The New Form of Sexism in Society Today

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Category: Psychology
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A new trend in sexism has overtaken the world, and it is a twisted form that takes the name of empowerment and feminism. With the claim that they are representing women as equals, many advertisements and those in the media refer to women who may ‘look sexy’ yet have the brains of a man. This woman is strong and empowered, and she is equal to any man for while she may be a beautiful woman on the outside, she thinks like a man on the inside and thus is successful.

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This message tells women that they do not possess the intellectual levels to achieve in life, and the only way to succeed is by mastering the manner of thinking like a man. Femininity is labeled as uneducated, unintelligent, and foolish, and all of this is done under the guise of feminism.

On International Women’s Day in 2015, Bic, a company best known for making ballpoint pens, released an advertisement regarding female empowerment and success. It pictured a business woman with the words ‘Look like a girl, Act like a lady, Think like a man, Work like a boss’ next to her. The ad was meant to show a powerful woman who could succeed at her job, and give hope to young girl’s who felt as though they could not go into certain fields due to their sex. With ‘#Happy Womens Day’ at the bottom of the advertisement, Bic sent a very different message than simple sexism. The company was attempting to show girls and women all over the world that hope was not lost when they came out of the womb. Instead, there was still hope for them. If a woman simply began to think like a man, she could go into any field that she so desired. The final line of the advertisement, ‘Work like a boss’, is not defined by any sex. Thus the opportunity of being someone’s boss’, of reaching the top, is open to women, which was the message that Bic attempted to communicate. However the line ‘Think like a man’ comes first. This sends another message, which is that if a woman so desires to succeed and reach the top, she must first think like a man. This twisted form of feminism both causes girls and woman to see themselves as unintelligent and inferior, it also gives them the illusion that they are already empowered, and that the inferiority is a concrete fact, not sexism.

The message of ‘thinking like a man’ was not the only sexist theme in the advertisement. It also expressed the idea that while a woman must think like a man, she must remain both beautiful and ladylike. In today’s society, looks are the most important thing for woman. This is what comes first, no matter a woman’s personality, goals, or life experiences. This is the first line of the advertisement, and this is seen as the foundation for any successful woman. The woman pictured in the advertisement is wearing noticeable makeup to appear more beautiful, and has straightened her hair so that it is much longer and sleeker. The woman is not sexualised in the picture, for the advertisement is not stating that the only value of women is sexuality. Instead the statement is that the only value is the woman’s appearance. A woman must first achieve this beauty, and only then can she move on to the next steps. While this advertisement attempts to honor the success of women, instead it sends the message that if a woman is not beautiful, she will never be able to achieve success. If the woman is beautiful, and by societies standards of course, not her own, for she is reaching this bar for the sake of others, then she can move on to the next step of ‘Acting like a lady’. The media often portrays women as weak, passive, and docile, and these are seen as positive traits. If a woman speaks her mind against injustice she is a bitch’, ‘ungrateful’, or ‘a misandrist. A woman must be silent, and she must be polite at all times, even if it is a matter of oppression. Woman must be seen for their beauty, but never heard for their thoughts and ideas. This act of silencing woman, creating a ‘ladylike’ ideal, causes an environment that allows men to treat women as inferior, for they must follow commands and instructions of men with no objections or responses. While the last two lines ‘Think like a man, Work like a boss’ sent the message of inferiority, the lines ‘Look like a girl, Act like a lady’ send a message of worthlessness and impossible standards that must be reached before success is possible.

Using the guise of feminism to disguise sexism is a terrifying tactic that not only causes women and girls to feel inferior, but also gives them the false idea that they are being helped by a sexist society which continues to objectify them and abuse their rights as human beings. To twist the meaning of empowerment is dangerous in this manner, and advertisements like that of Bic’s can deeply affect young girls who see the messages and come to the conclusion that their inferiority is a concrete fact that no empowerment can change. If this ideology overtakes the minds of young girls, feminism for our future will be doomed, and sexism will continue under the disguise of ’empowerment’.

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The New Form of Sexism in Society Today. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from