1 Sue Bennett on casual sexism in the 1970s and 80s


The casual sexism in the ’70s and ’80s is quite staggering when you look back  and it was mostly unconscious, which doesn’t excuse it at all.   But it just makes it quite difficult to counter.

What’s unconscious sexism?

Unthinking.  It was unthinking.  It was prejudice but it was unthinking prejudice. A lot of the isms I feel one encounters now are a bit more deliberate.  You know, you can almost see sometimes somebody weighing up and thinking OK I can really get one over on that person, I can really get a rise out of them.  If I make that comment that’s going to really irritate them so I’m going to do that because I’ll get a rise.

Where I think in the ’70s and ’80s it was much more unthinking.  It was just, well, she’s the lowest of the low, she’s just a woman, of course I can say that.  It was just, well it’s only a woman, well why shouldn’t I say that.  How could it possibly be offensive.  It’s just a woman.  I think it was a lot less, we were a lot less aware and now I think people are much more aware.

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