift up that heavy box, because you are a man, and men should be able to lift heavy things. For not wearing make-up, because you look like a “mess” now. For wearing make-up, because you must look like such a drag queen now.

You must be to comment.
  1. A

    I think, somethings have been exaggerated. Hearing a voice of a suppressed childhood and now freedom as an adult ? I suppose yes.

    1. Nupur

      Spot on, Mr. A.
      Found a lot of freedom, and also a voice.
      I may not be right, you may not agree with me, yet I speak.

  2. Ra’s al Ghul

    The author of this article needs to see a psychiatrist.

    1. Nupur

      I do. You couldn’t be more right.
      Read my retarded musings and find out for yourself : http://thoughtcatalog.com/nupur-saraswat/

    2. Raunak

      Says the man who idolises a fictional villain and a two-bit vocabulary.

      Seriously, does it hurt a lot to be civil in public forums?

  3. Richa

    Hi ,

    LOVED IT.
    Gives me a different perspective. and a good one.

  4. Green Lantern

    Atrocious blog post.

  5. Ra’s al Ghul

    Females are gentle, fair, and physically weaker than men. Not sure why you feel the need to ‘cringe.’

    1. The word pretty is reserved for girls, just as handsome is for boys. Using your own bizarre analogy, I think it would be safe to call your father pretty and your mother handsome.

    2. Yes, I think of the female gender because the crime is committed against them a lot more frequently than it is against men, Also, in the media, tell me the last time you heard of a man getting raped, as opposed to a woman?

    3. I am surprised you did not advocate that we should think of men when we hear about ear piercings.

    4. That is because the majority of prostitutes are women.

    5. A sari is a decent attire. It is only of late that women’s blouses have started to get skimpier, in the name of fashion.

    6. Looks like we have a spoilt brat.

    7. Make up IS for girls, and men lift heavy things. That is how it is.

    You need to join The League Of Shadows where some sense will be pumped in your common sense lacking brain.

    1. jeeka krishna

      how is dressing up called spoiled brat?

    2. Nupur

      1. Dear sir, exactly what i meant when I said “Every time a gender neutral word is given a gender by a culture, humanity takes a step back”. Pretty is actually a gender neutral word. Its not “reserved for girls”. Hence it is an issue. I am sure you can come up with a witty comeback to everything – but please don’t. You just make a serious issue a battle of bigger words.
      2. Are you really that naive? There is a reason you don’t hear about a man getting raped as often as women – MEN DON’T COME OUT AND SAY IT. I KNOW a male rape victim. And its a secret he’ll take to his grave. You know why? Exactly – its not “common”. People don’t talk about it. People just brush it away – like you have.
      3. Well you failed to even come up with a “witty come back” for this one. So I guess time for you to go home.
      4. That is not the point. And I am not denying it. My point , again, is that a gender neutral word has been given a gender. And yes it makes me cringe. This is where slut- shaming is rooted.
      5. HAHAHA, how oblivious are you? Women in history DID NOT wear a blouse at all. It is only of late that we have started wearing those “skimpy blouses” You hae no idea how much cooler our ancestors were.
      6. Call me that. Or call me a girl with a voice.
      7. Yet I see more and more men these days wearing make up. And more and more girls lifting weights. In fact I lift. Again, this article is not based on feminist notions, but sexist notions.
      So open up.

      I will refrain from commenting on your abundance of common sense. Hope you have a good day.

  6. Swapnil Tripathi

    Nice perception. But each and every point is not right.Now the time is changing and few points you elaborated has been changed.

  7. Prashant Kaushik

    There are 2 ways for women to reach a better position in society.
    1) Be confident and proud of the ways they are deferentially abled from men.
    2) Call for removal of the differences and strive to be a replica of males.
    This article, like many other, goes on the 2nd path.

    Unfortunately, there have been really very few women whom I have met in real life, and who take pride in their identities. The rest of boggy, rather having faith in their abilities, is always found cribbing and trying to become a photocopy of men.

  8. Nikhil

    I totally agree with all the arguments except the “pretty” scenario. I always believed it was a compliment like handsome, cute and beautiful. Please explain your point.

  9. Mahitha Kasireddi

    I don’t see how is it sexist to equate rape to the female gender. To be pragmatic, looking at the number of rape cases being reported it is women who are victims most of the times. Saying that ‘men are raped too’ (which is also very much possible and happens) does not justify ruling out the existing fact that women are more vulnerable to sexual violence. How is it sexist to explicitly address sexual offences against females? You may point out sexism in cases where someone is not acknowledging that men are raped too, there’s huge difference.

