Tag Archives: sexism

Obama vs Cameron

Before the last US election, I was out on a night out in Aberystwyth and drunkenly bought a copy of Esquire just because Obama was on the cover. This was how much I hoped he would be elected and I wholly bought in to his mantra of change. I was nevertheless still slightly scared to wake up in the morning with a bad hangover and with Obama staring me in the face as I’d passed out with the magazine next to my head.

It hasn’t ended up as I think most of us had hoped (as this article from Owen Jones captures well). But the scary thing is that under Romney everything would no doubt be worse, particularly in terms of gender equality, as this article by Emma Brockes captures when she looks at the influence that female voters had on the election result. Here’s hoping Obama does something in his second term to revive the hope that so many people had before his first term. Still, even if he does manage that, not sure if I want to wake up so close to his face again anytime soon.

In stark contrast, can’t say I had any hope when the Tories had the largest share of the vote in the last election. Dame Helen Ghosh has said that Cameron is out of touch as only 3 women are permanent secretaries. Can’t say the fact that Cameron is out of touch is a big surprise.

But it seems that it’s not just Cameron that’s out of touch, turns out most of us are to some extent. This article about a week of sexism by Laura Bates shows just how widespread sexism is in our society and how we don’t really question these things. I can’t claim to have any moral high ground here. Until a couple of years ago I’d laugh along to many dubious jokes, it’s only recently I’ve felt confident enough to challenge this and be the uncool guy in the corner being uber-pc. But it’s something I plan to do more of, and not just in terms of gender either as I think we all need to do more to challenge everyday discrimination.

On a slightly nicer note, thousands of people have decided to try to lobby for Malala Yousafzai, the young blogger who wrote about the struggle for young women to get an education in a Taliban dominated area. Which is pretty awesome. I’m off to sign the petition now and I suggest that you do the same as it’s a well good idea!

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Is feminism sexist? Umm…. no

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.

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