I try to be a fair-minded person. I pride myself on my openness to new ideas and understanding stance toward ideas I don't agree with. But today, in a moment of introspection that came while reading the wikipedia article on Courtney Love, I realized: I'm a pretty sexist person.
It is, of course, naive to think that women and men are exactly the same and it is natural to treat them differently in some respects, but in this one aspect of my life, I think I have probably crossed a line into sexism.
My problem is this: I expect a lot out of women. A lot more than I do from men.
Example: I was hanging out with a couple recently, and the male was smoking a certain illegal substance. I thought little of it, as I had seen this happen on many an occasion, but the second the female in this couple took a hit, I felt a little shiver of revulsion. The same shiver of revulsion that I feel when I'm around a woman who swears frequently.
A different, but similar, shiver of revulsion strikes me when a woman is poorly-dressed. A poorly-dressed man causes no reaction.
I look down on a woman who reads romance novels and other woman-reading rubbish, but a guy who reads a trashy sci-fi or fantasy novel gains immediate forgiveness, when it really is the literary equivalent of Taken By The Viking.
I trace this to five main factors:
1) As a female, I assume that other females can do anything I can do. This doesn't mean that I think I'm really great, just that the things I'm good at should be easy for other women as well. I find zero appeal in any sort of substance abuse, so any sort of drug or alcohol abuse in a woman makes me go "Oh come on, why would you do that? You know it's not healthy/smart." I was raised in an environment that instilled a great deal of politeness, so when I see a rude woman I think to myself, "Common courtesy should be natural for you!" When a male tells about his latest experience on mushrooms, I think, "What a troubled soul." When a male is rude, I think, "Must be a guy thing."
2) The media (in an effort to not be seen as sexist, I'm sure) tends to portray women as more caring, more insightful, and often more intelligent then men. Lois is a normal, kind person, while Peter has a Squeeze-It for a brain. There is probably just as much sexism toward women in the media as toward men, but growing up in the culture I have, I immediately see the sexism toward women and denounce it. The sexism against men is more subtle (example: you notice that a scene suggests that women are too dumb to realize all this guy wants is sex and say to yourself, "that's not really an accurate portrayal", but you don't notice the other message: all men want is sex).
3) Despite all politically correct campaigns against it, cultural and biological human nature will always tell us: it is more important for a woman to appear attractive than a man. This one actually doesn't bother me too much. Men are under more pressure to make money, etc., I'd rather be under more pressure to look pretty and under control. Sorry to you radical feminists out there (I say as if I, Miss "I hope someday to have a rich husband so I can be a stay-at-home mother with lots of fabulous dresses and high end makeup", have radical feminist friends).
4) I feel that any woman who makes a fool of herself makes the rest of us look bad. Sometimes I want to scream, "Listen, you've had a couple drinks, just stop! Don't you see that each drink after this chips away at the fragile reputation for respectability and intelligence woman have in this world?"
5) While I am happily married, I'll still never entirely shake the "all women are competition and all men are potential mates" mentality. It makes me look for the imperfections in women and the bright side in the men.
Now that I've recognized this flaw in my life perspective, I'm interested in trying to change how I look at things. I can't decide which way I'd rather go, though. Should I hold men to the same high standards I hold women to? Or should I loosen my standards on women? Naturally, the best answer is find a happy medium, but when making a conscious effort to change something that comes naturally...it's just too much work if I don't pick one direction.