Gender Specific versus Sexism
One of my favourite character satirists at the moment is a British man called Jonathan Pie, whose act revolves around pretending to be a news reporter, making off the cuff comments to his producer whilst he isn’t live on air.
He recently uploaded a video to youtube entitled “Sexist Pie” where he referred to British Prime Minister Theresa May as “a f**ing btch” then claimed his language was not misogynistic but gender specific.
In that sentence, he very succinctly summed up a subtlety that seems to have escaped many ideological feminists that claim all manor of things to be sexist and misogynistic.
Language is a tool that can be used for good and for bad. I’m not attempting to defend people hurling uncivilised and unnecessary insults at other human beings but I think it’s important to realise why people choose the words they do.
A good example of this is someone calling a woman names like a slut or a whore. These are clearly not very nice, derogatory terms to use but are these terms sexist? Some people would claim that they are because those insults are not used against men but I disagree.
The reason why some people (including other women) call women these names is because it has an impact. Being a sexually promiscuous woman is not seen as a good thing in the majority of human cultures. It’s insulting, and that’s why people say it.
So why don’t people call men sluts? Well, a man that sleeps with lots of women is seen in a very different light to a woman. That attempted insult would sound much more like a compliment to a man.
You may be thinking that this just proves that our culture is discriminatory towards women. Why should men be allowed to sleep around and women not?
However, the flip side of the coin is that men are called names relating to their inability to succeed with women. You won’t hear women being told that they’re a virgin living in their mothers basement, or jokes about their sexual performance.
Historically speaking, a woman that had sex with many men was at risk of abandonment as the father could not guarantee that the offspring were his children. Her commitment to sleeping with just one man was a bargaining chip exchanged for his will to defend, protect and provide for her and his children. There was no advantage for a woman that slept with many men, it would not increase her chances of passing on her genetic material significantly but for a man, obtaining sex was the difficult part.
The different evolutionary pressures men and women experience explains much of the differences in terms of our behaviours towards each other, nature itself discriminates and provides different, yet equally important roles for the two sexes.
What do you call a key that can open many locks? A master key. What do you call a lock that can be opened by many keys? Broken.
None of these kind of jokes are nice, but none of them are sexist, they’re just sex specific. People will say whatever they can say that is likely to have most impact on the person on the receiving end.
When we start trying to convince ourselves that there are no biological differences between the sexes, we do both sexes a disservice. It’s ok for people to be different. Diversity is a strength not a weakness.