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One Restaurant's 'Best Butt' Discount, and Other Tales of Everyday Sexism

It's hundreds of little things like this, every week, which add up to a whole lot when you look at them together.

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People say that highlighting acts of sexism like this is “too sensitive” and people should “just get over it,” and I wonder why the same demand isn’t extended to sexists. Why should we be the ones who have to sit around and tolerate it? Why shouldn’t they be the ones called upon to modify their own behavior? If you want people to stop complaining about sexism, maybe you should focus on eradicating sexism, rather than on telling people to shut up.

This is harassment. It’s harassment on a micro scale, sure, but it’s still harassment. As an individual incident it might not stand out that much; it’s a single piece of paper, deal. But as part of a larger whole, it suddenly becomes much, much larger. It’s not just one receipt with sexist comments, it’s being catcalled on the way to work, it’s being talked down to by your male boss, it’s being sneered at by a repairperson, it’s being patronised on the Internet. It’s hundreds of little things like this, every week, which add up to a whole lot when you look at them together.

I like to think of casual sexism like the old penny riddle. Someone says you can have $10,000 right now, or that person will give you a penny on the first of the month, double it on the second, double that on the third, and so forth, through the end of the month. You’re asked which you prefer. At first glance, the $10,000 offer sounds better, but the penny doubling is actually the way you want to go. You’re going to top $10,000 by the 18th, and you’ll have over $5 million at the end of the month -- and that’s in a 30-day month. (Right? I didn't totally mess up that calculation?)

Casual sexism is the penny option. It accrues fast.

s.e. smith is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Bitch, Feministe, Global Comment, the Sun Herald, the Guardian, and other publications. Follow smith on Twitter: @sesmithwrites.
 
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