  10. pihu

    A senseless article.
    1. What’s wrong with being admired by your lover and be addressed as beautiful while he calls others pretty. In fact what is wrong with ‘pretty’ and these terms are not used only for women. Talk to more people.
    3. This had no head or tail. Sorry but u need to wake up.
    4. Male prostitutes = GIGOLO.
    5. The saree point has no argument. U need to read it’s history.
    6. How is it sexist? Both genders face this.
    This was a forced article.

    1. Nupur

      1. I DO NOT write forced articles, read me – http://thoughtcatalog.com/nupur-saraswat/ . I promise you.
      3. I need to wake up? Really, do better. There is a reason your mother’s ears are pierced and your father’s aren’t. Don’t tell me men pierce their ears these days too. Its a “trend”. A man gets to DECIDE if he wants to pierce his ears. My ears were pierced when I was 4 years old, and I am NOT ALONE. So stop trying to pacify an important matter. And instead QUESTION!
      4. Yet, I hear “player”, “stud”, “man whore” more than “gigolo”. Don’t try to sound smart on Google’s behalf. You know this is a serious matter. And if you are a girl, and YET you tried to veil this issue with a (so you think) witty comment – shame on you.
      5. My issue is not with the Sari, if you haven’t actually figured out. The issue is with the taboo of skin showing that exists. If I wear a blouse its “Indian”, if I wear a croptop its slutty. Girls all over the world face this. In fact, I am a huge fan of Sari, i think its the most sensual attire ever. But let’s put it for what it is – sensual. Not “decent”.
      6. I think you are confusing sexism with feminism. Sexism is an issue you face BECAUSE of your gender, no matter the gender. So yes both genders face this issue – how does it make the society better. Its still an “issue”.

    2. Babar

      The issue is with the taboo of skin showing that exists.

      I would like to politely ask, why do women feel the need to show skin and what are they going to lose by covering up?

      Furthermore, a woman does not reveal in a saree, I have seen many women in sarees where they do not show any skin. It depends on how you wear it. Just as a shalwar kameez is a decent dress for women, however, with tight, transparent, deep necked and sleeveless shalwar kameez, it all boils down to what you choose to do with a decent attire.

    3. Risha

      Haha, you got her nupur!
      Great article!
      Haters will hate, lovers will love!

    4. Anna

      Good reply

  11. Nupur

    I didn’t think I’d be doing this, but owing to this widespread inability of people to accept that something is wrong with this society – I am going to be responding to each one of you. Stop trying to come up with a witty response guys. This not what this forum is for. These are issues disguised in daily routines. This article was titled so for a reason.

    1. Babar

      widespread inability of people to accept that something is wrong with this society

      Since you have selectively stated “this society”, please note that your 7 points apply to people all over the world, in every country. Thank you.

  12. Anamika

    I’m sorry, I’ve written loads of articles about gender equality and advocated this cause my entire life, both personal and professional, but this article is the most pointless and vile piece of tat I have ever come across. You clearly lead a very privileged life, lack the ability to construct a reasoned argument and have no awareness of the real world. I won’t bother explaining how I have come to this conclusion, just like you haven’t bothered explaining any of the ridiculous claims you make in this post.

    1. Raunak

      I think you have a duty to do that — all but one of her reasons appear cogent to me. Especially when you dismiss someone’s work as a “vile piece of tat”.

    2. Shreyashi

      What does your “reasoned argument” say about piercing the tender earlobes of little girls? Or how about inventing a new word for MALE prostitute?

    3. Aquif

      Shreyanshi i agree with Piercing part…But yes there is a word for a male prostitute….Its called Gigolo….

  13. PC

    Hmmmm… I would not say that the article is senseless. I do agree with some of the stuff in there. But then again, some of them go both ways. For eg. even guys are questioned as to why are they so overdressed. And yes when we hear “rape victim” we think of women, but also when people hear “rapist” they think of a man. So yeah, some things are not sexist but its just because that the majority of cases reported are such, that this tends to come to a person’s mind. Its just like people relating our immediate neighbouring country to Islam, but we also have many hindus and christians and other people living there.
    Everyone will never agree to everything… To each his own… But a fine post nonetheless.

  14. Babar

    Not sure why you are so against pink being a feminine colour. I think pink looks good on girls, be it a bike, clothes, school bag, etc.

    I agree with number 3. It is horrible to have ears of little girls pierced.

  15. Saloni

    Extremely stupid article. (And mind you, I am a feminist.)
    I don’t see what’s sexist with most of your examples.
    Look up the meaning of sexist first.
    And nice title. It attracted my attention and I actually wasted my time and read this.
    YKA should screen articles properly. Such type of essays only degrade the website.

