Thursday, 10 May 2012

Men - Victims of Sexism?

I am a feminist. However, this does not mean I hate men. Vocal feminists are often viewed as women who don't shave, and as bra-burning crazies (which is ridiculous, I happen to love wearing bras and having smooth legs). For me, feminism is about equality of both sexes, not about man-bashing. Inequality isn't a new issue.

I was reading Grazia this afternoon and this was one of the articles. It's written by a man about men being victims of sexism, the headline being 'Hey ladies, stop the man bashing!'
A very provocative headline for sure, but once I read the article, I'm inclined to think that the writer, Chris Bell, definitely has a point.

I posted the photo on Instagram, and a girl replied saying 'that's like a white person writing a book about reverse racism smh' which I personally happen to disagree with, although opinions are just that, opinions. 
However, racism is a whole other kettle of fish, obviously still a very relevant one, so I won't go off on a tangent.

I also posted the image on my tumblr, where a different girl reblogged it and wrote:
 Is this news? Why is it controversial? Of course men are victims of sexism too - where women are favoured in child custody cases, and the way society defines masculinity (as it also does femininity).
This is one of the ways feminism is so often misunderstood - we’re not trying to turn the patriarchy into a matriarchy because that wouldn’t solve anything, it would just reverse the problems. Modern feminism is about questioning the way our society works and the way people (of both sexes) lose out because of it, just as much as it is equality.

In this article, Chris Bell talks about the battle for female equality, which is obviously still an on-going battle, but he also highlights how certain things that have been said to men, using real-life isolated examples, and how, if they were said to women, there would be uproar. And I happen to agree with him. One man states how he, and his only other male colleague, are left out of work meetings because their female manager said 'men are useless at organising, so it'd be a waste of time'. Fair enough, these are isolated incidents, but they still happened.

It is true that sexism exists, but I do not feel that it is only women who are victims. Women are possibly more openly objectified, examples including being beeped at walking down the street, being judged on what clothing we choose to wear etc. Only today, when I chose to wear a pair of (rather short admittedly) denim shorts with tight, I found myself being openly judged by people, men and women alike, looking me up and down.

There are advertisements stating that 'it's so easy even a man can do it', which if say a power-tool ad had the same tag line, only replacing man for woman, there would be a public outcry. 

I believe that it is an issue, although I doubt many men will be as vocal about sexism as women are. My own naive thought is that people, regardless of their gender, should be equal. It isn't a difficult concept. In the same way that women shouldn't be judged if they choose to wear a short skirt, men shouldn't be judged as being incapable.
Caitlin Moran, for me, comprehensively outlines feminism in her book How To Be A Woman (an excellent, hilarious book).  She talks about her choice to wear a bra, what she calls her vagina, but she also talks about aspects of her career. It's purely brilliant, and I recommend it to anyone, male or female.

So anyway, basically, I believe Chris Bell has a point. He highlights that men, as fathers, are often side-lined in terms of access when it comes to their children, that although men's wages are slightly higher (an issue I could talk about for days, so I won't start as it is ridiculous), they also work on average more hours per week. He talks about how jokes about men are commonplace, Jo Brand being an excellent example of a comedienne who routinely uses male-bashing in her stand up, with her favourite kind of man being a 'dead one'.

When put down in black an white, it's obvious that sexism is something that affects both genders. In the same way that the objectification of women, amongst a plethora of other things, needs to stop, so does man-bashing.

What do you think about this? Have any of you read the article? Do you think Chris Bell has a point?

Sorry for the rant, and as always, thanks for reading x


  1. s'good! excellent point, well made. i really enjoyed reading the article too. xx

  2. Def a good post and I think its something that really needs to be talked about alot more. I also think men are still openly sexist and its not 'shocking' so nobody pays attention anymore. In my own personal experience, even recently I have had men ( usually older men) say really sexist and disgusting things, openly to me in the office. One instance I was sat with one guy on one side of me and another, on my other side. I had only just met them and the one said "how does it feel to be in between 2 men?" and winked at me. Another instant was only 3 weeks ago where I was training a group of people and they had to sit around my desk whilst I showed them what to do on my computer, and a guy said "Do you want to sit on my lap?" , it seems that most men still think it is ok.

    I do think that sexism against men is probably on the rise too though. I agree with you we should be equal.

    1. You make brilliant points! I spend most of my work days with young guys (18-24) and they can be more mature than some older men I've encountered in the streets. I'm sure most women have been wolf-whistled at at some point and it is humiliating! It's a fact of life that both genders objectify each other to some extent, but, for me, it is all about respect. We need mutual respect for each other, which is what's lacking nowadays.

      Thank you for reading and commenting xx


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