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I am concerned (that's a lie, I'm hopping mad, but trying to be measured and scholarly) about the sexism around this question and some of the comments, where women's suffrage, access to education, employment and general participation in public life are described as "privileges". In no other context, be it Black American suffrage (or the right to buy a hamburger), or the rights of Jews in Nazi Germany, would the word privilege be regarded as normal or even acceptable!

Arguably, driving a car is a privilege which must be earned, not a right. But if some society banned all (White adult) men from driving, such an infringement of their "rights" would be swiftly condemned.

Do we object less to sexism than racism?

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    I have performed the edits you suggested (and various other small stuff) here. I completely agree that "privilege" should be changed to "right." – Barry Harrison May 18 '19 at 3:53
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    Had some thoughts as well, but am unsure now whether I have complete info or not. How much is this about what's now left in the questiom (and the original wording) or how much is this about comments I didn't catch and can no longer see? – LаngLаngС May 18 '19 at 20:57
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    @LangLangC It's mainly about the unedited question, but there were some comments, since deleted, saying that women hadn't had the vote "for thousands of years". When I pointed out that neither had men, the commentator responded that men had fought, so they "deserved" the vote! (emphasis mine). On that reasoning, only military personnel could vote. Bit like Sparta! – TheHonRose May 18 '19 at 21:17
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    Haeh? Suffragettes didn't fight? Anyway, thx for the heads up. It's interesting. The "deserved" part changes a lot about how I think about this. – LаngLаngС May 18 '19 at 21:22
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Do we object less to sexism than racism?

Absolutely not. In fact, the SE Code of Conduct makes it clear that bigotry is never acceptable, whether that bigotry is based on race, gender, or any other reason.

To be honest, I think (hope?) that most of us would find sexism just as offensive as racism, even if it wasn't explicitly forbidden by the Code of Conduct.


In general, if you see content that breaches the SE Code of Conduct, please flag it for moderator attention.

However, personally I also generally try to assume good intentions (as suggested by the previous SE Code of Conduct, although this can sometimes be really hard).

In a case where it may simply be a poorly-chosen word, I would probably initially suggest an edit to the question. It is possible that word might have been suggested by some content elsewhere which is what motivated the person to ask the question. Alternatively, the question may simply have been posted by someone for whom English is not their first language.

If that suggested edit was rejected, it would rather suggest that the choice of word was deliberate, and I would then flag the question for moderator attention.


In this particular case, I believe that offensive comments were flagged and have now been removed. The question has also now been edited.

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    The question was only edited by @BarryHarrison after I raised it here, changing "privileges" to "rights" in such remarks as "how could women still have such privilege (they call them rights)?" No one would suggest ante bellum former slaves were given the privilege of voting without being swiftly challenged. I just feel that some implicit sexism in this discussion was treated more leniently than other kinds of prejudice against oppressed /minority groups - and women, by definition, are not a minority: they are half the human race. – TheHonRose May 18 '19 at 11:57
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    @TheHonRose I agree that the language is unacceptable. And you are probably right that similar language might have been spotted / flagged sooner in other contexts. I can only assume that people might be more sensitive to those situations as a result of past posts by trolls that are explicitly racist, antisemitic, etc. I really hope that this question will help raise people's awareness for the future. – sempaiscuba May 18 '19 at 13:16
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I started about 5 takes on this, and deleted them all for being really shitty. Hopefully I thought this through enough now.

Point 1: Our moderation system heavily depends on users. If you see something, flag something. If its a post over which you have edit privs, fix it yourself.

Point 2: Point 1 above, in the case of sexism is directed at everyone here except Rose. As one of our (sadly) very very few regular posters with an unambiguously female user profile, it should not be her job to police this site for gender offensive material. We have a few Jewish regulars here too, and they likely are occasionally among those flagging Nazi material when it pops up. However, Rose is absolutely right that we don't expect them to handle all the Nazis all by themselves for us, or to educate us about why specific things are offensive.

The genius of the SE mod system is that it can identify and remove offensive material in many cases even before it hurts anyone, robbing the troll of that thrill they get from being offensive. It can do this because, while the trolls always outnumber the moderators, the non troll users outnumber the trolls. So its incumbent on the rest of us to love our community enough to get bigoted material removed before it does much damage.

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  • Thank you! I will/hope I do challenge sexism (and other "isms") as and when I can and, to be fair, this is the first time I remember seeing it both blatant and larvely ignored. But still offensive. – TheHonRose May 19 '19 at 0:28

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