Monday, February 23, 2009

Combating Facebook status sexism

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.

9 comments:

INTPanentheist said...

Yeah; every time I do something like that on Facebook said friend, whomever it may be, gets pissed off at me for "trying to start a debate" or what have you.

Amelia said...

I was really afraid that I might get the same reaction, but still, I had to try to point out the issues with the statement he was making.

Luckily he was cool-headed and heard me out without jumping to conclusions about my intentions for bringing it up.

INTPanentheist said...

Meh. See, usually it's female friends on there who say these generalizing things and attribute them to themselves, and I try and challenge that because it frustrates me to see friends act as though, say, sex is something their husband has to earn by buying roses after spending a week straight playing WoW without paying them any attention. I just want to slam my head into a wall, and it's my way of saying, "You deserve better."

Amelia said...

I can see your frustration. It's really sad to see how sometimes women get sucked into this sexist, patriarchal world where they can't see their own worth...and they don't really mind because it can be comfortable if no one's pointing out all the awful things about it.

Michael said...

I know I've said plenty of horribly sexist things in my facebook status. Thankfully, however, it's usually hilarious, so nobody seems to mind.

That or everyone ignores me anyway.

judgesnineteen said...

I did that once, very similar scenario. A guy said something about "all women at [my college] NO EXCEPTIONS" and I knew he would think I was an exception so I talked to him about it. He said of course he didn't mean me, and kept saying and writing the same things. Sigh. Glad you had better luck!

EastWind said...

We do live in a sad world. The real problem is that we have had so many laws passed to protect women that suggest they are perfect and that males are always totally at fault in every situation. This is what has caused so much of this sexist behavior. Yes females need protecting from males who harm them but not all males harm females. It is good to see you attempting to repair damage. It would be even better to see adverts on TV doing the same thing instead of promoting the problem.

FeministGal said...

good for you! change happens one little thing at a time :)

SnowdropExplodes said...

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.

Hooray for having the "what you said" conversation instead of the "what you are" conversation!

From small seeds like this do mighty movements grow.