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Public Displays of Misogyny

Updated on September 1, 2014

Warning: adult content and serious hub on sexism in modern media

Please don't be offended with the use of derogatory terms in this hub, they are used purely to help my argument and do not mean to be offensive.



Source
Even in advertisments women are viewed and portrayed as mere objects
Even in advertisments women are viewed and portrayed as mere objects | Source

The Blurred Lines of Sexism

Helene Cixous’ essay (The Newly Born Woman) on the duality of hierarchical oppositions portrays how everything comes down to couples, the oppositions of male and female. The male, inevitably seen as powerful, in control and dominant, gains the upper hand while the female is left with being powerless, passive and dominated. Feminism fought to change this perception and also the rights of women, it gained them the right to vote, to be viewed as human and to be respected, as something beyond what the male gaze expected, as something other than an instrument for male desire and satisfaction. However, woman is yet again seen as lower, as dominated, as passive, and this is wholly due to pop culture and mass media illustrating public displays of misogyny (PDM). Is society steeped so much in hatred for women that casual sexism on live television, or in number one hits, or in twitter feeds is deemed acceptable? And if not, the ‘move on’ attitude they are expected to take perpetuates this opinion, as if being active against it is intolerable. When women argue against this open, unconcealed misogyny they are met with the usual ‘Oh you’re a feminist’, snort of derision, mocking laugh. This is just another way for people (mostly men) to make women feel they are fighting a non-existent battle. Cixous wrote “woman is either passive or she does not exist”, in our case however, it reads more like ‘woman is either passive or she is feminist’, either way she is not acknowledged . Feminism has come under fire in the past few years for being overtly female, against males and seen as a way for women to gain supremacy over men. This is not what feminism is about.

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Portrayals of the female...

Strong, sexually aware women are seen as sluts, whores and tarts, we are literally spoiled for choice in degrading, demeaning words suggestive of sexually open women, each word saturated in male misogyny, each one suggesting that women should not be having sex, nor should they be enjoying it. Where is the male equivalent to this? God knows there are men out there who love nothing more than having meaningless sexual encounters with as many women as possible, and what words do we use to describe these men? Casanova, playboy, whore hopper and player; these are not humiliating words, they are congratulatory expressions that offer admiration at the ‘conquests’. Looking deeper into these ‘male’ words though shows a different meaning. Player, a word used to describe a man who has had sex with many women, but doesn’t it also suggest that the women were played? Manipulated? Or just another play in the game of sexual conquests? Whorehopper, another word for a sexually adventurous male, but what it actually says is that the man literally hopped from one whore to another, again bringing this back to the female and her issue of having sex. If man has sex, great, if woman has sex, whore. The list goes on, douche- a man who is unkind, but isn’t a douche a female device? Playboy; a boy who, yet again, plays women. These male words don’t convey any sense of moral contempt towards the man, yet it does for the female, insinuating, not so cleverly, that the women are in the wrong for having these sexual relations.

Men are congratulated for their conquests, while women are praised for fighting them off. And why? Because if woman gains dominance over her own sex life, some man get worried and so, use words that make these women feel disgusting and ‘dirty’ to stop that behaviour.

MacFarlane and women

MacFarlane against women?

The Oscars this year proved that this type of misogyny is rampant in media culture. Seth Macfarlane presented the awards but was met with outrage at his overtly sexist and inappropriate ‘humour’ that encompassed the entire show. Usually seen as a glamorous and stylish affair, the Oscars present the best of the film industry with awards for achievements. Whether 30 men and only 9 women received awards is considered sexism or not, that’s not at all the issue here. Rather, it was the expressive opinions Macfarlane had on women. Attacking first, female actors who have shown their breasts in film by singing ‘We Saw Your Boobs’ and pointing out those actresses, it appears his assault on women in the workplace was supposed to be ‘banter’ and ‘harmless fun’, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t sexist. In fact, nobody has denied that it was, saying instead that it was just ‘innocent fun’. The song itself, as degrading as it was for the actresses involved, made it worse for women. The ‘Everyone loves boobs’ attitude that surrounded the song dominated women everywhere, and why? Because it lowered women to be mere objects, something pretty and naked to stick on the TV screen for some men to enjoy. It’s also excluding for women, as the ‘You’re not like us’ attitude, yet again, raised its ugly head.

