Webster dictionary sexism error updating axis deploy wsdd file

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See, the problem with the dictionary definition of “sexism,” for example, is that it posits that sexism is “prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination…on the basis of sex” or “unfair treatment of people because of their sex.” Now, the cool thing is that the dictionary is starting to get hip to the notion that generally, sexism occurs against women (and I say “generally” not to infer that it is possible to be sexist against men, but rather that sexism also affects trans and gender non-conforming people) – and definitions are starting to reflect that. But oppression – because it is institutionalized and systematic – is another level entirely.

But what the dictionary – and a lot of people who are making this argument – misses is that sexism isn’t just prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination (although all of those things are definitely bad). If you think of it in the form of a hierarchy, you’ll see that yes, all people can experience stereotyping (assumptions that all people in one group are similar), prejudice (dislike toward a group based on those stereotypes), and discrimination (refusing access to resources based on that prejudice). Allow me to explain – by going back to piece that I wrote on thin privilege and a resource that I use therein.

This website was designed as a project for the University of New England's Social Work program.

It’s a common argument that those of us – all of us – who work in social justice movements face: the straw man of reverse oppression.

“But isn’t telling men to ‘sit down and shut up’ also sexist? It’s hard to convince someone that they’ve misunderstood a concept when their very (albeit misguided) understanding of the world depends on the existence of the falsehood in question.

However, it’s true that reverse oppression – like “reverse racism,” “female privilege,” and (so help me God) “cisphobia” – cannot possibly exist.

By virtue of not having access to these privileges, the lives of oppressed people are limited.

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How many men will run to defend that #Not All Men do that thing?

Because the very nature of oppression won’t allow it to!

I don’t think that people who argue for reverse oppression are willfully ignorant; I think they’re just mistaken. We’ve all internalized oppressive ideas and values. The dictionary, to begin with, is a really trite resource to use when arguing complex topics.

This is about an attitude that is so deeply embedded in our minds that we act on it without thinking.

This is about a force that surrounds us and influences our relationships to ourselves and others.

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