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Is it impossible for men to really understand sexism?

A link to a recent Guardian article about the everyday sexism professional women face popped up on my Facebook timeline today – it’s a good article and sadly most of the examples are ones I can entirely relate to

Predictably a chap had commented on the link saying that these aren’t really examples of sexism and anyway it’s just because women are going into traditionally male industries and understandably it is taking the men a little while to get used to having the lovely ladies around…

After I had stopped fuming, it struck me that perhaps it is impossible for men to understand about sexism

Yes there are a few men out there struggling to make their way in traditionally female dominated industries but for the majority of men the world they live in is a mainly male one – sexism is not something that they directly encounter in their lives

Plenty of them must have to deal with the fall out from what happens to the women in their lives but it is one thing to hear about your wife being asked to make the tea for the team despite being the most experienced team member, to hear about clients assuming that the 20-something man must be the team leader rather than the sole lady, to hear about yet another evening of ‘banter’ comparing the PA’s boob sizes and quite another to have actually had to deal with that sort of thing on a daily basis

So not only do we have women struggling to find equality in the workplace but also to find the men in their lives being able to understand

I guess from the male standpoint each little act of sexism doesn’t sound like a great deal – after all what is the odd misunderstanding, slight, feeling of being excluded?

The trouble is that for most women there is a drip drip drip effect – water will eventually make holes in rock – in the same way I see women leaving my male dominated industry because there comes a point when you just are sick of it all

I don’t know what the answer is

I just really really wish I did – I wish I could make the average man understand why this is an issue, why it does upset us and why, if only one woman is pushed out of a job, it is a big bloody deal

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A friend sent me a link to this film which switches gender in a really powerful way – what do you think?  Required watching for men or something that continues the chasm of un-understanding?

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