This wasn’t the only case of his public misogyny. Throughout the entire evening MacFarlane joked about women, he sexualized a nine year old girl, he teased about domestic violence and made fun of actresses that use the flu to lose weight. Two points; one-not only women deal with eating disorders, two-isn’t it that eating disorders are so aggressive because the media, film and music industry maintain the idea that skinny is beautiful? It appears that no matter the topic, Macfarlane found a way to bring it back to the woman! People have said that comedy pushes the limit, that’s why it’s so funny, it’s controversial. Well, comedy shouldn’t push sexism, it shouldn’t make fun of domestic violence and sexual abuse, it should be funny, and every woman who watched the show did not find it so. As one commenter said “it wasn’t an awards ceremony, it was a celebration of the ‘white male gaze’

Defined Lines against Thicke's sexist song.

Thicke's not so clever with the ladies!

Another shining example of male sexism and a total misunderstanding of women, is the Robin Thicke ‘Blurred Lines’ chart topper; a summer hit that addresses what is considered to be a grey area between consensual sex and sexual assault. Much like Tinie Tempah’s song ‘Frisky’ which speaks about the male sexual encounter, “Don’t even want to kiss her, honey, I won’t miss her when I’m done with her” totally disregarding the woman’s needs, Thicke’s song has too offended some women. Not only are the lyrics similar to what actual rapists say “I know you want it”, as shown by Project Unbreakable, an organisation set up to help victims of sexual abuse, but they are also demeaning without that ‘rape culture’ stigma. One: he describes the girl as a ‘good girl’, suggestive of a girl who hides her desire for sex by looking disinterested in his, obviously irresistible, approach. But to women everywhere, looking disinterested means they are not interested, but no, because we’re women our opinions aren’t taken seriously when it comes to sex. Two: another example of the total misunderstanding of women comes with the line “Do it like it hurt” indicative that women enjoy pain during sex. Combine these two points, a good girl that actually ‘wants it’ even though she pretends she doesn’t, and a girl who wants to be hurt during sex. That screams sexual assault. He says “Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you, he don’t smack your ass and pull your hair like that”. Spot on Thicke! All women want is for a male to come along, smack them around and ‘liberate’ them.

The video to the song perpetuates this idea of female sexuality, as it shows women, yet again, through a male gaze. It portrays how the woman doesn’t want a ‘square’ who will treat her with respect and like a human being but instead seeks someone who will objectify her, stick a collar on her neck and degrade her for the amusement and gratification of men. It is ultimately a song about the males dominance over women when it comes to sex. He sings about getting a girl drunk in order to have sex with her, because so far she has denied his pursuit. By getting her intoxicated, he gains control and finally gets what he wants but has to tell himself that she really wants it by repeating the phrase “I know you want it”. Although Thicke has denied that the song is based on rape culture, he added “Even very good girls have a little bad side, you just have to know how to pull it out of them”. Oh I see, it’s not about controlling women, it’s about liberating them from themselves by getting them drunk enough to actually have sex with a man! Yet again, the younger generations are being given disturbingly inaccurate accounts of what women want. What’s worse? The video was originally made with the girls in the nude, with balloons spelling 'Robin Thicke has a big Dick.... Hmm, What else could we expect from a massive dildo.

Ah...society!
Ah...society! | Source

In Conclusion...

So to those of you who feel feminism is something that isn’t needed in today’s society, I beg to differ. This is all happening in the open, unconcealed, I am not taking issue with something that was hidden, or obscured. Instead these instances of sexism and public displays of misogyny are being seen worldwide, with no repercussions. The duality of opposition (male/female) will always be the way the world works, but if we make it less of a patriarchal and hierarchical duality, we may just gain the same respect men do. As Gayle Rubin, a feminist anthropologist who became a figure of the feminist argument in the 70’s, says “ Men and women are, of course, different. But they are not as different as day and night, earth and sky, yin and yang”. Therefore, we are more alike than not, comparing man and woman to the sea and earth, is for all intents and purposes, completely irrelevant. Both the sea and the earth are separate systems that hold little similarities. It is the same as saying female cats are different to male cats, but they are both cats, and they differ in very small ways. We are not opposites, we don't represent two opposing factors, we are the same. Man and woman does not equal earth and sea. We are simply two sides of the same coin, and we all know that coins cannot exist as one sided!!

