Monday 16 December 2019

Opinion: Men reacting to 'Everyday Sexism' provides a laugh - not reality, change or understanding

Video at the bottom of the page.

An example of how we could impress colours upon them

Clare Cullen

The Guardian have tackled the idea of 'Everyday Sexism' by turning the tables - having a female reporter re-enact scenarios with men that have been sent to the Twitter aggregate @EverydaySexism.

The idea behind the video is that by turning the tables, we open eyes to the sexism women face everyday.

There's one problem - the video doesn't go far enough.

It's a funny video, well-edited, gets a laugh - great concept, well-executed, well done.

However, for it to be more than a viral - for it to portray a real truth, it would need to go much further.

We'd need to subject those men to the same degrading ideas, stereotypes and actions over their whole lives so they're so desensitized to it that it seems normal to be objectified and undervalued.

We'd need to bombard them with conflicting messages on appearance - You look hot, you look tired, you look better without makeup, I like when you make an effort.

We'd need to take them less seriously in work as a result of their outfit - are you going out after work? You're very dressy. Did you sleep in, you don't normally wear jeans? Or when they don't wear makeup - Were you out all night? You look wrecked. Someone looks like they had a good night!

We must always assume the lack of age, knowledge, skill and experience without any basis for that fact except for that they 'look' it - And what experience do you have? What age are you? Well done to you for getting a job straight out of college, that was lucky wasn't it?

We must always assure them that they "know what we mean" if they dare correct us - Oh, you're not just out of college? Well, you know what I mean.

We must deride them, break their confidence, break their spirit. Compare them to animals - call them 'bitches' when they ask for something, call them 'terriers' when they want a project finished, call them 'bitches' again if they insist on a high standard in work, call them 'nags' when they ask for a livable home, call them 'whines' when they ask to be considered.

We must use emotionally derogatory terms as second nature - call them emotional, hysterical, unreasonable instead of passionate, dedicated, driven.

We need to place them in a constant state of sexual fear, sometimes terror. We need to have them worried to wear a skirt, scared to walk alone, constantly wondering 'Is today the day I'll be raped?' We must oppress them sexually, call them slut, frigid, whore. Make them believe that sex is a sin, it's wrong, they're dirty - unless they are doing it for our pleasure and our pleasure alone. We must make them believe that we are the alpha and they are submissive - no questions.

We need to drop casual remarks that embody all that's wrong with our beliefs - tell them we expect them to be a chef in the kitchen, a maid in the living room and a whore in the bedroom. We need to ensure these contrasting beliefs between whore and virgin, slut and wife and constantly re-impressed upon them, each time more contradictory than the last. We must put them down for not loving us, accuse them of abstract ideas like the 'friendzone', assume they are not attracted to us just to be difficult.

We need to write them letters in red pen when they point out gender imbalance and call them "gendercentric"(sic) and pour bile on them online, via email, Twitter and phone. We must never afford them the courtesy of face-to-face argument - we must never validate them with interpersonal interaction, instead just tear them down with our constant faceless abuse.

We must make them the butt of the joke, write TV shows about trying to seduce them, ask why they never went to the moon, tell jokes of their place, make viral videos in which naked individuals sexually harass strangers and pass it off as comedy or even charity.

We must expect them to make our dinners, assume they'll be staying home when we have children, and never allow them to earn more.

We must tell them from a young age that they should want us to save them, that they should like pink, that they should wear dresses, that they should cry. We should then take them less seriously when they grow up to like pink, to wear dresses, to believe in fairytale romances.

We must sell them sex and tell them they requested it. Sell them tiny clothes and tell them that's how they choose to dress. Offer them no options but tell them it's because they want it. Tell them that they're overthinking it when they question you.

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