On my way back from work I found the first part of this blog title on a tweet from the New Statesman. It led me to this article about Tom Martin, who is suing the London School of Economics (LSE) because he believes that their Gender Studies course is sexist. It’s interesting to read Jonathan Dean’s account, who was a Researcher at the LSE about his thoughts about the course. As the article in the New Statesman says, “it seems obvious that liberating women from gender-based discrimination would help men”, but I’m not sure that selling “house husbandry” is the motivation! But although I’d already blogged today, it really made me want to examine this.
The first feminist book that my feminist girlfriend lent me was Natasha Walter’s “Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism“. One of the things that the book picks up on fantastically is the gender roles we’re made to fit. Interestingly, both my girlfriend and I got irate on the same topic, but for different reasons – stereotypes and biological determinism. Walter says:
Instead of the unpredictable men and women we meet every day, who might be aggressive or nurturing, who might be solitary or gregarious, we are being asked to believe that all men and all women should fit templates modelled more on a pink doll or a blue robot than a real man or a real woman.
I was upset as according to some research “men are more interested in things, women in people.” Great. Perfect to know that I don’t relate well to people because of my gender. Fortunately Walter goes on to examine this theory and to discredit it to a large extent (I definitely suggest you read more!).
Jessica Valenti dedicates a chapter of her book “Full Frontal Feminism” to this. I bought it for Francesca for Christmas, little realising it was already on her book shelf – proof that a feminist boyfriend isn’t a perfect boyfriend! I then read it, pretty epic stuff. She says “Without dissecting how masculinity standards affect men, we’ll never be able to comprehensively address sexism and how it affects women.”
Which brings me back to the above topic. Stereotypes don’t benefit anybody, which is why Feminism isn’t sexist. Ally Fogg wrote a great piece on Dean Windass, who is an ex-footballer, on what this negative perception can lead to for some men.
Ally Fogg’s just tweeted that Tom Martin’s case was thrown out too.