Misogyny – it’s still around

Time for a more serious post and, to kick it off, I’ll start with a definition.

Misogyny: dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.

Ok, so a lot of people these days are celebrating the fact that women are equal to men and that all prejudices against women have been completely eradicated. Hate to burst your naive little bubble there, but misogyny is still a part of everyday society. A lot of people will dispute this idea, but there is so much evidence to support it.

Let me begin with my own experience and I’m going to use some that I’ve encountered over the past three days. Not years, not months, but within the past few days I’ve witnessed misogyny. I work at a football stadium and already warning bells should be ringing as football is always coined with masculinity. Again, people will argue that women are equal in this field of the world as well as we have televised female football, but still this is not publicised by mainstream channels. Turn on Sky Sports, for example, and all you’ll find it men playing football – not women. In fact many men find the idea of women playing football ridiculous and this has been tackled by the media in films such as Bend it Like Beckham or She’s The Man. In the latter particularly, the only way the female protagonist can play football is by disguising herself as a man. Unfortunately, the view that football is a masculine sport has not changed at all.

So, back to my work. The next strike against me is my uniform which is tailored to heighten my ‘femininity’ to set me far apart from any masculine connotations. Just to say now, I do love my job as I meet some amazing people and I enjoy what I do, so I’m incredibly grateful for it, but of course my uniform is a dress that either shows too much cleavage or has a tendency to ride up my thighs. Top that off with the required red lipstick, bow and high heels, you have an objectified woman. This presentation of women practically encourages misogynistic views and ideas that women are objects to be possessed.

Over the past few days of work, I’ve had men take one look at me and say things such as ‘Give me your name, darlin’ or ‘Come on, give me your phone number’. Not too bad, you might say, disregarding the fact that I’m still only seventeen. This then advances to catcalls and wolf whistles, being called a ‘good girl’ by some condescending idiot who thinks that I’m completely incompetent because I’m the pretty girl in a dress who is there to ‘serve’ him. Next, you get the men who take it up a notch and start shouting abuse. My friend and I had finished our shift and we were heading back to our changing rooms to get out of the dresses when we had men shout out abuse at us, calling us ‘prostitutes’ among other foul language which I’m not going to repeat.

A lot of people will tell me that we were ‘asking for it’ being dressed like that and that we ‘deserve’ being abused due to the way we were dressed. Others will say that what we experienced is hardly something to be complaining about as nobody actually physically abused us. To counter this, a phrase comes to mind that I found the other day: why is it that girls are being taught how not to get raped instead of everyone being taught not to rape. Rape is the extreme form of abuse, but it is the physical form of the verbal abuse I have experienced not just at work, but in everyday life – and I’m only seventeen. I’ve been taught in school not to wear certain clothes and different tactics for staying safe so as not to be abused by men. It’s taken as a certainty that male abuse will happen, and don’t even get me started on why we’re not taught that abuse in this form can happen to boys as well. It’s seen as a fact and tackled by addressing the victims instead of preventing future abusers.

On that note, let’s take a look at the media as I’m sure you’ve all heard about Elliot Rodger who, I hate to tell you, is not the only man who has taken action against women because they’ve denied him what he sees as a male ‘right’. Women are seen to be possessed and are shown to young children that they are objects, even if unintentionally. Women are seen to be things to marry, to have sex with, to cook dinner – just take a look at all the stereotypes where women should stay in the kitchen and clean the house whilst the man goes out to work. That idea has not just disappeared over the years, no matter how much we wish that it has. I want to say that the vast majority of men do not treat women like this at all and abuse has declined, but when you’re in ‘typical male territory’ such as a football arena and BAM, abuse is a common, mundane affair.

Someone who talks about this far more eloquently than me is Laci Green and you can find her here. She addresses the example of Elliot Rodger in far more detail than me and discusses the misogyny still ingrained in our culture. What terrifies me is the vast amounts of people who are pitying this man, encouraging others to take a ‘stand’ like he did and that he is a victim. A man who killed innocent people, including three of his housemates, is apparently a victim.

What I want to know is why – WHY is this still a problem for today’s society? Why are we called an ‘advanced race’ when we can’t even address and prevent something like abuse among our own species? Why do people like Elliot Rodger get celebrated by some where we should all be disgusted and try to support the families who lost their child, cousin, neice or nephew who are the real victims? A man with a gun who kills due to the fact that he hasn’t ‘had’ a woman is as much of a victim as a man shouting abuse at two seventeen year old girls because they’re wearing dresses ‘just because he can’.

