Category Archives: sexism
Check out the Diet Coke ad above.
Do you react like these women?
- Aaaah, awesome
- I was like :O when i saw this commercial
- ooh la la! like like like, all I need, no sugar, no calories!
And Coke’s personal favorite:
- Hot damn I need a Coke.
Or like these men?
- Bad commercial, kinda degrading for women…
- kinda sexist, no? Imagine a group of guys rolling the coke can to a hot girl, that then gets splattered with coke on her top and takes it off while they stare… yeah … id wanna see that commercial!
- I feel very violated as a man to be viewed as a slave laboring, sex toy meant for the amusement of females. It’s almost to hard to bear watching this demonstrable evidence of female oppression in our society. I don’t think women would be laughing if this video was the contrary. Women are nothing but misandristic swines. We have to unite my brothers and break this new established misandry system. Wahh
Oh no, do I have to start competing with guys who look like THAT?! (We ladies can relate having had to compete with Brooklyn Decker-types for years.)
I don’t like how he’s demeaned before he’s ogled. (On being demeaned — or being demeaned and ogled — the ladies can relate and commiserate.)
An alternative translation:
Women aren’t the only ones who are objectified! And women like to objectify, too, so quit yer whining!
If so, these guys think this ad is equivalent to what women are pelted with every day. It’s not.
First, sexiness is a part of the human experience. So if either men or women are portrayed as sexy some of the time, no big deal. Our sexuality is a part of our humanity.
The problem comes, in part, from bombardment by an impossible beauty ideal, leaving plenty of women feeling bad about themselves. Guys increasingly face this problem, but not at nearly the same level.
Also, women are almost ALWAYS the sexy ones, and that is the PRIMARY way they are portrayed. The imbalance communicates that women exist to sexually please men. That’s their main purpose, and without reciprocation.
And then women are hurt by men who learn — however unconsciously – to think of women as sexual-pleasure objects. So women may be treated as things and not people. Some men will use and abuse them. Their lovers may only care about their own pleasure and not make emotional connection. Their lovers may treat them like interchangeable objects. They may rudely ogle others while ignoring their partner. Taken to extreme, some men kidnap women for sex slavery, or go to prostitutes who have been kidnapped and enslaved.
Because if women are just objects, no feelings to worry over.
If women and men were BOTH portrayed in multidimensional ways, with one part being “sexy” — and outside of impossible body ideals (variety is the spice of life!) then “sexy” images needn’t be a problem for either gender.
Miss Universe can pose for Playboy, but she’d better not have sex with an actual playboy.
Sexual girls may be “sluts” and “ho’s” but all girls are bombarded by sexy-women images — that tell them what they’re supposed to look like. Combined with a high school hierarchy based on looks, the message gets thru that a woman’s worth rests largely upon her ability to attract.
Some seek confirmation that they are, indeed sexy, and therefore, “worthy” by drawing the male gaze.
Walking down the street a young woman meets male approval. Or, she may try sexting. All for his pleasure and her self-esteem.
Some have sex with men, hoping to feel beautiful. But a young woman who tries that is back to being a bad girl because now she’s sexual. Except that she’s not. She’s being sexy for someone else’s pleasure — a sex object who doesn’t enjoy sex – even as she enjoys looking good.
Kerry Cohen, psychotherapist and author of Dirty Little Secrets: Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity says,
The problem is not necessarily that girls are victims of predatory males. It’s that they are victims of very narrow definitions of sexual desirability. And in the course of confirming their desirability – and hence their worthiness – they end up completely removed from their own sexuality and experience of sexual desire.
So how can young women get in touch with their sexuality on their own terms? Dr. Cohen has some suggestions:
1. Talk about Desire. When girls ask parents how they will know they are ready to have sex, desire rarely comes up:
We tell them that sex will get in the way of their happiness and growth. We tell them they must be in love. We tell them that good sex happens only when you are in love… (We must acknowledge) that girls have sexual desire, and everything can change.
2. Talk about Outercourse. Think second and third base, she says, or phone sex, so that young women can explore and test intimacy and communicate with their partners. Plus, women get more orgasms through outercourse than intercourse, anyway.