    1. Nupur Saraswat

      HAHAAHA. Congratulations. Your saying “Mind you I am a feminist” has somehow given your opinion more weight-age than mine.

      I am sorry to say your opinions do not matter. AT ALL.
      Want to make them matter? Find your voice. Make it loud. Then talk to me.

      Want to hear my voice, not that it would matter in your naive world anyway, find me here : http://thoughtcatalog.com/nupur-saraswat/

  16. Jyotsna

    NUPUR, I loved your article. I know what you are trying to say. It is beyond the cream layer everybody talks about.

    You are right. You are a person with a voice.

  17. sneha

    The points in this article are valid. The writer is talking about sexism.
    There is no need to advocate, like someone said about earrings and me, it is the matter of choice. It us about choice.
    Nupur you are doing the right thing by replying to all the comments. Maybe if you say it so many times people will accept it as the way of life. Keep that voice loud.

  18. sneha

    The points in this article are valid. The writer is talking about sexism.
    There is no need to advocate, like someone said about earrings and men, it is the matter of choice. It is about choice.
    Nupur you are doing the right thing by replying to all the comments. Maybe if you say it so many times people will accept it as the way of life. Keep that voice loud.

  19. Aquif

    I actually cant believe i completely read this article….Mind you am not sexist…..But the points put forth by the author were totally Stupid to say the least…..

    1) “Pretty” is sexist? Thats the most hilarious thing i have heard…..Pretty is a feminine word. We don’t use it for male just because the dictionary says its for females…..Utterly Stupid

    2) Rapes….Ofcoz first thing thats comes to our mind is rape of women….Not because we are sexist….Its because that the most common thing happening….Had male Rapes been common we would have thought about that

    4) Yes prostitute makes me remind of a Girl…..Thats again because male prostitutes are called Gigolos or Call Boys. Should i ask you what comes to your mind when i say Gigolo???? Should i call u sexist den?

    6) Who are you going to impress???Even my mother says that to me if i dress up…..Mind u Nupur….Even guys face dis…..And this punchline is not just for girls.

    1. Jai Anand

      Agreed, the author feels that every remark made on her are ‘sexist’, I wish she knows the meaning of ‘sexist’. I hope that on your Point one, she wouldn’t reply that even the dictionary is ‘sexist’

  20. chandrakant sharma

    Hi, a very nicely written article but what i got here is that you (Nupur) is angry from the old social system that had came all along down to her or any one in the society.

    The story that you mentioned about the saree is completely made up for convenience of those people who do not like the or understand the reason of it.
    In your point no.7 the thing that you have mentioned is an clear example of misunderstanding between parents & child.

    Apart from that some of your reasons are some what near.

    I do hope that you come out of this delima.

  21. karishma

    Some of the comments here are a proof of why her article was needed! Misogynists!! Good work Nupur!

    1. nikhil letha-soman

      I totally concur! There is no need for further proof.

    2. Babar

      Misogynists? That is a word used by shallow people who want everyone to adhere to their set of outrageous beliefs, and if you dare voice your opinion, you are a ‘misogynist’. It is also a shaming tactic used by women who can’t defend their pathetic theories in a rational manner.

    3. Jai Anand

      Bang on!

  22. Neeraj Pant

    Nice Article. But just one thing. Daughters are not give pink bike. They demand for pink bikes (or may be other colors too!)
    Double Like!

  23. Jai Anand

    Nupur,
    I would not like to reiterate things which people here have already said.
    First of all you are unaware of the definition of ‘sexist’ which reflects upon you naivety. Secondly, you must understand how these things have come up and may be then you can articulate your arguments better. These things exists but question as to why have they come into existence? Nothing has come up without a reason. E.g. -“rape” – when he hear ‘rape’, we think of a women gender because the Indian Penal Code Section 375 which talks about “rape” talks only about rape of a female, I am not sure if you are aware of this either. So, I suggest you not to jump to conclusions without knowing their very existence, be it legal, societal or biological. When you hear a word ‘thief’, don’t you think of a guy wearing a black cab? Question yourself, as to why. Looking forward to hearing from you.
    I write on http://missionsharingknowledge.com/author/jai-anand/

  24. Jai Anand

    Nupur,
    Let me also point out the irony in your point number 6. “hope that nobody notices that I am having a bad hair day. I am trying to do the best I can to not get lost in this crowd, Ma.” Does this reflect upon the idea that you don’t want to leave a bad impression on other? Why are you concerned about people noticing that you are having “a bad hair day”. It is because you do not intend to leave bad impression. See the irony in your question and comments. Looking forward to some ‘logical’ reply.

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