I finally got around to watching the BBC show Blurred Lines on sexist attitudes in Britain today. It made for depressing viewing. Kirsty Wark has made a documentary about attitudes towards women in 2014 and frankly I was shocked.
I didn’t expect to be; I thought I pretty much had a handle on what went on but there were elements of that programme that shocked and saddened me.
What shocked me most was a Grand Theft Auto Game where points were gained from beating the living daylights out of women. The graphics were appallingly realistic and almost made me throw up. Apparently there is the option to beat everyone up but…
I’ve tweeted about it and among the many comments were a few saying why are you just focussing on women? I understand the point but I focus on women because the evidence is overwhelming that women are severely disadvantaged by this wave of sexism and misogyny. Of course, I accept that this has a negative effect on men, too. When Kirsty Wark asked young people where they get their information about sex from the overwhelming answer was porn. And it’s never been easier for young people to access porn. Porn sites are hardly bastions of equality and respect.
There is a danger that our protests make men and boys feel demonised which is not helpful to addressing the situation. As Kirsty Wark said: ‘I feel so sorry for the young men and boys’.
I have a son and a husband, both feminists, and I don’t want them, or any men to be alienated from this discussion. It is something we all need to address, but how? It was my question to Kirsty Wark on twitter, “@KirstyWark Will you be making a follow up? How we can begin to change things perhaps? #BlurredLines. Not sure how you kept it together“. She retweeted it so I am hopeful that there may be a follow up programme with some serious discussion about where we go from here.
There has, of course, already been much debate and comment on the programme, from all sides of the argument; Alison Phipps wrote a brilliant article about it in The New Statesman which you can read here.
If we don’t tackle this problem we are in danger of subduing a whole generation of women; who will dare to speak up when vilified and attacked in the hateful way that women are (look at what happened to Mary Beard). Yes, I know men in the public eye are also given a ‘good going over’ and we should ‘Man Up’ as advised by the male journalist Rod Liddle, (cheers for that, Rod), but the abuse women receive is very different. You don’t hear men vilified for the way they look, be threatened with rape and violence for espousing views others don’t agree with. Just imagine if Nigel Farage was a woman. He’d have more than eggs to contend with. And being seen drinking in a pub? I can hear the ‘you slut‘ accusations already. (I’m in no way of supporter of Farage but he is a good example of how men are treated compared to women).
So, and this is a genuine question, what can we do? The programme raised many questions but in the space of an hour, obviously no answers. This needs serious and urgent debate. What can we do to counteract this rising culture of sexism and misogyny?
One suggestion I have is is to share the film below.
P.S. This year we have just one RenewYou licensing event taking place in London, next month. There are a few places available so if you’re a great trainer with experience of women’s personal development, take a look. Simply click this link to find out more.
Photo: Kirsty Wark in a still from ‘Blurred Lines’ courtesy of BBC.
Posted on May 26th, 2014 by Jane