The fact that if you’re a woman in a male-dominated occupation or a woman who does something like boxing or footy, then you get assumptions made about you. Whether you’re a lesbian or not & whether you’re ‘one of the lads’ are 2 such examples. Another annoyance is having your appearance commented on as opposed to how good you are at whatever it is you’re doing- moronic stuff to the effect of “that Janet is well tasty- she has lovely tits, a fit body & lovely legs”, while not saying a word about how good she is at boxing, footy or whatever, while men don’t get that. Men do get the former, however- I remember an acquaintance saying that a male friend of his who was a dancer got the piss taken out of him in the pub once by some idiot man over his occupation, & a male MasterChef Australia contestant got stick off his father for wanting to be a chef on the grounds that in their culture (he was oriental), cooking was the job of the females (says who?!). This is equally unacceptable. Another related thing that annoys me is when people assume that only straight men are interested in things like cars & motorbikes, & refer to them as ‘boys’ toys’.
I was in our local shop today, & I saw a wedding anniversary card with a picture on the front of a man & a woman doing the washing up- very sort of olde-worlde-type artwork- that said “on your anniversary, remember that the secret to a long & happy marriage is teamwork & compromise…”. What’s wrong with that, I hear you cry? When you open the card, it says something to the effect of “…and doing things her way!”. Yet another fail from the greetings card industry, & yet another tired ‘wife joke’. I’m fed up to the back teeth with those. Why the industry persists in producing either sexist cards like that, which make women & wives the butt of the joke, or else cards that are hugely gendered- footy (or other stereotypically ‘male’ activities like cars & drinking beer) cards for men & boys & pink, flowery cards for women & girls I really don’t know.
The fact that being terrified of mice to the point where you scream shrilly, have hysterics & jump on a chair when you see one (either alive or dead) seems to be a common female stereotype, & the fact that some women & girls play up to it adds insult to injury. I’m sure that there are men who are terrified of mice, & women who aren’t (I’m not overly bothered by mice, & I’ve never screamed when I’ve seen one). Indeed, I mentioned a man in a previous post who screamed when he saw a rat, & someone who’d been with him at the time- depressingly, it was a woman- said that he ‘screamed like a girl’ when he saw the aforementioned rat. I rest my case.
I was watching Nadiya (Hussain, who won Bake Off a few years ago)’s Great British Food Adventure just now, & alas came across a bit of casual sexism. Nadiya was making a curry, & was doing a super-speedy version. She commented to the effect of how when she cooks this dish at home, she usually does enough for more than one meal. Fair enough, you might think. It was what she said next was where the sexism started. She said something to the effect of how she usually makes the paste & leaves it for when she can trust her husband to cook, on the grounds that not eve he can mess that up. WTF?! Just because he has a penis, it doesn’t mean he can’t cook, & will screw up any dish he DOES try & cook! And cooking isn’t strictly the preserve of women either! Blimey O’Reilly! And this was broadcast on the BBC in 2017, if you please.
Have come across some nice examples of casual sexism recently: -I was in our local shop today in the toy section, & saw 2 boxes that said something along the lines of ‘Girls Building Blocks’ on them. One of them was, yep, you’ve guessed it, bright pink, & the other one featured 2 Lego-esque figures sitting at a table. -I was in the post office recently, & saw a gift tag for a baby boy, which had a pair of blue shoes/bootees on. I think the writing was also in blue. -I was in another shop today, & I saw a card that said ‘x (I forget how many) reasons why a pair of shoes is better than a man’. It gave such ‘reasons’ as “you can have as many as you like without people gossiping” & “if you don’t like them (or words to that effect) you can get your money back”. This is sexist on several grounds. 1- it’s pandering to lazy gender stereotypes about how all women supposedly like to buy shoes, & 2- it’s sexist to men too- just as sexist as the ‘why beer is better than a woman’ card, in fact. -I’ve also seen a cookery book in the same shop mentioned above entitled ‘Cakes for Men & Boys’. WTF?!
