Woman Plus...
  N 3, 2002


Sexism - is an ideology and practice of gender discrimination of people. It is based on assumptions and persuasions, according to which women (or men) are falsely arrogated (or denied) certain qualities.

The term appeared in the sixtieth in USA in a Women Liberation movement. Most often it is used during discussion of prejudice against women, gender stereotypes. Men also may be victims of sexism regarding them both as persons and as a gender social group: for example, sexism is in the background of compulsory conscription of men only.

Similar to racism, sexism supposes physical and intellectual superiority, though there are no convincing arguments proving that men are better than women - or, vice versa. Traditional arguments - such as mentioning limits of women abilities for education, for creative work, or references to notorious women logic or psychological unsteadiness are still supported in public perception by Russian Mass Media.

With all this going on, men predominance is considered natural, obvious, usual and eternal - and therefore, just. Introduction of such term as sexism, made by feminists, made visible those particular features of the world, which are discriminating for women, and which are also reflected and fixed in different languages. Some theories of sexism origin are based on biological differences of the sexes. According to other theories - sexism is caused, most probably, by psychology and cultural peculiarities. But all the feminists and many representatives of Western men movement agree in the opinion that it is necessary to fight against sexism - legislative reforms and deep changes in public perception and private relations have already reached crisis point.

Alla Denisova

Tuttle L. Encyclopedia of Feminism. London, 1986.
Giddens Antony. Sociology. M.: Editorial URSS, 1999. p.704