Sexism Victimizes Men, Too

2 min
at 11:43 PM

Teenager Gabriel Moussa has learned that girls aren’t the only victims of sexist thinking.

In the last year I’ve done a lot of babysitting for families in the neighborhood. I’ve been a camp counselor, I have lots of babysitting experience and I’m CPR certified. However, I am a teenage male. This shouldn’t pose as a problem but believe it or not, it does.

Some time ago, a new client reached out to me over text to see if I could watch her children that night. I agreed and provided a reference who had children of similar ages. My reference said great things about me, but a little while later, I got a text from the client saying that her plans were cancelled and she no longer needed me. I later found out that she assumed I was female and learned my gender from my reference, then decided that I was not to be trusted.

This was my first exposure to blatant sexism. This lady whom I have never met, trusted me to watch her kids based on only the preconceived notion that I was a girl. After finding out that I was not, in fact, female, I suddenly became un-trustworthy.

Besides, why would a boy want to babysit? Taking care of children is for girls, right? Just a couple days ago, I went to pick up two children from aftercare at their elementary school, because their mom couldn’t make it in time. As we were about to leave, a third-grade boy came up to me and asked if I was their babysitter. I responded “yes”, he then said, “I’ve never heard of a boy babysitter, that’s weird.” I didn’t know what to say in that moment, it caught me off guard.

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Most people address sexism from the female perspective which is the side most negatively impacted. However, gender roles affect both women and men. I should feel comfortable being an empathetic, caring person, but the truth is, I can’t have a serious and personal discussion with most of my male friends. That’s just not what’s expected. Men should not need to hide their feelings, always appear strong and “man up”. By babysitting, I break these norms and strive to change the thoughts of others.

In our effort to end sexism, it is crucial to also consider the male point of view.

With a Perspective, I’m Gabriel Moussa.

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Gabriel Moussa attends Nueva High School in San Mateo.

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