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Sexism: This is not a flirtation


What's okay, what's sexism? A study shows that there is uncertainty about this in everyday life. But on one point, men and women are surprisingly in agreement.

Sexism is omnipresent in German society, but is perceived differently by men and women. This is the result of an investigation commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs. According to this, 68 percent of women and 50 percent of men observe sexism in their environment.

Men and women "experience the same reality, but perceive it differently and interpret the same situations differently," writes sociologist Carsten Wippermann. For the population-representative study questioned his Delta Institute for Social and Ecological Research 2,172 people from 16 years, she is ZEIT ONLINE exclusively before.

Thus the study holds scientifically, what already in the public debates to #MeToo and #Aufschrei showed. Most respondents are therefore agreed on the core of sexism: A person is degraded because of their gender and instrumentalized as an object for their own purposes, whether for their own profiling, desire increase or dominance, explains Wippermann. Moreover, there is virtually no sphere of society free of sexism, whether public, media, work or personal, online as well as offline.

What concrete actions and statements are sexist, there is disagreement - with the exception of serious attacks such as rape. In a qualitative survey that was also included in the study, it was shown that "women and men themselves are unsure in many ways in the interpretation in which they fall into the wrong and misinterpret the perception or the motive of each other," writes Wippermann. He calls sexism therefore as communication in which at least two actors are involved, and interpret this act for themselves. "What a sender can be sexist does not have to be understood by the recipient" - and vice versa.

44 percent of women are personally affected

When asked about their own concerns, 44 percent of the women surveyed and 32 percent of the men said that they are currently experiencing sexism against themselves. Every week, eight percent of women and seven percent of men are exposed to sexism. 60 percent of women who experience sexism do so by strangers, men who experience sexism to 46 percent.

After it became known in October 2017 that the US director Harvey Weinstein should have sexually actresses actresses had affected, especially women, reported in social media under the hashtag #MeToo worldwide about sexism and sexual violence. In the current survey, a quarter of men and women agree that the #MeToo debate has contributed to less sexism in everyday life.

Already in 2014, according to a report by Stern about the FDP politician Rainer Brüderle, there had been a similar discussion under the hashtag #Aufschrei in which was reported on everyday sexism.

A widespread reproach is since then, you (meaning mostly men) do not know now what flirting is still allowed. This is refuted by the survey for the majority of the population. That there is a clear difference between sexism and flirting, at least in theory, is confirmed by a large majority of respondents: for 73 percent, flirting and sexism have nothing to do with each other. 27 percent, however, agree with the statement that sexism is not always bad, just a kind of flirting (33 percent of men and 22 percent of women see it that way).

Also, 82 percent of women and 72 percent of men say they view the unwanted sending of sexual images as sexism. It is therefore clear to most men that their penis images do not go through a flirtation attempt.

In everyday life there are misunderstandings

However, there seems to be a gap between what the interviewees theoretically define as sexism and what they recognize as such in everyday life. The fact that women observe more sexism in their environment than men, according to Wippermann is also due to different "perception filters" and the ability to empathize with others. According to this, not only men generally perceive less sexism in their environment, women also perceive sexism to the detriment of men less often than men. There is some support for the hypothesis that sexism is accompanied by an asymmetry between perpetrators and those affected, says Wippermann, and that this asymmetry also consists in the ignorance of the perpetrators of imagining and being responsible for the effect of their transmitted signals on those affected.

The majority of respondents affected by sexism said they find it difficult to defend themselves. Ninety percent of women affected by sexism have never filed an ad for sexist abuse, and 86 percent of those affected have not. The majority of respondents also call for more measures from politics to prevent sexism.

"Sexism is not something we can simply tolerate or ignore," said Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey ZEIT ONLINE. According to a spokeswoman, her ministry already supports initiatives such as the help phone "Violence against women". Giffey now wants to develop and implement concrete recommendations together with representatives of the federal government and municipalities, associations and companies as well as culture and the media. "We need broad social covenants, because politics alone can not fix everything here," said the minister. "Together we have to call sexism what it is: a form of violence."

Source: zeit

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