Spoiler alert, this is me sharing my opinion in my most objective way possible. Another spoiler alert, I know that you must have read/heard/discussed this topic around a gazillion times already, and here is the thing: sexism belongs to all of us.
Let me give you some context: Over the years, I would occasionally read yet another article on sexism but I have always felt that the matter was not sufficiently discussed. Coming to add the huge movement of #metoo, the topic almost surpassed crisis committees in popularity. All of a sudden, it became extremely easy to accuse males of sexism without sufficient reasoning, MUN articles presenting boring stories that were almost superficial etc.
Breaking down the points I fail to understand so far I would start from the impression that the muniverse runs on some sort of special social contract. We may take extreme joy into rewriting history, vetoing our crush’s draft, using conference’s resources to get ourselves a new phone that karma owes us but we the muniverse does not constitute the actual society web despite our desire to do so. Therefore, social activities and stereotypes will be respectively reflected in simulations as well. Personally, I find extremely shocking the fact that lgbtqi muners are still singled out and a disabled chair is considered to be an innovative move in terms of marketing in many circuits! You may say that this is not sexism per se, and I will point out that is a rather strong indication of discriminatory behavior that appears not to be even a problem for many of us.For the time, we are away from color and religious discrimination, don't know for how long though.
Update 15/4/2018: Having been recently tipped off about several incidents, regarding discriminations based on religion, and I can't help but express how shocked I am by this extremist type of behavior. To give you a better understanding, people are being denied chairing spots or even participation at some conferences across Balkans over their religious beliefs. Apparently, the level of respect that MUNs have in certain countries can be revealing for their general level of well-being.
Moving on to the notion of sexism; according to Britannica Sexism, prejudice or discrimination based on sex or gender, especially against women and girls. Although its origin is unclear, the term sexism emerged from the so-called “second-wave” feminism of the 1960s through the ’80s and was most likely modeled on the civil rights movement’s term racism (prejudice or discrimination based on race). Sexism can be a belief that one sex is superior to or more valuable than another sex. It imposes limits on what men and boys can and should do and what women and girls can and should do. Apologies for the length of the definition but it accurately illustrates the two types of sexism that I can personally see existing today and directs to the possible solutions to this phenomenon. There is, of course, the traditional, where men are better on any level and a female’s sole purpose is to please them in any way possible. MUNing wise, this mentality flourishes under the lack of specific policy regarding the limits that MUN interactions may meet. Recently though, some conferences started implementing new policies to that end by setting limits.
The reversed version of what is discussed above is extreme scrutiny and merciless criticism of all men. I could share many stories where attacking a male for minor reasons was equally pleasurable to bench watching but the point is that we are exaggerating in many cases. Of course, with the generous support of mun’s basic fuel, a.k.a. gossip we are just an inch away from implementing the so-called negative equality, where everyone will be judged by its gender only. The difference is that we are also about to lose track of substantial comments on one’s character and actual gender-based discrimination.
Progress requires something extremely difficult, to stop using stereotypes and gossip to understand someone’s behavior. Talking to people and being able to judge isolated situations requires a serious amount of time. This situation in its entirety can also be partially attributed to the starting point of simulations which differ for many of us. In other words, one sees MUN as an educational activity and somebody else as a cool way to spend family income.
Do I see any solution for this? It’s actually way simpler than we would think. Focus on somebody’s skills only for a change. The sexiest man of the world may be the most ignorant chair you have ever met and no woman needs MUN allies to survive in a crisis committee. Unfortunately, simulations today teach us how to remain competitive and keep our shark game strong. If you want to use stereotypes to advance your agenda that’s a whole other topic to discuss, but let’s not pretend that sexism is only a female problem.
It does not require money to reduce it in the muniverse, it takes a serious mentality swift which is not going to happen any time soon, on a global scale.