I was on Facebook this morning when I saw the status of one of my friends from high school as him being "completely fed up with females and their mind games." This person isn't someone I talk to on a regular basis, but I felt compelled to comment on his status.
I was not the first person to comment. Other people had said things in response. One girl said, "stop hanging out with nasty bitches then!" while others voiced their agreement with the status. I said that it was a lame generalization because not all women play mind games, so he must have really meant that a few women he had talked to recently seemed to be playing games with him. Implying that everyone of the female gender plays mind games was sexist and inaccurate.
I was surprised when a few minutes later he changed his status to say that he was "sick of talking to the wrong girls." He then started a Facebook chat with me, saying he didn't mean to imply anything about all women, just the ones he had been talking to lately. I assured him that I didn't mean to offend him, but pointed out that the way he had worded his status made him seem kind of sexist, and I didn't believe he was a bad guy. The chat ended cordially and made me feel rather relieved.
Sometimes, when I am confronted with sexism and I call it out, I forget that it is easy to slip into those stereotypes and generalizations, and that even if you say something sexist, it doesn't necessarily make you a full-blown misogynist. But it is something that needs to be called out because when we slip into those generalizations it means that somehow, they have been absorbed by us. It's nice to know that when people are made aware of their actions, often times they know how and are willing to change them.