Am I over sensitive? Or is every body else blind? [LTAF2]

Over the past few weeks I’ve managed to get a bit of a reputation. I’ve made a bit of a scene, caused a few arguments and at one point walked out of a lecture to stop myself making a complete spectacle of myself. It’s left me wondering – am I over sensitive? Or is everybody else just blind?

In keeping with my last post, this blog is about feminism. I have always been an advocate of feminist ideals but it wasn’t until about two or three weeks ago (roughly the time I published Lets Talk About Feminism part 1) that I started openly describing myself as a feminist. I hadn’t liked the perceptions held by many people. I love men, I wear a bra, I am not hairy. Then something inside me just exploded and I decided I couldn’t give a flying fuck any more. I hoisted my feminist flag and made it very bloody clear that I wasn’t going to tolerate this bullcrap that everyone else seemed so content to just sit there and allow.

It didn’t take me long to realise that when you start to openly call yourself a feminist people will raise eyebrows. My first big battle was that of the monstrous ASDA advert. I, like many people, was appalled. I assumed that everybody would be. I was wrong. Despite the clearly outdated portrayals of gender roles within the family unit and frankly offensive portrayal of the husband in not only the ASDA advert but also Morrisons and Tesco while we’re at it, lots of people I spoke to couldn’t see a problem. “That’s just Christmas in my house” I was told on more than one occasion. That’s fine, it really is. I believe one of the keys of feminism is that a woman has the choice – if you chose to dedicate yourself to your family then that is very admirable! My mum did the same. I was told that sexism in adverts is nothing more than a reflection of society. Well. If you can’t see the problem with that I can’t help you. Clearly that means that society is inherently sexist. That is not a justification.

I was told chill out. Clearly Laura, I was told, your problem with these adverts is a very personal one.   You’re being over sensitive. It’s only an advert. Move on. Get over it.
For a while, I wondered whether these people were right. My main issue with these adverts is that it is completely unhelpful with regards to the issue of womens empowerment. How are we ever going to be viewed as equals when these adverts clearly do not show us to be? I think that these small cases of underlying sexism perpetuate the problem, rather than helping it and that if we allow this sort of thing to pass unremarked upon that we are going to make more brazen examples of sexist behaviour (such as the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling and the RyanAir Charity Calender) more acceptable. We need a zero tolerance policy if things are ever going to change.

Maybe they’re right and I am being over sensitive but I don’t think so. I’m not going to shut up about it. Spreading some FemLove ❤

[Psst! While you’re here if you’re a twitterer, follow me (@nitramarual) the Everyday Sexism project (@EverydaySexism) and YouAreFeminist (@YouAreFeminist)! We’re all great I promise.]

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7 Comments

Filed under Feminism, Rants

7 responses to “Am I over sensitive? Or is every body else blind? [LTAF2]

  1. Britt

    My other half got offended at the Asda advert because he didn’t want to be portrayed as a ‘useless lazy pig’. It lead to an interesting argument about who the advert affected more – men or women – i’m not sure who won to be honest! With sexism that blatant I think everybody looses 😦

    • My dad was horrified by it! I can’t work it if it’s more offensive as a woman or as the daughter of an extremely hard working and caring father. Loose loose really 😦

  2. Ravi

    Well said. Oh dear but here’s the thing:

    I’m reasonably old (46) and a straight man, so context is important (particularly because I was brought up in India).

    But thanks to my (Indian) parents, I never believed women should be treated as “things” to be owned.

    And then I returned to England for a holiday in 1986 (and returned for good six years later) to spend time with old family friends, amongst other things.

    One of the most lovely couples I know lived ibm Sussex and when I was there she showed me a wedding invitation sent to them by an old schoolfriend of hers. The envelope was addressed to Mr and Mrs Him. I was desperately angered by this: did her own friend (and, by extension, society) think she had no identity besides her marital circumstance? She was far more phlegmatic about it but I was incensed.

    I have continued to be incensed and blows like yours, projects like @everydaysexism and others help keep it top of mind for me. We casually (and tragically) take so much more for granted than we have the right to. In particular (from this oldish bloke’s point of view), women.

    I think it would be lovely, though not easy to achieve, if both women and men worked to change into equality the way in which our societies work with regard to sex/gender.

    • Thank you for such a lovely response! With regards to the Mr and Mrs Him thing, my gran still gets letters like this despite my grandfather dying several years ago. She doesn’t seem to mind. I am incensed. We’ve got to just keep pointing these injustices out until people start listening I think!

  3. At some point before the Olympics I saw an advert for The Sun advertised in my local cinema. It was the one where lots of people representing a variety of roles and professions in society, run across a beach in the style of Chariots of Fire. It was supposed to represent Great Britain. I can’t remember the exact pun at the end but it was something along the lines of ‘Let’s put the Great in Britain.’

    No problem with that so far. Except as I watched, it seemed that there was a drastic under-representation of women in the advert. Being incensed and a bit nerdy, I you tubed it, and worked out some stats.

    There appeared to be 32 societal roles represented. These ranged from a family role such as ‘Dad’ to a job or profession such as ‘baker’ or ‘judge’.
    Only 7 of the 32 roles were portrayed by women. (One of the roles was indeterminate as they were partially hidden.)
    Of the 7 females on screen, only 1 portrayed a profession – nursing.

    I know an advert for The Sun is hardly going to be the best place to see equality – the continued sexism of P3 is but one example – but it still seemed to be ridiculously outdated and pointless.

    Sorry to waffle on your blog but in answer to your question, I don’t think you are being over sensitive at all, lots of people are blind, and the more we point it out, the more people will see. Hopefully. Nice work.

    • I thought exactly the same thing when I saw that advert. How enraging. What I find the most angering thing about it is the apparent apathy of the vast majority of not only men but also women!
      Thank you for such a lovely encouraging response!

  4. I’m Sian from Cybher. Thanks for flagging this on Twitter. What a great post. I personally think you are bang on. I got into a similar rant myself yesterday morning when I saw this tweet…

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