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The Pervasiveness of Antiwoman Prejudice

Last month, CNN’s Don Lemon said of GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley that the 51-year-old “isn’t in her prime” and that a woman is “considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s.”

Last month, Tiger Woods discreetly put a tampon in Justin Thomas’ hand in an attempt to tease the younger golfer about his shorter stroke during a tournament.

Nothing offends me more than someone who has experienced prejudice on any level, and despite that, is prejudiced toward another. Such was the case with both of these men.

Even with organizations that are well-intentioned, like some LGBTQ groups with social media feeds, I noticed more imagery of cis male and transgender female figures to be celebrated for Black History Month than others. Even our leaders tend to show what reflects them and leave out what doesn’t, which in this case included cis women and nonbinary individuals.

Katie and I are raising a young, white male, seemingly straight individual, and despite our best efforts he is bombarded by other experiences that challenge our teachings of love and acceptance.

When watching certain YouTubers, he would tell me girls don’t play video games. I corrected him and explained there is no such thing as activities just for girls or just for boys. Once he found female YouTubers, he added them as favorites and didn’t have that opinion anymore.

He has heard on more than one occasion at school from classmates on the playground that to be a real family you have to have a mother and a father. So far, he understands that’s not true, but I can tell there is going to be a moment when he’s tired of defending his life. He’s not the offending party, but his parents are.

Things are much better during this Women’s History Month than it was for our elders, absolutely. But the antiwoman prejudice is still there, and we have to stay diligent to make sure it is eliminated. And it’s the little things that need to be improved — those moments you see old-fashioned ideas still taking shape.

For instance, if you are a parent, make sure your sons understand the importance of women as much as your daughters do. If you are a part of a couple, make sure any domestic chores are not regulated to just the “feminine” partners. Teaching equality in the home is vital for children and adults to practice that behavior in the world.

I also think the messages you send as a woman with your language are impactful, both positively and negatively. It’s not just about taking bitch, slut and whore out of your vocabulary. It’s also taking out I’m sorry, I hope it’s OK, and don’t worry about me when expressing your comments, opinions or needs.

I’m not sure why the Don Lemons and Tiger Woods of the world are sexist — despite knowing better — but it’s evident any experience they’ve had as minority men doesn’t register as equal to offenses toward women. I didn’t realize offensive behavior has a hierarchy.