Interdisciplinary Influences on Systemic Enlightened Sexism: Changing the Gender Narrative

Little, Kandace
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Enlightened sexism is a phenomenon in which a progressed society maintains sexist components that contradict the accomplishments of women’s rights movements, as well as the inherent worth of all genders. I explore the ways in which biology, subconscious mechanisms, and language interact to reinforce the perpetuation of sexism in modern American society. Gender is conceptualized as a useful social construct, influenced by biological sex, but fundamentally different from it. The idea of biological sex as deterministic of gender fails to acknowledge an individual’s agency in utilizing gender as a tool of identity, as well as fails to acknowledge the role of environment in shaping gender. This new perspective incorporates the importance of gender in the construction of identity, with the acknowledgement that language is complicit in the manifestation of implicit bias that contributes to social inequalities. Misleading views on sex, gender, as well as privilege associated with a particular sex and its appropriate associated gender performance, perpetuate enlightened sexism, and provide a means to justify social inequalities. A key way to dismantle the social norms for gender involves changing the narrative of gender, as well as reconsidering the fight for gender equality as a social justice issue that affects all individuals.

Interdisciplinary studies., Gender., Implicit bias., Social justice., Equality., Sociolinguistics., Psychology.