Recent posts

Why Firing A Sexy Employee Reflects Implicit Sexism

By now, the news that an Iowa court upheld a (male) dentist firing his (female) assistant for being too sexy has made the rounds. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the employee has been flirtatious or dressed inappropriately; the employer’s comfort level was the main factor in the decision. Other bloggers have tackled why this is a problem, pointing out, for instance, that this ruling sends a negative message by objectifying women (which is not technically illegal) – so maybe the law should change. Perhaps a new law preventing employers not just from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender, but also discrimination based on the employer’s feelings of sexual attraction (or lack thereof) would help. However, I believe that this case reflects an unconscious level of sexism that many Americans don’t even question, which is what we really need to be discussing in order to change things for the better. Continue Reading →

Subtle Sexism: It Adds Up

A lot of people are slowly coming around to realizing that overt sexism sucks, especially when it leaves obvious signs, as domestic violence and rape do. Overall, this is a good thing, but it leaves subtle or implicit sexism unexamined. I suppose we have to start somewhere, right? This essay by a woman coder on the phrase “lighten up” perfectly exemplifies what I’m talking about. Her numerous experiences with being the only woman in a meeting and being told to take notes, or having her outfits constantly commented on, demonstrate how these experiences add up. Continue Reading →

Being Ironically Sexist Is Still Sexist

A lot of advertising is, no surprise, rather sexist and regressive when it comes to gender roles. But if the advertising demonstrates an awareness of sexist tropes, is it still sexist? This analysis on Youtube says yes, defining “retro sexism” as “Modern attitudes and behaviors that mimic or glorify sexist aspects of the past, often in an ironic way.” The TV ad examples may appear innocuous at first glance, but watching them add up is rather striking. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Continue Reading →

Gender And Veterinary Medicine

Animal-lovers, take note: sexism in veterinary schools is waning, but could still affect the decisions of young people hoping to become veterinarians. I found this blog post on gender inequality in veterinary medicine fascinating, and I’m hoping the author’s plea for more compassionate people to become vets–regardless of gender–reaches future vet students. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Why Calling Someone Out On Sexist Language Might Actually Work

Okay, by “someone” I meant “men,” but they were the subjects of a recent scientific study in which college-aged males were confronted on their use of sexist language. After being accused of using sexist language by a female conversation partner, many men went on to display compensatory social behaviors that indicated increasingly cordial feelings with their female conversation partners. These results are admittedly preliminary, but encouraging given the high incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as the prevalence of unintended, unconscious sexism in language and attitudes (among both men and women, to be fair). Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →