Advanced search think that sexism is unacceptable regardless of whether the target is male or female?

(59 Posts)
CelineMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 12:26:28

Not a thread about a thread, but inspired by one.

Is it ever ok to allow something sexist to stand because it is against men but where it is against women it would be pulled?

For example, if someone were to suggest that men are less capable intellectually than women is that ok because historically women have been treated as the inferior group (eg not allowed full degrees, made to give up jobs because they got married, or the expectations that certain professions and seniorities will be male) - or does it just undermine our protests about equality and fair treatment if we allow sexist attitudes towards men to be perpetuated while taking up the baton for the feminist viewpoint?

I think it undermines equal rights and attempts to bring equality if we allow the traditionally dominant group (ie men) to be treated in a way that we are trying to prevent the discriminated group (ie women) being treated. AIBU?

NoWayNoHow Thu 11-Oct-12 12:30:07

I am against sexism in every form against both genders,.and I abhor the double standards we apply.

I will never forget the ad on tv where 3 women in a spa intentionally drop a spoon/fork just so that they can watch the man in a towel bend over and pick it up.

At the time, I remember thinking, "Can you IMAGINE if the genders in this ad were reversed? There would be uproar!"

CelineMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 12:38:45

Interesting point about the gender reversal. It was a comment about that which inspired me to start the thread. The idea that if women were being objectified there would be a different response to men being objectified.

I just can't see how that benefits anyone. Hence this thread!

CelineMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 12:39:15

Too many threads...

lots of "isms" unacceptable....sexism, ageism, racism etc etc

WilfredToadflax Thu 11-Oct-12 12:46:45

I started a thread in chat the other day about the half naked man on a flower advert. It only had a few replies, but I think most of them were "where's the hot man?" Sort of thing.
Made me feel very uncomfortable, because what would the reactions be if the tables were turned - men perving over a semi-clad woman in a car ad for example?

I've lost a little bit of respect for MN over that ad tbh. They wouldn't allow McDonalds to advertise for ages, yet here is the marketing intelligence equivalent of a crappy chicken nugget.

GoSakuramachi Thu 11-Oct-12 12:47:30

yes.....but. And its a big but.

It is different when its against the dominant side. Men have dominated over women for millennia, we still have a long way to go in the fight for equality. Its like white people crying racism, it might be true, but its also of lesser import when its not backed by eons of oppression and the weight of all that goes with that.

Sure, personal sexism is bad against either side. But really, I'm not going to get upset about the odd incidence of objectifying the male body to sell a product, when we are surrounded by near naked women selling everything from cars to music and everything else in between. It just doesn't have the same connotations, and I think it extremely naive to suggest its the same thing.

Tweasels Thu 11-Oct-12 12:48:45

There was a thread in telly addicts about a BBC show which essentially was about how "hot" the men looked with their tops off.

I did wonder whether this would be acceptable if the gender roles were reversed.

OR is it okay because generally women don't objectify men in a sexual way.

threesocksmorgan Thu 11-Oct-12 12:48:57

discrimination is wrong end of

WiseKneeHair Thu 11-Oct-12 12:50:24

I agree.
Would this Be inspired by the naked actor thread that's on here at the moment?
I just looked at it and exited sharply. too scared to comment as I am a wuss

Ephiny Thu 11-Oct-12 12:51:05

Yes, and a lot of the sexism against men actually works against women too, like all the jokes about men being incompetent at looking after their home/children (reinforces the notion of 'women's work').

It doesn't benefit anyone really, and it's offensively stupid in any case.

PeggyCarter Thu 11-Oct-12 12:51:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CelineMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 12:56:30

Not the naked actor thread (how have I missed that!) but by MNHQ's response in Site Stuff to the flower ad that Wilfred refers to.

CelineMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 12:57:19

Epiphany that is an excellent point well made.

CackleMeIAmYours Thu 11-Oct-12 13:06:55

Well, yes, but I also agree with what GoSakuramachi said.

There is a difference between treating all groups in society equally, and ensuring equality of opportunity.

The relative starting point of the groups in question is a very important factor in ensuring equality of opportunity and I believe it disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

This is why lobby groups representing the interests of various (usually historically oppressed) minority groups are considered socially acceptable, whereas white supremacist groups are not.

CackleMeIAmYours Thu 11-Oct-12 13:08:17

...shall I say 'groups' again? smile

CelineMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 13:20:38

Well i don't disagree with groups campaigning to address discrimination. I am a card-carrying feminist after all.

But where we are talking about things like sexual objectification and we allow male objectification how does that help a feminist cause? Surely it just means objectification in general becomes more acceptable? Or worse, gives detractors the opportunity to cry hypocrisy?

CelineMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 13:28:58

Also I don't think the comparison with White Supremacists is comparable. By their very nature they have a message of racism and discrimination. An organisation campaigning against unnecessary stop and search of black teenagers does not attack other groups to validate their point. They stick to the points of their case. It they were to start displaying the behaviour they campaign against they would lose their credibility.

This is not about supremacy but equality. Quite different concepts.

PunkInDublic Thu 11-Oct-12 13:29:21

Agree 100% Celine. What was that advert? So simple even a man could do it! Awful.

As a feminist raising a DS I feel very strongly about the points you've made. Just because men who came before my son have dominated over women in the past doesn't mean he is fair game.

Addressing discrimination is another kettle of fish, discriminating and objectifying men does nothing other than like you say give the detractors opportunity to cry hypocrisy. Well put Celine.

Whatdoiknowanyway Thu 11-Oct-12 13:31:27

I've been wondering about the current Moonpig TV advert as well. Pretty man, can tell it's meant to be humorous but on analysis it's distasteful and would certainly not be accepted if the genders were reversed..

Dahlen Thu 11-Oct-12 13:34:19


It's worth bearing in mind that sexism against men doesn't tend to carry the same sinister undertones because we still live in a world in which men still, by-and-large, have more power and influence.

For example, an advert in which women are presented as sex objects plays into a wider cultural backdrop where women are routinely presented in such ways and their humanity/other abilities come second to their appearance and sex appeal. It is very damaging to the perception of women's importance in society in general. The same just isn't true of men presented as sex symbols, where it is generally perceived as an additional tool of power rather than something that undermines their autonomy.

However, that doesn't make it ok and I would challenge it, since people are their personalities first and their gender second IMO. Stereotypes are harmful to everyone.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Oct-12 13:42:04

YANBU. As the mother of a son I'm rather conscious that if he got his view of what it is to be a man from the average TV advert it would be some pitiable, baffled creature, incapable of doing simple household tasks, regularly outwitted by children and animals... or spending his time in the pub talking crap & dodging responsibilities. The one exception being in the field of shaving when he would learn that he must be lantern-jawed, naked from the waist up, terribly butch and accompanied by pulsating rock music and a gravelly voice-over. confused

Kalisi Thu 11-Oct-12 13:51:04

There's an awful advert on the radio at the moment, I think it is advertising Halfords fitting break lights or something. The basic premise is of a women teasing her husband for taking too long to fit it so she's gone to find a "real man" to do it ( after previously saying she couldn't do it as she might break a nail) I know we are just playing on stereotypes here but can you imagine if the tables were turned and the husband went to find a "real woman" who could do the washing up quicker like a good wifey should?!

CelineMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 13:52:49

Good point Dahlen.

I find the current Flash advert very depressing. All these women cleaning up over the years. Shame because for a long time they had a man doing the cleaning.

CelineMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 14:16:30

I've been thinking about the mother of sons angle - I am one - and it's almost like gender reversal is occurring. This idea that only good looking men are of value but we don't expect them to be bright enough to programme a dishwasher. I think this is only going to get worse because it's so insiduous.

But as Epiphany says it's still women's problem because we are expected to pick up the slack.

I am not raising my son to expect me to run around after him before he finds a woman to take over. I don't run around after my husband either.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: