Can someone define sexism

Who can define sexism?


Read on one side

The author Melanie Reinsch recently wrote in the Berlin newspaperas soon as a comment is perceived by the person to whom it is addressed as "unpleasant, inappropriate or greasy", that is everyday sexism. That's a very vague definition. How is someone supposed to know what another is feeling? And would we all have to submit to a dictate of our sensitivities? Actually, that would mean: If I don't find it uncomfortable when my boss calls me sweetie, then it's okay. But it probably isn't because it might encourage him to call that other women who don't think that's okay. So it's others who decide what's sexist, not me.

It is not entirely clear who these others are and how they acquired this power of definition. Those who shouldn't be, on the other hand, are: old, white, straight men. At least, that seems to be the opinion of many women who have expressed themselves on the occasion of the current debate. Her criticism is itself sexist because she wants to deprive an entire population group of the right to speak about a topic because of their gender and origin. Following this logic would also mean that only those directly affected are allowed to comment on the question of what is racism and what is not. So who can say what sexism is and what is not?

The sensitivity to what can, may and should be perceived as sexist irritates large parts of the population. The Mirror online-Columnist Margarete Stokowski finds it embarrassing when someone doesn't know anything about gender studies. Why? You might as well call it embarrassing if someone doesn't know about neuroscience. There are people in Germany who graduated from school without a high school diploma, people who never enjoy a Kantian proseminar Critique of Practical Reason or gender studies.

Anyone who has never dealt theoretically with gender relations in their life, who has instead learned that it is polite to give compliments, quickly feels left out when a woman is shocked about being called young and beautiful. A discourse whose subject affects everyone and makes many guilty should not only be able to be conducted by a small, elite group. Otherwise, the opposing realities of life could diverge even more from one another.

And as far as the line between compliments and sexism is concerned, I agree with Oscar Wilde: "Compliments are like perfume. They can be fragrant, but never intrusive."