Tolerated Sexism Among TeensTuesday, April 17, 2012 By Megan Haymond
From kitchen jokes to unwanted touching, sexism has not only become rampant among young people, but it is accepted. I had always known that women were not treated equally to men and had much work to do to receive gender equality, but over this past spring break my eyes were opened to the seriousness of the matter. I went on vacation with a friend and her family to Destin, Florida. The first thing I noticed while there was a line of t-shirts with the saying, “Cool story babe, now make me a sandwich.” I noticed as many as twenty guys wearing the t-shirts and even saw some when I returned back to Bellbrook, Ohio. As a young a woman, seeing these shirts not only disgusts me, but it brings about much concern about how we teach our youth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that women working slightly above forty hours per week only earn 84.6% of what males working the same amount of time earn. Also the National Center for Education Statistics noted that women attempting to become principals usually have to work as a teacher three years longer than men. The numbers are even more shocking for women of color: the AFL-CIO found that Latino women earn sixty cents to a man’s dollar and African American women earn seventy-two cents while just women in general earn seventy-nine cents. In 2012 we often forget that not all have equality. Just because women occupy more jobs than before does not mean they receive equal treatment as men. While women have come a long way since passing the 19 th amendment, there is still work to be done, and allowing our generations to think blatant sexism is tolerated would be a setback for the progress for equality. While those shirts weren’t meant to be serious, they point out a problem among the young generation that several men perceive women as objects and not their equals. While it is a proven fact men have the capacity to be stronger physically than women and there are some gender roles that will never change (bearing children, for example), women deserve equal opportunities in their jobs and respect in their life. Although women are not always the victims in the battle to defeat sexism, men receive a heavy dose of sexism as well. I hear Facebook rants on "10 Reasons Why Guys Suck" and "All Men Want One Thing." Television commercials not only showcase women as objects to be obtained, but men in positions of wealth and power—or stupidity. Not only as students of Bellbrook High School but also as a united people we need to learn that all genders are capable of greatness and deserve equal respect. When we allow sexist comments to take place, even in jest, we are only setting the stage for a larger setback among women. Many young men admit to believing that men are "clearly better" and treat women with as much respect as a broomstick. This is intolerable, and we need to end this precedent of disrespect for our fellow human beings. So I challenge you to take a stand and fight for equality for all and to end discrimination of both men and women.