Sexism rears its head in all sorts of ways, from outright violence against women and gender non-conforming people to daily microaggressions. The little ways sexism affects your daily life are some of the most insidious because they're so common, and because they so often go unnoticed. We need to make ourselves aware of them, or else we'll just accept them as the status quo.
Many subtle, daily manifestations of sexism result from implicit biases — the beliefs we hold based on stereotypes without even knowing it. The American Association of University Women, Project Implicit, and Harvard researchers created an Implicit Association Test to determine whether people are biased against women leaders, for example, and found that both men and women generally are. Even when we consciously believe that women deserve as many leadership opportunities, subconscious beliefs to the contrary may come out in behaviors like disproportionately promoting men or interrupting women.
Here are some small ways that sexism affects how we treat others and how we ourselves are treated on a daily basis.
1. Women spend more time getting ready in the morning due to the focus our culture places on their looks.
2. The majority of women have experienced street harassment, leading them to feel unsafe outside their homes.
3. Women are also prone to the worst types of online harassment, which can make just checking social media frightening.
4. Women, particularly women of color, are bombarded with sexualized and degrading images of bodies like theirs everywhere from billboards and magazine covers to advertisements and TV shows.
5. Both men and women are more likely to interrupt women than men.
6. The idealization of thin bodies and normalization of dieting can pressure women to restrict their eating or be shamed for eating "too much."
7. Women often have to deal with dates who make sexist remarks or enforce gender roles through "chivalry."
8. Women get pressured into dates and sex due to the societal belief that they owe people, particularly men, their affections.
9. Trans and non-binary people constantly hear language that excludes them.
10. Trans and non-binary people are also excluded from bathrooms and other unnecessarily gendered places.
12. Young girls, especially girls of color, disproportionately experience sexual harassment at school.
13. School dress codes guilt women for the unwanted sexual attention they receive, while the perpetrators are rarely condemned or punished.
14. Women get accused of being bossy or aggressive for stating their opinions in ways men do without facing punishment.
15. Due to the perception that women are overly emotional, their partners, friends, and coworkers constantly call their valid feelings and concerns into question.
16. Women's families and partners demand housework, childcare, and other free labor from them.
17. People assume women less capable of tasks involving math, physical strength, and other "masculine" skills.
18. Men feel pressured to hide their emotions and vulnerabilities.
19. Moms are disproportionately criticized for not raising their kids the way others think they should.
20. Women who name these problems face accusations of "man hating."
If anyone ever doubts that we need feminism, just show them this. Gender inequality impacts literally every area of our lives, which means feminism is needed just about everywhere.