The shit “I’m not sexist but…” and why it pisses me off.

By Claire Green 

I’ve been meaning to write something for this blog since it was created, but I couldn’t decide what to write about. Should I write a letter to my pre-feminist self? Maybe talk about something that’s happening on my campus about the wom*n’s movement? Then, at work the other day this old chestnut came to me. We’ve all heard it, and it’s usually (in my experience) followed by a comment that may not have been considered offensive had this not been added to the front.

“I’m not sexist but…” or “Not being sexist, but…”

I never realised how much this pissed me off until I had a really good think about it. Every person who has ever said this to me has been a straight white guy in a position of power (my boss, for example…), and nine times out of 10 has something to do with a task, an observation or statement that traditionally should align with things that I, as a woman, identify with.

That isn’t always the case, and personally this is true. I believe that many times someone’s said this to me that their intentions were genuine. But, then you get the bigots and the assholes who are trying to disguise their shit with this to make you feel like they’re on your side, and not actually being bigoted assholes.

Now I see through it. Now I know how to react: “Claire, not to be sexist but…”

“LALALALALALALALALALALA!! Sorry, but if you’re going to talk to me like that then I don’t want to hear what you have to say” *walks away angrily*

That seems to shut them up pretty quickly.

Now, something else that’s been pissing me off lately is people telling me what they think I should believe in, support, align with, even down to what I study and I think these ideas are connected. I think they have to do with a man (who really doesn’t like to questioned) not liking the idea that I have the power to make my own decisions about everything in my life and won’t let him dictate any part of it. How does this relate to the ‘not sexist’ comment? It’s a man telling me that he believes I should identify with whatever he is telling me, and doesn’t want me to be offended by his assumption.

Well, mister, I AM OFFENDED, AND UNTIL YOU AND ALL THE OTHER MEN ON THIS PLANET WHO THINK THEY KNOW MORE ABOUT A WOMAN THAN A WOMAN DOES, I will continue to be, and will continue to tell you stick your chauvinistic, outdated opinion up your ass! So STFU

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