Synthesizing the Hypocrisy of Deconstructing Sexism
The mentalities of sexism and the toxic masculinity that accompanies it are beliefs that are not inherent to the male human psyche. Just like every other belief humans come to hold, a patriarchal belief system is ingrained within our world view through exposure, repetition, and practice. Over time, these beliefs become automated. Responses to certain stimuli, conflict resolution, and rationality all become orientated towards justifying and upholding these beliefs. Thus, our entire reality is predicated on a self perpetuating conception of social functioning. Each interaction that includes said belief to be at it’s core initiative serves to reinforce the belief in that same concept. The more favorable interactions we have that are centered around this belief, the stronger the belief becomes until ultimately automation takes hold. Any outcome of both agreements and arguments that serve to bolster our ego strengthen this mind set until, eventually, our lives are lived on the assumed inevitability of this belief. Patriarchal sexism is no different. Men are not born believing women are inferior objects solely purposed for our sexual desire and child bearing receptacles. This belief is conditioned through exposure to the concept by friends, family, and peers, as well as repetitive ego appeal through mentally processing internal conflict resolution shaped by inferiority complexes, and finally, repetitiously practicing the outward display of these beliefs. Eventually, these beliefs become the reality on which our identity is contingent. Without these beliefs, men don’t know how to identify themselves as men. This identity crisis threatens our ego, which, in turn, sparks the internal conflict resolution that seeks to overcome the inferiority complex by appealing to our ego that women are one dimensional, parochial, and monolithic. The only way to breakdown this automated internalized belief system is to repeat the original process of conditioning with the exact opposite mentality that engendered the pathological one beginning with voluntary exposure to narratives, anecdotes, and scenarios that show women to be at an equal status with men as well as critiquing any interactions with women – whether personal or third party – to uncover the hidden agendas, microaggressions, and intentional language that serve to subtly subjugate women. Next, any time we feel challenged by a women, we need to step back and take an objective analysis of the situation. This analysis must include the question, “How would I feel if I were having this conversation with a man?”. This question serves as a metric for the role and it’s capacity in which our ego is playing within the context of the situation. We need to learn the difference between hurt feelings and a hurt ego. Finally, we need to start challenging our brothers in their mind sets and behaviors. We need to stop being afraid of what our friends and peers will think or do when we overtly contradict their sexist behaviors. We need to stop placing acceptance above humanity. We need to practice challenging each other’s language and encouraging alternative terms. We need to start pulling our homies aside and explaining why the concept of the “friend zone”, rating, hollering and the word “female” are all problematic. We need to start valuing the friendship of women as much as we value intimacy with them. And we need to do this all with integrity and respect. Understand that it is a process and we ourselves are bound to fall short. But the err does not lie in the mistake. It lies in the unacknowledged and the failure to correct. But above all, we need to remember the one key element that underscores the entire conditioning and deconditioning process. Time. It took time to develop the inadvertently pernicious mentality that ingrained sexism within our core beliefs. Likewise, it will take time to recondition those core beliefs to reflect a more equalized status mentality of women. This is why, although at first glance it appears to be hypocritical, deconstructing sexism while still holding some of those antiquated and repressive beliefs or behaviors is anything but hypocritical. Nevertheless, we must also remember that the absence of hypocrisy does not obligate women’s patience. We still need to get it together and understand that the indignation women feel regarding their experience under sexism is valid and righteous.
© 2018 Caleb Murphey