Gayle Rubin, in the essay ‘The Traffic in Women’ wrote ‘If innate male aggression and dominance are at the root of female oppression, then, logically, the feminine programme would either require the extermination of the offending sex or a eugenics programme to modify its character.’ Obviously, this is a seriously hard outlook on the fate of female oppression, either all men die, or they change! I disagree however, I don't think that these are the females only options. If we fight hard enough in a civilized and respectful fashion for what we believe (as women did for voting, equal pay etc) then it has to be acknowledged and no longer ignored. We are not opposites, we don't represent two opposing factors, we are the same. Man and woman does not equal earth and sea.

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    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 21 months ago from London England

      The four chaps ogling the prone lady come across as what we call in London 'gonks'! A gonk is a person with the characteristics of being smug, snide and selfish. They must be really full of themselves having to oil up their chests. The three women doing a victory stance on men has no real harm done, it happened to me once during impromptu drama training and the lass doing it to me was a New Zealander as in the film clip. The imagery of the women on coat hangers is what you make of it but it has been done before.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 3 years ago from London England

      The personality icon and social commentator Germaine Greer in an arm wrestling contest once defeated five males in succession. I don't know whether this was 'set up' as a publicity stunt or just for recreational purposes, two of those chaps wouldn't have minded but it may have shattered a few ego s.

    • belleart profile image
      Author

      belleart 3 years ago from Ireland

      Cfin: I have taken on board what you highlighted last night, however unless you point out specific examples from my hub that you find offensive to men there is nothing i can do, as I don't feel it is aggressive to all men, only to the two that I directly speak of.

      I have attempted to write about misandry in the media, however, as I have no personal experience I feel I cannot accurately write about it.

      I would suggest that since you have obviously directly had experiences of misandry, I encourage you to write about it.

      On another note, from your experience with the woman that was violent towards you, I feel that your response "vicious pig and coward" did not help the matter but rather make it much worse. I agree that the woman was certainly unfair to you, but you could also have risen above it and asked her why she was so offended as to better understand her point of view and show her that you are not the type of person she presumed you to be.

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      I will say this about the sexualized ads I am concerned that there will be boys uneducated in what they see and repeat it since there is no father or mother literally explaining to them what they see.

    • cfin profile image

      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      @ belleart. I was in no way aggressive. I encourage the expression of opinions. Your opinion is as important as the next. Mine is that I believe in equality.

      To say women may be fairer incurs that they are not at this time fairer. It does not, however, imply that they are less fair. Therefore one would logically take from this that they are equal. In so stating, I was drawing on the old expression that goes the same. "The fairer sex" which is, in itself offensive to men, and an example of the opposite of what your article states. It's an interesting argument and although I possess the ability to take either side, I seldom do(only doing so to counteract someone who swings to far in one direction), as it just works to segregate.

      Good luck with you anti male agenda. I hope you will find that this article is hypocritical in the extreme. Maybe you should write an article about discrimination against men? And in doing so, show us that you are not guilty of misandry.

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      Yes there is a group

    • belleart profile image
      Author

      belleart 3 years ago from Ireland

      I am sad to hear that, there is no problem that warrents suicide as a solution, and perhaps if you feel in such a state of uncertainty, firearms would not be the best thing to be around. I understand that you feel persecuted and have been victimzed, which you have been honest and open about. I hope there is someone you feel comfortable with to talk to about this.

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      My ideas to oust radicals is to cease contact with them stop donating money to a group of feminist until they denounce misandric feminists. Mostly its economical stop funding their groups until they denounce misandrists publicly, and stop using books written by the bigots. God I am sorry to have offended you.Personally there are days when I don't even know who I am and just want to end it, suicide is something men face en mass. I bought a storage room and keep my guns there I can't kill myself without driving for a half hour rebuilding my gun and then going to buy ammo. That's my prevention.

