Not long ago, Oklahoma passed a law that would broadcast the names of women who had abortions on a public website in order to shame them (Guttmatcher, 2014). This amplifies a much deeper problem: sexism is not only a social problem, but an institutionalized one as well. For example, Rep. Rush Limbaugh often makes inflammatory comments regarding women’s rights, saying things like “Sandra Fluke is a prostitute. She is a slut,” (Addicting Info, 2012) simply for mentioning the prominence a women health care plans. And societies also beget a double entendre: women who are overweight, do not wear a lot of makeup and expensive clothes, and do not fit the cookie cutter of what a woman must be like is shamed, and yet those who succumb to weight loss, makeup, and other social norms are also shamed. This further rekindles the idea that judgment on women is deeply intertwined with their autonomy
That is not to suggest that no politicians have taken a stand. On the contrary, many renowned figures have devoted a lot of effort to mitigate the sexism disparities. For example, Jimmy Carter has written a lot about Women’s rights and how we can resolve chauvinism, violence, and discrimination. Sandra Fluke has spoken about the importance of contraception in health care plans. Even celebrities like Beyoncé, Jane Lynch, and Sheryl Sandberg have started a campaign to end the label “Bossy” when girls and women are merely striving for leadership. However, with only 98 women out of all 535 members of Congress (so 437 men compared to only 98 women), and that women get only $0.75 for every dollar a man makes for the same exact work (Politifact, 2014), we can see that both social and institutionalized sexism and discrimination are both still very much embedded in our society.