Thursday, May 17, 2012

Standing Up to Sexism: A Small, Yet Significant Conversation

After my workout this morning, I was all showered, clean and crisp with a smile on my face and ready for a great day!

In the parking lot noticed there were two men standing chatting nearby. I was putting my stuff and organizing it in my trunk when I heard one of the men say something in my direction, but I ignored him. Then to get my attention he said, "Miss..." Clearly he was talking to me, so I looked up and he said, "You're getting buff!" I looked at him like, what? (but what I really was thinking was 'oh, no, another pendejo'). Then he went on and said, "You have nice arms, there."

"Oh, thank you." I said with a smile and started to re-fill my shaker cup with water.

"I saw you doing guy push-ups in there."

"Guy push-ups? Which one's are those?" At this point I was thinking, wow - what a sexist thing to say and waiting to see what he said so I can set him straight on that one.

"Oh, you know, the real push-ups - not the girl kind."

"So are you saying that girls can't do push-ups? I can do them." I said to him with a smirk on my face, but looking at him straight in the eye and I continued, "Girl push-ups, that is so sexist. That is saying that girls can't do push ups.

"Oh, well...many girls can't..."

"I know, but to call them girl push-ups is sexist," I said loudly, clearly and firmly as I looked at the both men. At this point, I was so glad I said that and I felt fierce in defending women, yet I kept calm. On retrospect, I could have added: "There are many men who can't do push ups either. It doesn't depend on one's gender, but on physical fitness." What was said was already said. I'll hold this comment for the next time ;-)

"Uh...that is sexist?? Uh..." He said with a dumb look on his face. I knew he probably had never been told that by a woman and he did not know how to react to me. I felt like "Ha! Got you, you sexist man!"

Then the other guy butted in by saying, "Uh...Well they have always called them,  girl push-ups."

"Well that is sexist. We gotta change that, right?" I said looking at him in the eye.

"That's what they're called," he continued.

"No they're not. I don't call them girl push-ups and I don't think we should call them that. Women can do just what guys can."

Then they went on to talk about how girls should lift heavy and I said that because of "comments like that women are not in the weight room and I would like to see more of them lifting."

Anyway, what I am trying to say in this blog is that this conversation gave me the opportunity to speak up about this sexist remark, stereotype or whatever you wanna call it. These men had no idea they were talking to a feminist woman and who is strong inside and out. I felt so confident in what I was saying and ready to speak up on behalf of many women. I just kept on reminding myself to stand tall, be clear and not take my eyes off theirs all while keeping my cool.

Wow, this is only a small situation, but I feel that I can do this again. I can and will speak up AGAIN and again each time I hear sexist, racist, homophobic, or anti-immigrant comments. I will continue stay true to myself, stand up for my values and beliefs, and for people who are attacked.




  1. good for you! and yes i agree with you that it is sexist. i recently signed up for a mud run and was told that it's too intense for "girls" and too "dirty". first of all, i'm a woman and second i can do anything do this run. i will go and do the best and my mind will power my body to finish this run and such an amazing challenge that i'm so excited about. pa'lante chica!

  2. Thank you, Yaritza and you go! That's right, what a sexist comment - you can definitely do the mud run! I've never done one myself, but I'm sure you'll have a great time! If you notice, people say many things that put women down, even women themselves - but I'm going to start saying something even to women ;) We have to stand up for each other. Love, Bea