When Is Sexism Not Sexism?

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Sexism and misogyny are rampant in our culture, says Hillary.  Her #1 proof is, she’s not president.

If you’re not convinced by that, how about this: as she explained to Rachel Maddow, her audience viewed her superficially.  Instead of listening to what she was saying, the chatter was consumed by what she wore and how her hair looked.  Her appearance overshadowed her substance, hence, we live in a misogynistic culture.

Well . . . first of all, I listened to what she said and wasn’t too impressed.  The part that wasn’t anodyne platitudes sounded like bread-and-circus populism (free college!) or extreme progressivism (abortions all the way down!).  She insults all Americans, and women in particular, by implying that every woman who did not vote for her is a fashion-obsessed twit with no mind of her own.

When a professional woman hears a discouraging word, or fails to score a big promotion, or falters in her career path, sexism is the usual suspect.  And I know for a fact that women are treated differently from men, often not to their advantage.  It may be sexism.  Or it may just be sex.

One reason Hillary’s clothes and hair attract comment is that she doesn’t have to wear the same thing all the time.  If Donald Trump had appeared in a white suit to make his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, that would have caused some comment (and as a matter of fact, his hair and skin color do not escape notice).  Sometime in the early 19th century, by whatever common consent determines these things, men of the west gave up sartorial splendor in favor of more subdued colors and plain lines.  For the last 200 years, men’s fashion has not broken out of that tailored, creased and lapelled standard.  Ties and socks are the only avenues of self-expression in men’s clothing, and they had better not get too crazy or the wearer is asking for reams of press about it the next day.

This is not sexism; it’s the differences between two sexes.  Hillary has always been an attractive woman—not a great beauty, but certainly presentable—and I appreciate that she hasn’t indulged in face lifting or tummy tucking (so far as I know).  She’s earned those wrinkles and bears them well for the most part.  She uses color, makeup and hair styling to good advantage because she can.  She is a woman, and makes that point over and over.  This is what women do, and their wardrobe choices are going to be a topic of conversation whenever they are in the public eye.

Men and women are naturally different, and nature dictates how they act toward one another.  When men get together and the conversation turns to a particular woman, it should be no surprise that the mental aptitude, verbal agility, or sparking wit of the subject are not the first attributes under discussion.  This is not going to change; it’s built in.  There are other ways to challenge and deal with it than the blanket charge of “sexism” and “misogyny.”

Whether we are designed by God or designed by evolution, there is such a thing as human nature, and relationships between the sexes are part of it.  Should women fight that, or work with it?  Hillary tries to do both; she uses hair, clothing, and makeup to her advantage but doesn’t want anyone to talk about it.  She talks up her virtues as a woman continually, and complains when she’s not judged by the same standards as a man.  No female candidate will ever be judged by the same standards as a man, unless she dresses in dark gray suits, forgoes the mascara and eye shadow, and buzz cuts her hair (none of which is likely to get votes).

One day we’ll have a woman president, and I will vote based on her policies, not her appearance.  To any aspiring female candidate, here’s my advice: Be a woman.  Dress to your advantage, choose a flattering, easy hairstyle, smile at compliments and ignore petty barbs.  Thank any man who opens the door for you, cuddle babies all you want, have confidence in the feminine attributes God gave you.  Be very careful who you sleep with.  Answer pickup lines with clever putdown lines.  Don’t be shocked at the occasional pass or power play; be prepared.  Politely and firmly insist on what is due to you in the workplace.  Smile when you feel like it, and when you can.  This is not only more effective in a successful career, it’s also a lot more fun.

6 Comments


  1. // Reply

    Thanks for cutting through the elitist slant, Janie B. Chaney. (I so enjoy your name; it rolls off the tongue so deliciously!)

    As a woman a little older than she, I’ve often taken careful note of all those things you mentioned: clothes, makeup, hairstyle. Yes, indeed, I am a woman, and I also work at maintaining a semblance of attractiveness albeit with far less means — and maybe less final effect. Not complaining here, just understanding that what is, is by the providence of God.

    Love your work!


  2. // Reply

    Great sensible assessment, Ms. Cheaney, but it’s so old fashioned, who will believe it? A few perhaps, to their advantage. . .


    1. // Reply

      Perhaps when the nonsense becomes so obvious everyone can see it, good sense will begin to creep back. I’m hoping so, anyway . . .


  3. // Reply

    I appreciate your assessment. The direction to “be careful who you sleep with” seems a bit lighter than than what is needed. I maybe missed the point though.
    Thank you for the good work.


    1. // Reply

      Heidi–you’re right, that warning is very mild. It’s directed to non-Christians, who have completely bought into the notion that sex is about as meaningful as putting on your socks. There are good secular reasons for a woman to be careful with it, and the biblical reasons are stronger still.

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