There’s a useful analogy I came across years back for determining if something is sexist: If a person named Taylor seeks your permission to do something, and if your answer changes when Taylor is a woman, that’s sexism.
This was instrumental in re-evaluating how I argue for marriage equality. For example, say that Sarah and Taylor want to get married and have met all necessary legal requirements. If they’re allowed to marry when Taylor is a man but disallowed when Taylor is a woman, that’s sexism.
On the flip side, it’s also sexist to say that certain types of work are only for women. These include cleaning, laundry, childcare, teaching, and cooking. Each of these is essential. And each is the responsibility of all adults who benefit from them, regardless of sex or gender.
I want to end with three quotes from Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
So teach Chizalum that biology is an interesting and fascinating subject, but she should never accept it as justification for any social norm. Because social norms are created by human beings, and there is no social norm that cannot be changed.
Teach her that if you criticize X in women but do not criticize X in men, then you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women.
But here is a sad truth: Our world is full of men and women who do not like powerful women. We have been so conditioned to think of power as male that a powerful woman is an aberration. And so she is policed. We ask of powerful women: Is she humble? Does she smile? Is she grateful enough? Does she have a domestic side? Questions we do not ask of powerful men, which shows that our discomfort is not with power itself, but with women. We judge powerful women more harshly than we judge powerful men.
Be well, my friend.
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