By: Cameryn P.

It is between you and your co-worker. A race to see who wins the job promotion. "Ready, set, GO!" You are taking the lead, running with a full stride and energy manifesting throughout your body. You feel content and jubilant with the lead you have until you have to cross quicksand. But your opponent gets a ride to the finish on the back of a golf cart. Without a doubt, defeat engulfs you like the everlasting depth of the sky. Another futile attempt to get ahead, all because you are a woman and your opponent is a man. This is the everyday reality women endure with the systemic sexism and misogyny institutionalized into today's society.

Misogyny is the blatant hatred and contempt for women, while sexism is discrimination based on sex or gender or the belief that men are superior to women. Both go hand in hand to perpetuate the patriarchy ingrained into our contemporary society. Statements saying that this task is a "man's job," asking women to take notes or get coffee in a meeting although they are in the same position as the man presenting a presentation and stating women should be stay-at-home moms and that she belongs in the kitchen. In contrast, men are the "breadwinners." These statements all are intertwined in the empowerment of misogyny and sexism. 

There are many types of misogyny and sexism. These include hostile and benevolent sexism. Hostile sexism is dismissive stereotypes and assessments based on gender. As mentioned above, this includes sexually objectifying and assaulting women or making statements such as, "stay in a woman's place." Benevolent sexism is a more subtle and subliminal form of hostile sexism. It includes subjectively positive attitudes of gender that are still detrimental to the progressiveness of women. For instance, excluding a woman from an important meeting or dinner so she can stay home with her family and withdraw from "intruding" on her family time.

These minor remarks may seem like they can be brushed off and ignored. But these are the small microaggressions that can accumulate into a more prominent and pernicious situation. To illustrate, the gender wage gap is one profound issue, as women are paid 82 cents compared to every dollar a man makes. Because of this gap, women have a more challenging time repaying loans, making up two-thirds of the student debt. In addition, women receive less Social Security and pensions and only have 70% of what men have. Also, women working as physicians are paid $19 billion less annually than men in that same occupation.

Ax the Pink Tax with European Wax Center |

Moreover, the Pink Tax is a heavily debated issue when it comes to gender equity. The Pink Tax is a phenomenon in which women's products are taxed more than men. For instance, commercialized "girl toys" cost 2-13% more than "boys toys" that are the same but differ merely by the toy's color. Additional examples include women's shampoo costing 48% more than men's shampoo, women's jeans costing 10% more than men's jeans, and women paying 7% more overall than men for similar products. 

It does not stop there. One out of every six American women has been a victim of sexual assault (17.7 million as of 1998). Women ages 16-19 are four times more likely to be victims of sexual assault. But again, with the pressure of the patriarchy, it is hard for many women to come out about their stories. The story is often twisted and rewritten to fit a desired male narrative. Women are often blamed for their sexual assault as they "asked for it" or what they were wearing was too provocative, so it is ultimately her fault. This can also transfer over into the court as what a woman was wearing can be used against her. 

Misogyny to be recorded as a 'hate crime' in bid to log scale of abuse

© Neil Hall/Shutterstock Women gather outside Parliament square during a protest for the murder of Sarah Everard - Neil Hall/Shutterstock

Fortunately, women have come together in solidarity to combat these issues. Feminism has helped progress women’s issues, but primarily for white women. This progress has closed the wage gap from 62 cents to 82 cents and helped pass Title IX, which aided in new educational opportunities for women, helping them make up 58% of college undergraduates. Title IX also helps with gender discrimination and harassment. In addition, the Violence Against Women Act was passed in 1994, and the White House's Council on Women and Girls was established. But what if I told you modern feminism has the power to be detrimental to the advancement of women of color (WOC)?

Black women make 62 cents to a man's dollar compared to White women, Native women make 57 cents, and Latina women make 54 cents. In addition, Black and Native women are three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related conditions than White women. Also, Hispanic women are incarcerated at nearly twice the rate of White women, and Black women are incarcerated at four times the rate of white women. Similarly, women were granted the right to vote on August 26 of 1920 because of the Women's Suffrage Movement. But in this case, not all women, only White women.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton | Biography, Significance, Seneca Falls, Books, &  Facts | Britannica

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, pictured in the late 19th century.

Bettmann/Getty Images

In contrast to their popularized mantra of equality for all, many White women were irate for the simple fact that Black men were granted the right to vote earlier than them. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, both women suffragists, disagreed that the African Equal Rights Association should support the 15th amendment (granting Black men the right to vote) before themselves. History professor Lisa Tetrault has stated that "what's particularly painful was that Frederick Douglass had been the one at Seneca Falls who stood up and defended women's right to vote. And then when it comes to the 15th Amendment, Stanton refuses to reciprocate."

Similarly, a new term, misogynoir, has been created discreetly for the misogyny, discrimination, and condemnation Black women face. "If there is not the intentional and action-based inclusion of women of color, then feminism is simply white supremacy in heels." Until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, women of color and even Black men were disenfranchised from their right to vote with poll taxes and literacy tests thwarting their progression. 

                  100 Days, 100 Ways the Trump Administration Is Harming Women and Families -  Center for American Progress

AP Photo/John Minchillo

In the end, women together have come a long way to dismantle the patriarchy that manifests itself throughout our system. This very system is one we can all reform and abolish to rebuild a new one that helps men and women stand in solidarity. A woman is not a canvas that you can paint one color, attire, job, and character to exhibit to other women to which they have to conform. We can paint our own narrative and deconstruct the story that was written for us.


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