Can A Woman Be Sexist?

Sexism has long been a burden borne exclusively by men, but, by not attributing sexist or misogynistic behavior to women as well, we are in fact engaging in it.

Women, consciously or unconsciously are almost just as likely to make a sexist remark, both towards a man, or more commonly, towards another woman. Simply because statements like ‘man up’ or ‘don’t be such a girl’ are directed from one woman to another, does not excuse it as being non-sexist.

A quick recap of the definition of sexism would be prudent at this point. The Oxford Dictionary defines sexism as ‘Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, TYPICALLY against women, on the basis of sex’. There you have it! Sexism is typically directed against women, and due to its  intensely and accurately negative connotations, the logical conclusion is that sexism is perpetrated by men.  

Sexism in women is often a lot more subtle than the overt ‘out there’ and easily recognizable sexism that most people associate with men, but it is pretty safe to say that every one of us has heard another woman tell a girlfriend to ‘stop acting like a girl’ or to ‘man up’ and accept an unpleasant situation. Conversely, men too,  are constantly told by their female friends or partners to ‘be a man’ or that they’re ‘such a girl’ for showing some sensitivity or even caring about the way they look. Female bosses are also known to be much harsher on their male subordinates than they are on women who work for them.

Social media, television, film, and even real life are all filled with examples of women behaving in a definitively sexist manner, both towards men and even more frequently, towards other women. Derogatory or judgmental statements about appearance, attire, in fact anything at all are commonplace in women’s locker rooms, at the gym, in the workplace or even in a social setting, making it evidently clear that it is perfectly possible, and even probable that women are indeed sexist as well.

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