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The Other Side of Sexism

Imagine the following scene: In the local news, there is a report of a restaurant owner who sexually harassed one the of the restaurant’s servers. Not only was the server harassed by the manager frequently and publicly, but the server was given fewer career opportunities because of gender discrimination, and as a result had to resort to a second job in order to support a family of three. The server is now filing charges against the manager for inappropriate behavior.
Who pictured the server as a female and the restaurant manager as a male? Probably many, and often times, this is the case. In the news and throughout history, women have been primary targets for discrimination. But from the 19th century onward, waves of feminist movements have successfully opened doors to millions of females today that were previously only accessible to males. Subsequently, sexual harassment cases such as that of the waitress and the restaurant manager are less frequent and rarely tolerated in today’s society. But what happens when the server is a male and the manager, a female? Is this acceptable or equal in severity? What happens in those cases?
In 2006, three Duke men’s lacrosse players were convicted for sexually assaulting a woman named Crystal Mangum, an exotic dancer the players had hired to perform at an off-campus party. Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong swiftly prosecuted the boys who were later suspended from the lacrosse team. Fifteen months later, the three boys were exonerated when officials realized there was a clear lack of evidence, a rushed trial, and a biased attorney, Mr. Nifong, who was later forced to resign.
The Duke Lacrosse scandal resulted from Mr. Nifong’s hasty assumption that the scandal was another typical case – a low-income, vulnerable African American woman taken advantage by three privileged white youths. Mr. Nifong and the public could easily believe and accept this. After all, they had already seen this so many times before. The truth was determined before it was ascertained. To Mr. Nifong’s surprise, periodicals later reported that Ms. Mangum had lied about the sexual assault and in addition, would later stab her boyfriend and be charged with murder.
Ultimately, conditioning is the main cause of many cases of “reverse sexism” today. Although wrongs committed against women are an unpleasant reality, many easily forget that these injustices are equally true for men. Thus, throughout the world, instances of male bias continue to be overlooked. It is true: some blogs and newspapers publicize male bias, and may continue to spread awareness of the issue. But the next day the media is flooded with stories promoting comforting stereotypes and history retelling the wrongs committed against women everywhere. The injustices will only leave if we continue to remind ourselves and others of the truth every day. After all, just as there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to sexism.



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