Understanding Sexism: Men Learning from Women’s Experiences for a More Equitable Society


The statement, “Women have been fighting against sexism for a long time. If men can learn from them, it will be to everyone’s benefit,” highlights the importance of men learning from women’s experiences in combating sexism. By understanding the struggles and efforts of women in challenging sexist norms, men can gain valuable insights into the pervasive nature of sexism and its impact on both genders. This essay delves into the article “When Men Experience Sexism” by Noah Berlatsky in The Atlantic (2013), exploring instances where men encounter sexist behaviors and societal expectations. By examining these examples, we underscore the significance of men becoming allies in the fight against sexism and fostering a more equitable and inclusive society.

The article by Berlatsky (2013) draws attention to various forms of sexism that men may face, including gendered expectations around emotions and vulnerability. Societal norms often discourage men from expressing emotions openly, perpetuating the notion that vulnerability is a sign of weakness and femininity. Learning from women’s experiences, men can challenge harmful stereotypes and embrace emotional expression as a healthy and human trait, fostering more meaningful connections and emotional well-being.

Moreover, the article sheds light on issues related to body image and objectification experienced by men. Like women, men may also face body shaming and unrealistic appearance expectations. By understanding women’s experiences with objectification and body scrutiny, men can empathize with the harmful effects of such behaviors and work towards dismantling the culture of objectifying individuals based on their physical attributes (Berlatsky, 2013).

Additionally, the article addresses the issue of male victims of sexual harassment and assault. Men who experience such trauma may face unique challenges due to societal norms and stereotypes. Learning from women’s activism and advocacy against sexual harassment and assault, men can contribute to creating a safer and more supportive environment for all victims, regardless of gender (Berlatsky, 2013).

Furthermore, the article delves into the concept of benevolent sexism, which is often overlooked but equally harmful. Benevolent sexism involves seemingly positive attitudes or behaviors towards women that are rooted in traditional gender roles and can perpetuate gender inequality. For example, men may express protectiveness towards women, believing they are being chivalrous, but this can undermine women’s agency and reinforce gender stereotypes (Glick & Fiske, 2018). By recognizing the subtle ways in which benevolent sexism operates, men can challenge these attitudes and contribute to breaking down gendered expectations and power imbalances.

Additionally, the article emphasizes the importance of men being active allies in confronting sexist language and attitudes. Language plays a crucial role in perpetuating gender norms and stereotypes. Men can make a significant impact by actively rejecting and challenging derogatory language or jokes that demean women. By promoting respectful and inclusive language, men can help create a more positive and supportive environment for women and encourage others to do the same (Swim et al., 2018).

Moreover, men can benefit from learning about intersectionality in their understanding of sexism. Intersectionality recognizes that individuals face multiple interconnected forms of oppression, and experiences of sexism can vary based on factors such as race, class, and sexual orientation (Crenshaw, 2016). By recognizing the intersectional nature of sexism, men can develop a more nuanced and inclusive understanding of the challenges faced by different groups of women and actively work towards dismantling the various layers of discrimination.


In conclusion, the statement emphasizes the importance of men learning from women’s experiences in the fight against sexism. By recognizing and empathizing with women’s struggles, men can challenge harmful norms and stereotypes, promoting a more inclusive society where gender equality becomes a shared goal for everyone’s benefit. By understanding various forms of sexism, including those faced by male victims, benevolent sexism, and the impact of language and intersectionality, men can become active allies in combating sexism. By actively rejecting sexist behaviors and language and promoting a more respectful and inclusive environment, men can contribute to fostering a society that values gender equality and empowers everyone to thrive.


Berlatsky, N. (2013). When Men Experience Sexism. The Atlantic. Retrieved from [URL]

Crenshaw, K. (2016). Intersectionality: The Double Bind of Race and Gender. In G. L. Orenstein (Ed.), Gender and Women’s Leadership: A Reference Handbook. SAGE Publications.

Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (2018). Ambivalent Sexism Revisited. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 42(3), 323-329.

Swim, J. K., Hyers, L. L., Cohen, L. L., & Ferguson, M. J. (2018). Everyday Sexism: Evidence for its Incidence, Nature, and Psychological Impact from Three Daily Diary Studies. Journal of Social Issues, 74(2), 211-226.

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