Sexism is an integral part of feminism. Feminist writer bell hooks describes feminism as "a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and opression."1 But what is sexism? Many people deny that sexism continues to exist, despite apparent indications that it does, such as pay inequities. Others believe that sexism exists only in traditional domestic ideas of a male partner supporting a female partner financially, and a female partner taking care of domestic concerns. bell hooks states that everyone, "male and female, has been socialized from birth on to accept sexist thought and action."1 Simply put, sexism is any thought or action that proliferates a belief in difference between the sexes. The most difficult type of sexism to combat is institutional sexism, or sexism that, because of how society is structured, has become a norm in certain structures. For example, institutional sexism is the cause of the joke that "women are cooks, men are chefs." Women were traditionally reserved to cooking for their families and as a result were unable to obtain jobs as chefs. The majority of sexism in the art world is a result of institutional sexism. It is possible for sexism to exist against men as well as women, however, it exists more commonly against women. This is because women just have been traditionally offered fewer options by societal structures, or encouraged to pursue fewer opportunities, than men have.
What is Sexism?
1. hooks, bell. Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics.
Cambridge, MA: South End, 2000. Print.