    • belleart profile image
      Author

      belleart 3 years ago from Ireland

      I see your perspective, and im unsure as to what exactly I can do about the radical feminists, I am after all just one girl, not part of an organised ring of feminists, however I will do my best and write about some of the issues you have highlighted, like the woman who hit you for calling her a lady, these sort of actions are unnecessary and unproductive, but sadly happen all too often.

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      I am not being passive aggressive I see no point in it,although I am a cynical, and I am sorry if I offended you. However I am not making insane demands of feminists that don't hate men to do something about the so called radicals.

    • belleart profile image
      Author

      belleart 3 years ago from Ireland

      Unfortunately with the way you phrased it, it did not come across as saying both sexes are equally fair. And to be quite frank I find your passive aggressive comments a little unfair. I have done my best to take on board all comments left but I wont be chastized for asking a question to better understand your perspective nor will I apologise for writing something I find deeply relevant.

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      First I'll repeat what I said, 'feminists silencing male victims', so if you take it as if I said you are the one silencing them, that's not on me that's actually you. As for this hub don't apologize for it, as I never once wanted you too do so, what I want isn't an apology I want you feminists to stop misogyny, by not giving men reasons to hate you. First stop spreading misandry and do something about you group's sick obsession with the extermination of men and boys. After all if that part of your group is as small as you say getting rid of them won't be to difficult. More things you can do is to stop lying about who does the lions share of the work in society, and stop lying about crime rates such as rape that only hurt men who are falsely accused and make reporting rape more difficult for women and men alike. Now if you want some real examples of misogyny that you wish to fight move to the middle east, and combat it since women are being gunned down for going to school and or being raped. Islam makes me sick, to my stomach. Do you know what happened to a boy when he refused to hit his sister, he was beaten by his father. I might be biased against women, but I have mentioned time and again that my primary abusers were women. I have first hand experience when it comes to being silenced, blamed for my abuse and marginalized.

    • cfin profile image

      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      Are men the fairer gender? Are women the fairer gender? What I am suggesting is that none are fairer and all are equal.

      Just another example of your bias that you homed in on that. Thanks.

    • belleart profile image
      Author

      belleart 3 years ago from Ireland

      Thank you both for taking the time to highlight certain issues you find important, just as I have done in writing this hyb. I have been given advise on how to make it less offensive which I have taken on board and will deal as soon as I can.

      I would also like to point out that I wont apologise for writing this hub, it is something I have found deeply important and stand by what I have said. I apologise if you have taken offense by this but unless you point out exactly what I have said that offends you I cannot rectify it.

      Cfin I am unsure as to what you mean when you say "when women finally decide to be the fairer gender", could you elaborate?

    • belleart profile image
      Author

      belleart 3 years ago from Ireland

      Darkproxy: im getting the impression you are blaming me personally for the violence that has happened towards men. Pointing the finger at me is unhelpful in understanding what caused that violence in the first place. It is important for me to say that i don't and never will condone any type of violence and for some women to take action through violence offends me deeply as this will never amount to respect.

      I do think that there are social barriers in place that are preventing women from moving on from the past , and since I have written about current events I find the topic quite contemporary rather than 'clinging to the past'. I also don't feel like I am hiding behind the fact that im a woman....I have embraced it by writing a hub on something I was offended by as a woman.

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      I refuse to tolerate the "modern american princess culture" You honestly think one simple quote makes up for all the male victims silenced through force and threats by feminists? Toronto saw host to a violent riot started by feminist over something called "the boy crisis" The sexist quote that Warren Farrell supposedly made was found in a 1976 discussing taboo fetishes in penthouse. Forgive me for over reacting in my first comment, I was suffering a bad case ptsd.

    • cfin profile image

      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      And I guess my point was, that taking a side and highlighting the importance of one over the other is the cause of the problem to begin with. Similar to racism, the only way to fix it, is to make people aware of it in all walks of life. This, like all of life's problems, are caused by imbalance.

      When women finally decide to be the fairer gender and rise above the past, then we will see equality rising to new levels.

