I have one question, though. There is this one sentence that I am not sure how to read.
“The bottom line is, when women are treated differently simply because they are women–whether by treating them as inferior or putting them on a pedestal–it’s sexist.”
Does this mean “when women are treated as inferiors, or put on a pedestal, simply because they are women, it’s sexist” or does this mean “when women are treated differently simply because they are women it’s sexist, two examples of differential treatment are treating them as inferior or putting them on a pedestal.”
I wonder because while I agree with the first, I disagree with the second. I think it is true that treating women as inferiors or putting us on a pedestal is sexist treatment. But sometimes, treating women differently is not sexist (even if it is because we are women). For example, allowing women maternity leave is treating women differently because they are women, but I don’t think it is sexist. (Of course, it is even better when countries have parental leave that is available to men and women, but given the paltry maternity leave in the USA that seems a lot to hope for.)
I think there are many other examples where differential treatment for women is not sexist. And there is a lot of debate in feminist theory about whether ‘sameness’ or ‘difference’ is the way to go, and each has advantages and disadvantages. More recently in feminist theory, feminists have begun to point out that one problem in both cases is that the male is still the standard no matter which way you go.
I wish more of the feminist writers I read on the Interwebs are capable of dicing semantics this finely, and this clearly.
Bakka makes a very important point/distinction, which is often missed, or willfully overlooked.