Sexism is a disease; a mental illness with a pronounced component. In theory, it could be considered a sexually-transmitted mental illness. It is an inability to recognize an individual as a person, and instead seeing them only as a collection of sexually-desirable elements.
To present this another way, tell me what you see:
Do you see a duck? Or do you see a rabbit?
Now, take a look at this one:
Do you see an impressive costume worn by a beautiful woman dedicated to her craft? Or do you see large breasts?
In essence, that’s sexism. Everybody looks the same picture of the highly revered cosplayer Yaya Han. But some people see a cosplayer at the height of her professional craft. And some people see large breasts.
One of the great dangers of sexism is how poorly it is understood. Sexism comes in a lot of forms and a lot of varieties, and manifests itself in many ways. However, it all boils down to a single question that might as well take the form of an optical illusion: do you see a woman, or do you see boobs?
Men – not just quasi-sexists but also legitimately good and decent men – turn a blind eye to sexism and its resulting debate because they do not understand it. Most men cannot quite grasp the difference between appreciating beauty – especially sexual beauty – and sheer objectification. And it is that objectification that is the key to sexism: the reducing a person to a thing, the reducing of an individual to an object to be possessed.
This isn’t about ‘the Disease of Sexism’. This is about ‘the Cure of Sexism’. Sexism, viewed as an illness, cannot be treated with a vaccination or any other tangible medicine. It can only be treated with awareness, acknowledgment, and vocal opposition. Not from women alone, but from men as well. A lot of good men are staying quiet in the sexism debate because they don’t well enough understand the situation, or they feel this is a fight between women or bigots. Or worst of all, they fear they are hypocrites if they decry sexism and still enjoy sex and sexuality. The thing is, men, you don’t have to trade in your love of sex and sexiness to oppose sexism. You should just do what one should always do: behave respectfully and speak up when you see wrong being done.