Realities of Divorce: We are All Sexist – Every One

One of the greatest changes in family court norms over the past 50 years has been a strong move to reduce sexual discrimination. Judges are broadly pressured to treat men and women as equal partners, with particularly pernicious issues like child custody being dealt with by changes in statutory law, such as the proposed house bill that would make shared custody the automatic default in divorces. But one of the painful realities of divorce that we must all live with is that everyone is sexist.

And The Rock Means Everyone!
Until a man can choose to publically, confidently, and unironically:

  • Wear jewelry, makeup, high heels, and a sparkly dress,
  • Dance with, compliment the attractiveness of, or casually touch another man,
  • Talk about their experiments with homosexuality,
  • Own a sex toy for their own use,
  • Take their wife’s name when getting married,
  • Depend on their wife for protection from danger, or
  • Discuss the insecurity they feel about their bodies…

…we will never be able to make any claim to a sexism-free society. And unless you’re 100% down with a man who knows his ELF from his NYX, loves the feel of a broomstick skirt in the summertime, gives you a knowing wink and a grin when you accidentally find the Fleshlight in his purse, and is on his third last name (and second divorce), you’re part of the problem.

Feels Weird, Doesn’t It?
In our culture, for decades, “sexism” has been approached from a single perspective: no matter how enlightened and progressive you are, absolutely everyone has been working to establish gender equality…by bringing women “up” to the status men enjoy.

In a way, this is an obvious decision — after all, women really have gotten the crappy end of almost every deal in society. We’re paid less for the same work, we’re the subject of constant cajoling by men ranging from catcalls to rejoinders to “smile!”, control over our bodies vanishes should we get pregnant, and on and on. And all of that definitely needs fixing.

But the idea of bringing women ‘up’ to the status of the men is a trap.

It’s a Trap!
If we bring women into the world of men, we create a situation in which a woman who wants to do “boy stuff” becomes more accepted — and that’s happening! While there are still significant exceptions, a modern woman can reach dramatically further into “man territory” than we could a few decades ago.

But if we do not also bring men into the world of women, we will never have a situation in which “girl stuff” is treated with the same respect as “boy stuff.” Until we actually see men out there who openly (and heterosexually) turn to another man and say “Damn, dude, you are smoking hot — what’s your secret?”, have Easy-Bake Ovens that come in gunmetal and chrome with flame decals on the side, and also see the new ’18 Dodge Charger sitting new on the lot decked out in lavender and fuchsia with rims that look like pansies, sexism will still be alive and well.

So, Uh…Family Law?
The point of all of this is that no matter how strictly the law commands the family court to disregard gender when making decisions, it’s literally impossible to do so. There is no such thing as a judge living in the modern United States that would look at a man and a woman both wearing sparkly miniskirts and (at first meeting) think “these two people are equally competent in terms of parenting ability.”

Even when we’re trying to avoid treating each gender differently, we still end up unconsciously treating a person who doesn’t fit within their gender norms differently — and that’s still sexism. Because as long as “girl stuff” makes a man less of a man, being a girl isn’t good enough. So be prepared: the reality of divorce isn’t that “boys will be boys” — it’s that they must.

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