3. Talk about Masturbation. Women need to get in touch with their own bodily pleasure. It’s hard to know what you like, or communicate what you like, unless you get know your body and how it responds.
4. Talk about Emotions. Sex and sexual feelings are too often removed from emotions in our society, says Cohen, even though they are entwined. Young people need to think about various types of sexual acts and whether they are interested in them, or even prepared for them.
It’s about time more women enjoyed sexual pleasure instead of just being sexy for someone else’s.
“There’s a huge amount of online activity devoted to cultivating horrific impulses toward women,” says former sex-crimes prosecutor, Jane Manning.
For instance, while Facebook prohibits content that is hateful, threatening or incites violence, rape didn’t count until recently. It took a massive campaign to stop pages with titles like “You know she’s playing hard to get when you’re chasing her down an alleyway.”
Or, an upskirt picture of a woman lying face down on the floor was recently posted on Facebook. It got comments like these:
- Id wake her up the HARD WAY and later say it wasn’t me
- She also would have woke up feeling sticky and used!
- Whuts da ho’ doin on da flo’ ?
- An found a used codom in side of her
- any man worth his salt would fuk it now
On Facebook it was easy to see who had viciously mocked the victim. Among them:
- Men who like science, yoga, Buddhism, classical music and the local church
- A supporter of a charity that campaigns against violence
- A husband who works with a Christian Ministry
- Fathers who seek support for special needs kids, campaign against animal cruelty, are proud of their daughters, and who want to be there for their children
Or, there’s Gilberto Valle, a New York cop who favored sites filled with men chatting about raping and torturing women, and even roasting and eating them. His wife, who knows him best, called the cops and flew to Nevada to escape him. She was one of his prospective victims.
Defenders say, “lighten up!”
What happens when we do?
It may well train women to accept both their diminishment and their submission. And it seems to make men more callous to women’s abuse. Others like Officer Valle, who had a plan to kidnap, torture and eat young women, are incited to violence. Around one in five American women have been victims of rape or battering.
Should we lighten up?
At age eleven Emily Lindin was declared a slut and “harassed incessantly at school, after school, and online,” she says.
A diary entry:
Aaron said he had heard that Zach “ate me out.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I said it wasn’t true, just to be on the safe side.
Fifteen years later she recalls:
I have a very painful memory of watching an instant message window pop up from an account called DieEmilyLindin and reading the message: “Why haven’t you killed yourself yet, you stupid slut?”
I’ve been thinking about this amidst an onslaught of tragedies like these:
- Fifteen-year-old Felicia Garcia of Stanton Island had sex with four football players, which was recorded and shared around her school. Two players began tormenting her and others joined in. Felicia jumped in front of a Staten Island train.
- Four boys assaulted seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons of Nova Scotia, labeled her a “slut” and shared a photo online. Then, the whole school started harassing her. Rehtaeh hung herself.
- Fourteen-year-old Samantha Kelly also hung herself, unable to withstand the taunting and harassment that followed a police report of her rape.
I’ve often wished that an “It Gets Better” project could help girls like them make it through and go on to live fulfilling lives.
Others’ opinions can have a big impact on how we see ourselves. Our personal identities can seem merely “subjective,” but when many others agree that we are “X” — for good or for ill — it can seem “objective.”
Still, each of us has more knowledge about ourselves than anyone else. And we can consider the motives behind the labeling. Kids who bully are trying to raise themselves up by putting others down. If they really thought they were so great, they wouldn’t have to make so much effort.
Luckily, it does get better because people grow up, mature and become more secure.
And, the ex-bullied may become stronger, more empathetic and deepened.
In the meantime, maybe Emily’s blog will help others to know that they’ve got support… and that it gets better.
As you drive to work you see billboards with scantily clad men drawing your attention to products that they gracefully caress. Other men bend over in ways that make you want sex with them. In some ads women lord it over submissive men.
You arrive at your ad agency, and as Creative Director you take a look at new ideas your copywriters have brought:
2) The silhouette of a man with a beer body and a foam head appears. Copy reads, “You never forget your first guy.”
3) Two women surgeons sit near a male patient who is sprawled over an operating table, dressed in just a thong. A scalpel “knife’s” his body in an ad for a TV show called “Nip Tuck.”
