Subtle Sexism: What To Look Out For

Conflicts can lead to more problems if not recognized and dealt with in their earliest stages. It does not matter if it is in the workplace, on campus, at church, or even at home.

If you are a woman, there may be times where your conflict will be rooted in the fact that you are not a man. When these sexist conflicts arise, you have to know what to do to protect yourself and the accomplishments you worked so hard to obtain.

But first you have to recognize the sexism. Some forms of sexism are more subtle than others.

Here are some examples of sexism-based conflicts that you should watch out for in different environments:

In the workplace, if you are constantly being asked to do seemingly menial tasks such as retrieving beverages,  you may need to look into the thought process behind the favor. Take heed and determine if anyone else on your floor or section is expected to do such things. Analyze the reaction that you receive if you decide to say no. Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg have found that based on thoughts rooted in sexism,  if “a woman declines to help a colleague, people like her less and her career suffers. But when a man says no, he faces no backlash.” If this seems true to you and your situation, you may want to look into changing the atmosphere.

Sexism is not always a blatant disrespectful phrase…

For campus life, the situation from the workplace still applies because it is a universal example of something that can be perceived as simple, but in reality is sinister. An example that may more so apply to campus could be subtle sexism that could occur while having an open discussion in class. Kati Dlugosz, an alumna of Hiram College, felt that the men in her “classes seemed to feel entitled to every discussion, even if it was not related or had nothing to do with to their opinion.” If you are constantly being interrupted by men or males within your classroom and the disruption only occurs when you or another woman is speaking, then you may want to look into making that classroom environment a safer space to voice your opinions.

It can be covert and hide under the guise of asking for a favor or overtly voicing one’s opinion strategically at the time of a woman attempting to share her thoughts. Those two examples are definitely not the only examples of subtle sexism. 

Ladies, please be on the lookout for these occurrences remember you are not over-thinking the situation. Protect your dignity and protect your rights!

Mikyala Moore

Dillard University student from Kansas City who majors in criminal justice and wants you to know what I am thinking.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.