‘you are too aggressive’

‘you are too emotional’

‘calm down!

According to half of my batch mates, sexism does not exist. That means there is no discrimination among the sexes anymore and that the wage gap does not exist and no one considers womxn to be inferior. They agree to it while simultaneously asking me to “calm down” and not get rather infuriated when talking about feminism.

Sexism has become a part of my life, every single day I have to battle the usage of certain irrelevant phrases or selfish actions. Here, I will try my best to breakdown a few of many irrefutable sexist phrases and put forward the reason why they perpetuate sexism.  

  • “Don’t be a pussy”

The phrase is commonly used when a person is unable to perform or complete a task. “Don’t be a pussy” directly equates to “don’t be a coward.” The “pussy” in this particular phrase (and in general) is considered ‘weak,’ indirectly forcing the thought that womxn are the weaker sex. However, this phrase is false. As we know it, vaginas are super powerful, they can push out an entire human being and even after that continue to function.

  • “Man Up”

It directly means “be brave” or “toughen up” subconsciously allowing us to contain the idea that only men can be brave and women are timid, shy and cowardly. This phrase promotes toxic masculinity. This phrase insinuates that people who are not masculine do not have the courage or are not brave or tough enough to carry forward certain tasks.

  • “Boys will be boys”

One of the most used sexist statements, this one, particularly excuses the deeds committed by men by justifying their behaviour. With this statement, we infer that boys cannot help their behaviour.  It reflects society’s tendencies to forgive men and blame their behaviour to their gender. This statement normalizes sexism on its own.  I read an article a few days ago which explained the problem with ‘boys will be boys’ perfectly. Read it here.

  • “Why do all women…”

Every feeling or emotion a womxn expresses, in no time it is generalised and countered. Every woman is different. One woman might be a bad driver, but as we know it, “all women are bad drivers.” Generalisation, at this level, is stupid as well as unfair. Driving is known to be a necessity for men while for womxn it is not.

  • “Grow a pair”

It is shorthand for “grow a pair of balls.” This phrase is used when asking a person to “toughen up” or “be brave,” It perpetuates toxic masculinity and has the same problem as “man up.”

  • “Don’t _____  like a girl”

Sexist phrases like these are used to insult and draw comparisons between being feminine and weak. From these statements, we infer that however girls perform a certain activity, it is weaker and/or inferior to how men do it.

  • “You are a girl, you should know better”

Girls are punished for their reckless behaviour from an early age for the same behaviour boys are allowed to indulge in their adulthood. Boys are favoured and their behaviour is gladly excused with ‘boys will be boys.’ Scoopwhoop’s article mentions 28 reasons why girls, apparently, mature faster than boys.

  • “smile!” or “calm down!”

Womxn are expected to be happy, all the time. Apparently, womxn look better when smiling. News flash: It is not womxn’s responsibility to appear happy all the time just to make men more comfortable.  A very close friend of mine is hated by her relatives because she stands up to them and calls them out on their fatphobia. She is tired of hearing ‘calm down’ and ‘you are too emotional’ and ‘you don’t know how to respect elders’. When her brothers behave recklessly, the only thing they get to hear is: ‘boys will be boys.’

Our duty is to introspect and avoid using sexist language. It’s time to acknowledge that sexism is in fact real and everywhere.