SEXISM SELLS ... WHO'S BUYING?
Near the end of this film, the question is posed: If women constitute more than 50% of the electorate, why aren't there more women in public office?
It's a good question. Women can be sexist too. I've observed it in the workplace, where a female executive enjoys her privileged place so much that rather than mentoring or encouraging other women, she denies them access to the inner circle. I've experienced it with a female obstetrician who told me outright that since she had to endure female pain, she had no sympathy with mine. I've seen it, time after time, on the airwaves, when female reporters seemed so anxious for solidarity with their male counterparts or superiors, that they expressed some of the same sexist remarks or laughed nervously rather than calling them out for it.
When racism was a more accepted, pervasive phenomenon in our culture, we were told that to accede to or stand silently by, when racist remarks were made in our presence, made us complicit in that racist expression. That principle is no less true regarding sexism.
I remember when, some dozen years ago, my well-meaning and otherwise sensitive CEO (of a $10 billion Fortune 500 company) appointed four men to be facilitators for his pet project, and four women to be their co-facilitators (which basically meant we were to take notes on the flipcharts). The co-facilitators were Director of Sales, the VP-Corporate Communications, one of our corporate attorneys, and myself, Director of Communications, i.e., all executives, not administrative assistants. When we met for our first planning meeting, the CEO asked if any of us had any opening thoughts. I looked around the group and asked, "Has anyone else noticed that the facilitators are all male, and the co-facilitators all female?" The Director of Sales exclaimed, "I was wondering if anyone would point that out!" The CEO was astonished and then said, "I didn't even realize it." I believed it. Though the husband of a strong woman and the father of a CBS news producer, the habit of sexism was ingrained in even this fine man.
My point is, if we don't speak out against sexism when it rears its head, the HABIT will not be changed. The first step in eradicating any prejudice is to point it out, repeatedly, until consciousness is raised, and the habit is no longer culturally acceptable.