First of all, either gender can be capable of sexist beliefs or actions. I know, I experienced it first hand. While I completely agree that a very heavy proportion of sexism is still carried out by men against women, it still does not nullify nor justify women carrying out sexism against men. Sexism is sexism no matter who does it and actually there is no such thing as reverse sexism, it’s just sexism. Hey, I bet the title got your attention. Here’s my experience.
It started when I got out of the Marine Corps in the mid 1980s. After having to spend four years wearing a crew cut in the service of my country, I believed I needed to go the other way. As a result, I grew my hair long. In fact, my first haircut as a civilian occurred more than seventeen months after I got out of the marines! Unfortunately, it was also during 80s Regan America when men’s hair length was comparable to when I was serving and many women favoured that. My mistake was thinking that they would be more understanding of why I was growing my hair, that I was in the service. Wrong, women did not want to know. A sister of an old Marine buddy spoke for everyone when she told me my long hair and earring wasn’t her idea of a man. Furthermore, her brother didn’t grow his hair after coming out of the marines so there was no justification for me. Thus, I was shunned and even teased by women and a few men, over the length of my hair.
I have to say the obvious here but if I were to have said to a short haired woman that her hair wasn’t my idea of a woman, wouldn’t I be called all the sexist, chauvinist pigs going? I would expect nothing less and rightly so. Admittedly, for a few years, I did play the poor victim card from this but fortunately, things changed for me when I came to the UK. I met women who were not judgmental of the length of my hair and I eventually married one of them.
Shameless link to “He Was Weird,” I thought it’s best to put it here. In the story, Mark gets struck out by a girl pitcher when playing baseball. Bullies, including a girl, use it to bully him by attacking his masculinity because a girl had struck him out. Let’s look at this from two sides. Mark should not feel that he was any ‘less of a man’ just because he was struck out by a girl pitcher. However, the bullies should not have used it as a bullying tool against him, but that’s how bullies work.
Going back to my original thought, remembering all the sexist comments by women against me has made me see things more from a woman’s point of view. The so-called reverse sexism I experienced has made me more sympathetic to woman who are victims of sexism from men. I now think that all sexism is wrong and both genders should wear what they want, have their hair the way they like it and play sports they enjoy.