Opinion: Don’t let your dismissal perpetuate misogyny

Intelligence+and+other+achievements+should+not+be+ignored+due+to+gender+identity.

Anika Marino

Intelligence and other achievements should not be ignored due to gender identity.

How many times have you heard people say backhanded comments about a woman or feminine-presenting person?

Feminine-presenting people are constantly sexualized, criticized, and violated. And so, I raise the question: Why shouldn’t feminine-presenting people have high expectations for how people treat them? I believe it is in their right as human beings to expect respect and have standards for how people speak to them. Expecting men to make comments about and mistreat gender minorities perpetuates the dismissal of the treatment of feminine-presenting people through the standard of “boys will be boys.”

Jenny Marlin*, a student at Carlmont, has experienced insulting comments starting at a young age.

“We were doing this art project, this guy came up to me, and he looked at my work,” Marlin said. “He said ‘I didn’t know a girl drew that.’”

Marlin does not remember what the project was, but she remembers the comment. Regardless of the intentions the boy had, the experience had an incredibly negative impact on her. 

“There have been multiple times in AS English where I participate thoroughly in seminars and discussions,” Marlin said. “I cannot count the number of times where someone mansplained something to me.”

The dismissal of these comments tells young children how they should be treated based solely on their gender and presentation, showing either that they have little worth or they should be belittling others for their achievements. 

Katherine Emerson, a sophomore at Smith College and Carlmont alumna, elaborated on how prevalent this belittling attitude is.

“In everyday social situations is when I notice [power imbalance] the most,” Emerson said. “When men assume they are the leader in any situation.”

The comments thrown at feminine-presenting people do not go unnoticed by others, either.

“[Boys] tend to comment on [my friends’] looks or their behaviors in an effort to belittle them or just be mean to them,” said Jay Jorge, a senior at Carlmont.

This expectation continues the cycle of subjugation and oppression of gender minorities and allows this oppression to run rampant despite the situation.

“At her work, my mother was getting verbally harassed by a coworker,” Jorge said. “Those kinds of comments are inexcusable in the workplace.”

In a 2014 study conducted by Stop Street Harassment, it was found that 65% of women in the US had been harassed on the street. A later study conducted in 2019 finds that 81% of women have experienced harassment or assault in their lifetime.

Savannah Bols, a junior at Carlmont, commented on the culture of feminine-presenting people and how it must change.

“A way to create change is more education, but it takes time, especially since there’s such a stigma around men and their relationship with women,” Bols said. 

As evidenced by Marlin’s experience, young people are influenced by misogynistic culture and continue the cycle of harm. Bols pointed out how the move towards change to create a safe environment for feminine-presenting people is a slow process.

“People let [misogyny occur] too much, even if they do realize that it’s not how it should be, they just say that’s how it is,” Emerson said. “More people need to be called out.”

*This source’s name has been changed as she does not want her identity disclosed due to the information given about her experiences. View Scot Scoop’s Anonymous Sourcing Policy for more information.