I am sexist, because I knowingly say something sexist: I believe women are naturally inferior to men in a certain way. Time magazine:
For humans, there has always been something about a health message coming from a woman that gives it special authority. … Traditionally … it was the mother who saw to it that the kids got vaccinated, Grandma made it to her heart specialist and Dad stayed on his blood-pressure meds. …
Women make the primary health care decisions in two-thirds of American households. They account for 80 cents out of every dollar spent in drugstores and are likelier than men to choose the family’s health insurance. … “Global development agencies [know] … when you give resources or money to women, more winds up in children’s health. When you give it to men, it’s likelier to wind up going for things like tobacco.” …
As with so many things, it begins with evolution, but it doesn’t stop there. Females of nearly all species expend far more time and energy producing young than males do and are thus far more motivated to protect that investment. … [Researchers] asked men and women in doctor’s offices why they were there and if anyone had encouraged them to come. Men were 2.7 times as likely as women were to say they were prodded by a member of the opposite sex.
Time describes a way that women are naturally different from men. Is this “sexist“? Technically yes, as it expresses a “belief or attitude that one gender or sex is inferior to, less competent, or less valuable than the other.” But no, not according to common serious usage* of the term, since here Time says it is women who are superior. Folks who say that are almost never seriously labeled “sexist.”
Now I believe we consume too much med, especially in the US. We’d be better off to crudely cut med, via higher prices or less geographic practice variation. So I think whomever is responsible for pushing for more med at the margin does a bad thing. Therefore if I agree with Time that women naturally push med more, I must conclude that in this way women are naturally less valuable or competent than men.
Thus, I am “sexist.” So must you all now shun and condemn me for my knowing serious “sexism,” or can we agree either that it isn’t such a bad thing to be “sexist,” or that we should move to a narrower usage of the term?
Our social norms on serious sexism are now bendable; the way we’ve defined “sexist” gives media elites the flexibility to tar most anyone who speaks honestly with the label. After all, if honest, most should admit women are different from men in many ways, and worse in some of those ways.
By opposing such flexibility, I signal I am more likely that most to be so tarred, and hence less connected, influential, or savvy. So be it. Will anyone else join me, and publicly admit they are “sexist” as the term is used today? Will anyone else oppose the term’s bendability?
*(Many agree “all men are rapists” is sexist, but few ever say that. I can’t find an actual claim of female superiority widely accepted as seriously “sexist.”)
Added: Two more “sexism” definitions:
- 1. Prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially : discrimination against women; 2. Behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex.
- (Actions based on) the belief that the members of one sex are less intelligent, able, skilful, etc. than the members of the other sex, especially that women are less able than men.
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