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Reviews

Another post about books and I just know that you’re all exclaiming, ‘Oh, how exciting! I cannot wait for Eleanor to tell me about books!’, but today is not about trying to convince you to go read a book. Nah, instead, I want to talk about book reviews. More specifically, two reviews that I have written for books and just to make it that much more exciting, it’s one good and one bad review. 

Righty-ho, here we go – writing reviews are DIFFICULT and especially when you’re a seventeen year old girl who really doesn’t feel like she has that much authority in writing reviews. This is why, ladies and gentlemen, I have never given a book less than three stars because, a) I don’t want to completely upset the author because WRITING IS HARD – this is a subject I made a blog post on a while back and b) Although I’m considered to be in the right age range for a lot of books I’m sent/asked to review (aka all those teen flicks), I still feel like I cannot judge at seventeen. (Come June though I’ll be eighteen and an ‘adult’ so I can start by going crazy and giving a book a rating of two stars or something)

ONTO THE REVIEWS – I’ll start with my ‘good’ one first. I was given an ARC of the book ‘Strange Love’ by Lisa Lenzo to review through edelweiss and I actually really enjoyed it! Here you are:

Strange Love is one of those books which you know from the blurb is going to good and everything about it demonstrates the skill Lenzo has at writing. I loved all of the characters and especially the mother-daughter dynamic. The structure of the novel as several short stories really appealed to me and seemed to give the novel even more charm. The humour works perfectly and Lenzo is really able to pull on the sympathy strings with these beautifully written stories – everything about this book will hold you until the very last page.

‘I’m not sure I want to hook a man; what I want, rather, is one who will swim along beside me’

And there you have it – it’s not brilliant, but hopefully it’s not too awful. I don’t want to sit down for two hours to write a review which sounds so completely unlike me due to the amount of times I look up synonyms to sound more eloquent. I wrote this review as soon as I finished ‘Strange Love’, hoping that I could convey exactly what I felt about this book. 

Now, onto the review people will find more interesting to read. Entitled ‘Fearless’, this book has 73 five star reviews. I apparently go against the majority and I’m sorry if you find it offensive that my opinion of this certain novel differs to yours but, hey, here you go:

Let’s go with the positives first:
I decided to read this book because a) all the great reviews and b) Really nice price and 49p! I liked the concept of the storyline – not that it’s 100% original, but what is these days? – and decided to give it a go.
Overall, I liked the storyline. It was fun, sweet and had a few nice features. I loved her friends and thought the concept overall was really good.

Now here come the BUTs.
Unfortunately, I would not recommend this book. As I was reading it, all I wanted to do was find out what happens so I could stop reading it. This genre is one that I read ALL the time so, although I’m no expert, at this point I do realise what I think works and does not. For starters, I like to see what names authors choose and, I’m sorry, but having your main guy called ‘Adonis’ and the gay best friend ‘Romeo’ just really did NOT appeal to me. I can see the humour in it, but it was bordering more on ridiculous than realistic. On the plus side, this does add to the fun, idealistic charm that is perfect for a cheap flick.
Next of all: the language. I’m a teenage girl about to go to university/college and let me just tell you one thing: I know NO ONE my age or anyone at college who uses words like ‘yummylicious’. COME ON, now, how old are we? I seriously disliked the language Samantha uses because it just make me cringe and groan in embarrassment.
Finally: Samantha. I love a great female lead and Samantha had an interesting background. She had something emotional happen in her past which gave her a complex personality and I thought that the whole thing with Taylor was well done. What I did not like was her crazy mood swings which just didn’t seem realistic. I know I sound like I’m being completely unreasonable, but there were several moments – and one in particular which REALLY didn’t work – when she suddenly shut down and ran away (literally). I know several people who have had to deal with really awful things in their lives so I can completely sympathise with the ‘shut-down/hide’ element, but Sam acts like a complete b*tch to ‘Adonis’ and then leaves, but then the next time together it’s all rainbows and unicorns, all hunky-dory, no problemo here.

This is why I give this book a 3 stars. I feel 2 stars is just a bit too mean for me and 3 stars definitely boasts the fun charm the book has and the interesting plot line. However, Samantha’s portrayal, the childish language and the unrealistic names just don’t work for me.

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Let me know what you think about how reviews should be and what you think of mine! In the meantime, I hope you have a lovely week ~Eleanor