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’.