Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Sexism as a winning strategy in a sexist society March 22, 2012

Filed under: fallacy,Sexism wins strategy — annejjacobson @ 10:56 pm

In a sexist society where there is a very long tradition of women being excluded from a wide range of desirable public roles, we should expect many of the following things to be said of men and these roles:

People expect a man to be doing X.
People associate manliness with important features of this role. (E.g., a male voice has more authority.)
Men have much more of a proven track record at X.
(Some) men will have much more of an audience than any woman does.

So what do we think of appealing to such beliefs as a reason to favor picking only men for such roles? One response is to label it as the ‘Sexism Wins’ strategy, with the implication that the actions are sexist. What would you suggest? Notice that the strategy is different from the frequently false response to the effect that there just aren’t any women who have enough of the needed skills or interests.

I have noticed this strategy being invoked in two recent cases. One is in a shocking response fron the NYTimes ethicist in response to Lori Gruen. See the comments on this post. Another was earlier in March in a BBC News Magazine articled linked to from a post of ours.

I’d love to hear of more examples of the use of this strategy. And it would be good to know if you think it is worth labelling it.

 

 
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