      I once shared a classroom with a woman who hit me in the face for calling her a lady. I turned to her and said,"you are why bad people can justify treating women as they do. You hit me because I am a gentleman and you know know I won't hit you back. You contradict the very essence of your argument. But yeah... You're right, you're not a lady, your a vicious pig and a coward who hides behind her self imposed so called non-weaknesses".

      Everyone burst into laughter at her.

      If I am black, white, male, female, short, sick, diseased, athletic, I will embrace it, but I will not hide behind it. All of the above have strengths and weaknesses. It's all about perspective, and I find this hub to be skewed, biased, outdated, clinging to the past, and the only outcome of this kind of work is to enrage people and have them hide behind their so called weaknesses.

    • belleart profile image
      Author

      belleart 3 years ago from Ireland

      Darkproxy: I have never stated that I am ok with any type of violence regardless of gender, that is something you are taking from my hub that was not intended. There is one quote which depicts violence towards men at the end which i plainly say I do not agree with. Yes you are right that there are more important issues out there to write about, such as your enlightening hub on 'Why porn is more popular than women'....or 'the real reason men don't commit'. Im starting to wonder if you are having these issues with my hub simply because I am 'self absorbed parasitic leach' as you so eloquently put it in your hub.

      cfin: I don't feel that I am overtly feminist, in fact I find neo feminism overly offensive to men, and think that we need to get back to the traditional feminist roots to regain respect. Yes there are sexist women too, I don't dispute that, I find it sad and hypocritical. I have always been a believer in equal rights, for men and women when it comes to child support, sexual assault and so on, I don't agree that men should get less paternity leave than women either, but again, that is different topic. I simply wanted to highlight women issues in the media that are offensive and sexist, as its something that interests me.

    • cfin profile image

      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      @belleart, To be honest, I feel that being overly feminist is a problem in itself. Especially in Ireland where there is also a lot of sexist women. Men can't apply for children's allowance for example? What's that about? A man can't be raped, even a gay man. Women cannot be convicted of statutory rape.

      And let's be honest, if you listen to the lyrics of songs now a days most are sexist against men, not women with lyrics about owning men, cheating on men, treating men as the "lesser sex" and that women are "better than men". Like any political belief, if you go too far, you become the problem.

      You focus on Mcfarland, but how many women is there doing the same about men? i.e Sex in the city. It's all in good fun though when its against men? right?

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      I read your hub, and I am pretty sure you honestly are okay with violence against men. Most of this list is nonsense, there are more pressing things that music videos to care about. And seriously the wage gap and glass ceiling are almost always caused by a woman having kids.

    • belleart profile image
      Author

      belleart 3 years ago from Ireland

      I'm not sure if you've read my hub or not, but whichever, you obviously didn't take from it what I was intending. 't-shirts that tell people to throw rocks at boys'? Where exactly did you get that from? Not sure where you got the wages bit either, I don't see the relevance to my article or the problem you have with it. If you don't like it, don't read it.

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      This is funny I mean really you hate misogyny yet have no issue with T shirt that tell people to throw rocks at boys. Tell me exactly how there is a sexist wage gap if women do 7.75 hours of work in 8 hours while men do 8.15hours in 8 hours. I honestly don't expect left wing nations to care much about reality and facts so long as they can trump up the need for white women's rights. Hell there are plenty of cities where women out earn men their same age.

    • belleart profile image
      Author

      belleart 3 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for the comment, I agree whole-heartedly. And yet, women tolerate this type of behaviour everyday because if we complain we are not taken seriously. I have had many people (mostly men) tell me that my arguments don't matter because they are feminist and there is no need for feminism any more! I hope I have proved that there is still a huge need.

      I used 'tolerance' because with certain areas of media (especially the Seth MacFarlane issue) I get the impression that women are 'tolerated'. In the workplace and in private, feminism is seen by many as something that is to be tolerated and not wholly accepted as a real issue. If women are simply 'tolerated' then our fight means nothing and this could be why the media is so steeped in misogyny.

    • cfin profile image

      cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

      Tolerance: A funny old word which indicates that the the person tolerating, has a problem with the thing or person it is tolerating. Acceptance is a much nicer word. i.e I tolerate a bad smell, but I don't like it. It's funny how society encourages us to do the same of people who are different to us.