Do you ever feel like the world is getting more superficial and sexist towards women?

Women’s rights have certainly advanced, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

As a 28 year old male, it seems as if men are judging women more harshly than ever.

It’s obvious.

Check out some of the top posts on Reddit:

This post explains how all women are gold diggers (7,500 upvotes)

This one is on how crazy and irrational women are (9659 upvotes)

Or this one, which says that fat women are horrible and gross (4,000 upvotes)

This rage against women may be surprising to you, because we think of sexism as being dismissive towards women, or paying them lower salaries.

We generally don’t think of sexism as judgments. But it is happening and it’s only getting worse.

So, what do we have to blame for this hostility? These 4 things…

1) Men have grown up believing that society owed them a hot girl

Do you ever get the feeling that some men feel entitled to sex? That they can’t take rejection?

Well, it’s not entirely their fault. It has a lot to do with mainstream television and movies.

Think about every Hollywood movie, TV show, comic book, video game, song. When the hero wins the day, he gets the girl.

Every. Single. Time.

When the Karate Kid won the competition, he received a trophy and Elisabeth Shue. Neo rescued our planet and is awarded Trinity. Marty McFly gets his dream girl. Shia LaBeouf gets Megan Fox in Transformers, Iron Man gets Pepper Potts, In “Speed” Reeves gets Sandra Bullock and so on and so on.

Yet, in each of these movies, the women have no say in this. If the hero wins the day, he gets what he wants.

There’s never any dialogue that she might be having doubts.

Nearly every male grows up with this. We’re taught that we’re owed a beautiful woman, because we all think of ourselves as a hero in our own story.

So it becomes frustrating for a man to not get what he wants.

This is why nice guys buy gifts and be romantic to a woman they like and then they’re surprised when she doesn’t reciprocate.

It’s why women are called sluts and whores if they sleep around. Because that sex was owed to us, not to others.

2) Men are trained to view women as an object of decoration

I think we can all agree that women are ALWAYS judged by their appearance. It doesn’t matter what role they’re in, or their position of authority, people always have something to say (or think) about their appearance.

Don’t believe me? Check out these comments in mainstream media about Julia Gillard, a former Prime Minister of Australia:

  • “On what should have been one of the proudest days of Gillard’s political career, she bungled it with a less than flattering haircut and a frumpy ’80s tapestry print jacket… Get yourself a stylist your own age.” Anita Quigley. Daily Telegraph. December 2006
  • “She looks like a real weakling.” – Mark Latham. Sky News. August 2010 (Latham also accused the PM of being inappropriate when she touched his chest in an interview: “The physicality of it was all on her side. I’m a happily married man and this sort of stuff I found a little bit out of the ordinary.”)
  • “You’ve got a big arse, Julia, just get on with it.” Germaine Greer. ABC. Q&A. March 2012
  • “It looks like a cheap motel bedspread” (in reference to a coat)
  • “She needs a new stylist”
  • A Liberal National Party fundraiser (opposition party) had a menu which served up Julia Gillard quail with “small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box”

This hardly ever happens to a male politician.

Rage and anger is generally what happens when a woman doesn’t act as a decor.

I mean, check out any comments about a female celebrity who gained weight. Here are some I found under an article about how fat Christina Aguilera has gotten. 

“fuck her! I have a full-time job, go to grad school full-time, cook at home every night and still find time to get my ass to the gym. lazy ass fat bitch …”

“Get her fat whale ass off television. She’s a blimp and should be ashamed.”

And when someone tried to support Christina Aguilera, this is the lovely response she received:

“ah, don’t you love when other fat broads try to cover for fat broads? newsflash – Xtina = fucking immensely fat. Laura, the DOUBLE CHINS don’t give it away? puh-lease.”

The comments actually get a lot worse but I wouldn’t want to make you feel any more disheartened about humanity.

Yet, what happens if a male celebrity gets overweight? Usually, it’s treated with laughter, rather than hostility.

It’s a horrible indictment on how superficial our society has become. People hate you if your ugly and if you’re pretty, then…

3) They are using their sexuality to get what they want

Whenever you encounter a good looking female with a good job, someone will sometimes rhetorically quip, “I wonder how she got that job.”

Because if she’s doing well, she must be taking advantage by impressing others with her sexual prowess.

Have you heard the same said for a good looking male?

Why do we do this?

Because like above, we all judge women by appearance. Some men are highly sexualised and it’s usually the first thing they’ll notice.

That’s why male competitors will get mad when a women shows too much cleavage at work, because they believe that “they’re cheating the system.”

4) Men feel like they’re losing their masculinity

I’m sure you’ve seen the ad campaigns that pray on a man’s fear of losing his masculinity. They’re everywhere. Here’s an example I found from one Google search:

They use it because it works. Men don’t want to lose their man card.

Why do men feel this way?

Because manliness is supposedly very important for western society, yet they feel it’s been taken away from them.

The truth is, we are experiencing a male identity crisis in Western Society.

Boys are under-achieving in public schools in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia, according to several recent research studies. Men now comprise barely 40% of enrolled University and College students and graduates.

Today, double the number of unmarried women are purchasing homes in America than there are unmarried men.

On average, women read nine books every year, compared to men who only read four.

The discrepancy in wages may too be a thing of the past. A study of U.S. Census data conducted by Queens College sociologist Andrew Beveridge found that young women in New York and several other big American cities actually earn more than their male counterparts.

Once being seen as successful breadwinners and respected leaders, men are starting to lose their sense of importance.

Guy Garcia, author of The Decline of Men: How The American Male is Tuning Out, Giving Up and Flipping Off His Future, says that “Women really have become the dominant gender,” says Garcia, “what concerns me is that guys are rapidly falling behind. Women are becoming better educated than men, earning more than men, and, generally speaking, not needing men at all. Meanwhile, as a group, men are losing their way.”

So, what’s the solution?

I believe that the way society portrays men and women needs to change. We need to stop focusing on the physical appearance of women.

Women need to stop being seen as a sexual objects. When businesses hire waitresses, or front desk secretaries, they need to stop focusing on outer beauty and instead focus on characteristics that indicate how well they can perform in the job.

And we need to promote the idea that masculinity doesn’t define who a man is. Men should feel comfortable talking about their feelings, their failures and their weaknesses.

Only through acknowledgement and acceptance will there be change.

Statistics show that less than 5% of VC money goes to women-led companies. 

However, results show that women-led companies outperform their counterparts by 2-3 times. With tech unicorns coming under scrutiny for “cultural issues”, the need for more women at the forefront of the investment ecosystem has become even more important.

Be part of the conversation we’re hosting with some of tech’s leading thinkers at this online salon.