Home » Campaign » A Side Order of Sexism With Your Evening Meal?

A Side Order of Sexism With Your Evening Meal?

I heard this today:

A: “She’s got an arse that could swallow up a G-string”

B: “I’d smash her. As long as I didn’t have to look at her face”

A: “Or listen to her talk”

Sadly familiar, yes?

And possibly surprising when I tell you that it wasn’t a pair of sweaty oafish idiots in a greasy spoon, leering at Page 3, but a couple of well-dressed, middle-class, well-educated 15 year old boys, watching a female classmate innocently walk down the road in front of them.

I know that the “G-string” comment wasn’t an original thought, but rather came from the charming penmanship of Jay-Z in his misogyny-fest “Run This Town.” I can’t work out if it’s better or worse that it was a quote.

I don’t even know where to start with this. Appalled that the two boys – both of whom I know – could possibly think that their sentiment was acceptable. Appalled that the lyrics in the afore-mentioned song actually go like this:

“She got a ass that’ll swallow up a G-string,

And up top, uh, two bee stings”

and appalled that this isn’t news. Because conversations like the above are still commonplace even in 2013.

Why haven’t we improved at this, as a nation and as a society? When I was a child in the 1970s, the world was a very different place; “Comedian” Jim Davidson was allowed to perform a caricature of a West Indian man, hilariously named “Chalky White” complete with grotesque accent, and exaggerated facial expressions.Disability awareness was non-existent, being gay was an instant ticket to give to people to cover their asses. Literally. And women were chefs in the kitchen, mothers in the parlour and whores in the bedroom.

Time has moved on apace. It is no longer acceptable to be racist or xenophobic. It is absolutely not allowed to discriminate against people with disabilities, and gay people are people. Their sexual orientation is none of your damn business.

So why? Why is sexism, objectification and discrimination against women still socially acceptable? More than that – still promoted by the media? Why is it OK to make judgements about women because of the way that they look and on no other criteria? Why are sexist jokes about rape and abuse and violence still broadcastable and laughed at? Why is my lack of male genitalia a consideration for anything?

Even at the recent Oscars, host Seth Macfarlane sang an incredibly bizarre choice of comedy song to open the event. The content was “boobs.” Boobs in films. Reducing the work and skill and integrity of Hollywood’s finest (some of whom were, admittedly in on the hilarity) to whether or not they got their baps out for the camera. Puerile, juvenile, jokes for the boys as it was, the biggest mistake within the controversy, was the fact that in a peak of lazy songwriting, Seth managed to include a number of films where “boobs” were seen because the film was about the character being raped.

Still – a gag’s a gag, eh Seth? Way to reduce the impact of abuse, domestic violence and terror to a cheap laugh.

I have promoted the rather excellent No More Page 3 campaign a few times. It is interesting to read the comments from both supporters and detractors on their Facebook page. The issue certainly isn’t black and white, and opposers often have well-thought out comments to make. All of which are usually addressed by one of the fine women in charge of the site.

I support the campaign, because I cannot believe that this abomination exists in this 21st century world. I don’t care about the “side order of boobs with my porridge” argument, because I don’t buy the newspaper and read it with my breakfast. I don’t buy it, because I think it’s crap, not because of Page 3. But the point is, it is printed in glorious technicolour every single day, just so people can leer. In a newspaper. IN A NEWSPAPER. It is completely and utterly socially acceptable in our society, for men (or women?) to openly and outwardly leer at a picture of a semi-naked woman, and comment on what they would do to her, without fear of recrimination or embarrassment. In a society where people stare awkwardly at women breastfeeding their babies, and where restaurants ask nursing mothers to leave dining areas as it upsets other patrons.

Whatever your thoughts are on the removal of soft pornographic images from a well-read family newspaper, consider this: if there was a picture EVERY DAY on Page 3 of a disabled person, with a silly comment next to it, for no other reason other than the fact that they were disabled, or a black person posing – for no other reason other than the fact that they were black – if they were printed on a daily basis, with no connection to news, events or lifestyle, wouldn’t you stop and think: “why?”

Now, ask yourself that question about the fact that those Page 3 pictures exist just because they’re women. I bet I can predict your answers. I bet you’re not impressed with them.

I’d love to know what they are – please feel free to comment below?

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6 thoughts on “A Side Order of Sexism With Your Evening Meal?

  1. Pingback: A Side Order of Sexism With Your Evening Meal? | sophieduffy

  2. Nice, comparing being a woman to being disabled! Comedians make jokes, I remember Ricky Gervais making a joke about the shower scene in Schindler’s List, pretty sure it is meant with a touch of sarcasm, and I’m sure Seth was aware of his comments roots.

    Just because something is removed from the “family” newspaper doesn’t remove it from peoples minds, and I’d say the positive discrimination that goes on today ie. People being chosen over other people, not because of talent in their field or correctness for the job, but to tick politically correct boxes has a similarly detrimental effect on society. Gay people in my mind are still paraded in a circus fashion, and only the most mincing are welcome.

    Young boys say crude things, they lack the filters of the SOBER adult brain, but that won’t change, they may just become more eloquent with their hormonal outbursts, tabloids aren’t to blame for that.

    I hate these papers because they aren’t news, but I couldn’t care less whether or not there are boobs on page 3, kids can go on the internet on their phones to watch any number of depraved acts being done to man, woman or beast. So by all means ban page 3, and unambitious girls who aspire to grace its pages, but don’t expect it to change anything.

    Like

    • From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks…
      You make interesting points, and if I can just respond to one? “Nice, comparing a woman to being disabled.
      It is abhorrent to me that disablism has ever existed – but perceptions of society are changing. And where once, jokes about disability and discrimination were the norm, they are rightly no longer so. You say removing page 3 won’t make a difference, but the point is that it is embedded within the parameters of “normal” within our society, and therefore acceptable. My wish is that one day, our children and their children will view page 3 and its connotations with the same contempt that I view the “jokes” of Jim Davidson, because one day society won’t believe that it was ever acceptable. That way lies change.
      I wasn’t comparing disability to being a woman – I was making the point that referring only to a disability instead of the person is not acceptable. And neither is judging a person because of their gender.
      I know comedians make all kinds of jokes, and humour is both subjective and revered. But sexist jokes are lazy and unfunny and whilst they persist in such quantities on a global scale, I am allowed to sign and roll my eyes. We’re all things equal, then the content would be less of an issue, but whilst purveyors of humour continue to mock an entire gender whilst violence, negative media portrayal and abusive attitudes towards that gender still persist, then there is an imbalance. One can be funny without contributing to a constant tirade against women.
      But you have actually made my point for me. As one day, hopefully in my lifetime, I won’t have to defend my opinion of the objectification against women in the same way that I don’t have to defend my opinion of disablism and racism. Because one day, it will be an agreed “wrong.”
      Thank you so much for responding.

      Like

  3. not all men are pigs, but page 3 is. it’s giving an outlet for objectification and making oogling womens’ breasts seem ok. it. is. not! i also wrote a blog entry on this, check it out if you have a minute 🙂 http://gemgemgoesglobal.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/no-more-page-3/

    i’d love to hear what you think, you clearly have a very full view on the subject. great to hear that the cause has support.

    i read a good one too, from a guys perspective http://follyandignorance.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/its-okay-for-men-to-hate-page-3-too/#comment-28

    Like

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