4) A man didn’t make coffee right so his wife spanks him.
In this world women are the dominant sex consumers who expect men to “turn them on,” passively open to them, and submit to them — sexually and otherwise. And if they don’t behave, the men will be punished.
Here’s a video on how such a world would look:
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- Julian Adair
That’s from Julian Adair, dancer, choreographer and photographer.
Her words remind me of Professor Joseph Campbell’s call to “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” I first heard this when I was newly graduated from business management and looking ahead to a life that wasn’t “me.” Armed with a practical degree, I took a U-turn, earning a Ph.D. in sociology. That leap into bliss has brought me both joy and achievement. Bliss-following has also worked for Ms. Adair and the many artists highligted in a new book called Les Femmes Folles.
Artists like Laura Burhenn, front-woman of the Mynabirds, Jamie Pressnall of Tilly & The Wall, ground-breaking poet and author, Marilyn Coffey, the multi-published author, Kathleen Rooney, the award winning playwright Robin Rice Lichtig, award winning filmmaker Kat Candler, fashion designer, Kate Walz and contemporary artist Alexandra Grant reflect on how feminism impacts their art and their lives.
Brooke Hudson is an event/fashion show producer who won’t let stereotypes, or anything else, block her way:
I embrace feminism as an ideology that all women should have the choice and freedom to pursue their best life… whether that be a doctor, lawyer, pageant contestant, fire fighter, accountant, entrepreneur, stay-at-home mom…
I’m keenly aware that being petite and blonde with a high-pitched voice working in fashion, with a pageant or two on my record, doesn’t necessarily add up to the image of someone who would be taken seriously in business. I could have let that notion turn into a fear that would hold me back from facing an opportunity that I’m well-suited for.
I realized that fear represented the very stereotypes the feminist movement had worked so very hard to dispel… the most important thing I’ve learned in that experience is that to be respected by others, we must first respect ourselves.
Artist, Jacqueline Bequette also knows that there is strength and support in numbers and that feminism can move us beyond the insecurities and resulting isolation and back-biting that breaks people apart and weakens them:
I want to do away with the competition model of relationships among women. We isolate each other when we see each other as a threat via attractiveness, status, having it all, etc. Comparison kills community.
And in fact, Les Femmes Folles emerged as a Nebraska community of women artists helped to buttress each other.
Les Femmes Folles is a beautifully illustrated introduction to feminist artists who are creating community, breaking through limitations and following their bliss.
Modeling scouts—known for weighing young girls in public like cattle and targeting down-and-out families, but perhaps not for exploiting the life-threatening delusions of sick teenagers—were gathering—in the plural, so more than one person thought this was okay—outside of Sweden’s largest eating disorder clinic.
Agents say they’re seeking “healthy, normally slim women” and “never urge weight loss.” Yet one girl who was approached was so frail that she needed a wheelchair. And they’re all hospitalized.
On never urging weight loss, Waldman muses, “The eating disorder will do all the urging for you!” Indeed, about 40% of models are eating disordered.
Anorexic-thin is unnatural and unhealthy. About 1/5 of anorexic girls and women die.
Next, the models will become even more unnatural-looking as implants are inserted into their chests.
Now add photoshop to complete the other-worldly look.
Why would a sickly, does-not-exist-in-nature look be used to model feminine beauty?
A couple of things could be happening.
As women gain equality in status and opportunity, images of men and women are changing in ways that exaggerate their natural physical differences. By nature, men have more muscular bulk. And men’s images in movies, professional wrestling, and magazines like Men’s Health – not to mention boys’ toys like G.I. Joe – have gotten more muscular over time. Meanwhile, images of women have grown thinner and frailer. At the same time, women’s breasts have gotten bigger, exaggerating another sex difference.
But there is also a profit motive. With an impossible ideal, people will spend endless sums trying to attain it through diets, exercise, gym memberships, surgeries, miracle bras, fashions that create optical illusions, and plenty of magazines to tell you all about all the stuff you can buy.
So in the interest of heightening a sense of gender difference and selling product, we create a very sick feminine ideal.
Flipping images of women and men can flip our way of seeing.
