Every day I see examples of sexism, this doesn't only apply to girls. Anyone can see the more broad examples of sexism, what people might call “stereotypical sexism”, but both men and women tend to overlook the more subtle daily acts of sexism they encounter. Everyday actions, thoughts, and remarks go unnoticed because there is a sort of blindness to them. It happens unconscionably, and that's the problem.
In school, you should feel safe and be able to be yourself. I have noticed that in class there is usually a group labeled the “class clowns”. A boy will make snarky remarks towards the teacher and get away with it. I am currently in a class where there is a group of boys sitting in the corner making jokes about our teacher and other girls in the class. Our teacher will laugh off the “jokes” and the boys rarely receive consequences. I have noticed when a group of girls do the same thing they are labeled as “disrespectful” or “distracting”. Although both scenarios are seen as rude, boys tend to get away with it more, as it is just “boys being boys”.
I have very smart friends, when they know the answer or have something to say, they will say it. I have heard people label them as “nerds” or even the “teacher's pet”. This is something that happens but shouldn't. People should be able to be confident in the classroom without having to worry about being called rude names or being judged by their capabilities. The sexist stereotype that boys are smarter than girls is not a reality, but I have experienced boys who truly believe the average man is smarter. For example, I was sitting in my P.E class when my teacher asked us a set of questions. He asked us to raise our hands if we thought women were smarter than men, and with no doubt, I put my hand up. However, when I turned around I was shocked by the number of girls with their hands down. The lack of confidence in themselves was startling. I noticed most boys did not have their hands raised. My teacher then proceeded to ask who is stronger, a man or a woman? This has been debated a lot in society, as men are genetically physically stronger. I told him that women are mentally stronger, and the majority of my class straight-up disagreed with me. I felt my opinions were invalid and were embarrassed for speaking up. No one should feel this way.
There are many different types of sexism. Not all sexism goes unnoticed but I think people can do a better job of noticing casual sexism and not participating in it. I want people to see it's a problem. Stopping sexism in schools is highly important, as everyone should be able to feel safe at school. Sexism is a big problem in the world, but at the very least, our schools should be a place where people don't have to worry about it.
Author: Maeve Bradley
Location: Virginia, U.S.A