We often take for granted the struggles women went through to obtain the right to vote, the right to work outside the home, the rights to own property. Its still a daily struggle not only worldwide for women and girls to be treated as human beings and not property but also right here in the good old USA. Discourse to receive equal pay for equal work and the right to control our own bodies continue to be hot topics in the news on a daily basis. Since such subject matters are often polarizing, many people prefer to keep their opinions to themselves to avoid rocking the boat or worse, rocking close relationships. Its no secret that women with strong, vocal objections to unfair treatment are often made fun of and looked down upon. Casual sexism; something that is probbaly not intended, but “just the way it is” is a part of life.
Emma Stone, now starring in the Spiderman reboot with her boyfriend Andrew Garfield, responded to his own casualness. Garfield was asked about how Peter Parker created his superhero outfit, responding “he sewed it with his own two hands….kinds of a feminine thing to do, but he really made a very masculine costume.” OK then Mr. Garfield. Millions of tailors, military personnel and fashion designers can collectively roll their eyes here, along with everyone else who can sew a button or hem a pant leg. Sewing is not a distinctive feminine trait. In fact, some might say its a handy skill to have.
After his answer, Ms. Stone then stopped the Q&A and asked him to elaborate, how is sewing feminine? Garfield tried to deflect by asking why she was insulted, and he really meant sewing is about “delicacy and precision”, how even men all have feminine in them. My own lackluster sewing skills would beg to differ about the precision part. Does this mean, by Garfield’s definition, that I am not feminine? Makes one wonder. In his defense, and the defense of many others, he more than likely didn’t even realize what he was saying, or even intended for it to sound offensive. Some may say that this casualness is even more worrisome than blatant sexism. At least with blatant sexists, a person’s opinions are all at the forefront. You can fight fire with fire.
With casual sexism, its not even apparent to the person holding those opinions, until they open their mouths and something ridiculous falls out. One could say a masculine trait would be to go hunt, kill, skin, and cook up some dinner. Oh, you mean you don’t posses such skills? You must not be a real man then. Which, of course, is preposterous, to assume that some skills are only “masculine” and “feminine”. What they are is skills, and if you are lucky enough to not only have them, but be good at it, you are a very lucky person indeed.
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