Today I set up a cable box so a friend of mine – let’s call him Jim – could watch a game. After the box was all set up, Jim said “you’ll have to teach me how to do that!” to which I replied “sure”. Our friend – let’s call him Alex – chimed in with “come on man, it must be really easy if chicks can do it”…
I know, it’s not the worst comment in the world. There are offensive takeaways: 1) that women can’t do hard things, and thus things that they can do must be easy and 2) that we should be referred to (especially in not the most respectful light) as ‘chicks’. Ugh. But, aside from the above, what really bothered me was that Alex is otherwise awesome!
I’ve known Alex for a while, and he is an all-around good guy. He’s smart, interesting, funny, kind… and I’m not saying that he isn’t any of those things anymore. In fact, I still think that he’s awesome. But what a sad world I live in, if derogatory sexist comments have permeated even my lovely circle of friends. It was like the ubiquity of gender inequality slapped me in the face.
Alex didn’t say it in an ironic, this-is-such-a-ridiculous-thing-to-say kind of way. He didn’t say it in a serious, women-are-so-stupid kind of way either. I think that it was just an expression that he had heard before and regurgitated. But the fact that this kind of stuff is just one of many expressions… well, it sucks. I know that there are also many common expressions that portray men in a negative light.
So there, food for thought. Just like it was pretty culturally acceptable not too long ago to say something was “gay” if it was bad (not cool), I’m pretty sure that soon we’ll be looking back on this kind of language the same way. Or, at least, I’ll be doing everything I can to make that the case! So please, check your language – and I will too.