Benevolent Sexism & The Art of Discussion


 Dear Friends,

(I’ll make this short.)

In wake of recent events regarding opinion pieces published in The Fourcast, I’d like to offer my personal opinion. You do not have to agree with me, but I ask that you respect my opinions as a fellow student, friend and journalist.

Recently a friend of mine wrote a piece regarding what she believed to be benevolent sexism. In response, people reacted negatively on social media and by word of mouth as well. However, they did so through personal attack, as her ideas were ridiculed and were the center of objectification and demeaning behavior.

Without regard to the opinions stated in the piece, I believe that responding in this way is unacceptable, as she is a hardworking journalist who simply chose to express her opinions through her writing.

As a reminder of how to facilitate and participate in healthy discussion:     

We each have our own opinions, our own beliefs and our own set of experiences. That is what makes us who we are and what makes us unique. Though we may discuss and disagree, we have no right to disparage the ideas of others and discount them as lesser than ours, whether we agree with them or not. It is one thing to express our opposing ideals in a respectful manner and another to bully another’s beliefs.

Respect is the root of character and community. We have been taught to speak our minds and fight for what we believe in. But fight in this context doesn’t mean hostility.

Fight means standing up for what you believe in, while considering the thoughts of others. Fight means communicating and acknowledging both sides before formulating an opinion. Fight means respect.  

So, I remind the community, as responsible members of society, to think about how you would like your opinions valued. Think about your actions before you comment next time or spread a rumor. There is a real person who may be hurt and affected by gossip.

Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” was obviously incorrect. Words hurt more than anything else. So please, let us use our words to communicate rather than belittle. Let our words form bonds. Let them create friendships. Let them do good in this community we all call home.


Sonya Xu

Commentaries are the expressed opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of The Fourcast staff, its adviser or any member of the Hockaday community.