Equal Opportunity Sexism

“When devoid of virtue, man is the most unscrupolous and savage of animals, and the worst in regard to sexual indulgence and gluttony.” – Aristotle

With the advancement made by the Woman’s Suffrage and Civil Rights Movement, there still exist today workplaces that remain perpetuated in the dark ages of sexism, lack of consideration and professionalism.

While racial discrimination still lives, it is not as rampant and so blatant as the crude comments and actions to and about women. The ironic thing about this is that most men of all race, color and creed contribute to this unfairness and bigotry as well as the women who allow it to happen.

This conclusion arrived to me during my short stints working at a few small businesses in the Tampa Bay area: they were for an internet book store company, telemarketing for e-Learning training and certifications, and the other was convincing businesses to buy sun-tanning lotions. My position for these companies was entry-level, which I found trite and did not so easily kowtow to the slave driving mentalities of the managerial staff. However, two out of three of those jobs were managed by the 20-something generation. Therefore, those were, I found the ones that exhibited more offensive language and actions toward women such as sexual jokes, innuendos and inconsideration. The women were just as part of the fiasco as I silently held my belief, while trying to maintain my so needed low paying job.

Still to this day, women in many countries have no rights. Baby girls are still being abandoned and killed in some parts because of their gender and I wonder how much have we evolved, really, in this country, other than the right to vote and work? It is this cross-gender, cross-racial bias toward women phenomenon what I call Equal Opportunity Sexism.

Equal Opportunity Sexism is manifested in many ways from the media, judicial system (circa Debra Lafave disaster) to restaurants who openly clothe their female staff in revealing costumes and blatantly call their establishment in derogatory references to female bosoms, i.e. “Hooters”, “Mugs and Jugs” and some sneaky name-game tactics, yet same principle, “Wing House”. How did some of these restaurants, so notorious for their famous “wings”, become traditional family eateries? Are these families, headed by the leader, (usually the father and husband) just really coming for the “wings”? Or is it the same as reading Playboy for the articles, the pictures are just an added plus? The point is you have to go through the pictures to get to the articles and the wives that sit next to them are supposedly liberated and so “secure” in themselves. Exposing their children to bosom bearing waitresses is re-confirming the message that women are better well regarded for pleasure and pursuit. And the young women, who work at these establishments, as well as strip bars, are ironically putting themselves through college by the bulging-eyed oglers who slip their greasy money into their braziers.

Simply patronizing these establishments whether intentional or not, is absurd. It is not cathartic and defeats the purpose for equality.

The problem with Equal Opportunity Sexism is that it is not really equal on the flip side. Where are the restaurants and establishments for male exploitation, aside from the lame male stripper nights at your local nightclubs? If we are a self-indulgent society, then let’s be fair about it across the board. If there are female full nudity bars for men, then how come there isn’t equal amount of male full nudity bars for women? Don’t you think there is a market out there for sex-starved, emotionally deprived housewives? Absolutely. They made a TV series about them, called Desperate Housewives, didn’t they?

During the training course at one of the telemarketing firms I mentioned for the e-Learning certifications, I happened to be the only female in the room when remarks made by the more mature supervisors were so openly made in my presence. Instructor B, who happened to be black, said in jest, that the moment he decided to stay in Florida was when he saw the wet t-shirt contest at Clearwater Beach. Of course, all of the men cackled but I looked at him stoned-faced and unimpressed.

The problem with the sexual revolution during the 60’s and 70’s is that it benefited the men more because it promoted and encouraged sexual promiscuity among the women. The female bi-sexual movement just makes the men’s sexual fantasy become more valid while it surrenders adventurous women to a lifestyle full of new labels and expectations. Just check out the adult video stores if you haven’t already. Now, how liberating is that? It is one thing to not be satisfying enough to your partner, or vice versa, that true intimacy has no relevance anymore.

To me, the more we up the stakes in bold gestures such as network TV becoming more sexually explicit with languages and strong suggestions from commercial to sitcoms, what are we succumbing to? When one challenges the free speech amendment they are labeled an ultra-conservative, a religious zealot or a femi-nazi. What it means from one spectrum to the other, is to question how much of our culture, this society, dictates the individual? It is one thing to say as an individual you have the right to choose what to see, choose where to go. Yet, no matter what channel you flip through, no matter where you go in public, you are bombarded with images and words that denigrate you and force you to accept it, because that is what is healthy and acceptable. It’s as if one must retreat to the hills to escape from it all.

The question is: How much respect do women really have? Is it what she can do with her body? Her good looks, if she has it? If not, she better have a brain and success so she can have the ability to pay for a good plastic surgeon.

Men are allowed to be men: the good, bad and ugly. I will not accept the double standard. My boyfriend does not understand my views. It will be me against the world, I guess.

It is my wish that we start becoming a culture that value wisdom, insight, love and things of the other aesthetics such as the arts and literature. There is no real substance in CSI Miami or Reality TV. But if anyone out there wants to stand against the world with me than run to the hills, then by all means, I’ll be here waiting…alone.

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