The courts have not wholeheartedly embraced the idea of equality of the sexes, and therefore do not attack sex discrimination with the same vigor as they attack racism. Rather, the courts are equivocal about sexual equality and weigh equality less carefully for sex than for race. Color is thought an arbitrary distinction; gender, however, is assumed to be something of substance.
When courts sustain sex discrimination, they generally do not characterize it as such. Rather, differences between the sexes, both real and imagined, are used to justify the gender distinction. It is easy to be hypnotized by the purported differences between the sexes: to never question how oppressive sexual stereotypes weave themselves inextricably into the fabric of our society.
To confront the sexism embedded in our society by the use of such stereotypes, we must challenge even the most common assumptions and prevent the perpetuation of false and damaging myths about the differences between men and women. This is what the courts have failed to do.
Scholarly Commons Citation
Aiken, Jane H., "Differentiating Sex from Sex: The Male Irresistible Impulse" (1983). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 1427.