May. 31st, 2017

dmilewski: (Default)
If you want a story to be sexist, then you want some or all of the elements below, culled from every sexist film that I could remember. The list might be long, but by no means is it exhaustive.

The important point to remember than sexism is a narrative. It's a story that we tell. It's a meta-story behind the story. Note that the individual does not get to choose what's right for them, what's right is decided by the narrative. There's only one possible answer. In this way, sexism binds both all genders.
  • The man is the natural leader because he's a man.
  • The woman achieves happiness when she accepts the man as her natural leader.
  • A man achieves happiness when he has a compliant woman.
  • A woman's traits that work for men are shown in a positive light.
  • A woman's traits that don't work for men are shown in a negative light.
  • Women in traditional roles are shown in a positive light.
  • Women outside of traditional roles are shown in a negative light.
  • Women who exist outside the sphere of men are shown as disruptors.
  • Men are shown dealing with the messy, dirty world.
  • Clean and orderly is associated with women.
  • Women create the refuge for the man. Home is that refuge.
  • A woman owes that refuge and solace to a man because he deserves it after dealing with the dirty world solely to spare the women and children.
  • A woman is naturally happier at home.
  • Men are naturally more responsible.
  • Men handle the finances.
  • Responsibility is a burden. Men should not place burdens onto women.
  • A woman's head isn't organized, so nothing else about her is. A man is needed for organization.
  • A woman's home is supremely organized, and so are the children. 
  • A woman, children, and home are all part of a man's gender performance to impress other men.
  • A woman who defies female gender performance undermines a man's social status.
  • A woman's logic is borderline nonsensical and usually the subject of comedy.
  • Men are happiest as men.
  • The world runs better because of men.
  • Richer and better educated and handsomer men are better men.
  • Poorer and less educated and uglier men are worse men.
  • Men are not just natural protectors, they are at their manliest when protecting women and children.
  • Women can hold back men, but they can't defeat men, even a lousy man, which is why they need men protecting them.
  • Bad men attack women and children. They deserved to get beaten for their behavior.
  • Men stand up for women because they genuinely care for and adore them.
  • Defense is a physical expression of love.
  • Defense is a physical expression of basic decency.
  • Bad men force women. Bad men force love.
  • Real men roll their eyes waiting for women, but they want a woman's voluntary love.
  • A real man respects a woman's world. To intrude upon women doing women things requires a "pardon me."
  • Proper men and women both respect the world of each other's gender.
  • A real man doing a bit of woman's work is always good for a laugh, but in no way diminishes his true manhood.
  • A man doing woman's work does a bad job of it. Men are naturally bad at that stuff.
  • A woman doing man's work does a bad job of it. Women are naturally bad that that stuff.
  • Working class women are lesser women, but they get to be competent in their arena. 
  • The whiter, the blonder, the richer, the better educated, the better the woman.
  • Non-white women are somehow competent and natural laborers. They aren't lesser for being laborers.
  • Country girls are wild things but naturally prettier.
  • Old women don't count as women, and so they are allowed to be competent and level headed.
  • Undesirable women don't need to follow the women rules.
  • Marriage is forever.
  • Harmless idiosyncrasies are lovable in women.
  • Women can be dismissed for being women.
  • Men can be dismissed for not being real men.
If you've seen enough media from the mid-20th century, you'll realize just how rampant the notions above are. Much of sexism isn't what happens in a story, it's what informs the story.

If you want to reduce or remove sexism, I suggest attacking the meta-story. Write a new meta-story. 
  • Humans are at their best when acting in service of the greater good.
  • Our genders provide different agendas to us. These conflicts between agendas are legitimate.
  • Relationships are best approaches as partnerships between equals.
  • Anybody can be quirky, ditsy, oddball, and lovable. 
  • Mutual respect is required for happiness.
  • People working towards goals is put into a positive light.
  • Basic human decency has nothing to do with race or class.
  • Everyone counts as human.
  • Good people respect.
  • Bad people trespass and disrespect when and where they can.
  • Everyone isn't an icon and this is OK.
  • Characters are limited and need cooperation.
Two hyper-competent people can be a bit much, so make sure that each has some competent area.

Note that men generally being stronger than women isn't sexist (necessarily). On the realism end of the spectrum, yes, men are stronger, taller, and heavier. On the fantastical end of the spectrum, don't get hung up on realism.

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