This picture of Steve Carell, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert posing like female supermodels is making its way around the web:
(Is Stephen Colbert so hot because he’s not wearing glasses? Or is it that pose?)
Over at The Gender Press a “side-by-side” comparison of real Victoria’s Secret models and men posing to look like them is jarring. The women look sexy, but I’m not sure the men do. We are definitely not used to seeing men posed “sexily” in that way.
This superhero image has also gotten around:
Ready and willing, these guys may strike terror in the hearts of villains. But not for fear of getting beaten up.
The Gender Press offers another take on the theme:
No if’s, and’s or butts with these Avengers. Unless gender is switched — in Kevin Bolk’s parody.
Men come across as tough and strong, as assertive or aggressive. Or at least standing upright.
Women are more likely sitting or lying on the floor, maybe caressing themselves or an object. And if at all possible, their butts or breasts are aimed at us.
Even when women are depicted as tough, best to add sexy and stir? Even as we move outside the box, we get put back in it.
A boy from a Pakistani tribal region was accused of a crime. In retribution, the local Council sentenced his sister to be gang raped. As though these rapists would be the heroes of justice.
As Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times:
As members of the high status tribe danced in joy, four men stripped her naked and took turns raping her. Then they forced her to walk home naked in front of 300 villagers.
Her next duty was clear: commit suicide to rid herself and her family of the stigma of being raped.
But instead, she accused her attackers, propounding the shocking notion that shame lies in raping, rather than in being raped.
When I tell this story my students are shocked. Of course the shame lies in raping.
But right here in America too many think otherwise.
A bevy of reports have been telling the same story: young high school men sexually assault a young woman, take pictures and share them to brag about their conquest as she is belittled and blamed. Rape is something to brag about. Rape makes the young men heroes.
That’s what happened to 15-year-old Audrie Pott of Saratoga, California who was gang raped not too far from my home. After passing out from drinking at a party she woke up to find that her body was covered with humiliating messages scribbled in black magic marker:
She woke up with her shorts off and arrows, circles and nasty comments scrawled on her body. The left side of her face was colored black.
Arrows pointed to her genitals. Scribbles on her breast proclaimed, “(blank) was here.”
One suspect told investigators that he thought it was funny to draw all over her.
She later heard rumors that football players had sexually assaulted her and taken pictures, which they shared with friends and most of the football team. She had seen students at her high school crowding around the cell phone of one of the boys.
Eight days later Audrie hung herself in her bathroom. A note she left read:
My life is ruined. I can’t do anything to fix it. I just want this to go away. My life is over. The people I thought I could trust f-ed me over and then tried to lie to cover it up. I have a reputation for a night I don’t even remember and the whole school knows.
Rapists are heroes and a victim takes her life. Sounds a lot like tribal Pakistan.
They’re called privates for a reason. I’m wearing pants, for f-’s sake. When people feel the freedom to create Tumblr accounts about my cock, I feel like that wasn’t part of the deal.
Female celebs are objectified all the time. Remember how Anne Hathaway’s nipples seemed more important than Anne Hathaway’s Oscar? Even Princesses get caught in the net, viz., Kate Middleton’s “Boobgate.”
Women are supposed to be used to this sort of thing. But men aren’t used to it.
A lot of guys probably think that objectifying is no biggie – and maybe even a complement – until men are.
When sociologist, Beth Quinn, asked men how they thought women felt about being stared at and commented on, most hadn’t given it much thought. It’s just something guys do. It’s no big deal.
But when she asked them to imagine waking up in a woman’s body things changed. Guys typically said they did not “know how to be a woman.” But as they talked, they mirrored what women said. Now that their identities and abilities – and humanity – were ignored, they didn’t like it and wanted to avoid it.
Here’s what one guy said:
I would probably have to be very concerned about my attire in the lab. Because in a lot of cases I’m working at a bench and hunched over, in which case your shirt, for example, would open up and I would just have to be concerned about that.
In everyday life he needn’t worry about his clothing or how he looks at every angle. Suddenly he does. And sometimes it doesn’t matter what you wear, you will get commented on anyway.
Turns out, men, women and Jon Hamm don’t really like being reduced to being all about sex and nothing else.