I found this nice bit of casual sexism on a car maintenance forum: “I drive a 1984 oldsmoblie as my everyday driver. Being a female, I’m pretty clueless about cars.” WTF?! Being female doesn’t make you automatically (no pun intended) clueless about cars! I’m sure there are a lot of female mechanics/car enthusiasts who would disagree strongly with that assertion! A depressing example of ingrained sexism & gender stereotyping. A
So I’ve always been a fan of Lego until they bought out their pink and ludicrously rubbish Friends range, aimed at girls because of course, they have no imagination and only like pastel colours. One would have thought that they might have learnt from that experience. At the moment, when you shop at Sainsburys, you are given lego cards which you can collect and put in an album (which naturally you have to buy). My kids went wild for them, as usually the most they get from me at the shops in the form of a treat is a punnet of fruit. They annoyed me a bit, as there was the usual bargaining and trading over them and then the badgering of when we could get some more began. I am naturally inclined to recoil from anything that promotes empty consumerism, so I wasn’t totally embracing them, but I started to notice that all the female characters seemed to be a little bland – of course there was going to be the Fairytale Princess and the Mermaid – but there were just no solid roles unlike the male characters who were doing exciting roles or jobs (Butcher, Prospector, Ringmaster, Mountain Climber) rather than just being (Cave woman, Spooky Girl, Flamenco Dancer, Wacky Witch, Trendsetter (?), Disco Viva). Ok so they had a Waiter and a Diner Waitress and they had a nurse (obviously female) and what they called a ‘lady robot’ which was naturally (?) pink and could dance. I’m not sure there is a ‘man robot’ or even a ‘robot’ – not holding my breath either way. And they had a Jewel Thief who was female – yay! Small victory! And a Skater Girl – why could it not just be a Skater? who happened to be female? Maybe there is a Skater Boy coming….. along with the ‘Man Robot’… But then I thought, I’m just being overly cynical and need to allow my kids to enjoy these things without me pointing out to them that they are being conditioned and stereotyped into certain roles by the patriarchal society that we live in. And then we got the BRIDE – and I just wanted to cry. Why are we so desperate to start encouraging our girls to aspire to be brides, rather than doing amazing wonderful things and having incredible relationships. Yes it is a wonderful thing to be married, but it is not a decision that needs much attention at the the age of 8 and where was the equivalent groom character ? Maybe there is one, but I suspect not. And the description – ‘She’s all dressed up for her big day! All she needs now is someone to marry. A minor detail….’ It reminded me of a Harvest Festival Service that my kids were involved in last year, where the basic premise of the story was that God took pity on the widow Ruth, because she had no husband and when she grovelled enough, God gave her an 80 year old husband – ok he was rich, but is that really the message I want my kids to hear? If you don’t have a husband you need pity? So back to the point, I just can’t quite believe that they have got it so wrong – again. Girls need aspirations – and they don’t all like pink.
Nice bit of casual sexism in a TV programme sponsorship message from Rachel’s (a British purveyor of organic dairy products): “Rachel’s, loved by Eva, who promised to clean the kitchen before the in-laws came”, with a lady sitting eating yoghurt with cleaning utensils sitting abandoned beside her. Because of course cleaning is the woman’s job, isn’t it? No stereotyping there then! Another sponsorship message from the same company features a man who’d promised to put up new shelves in the kitchen neglecting to do so in favour of eating yoghurt. Because of course only men can do DIY, right?
I logged into my computer just now to find an ad for Microsoft Groove on my login screen, & saw to my annoyance that there was a nice bit of casual sexism in it: “Free your inner child with Microsoft Groove. Entertain your crew with music for ‘kids’ of all ages. Rock music for Dads, check. Disney hits for everyone, done. You’re road-trip ready for great music adventures with Microsoft Groove. Browse family listening playlists.” Because OF COURSE only men like rock music, right?! Enough with the gender stereotyping already- I’m female, & I like rock music, as do several other women I know! Microsoft, I expected better from you.
I was in the post office today, & I saw a greetings card that said something to the effect of ‘5 reasons why wine is better than a man/why women prefer wine to men’ (you get the idea). One ‘reason’ was “wine matures with age”, & another one was “you don’t have to reassure a glass of wine that it’s the best wine you’ve ever had” & another one was “if you don’t want a glass of wine, it won’t think you’re a lesbian”. I forget what the other 2 were. I thought this was just as sexist & unnecessary as the “why beer is better than a woman” (or whatever) card that’s aimed at men. It’s stereotypical, & depicts all men as immature idiots.