. It goes along with the idea that "just because you put me on a pedestal doesn't make you not sexist" thing. I'm not exactly sure how to explain it, but basically the idea is that you can compliment something and still be discriminatory against someone. Kind of like the whole "Asians are good at math!" or "Black women have such pretty hair!" or "Women are so nurturing!" While the person's intent may be good, lumping groups together like that is still racist/sexist. The easiest way to turn that around is to make it about the particular person, not about how they represent their "group" as a whole. But it also can depend on how enthusiastic you get as well.
- "Asians good at math": often goes hand in hand with "Asians are mindless automatons that lack any creativity."
- "Women are so nurturing": often used to excuse some nasty, sexist things and reinforce the false dichotomy of men being logical and women being emotional (and hence, illogical and easily dismissable).
- I"Black women have such pretty hair": HOOOOOO BOY black hair is such a tangly subject. "Good Hair" is often "White Hair." Also, it's kind of objectifying.
These are just the specific examples, but what makes positive stereotypes so insidious is that it sets your bar for success unrealistically high. Others are irrationally disappointed
if you don't measure up to this arbitrary standard, and it can seriously be an alienating experience.
If you're an Asian that's bad at math? You're deficient and should be ashamed of yourself!
If you're a woman that's not nurturing? You cold bitch! What's wrong with you? If a man doesn't meet this standard of nurturing, it's not viewed as this fatal flaw. These sexist assumptions are bad for men, too, because it implies that men are not
nurturing. You can see this in the disparity between stay-at-home moms and stay-at-home dads as well as the differences between custody agreements after divorce. These are actually very related, as the judge (understandably) usually wants to leave kids with the primary caretaker. There's definitely a stigma against fathers being the primary caretaker, and it makes me very happy that this is going away.
It always kind of sticks in my craw when Mens' Rights activists complain about that last one, because it's that very sexist assumption that enables this disparity
and that feminists fighting to dismantle these rigid gender roles helps them, too
. Patriarchy (no, not a cabal of men intent on ruling teh worlds, but a specific piece of jargon referring to this sort of gender policing that both sexes participate in) hurts men, too
It may not be as insidious as other sorts of racism, but that doesn't make it less wrong. In some ways, it's worse because people don't realize they're being racist, and because it's socially acceptable.
I find hipster racism unpalatable because a lot of racism is internalized, and saying "it's just a joke" is a way of excusing being too lazy or thoughtless to examine these prickly, insidious sorts of things. It also enables genuine racists
hide behind these sorts of excuses and retards the progress towards this "color-blindness" that a lot of people like to bleat about.
Plus, it makes you look like a dick and it's easy to avoid.