Double standards

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“I am a man … I am not an idiot. I’m not daft, or bumbling, or childlike or sweetly stupid. I don’t get outwitted by small children or consumer electronics. People don’t roll their eyes or smile indulgently at my attempts to function in normal society. I don’t get into “scrapes” or commit unintentionally hilarious faux-pas,” (Dominic Utton. The Telegraph, March 2014). 

Well said, Mr Utton. As the mother of two adult sons (I have a daughter too so there is no bias here) I am becoming more and more incensed by the media’s increasingly disturbing and constant denigration of men. How many more TV adverts and sitcoms which deliberately set out to make men appear moronically stupid must we endure? Men are criticised, emasculated and chided for being clueless about everything. They are subject to ridicule for their lack of intellect and emotional intelligence, laughed at, looked down on and generally sneered at. Conversely women are shown to be sassy, bright, sensible, practical and long-suffering. What sort of message is this sending out to young boys, and indeed girls.

Can you imagine the outcry if women were similarly portrayed as incapable idiots?

So what is the sub-text here? Well, perhaps we’re playing a game of tit for tat – a backlash against the undoubtedly unjust way in which women were treated by the media, and society, in the past, subjugated as second class citizens for centuries and viewed as good for little other than motherhood and keeping house (and I absolutely do NOT diminish the value of either by saying that). On marriage we became our husbands chattels, our money was his and we couldn’t own property or vote. We had to put up and shut up. It is absolutely right that things improved.  But wasn’t it equality we wanted? It now seems that having gained exactly that in a great many areas, it’s not enough, for what women now seem to want, is supremacy. We’ve spent years shouting about not being defined by our gender only to allow the media to perpetuate the idea of the clueless male.

And when so many children grow up in homes with no father and and sometimes no decent male role model,  it is unacceptable for the media to portray men so negatively. What will those children grow up thinking?

In an age when ‘Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman’ jokes are frowned upon, an age where the law forbids that someone is refused entry to somewhere because of their colour or religion, or a job because of their age, where equal rights are shouted from the rooftops, why are we letting this happen?  We should be getting men on side and work together for equality for all, rather than making them out to be somehow less worthy than us women because that’s no help to anyone.

 

 

 

 

8 comments

  1. Well said, Eloise. I’ve also noticed a proliferation of adverts where men are portrayed as being moronic or incompetent, or both. This never used to happen, women were always the target (and this was equally unacceptable) but the pendulum has swung too much in the opposite direction.
    Margaret P

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  2. I wrote a long quite academic reply to this and it disappeared!!!!!!

    Eloise I disagree. I know you’re writing about ridicule of men and honestly not seen a lot of that. Is it in response to past ridicule of women – perhaps. And yes, we want to get away from silly tit-for-tat discourse and instead be clear about men and women’s behaviours and the wider societal structural issues that still prevent true equality. Because do we have that – no we don’t. Look at the BBC pay issue – I rest my case!

    I have written about behaviours before. Here ‘s a link to a piece I wrote for My Other Blog on the silence around harassment in the workforce http://myotherblog.bn9.co.uk/the-silence-around-weinstein-et-al-what-to-do/

    If you see my earlier response that will do – this is much shortened version!

    Best, Penny

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    • I’m sorry that your longer reply disappeared. Bless has said that the same thing happens to her. I occasionally have the same problem when I respond to Blogger blogs. I think there are actually three issues – one being equality (pay, opportunity at work) and I have a draft future post written on that subject, secondly there is the domination of men
      with regard to safety, and the third is the point of this post. There seems to be a concerted effort by the media to make men appear stupid. TV adverts and ‘comedy’ shows often portray them as inept and I don’t like that at all. Women comedians too often make derisive comments about men’s ability to function as sensible human beings. Men would be pilloried nowadays if they said those things about women. We will have to disagree on this aspect.
      I enjoyed reading your link.

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