Sexism is too pervasive in public spaces

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A piece of paper reads “sexism”, crossed out in red lipstick. Women are constantly handed the short end of the stick, whether it comes to credibility or being told how to present themselves. Photo by Viktoria Slowikowska

An underdog is a person or team thought to have a low chance of winning. The odds are clearly stacked against them. That, however, does not stop them from continuing to push and fight to the end for their desired outcome. By this definition, that surely would make women the ultimate underdogs. 

Women are constantly handed the short end of the stick, whether it comes to receiving less traction in sporting events or being told how they are supposed to present themselves. We have to work harder to gain even a fraction of the respect men get by existing, and most of us do so with a smile on our faces. Women tend to realize what they want and push themselves in calculated steps to reach each of those goals. Often, it is to prove that we are capable, either to ourselves or others, because gender truly doesn’t determine your abilities. We might have to back ourselves up more, but a woman can be just as impressive as a man, which means we should be treated as equals. 

Take football, for instance. It’s a sport known to be dominated by men with a toxic fanbase, but it should be able to be enjoyed by all. Women are subjected to behaviors that make them severely uncomfortable and can be disturbing to witness. At the game against FIU on September 16th, I and many others were forced to listen to a drunken student at our school request that dancers “turn around” so he could see their backsides and “take off their clothes.” In a situation like this, they cannot speak up for themselves; however, I did notice one dancer who looked ready to cry. This is an issue that more men would care about if they were in these women’s positions. Still, people will make excuses for this boy’s actions and try to blame a woman. They will say that the dancers and cheerleaders wear outfits that show their bodies, and on that note, I think it should be stressed how damaging this mindset is for women. An outfit that shows shoulders, stomach, legs, or even accentuates the chest area does not mean someone is requesting for you to ogle their bodies. It’s nowhere close to fair or acceptable that this happens, yet this behavior is normalized, and somehow, the victims of sexualization like this are convinced it’s their fault. 

By the same token, some actions aren’t inherently sexist against women but noticeably land under that category. Another male student at the football game decided to bounce on the bench and stood on it continuously despite it bothering the person next to him. Her friend politely asked him not to do so because who would want to deal with that when trying to focus on the field? His reaction was to say, “Why don’t you show some spirit and not tell me to get rid of mine? You’re at a close game, sitting in the student section; maybe you should get on your feet?” Over the next five minutes, he continued to speak to her with sly remarks at random. He even said, “Oh, maybe I should calm down, huh? Fourth down.” The entire exchange was unnecessary, not to mention sickening to witness, because this student was one of the most audacious people I’ve ever met. It can be assumed that if the person to call him out was a man, the chances are that he wouldn’t have acted that same way, which is important to recognize. This woman was quite literally talked down to and made to feel like a small request was a massive deal, and it’s heartbreaking to know this was not a one-time occurrence. Women experience misogyny no matter what they do; that’s what happens when the odds remain stacked against someone. 

Women are constantly told their place in the world with added barriers that make basic tasks like walking down the street hard for some to do. It is crucial for all women to hear that it is unfair for you to work twice as hard as a man for respect. It is horrible to know that there are always more obstacles or people who try to make you feel inferior along the way, but that does not mean you aren’t a champion. We are the underdogs which means we have no choice but to keep moving until the tides change for the better. 

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