woman looking away and upset

Breaking the Silence: Confronting the Unconscious Sexism Men Often Overlook

Gender equality is an ongoing battle that we must fight every day. Despite the progress we’ve made, there are still subtle sexist things happening around us. As a result, women are subjected to microaggressions and discrimination that many men might not even realize they are doing. With that in mind, we are here to discuss and shed light on the subtle sexist things that men do, which they think are “normal” or are unaware of. So, what are some subtle sexist things you’ve noticed that men do?


Woman sitting on the couch covering her face on the phone upset
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One Redditor said, Using “like a girl” as an insult. “You throw like a girl,” “You cry like a little girl,” etc.


Woman looking annoyed
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This Redditor said, “Assuming when a woman is bad at something, all women are bad at it. A recent example: My SO is in construction. His supervisor is a woman, and she’s not great at her job. He came home and was about to start a rant with “women in construction,” but I gave him a look, and he changed it to “this supervisor is terrible.”


Woman and man arguing. man looking at her confused and woman looking stressed
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One user stated, “Saying someone has balls if they’re brave and calling them a baby if they’re not.”

Gender Norms

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This Redditor shared, “I can’t count the number of times that my girlfriend will pay, and the card is automatically returned to me. Sometimes even when paying at the register, the cashier would give me the card when they just watched my girlfriend hand it to them.”


woman and man at a table woman looks annoyed and man is looking away
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This user said, “If the man is cleaning or cooking, he is “helping out,” or if he is watching his children, he is “babysitting.” I’m sorry, your house and your children are your responsibility too.”

Paying Attention

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A user shared, “Not really paying attention to what I or other women say unless it’s about them. It’s usually in a group of more men than women.”


Woman looking surprised, wearing a green shirt
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A Redditor said, “I worked at Radio Shack. As a former electronics technician in the Navy, I was far more qualified than anyone else that worked there. I knew everything in the parts drawers and could read schematics. And yet, EVERY GUY that came in would look for a man to help him.”


Woman crying as her man walks away
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One user shared, “Basically, expecting me to act in a way that meets a standard they don’t hold themselves or other men too. I used to climb with a guy who would talk about the girls he was seeing in an explicit context, but when I made one joke about how I was “gonna get laid,” he tore into me about how unladylike.”


Vacillating Personalities couple sitting upset on the couch
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A user mentioned, “Apologizing to my husband instead of me when they are “caught” by him trying to hit on me. Never mind that I have told them already that I’m not interested, and they persisted anyways. None of that matters and interest in my personhood is feigned until they realize I’m “taken” Then, they apologize to the dude whose turf they have infringed upon.”

Man Of The House

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This user recalled, “I’ve found that with some men, if they are dealing with things that concern both my boyfriend and me (i.e., OUR lease), they will always make and hold eye contact with only him. They are very clearly only talking to him.”

Talking Shop

Male Greeting two men shaking hands
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A Redditor shared, “I own my home, pay all my own bills, etc. One day a guy came over to sell broadband. I answered the door, said sure, come on in. I’m actually looking for better speeds. He then proceeded to address ‘the man of the house’ (my SO, who was visiting) and asked him what ‘his’ broadband packages were and what ‘he’ paid.”

Too Emotional

Woman crying into her hands
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A top-liked comment said, “Assuming everything a woman says or does comes from an emotional place. We’re humans. We try our best to balance reason and emotion. Negating the severity of a situation because you assume it’s from an emotional cloud or because women can’t think outside their emotions is just wrong.”


woman cringing from man behind her
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A user stated, “I was a sailor, and I swear all the time. Men do not have to clean up their language because I am in earshot. I am not the swearing police.

Joking Around

Naturally Funny couple sitting and laughing
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One Redditor stated, “Making a potentially offensive joke and immediately turning to the only woman in the room and apologizing. It’s subtly excluding.”


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This user said, “I have hung out with guys who don’t even notice they’re forming their opinion about a pro (athlete, politician, artist, researcher, you name it) based on her looks. Like watching a movie, and the guy gives all female actresses his approval depending on how physically attractive they are in his opinion.”


Husband and Wife back to back looking at one another with angry looks
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A Redditor added, “Using belittling names like “honey” or “sweetheart” during a discussion/argument with a woman. Might as well pat her on the head and say, “I know this is all just too complex for your little female brain.”


Woman looking grossed out wearing red shirt and lip stick
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A top-liked comment mentioned, “My biggest one is putting the responsibility on females, even when they don’t realize they’re doing it. The best example of this is school dress codes. Girls aren’t allowed to wear shorts or tank tops because they could cause a “distraction in the classroom.”


Angry man yelling at his phone
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One user stated, “⁠Mansplaining – Just because I have ovaries doesn’t mean I don’t know what spark plugs are.”


couple upset and looking away
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A Redditor had this to say, “⁠Making disgusting comments like “You must be on your period” if I’m angry.”


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Finally, a Redditor said, Anything popular among girls or women is automatically devalued and mocked. Also, viewing women as polar opposites and impossible to understand.As we have seen from the responses of Redditors in this thread, there are many subtle ways in which sexism can manifest in men’s behavior, often without even realizing it. It’s important for all of us to be aware of these actions and make an effort to address and eliminate them in order to create a more equal and inclusive society.

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