Thru the Looking Glass: A Lifetime of Gender Inequality

looking glass

I respect the fact that Laura Bates has put a lot of energy into championing the cause of women’s rights via her everyday sexism project platform.  I do sometimes find her perception of the world to be somewhat skewed and one-sided but the main problem I have with her approach to fighting ‘sexism’ is that it appears to be infected by the very same ‘ism’ she claims to be fighting.

Laura recently marked the occasion of the project’s third birthday by outlining  ‘an entire lifetime of gender inequality through the experiences women have shared through the project‘.

The article was based on the testimonies of some of the 100,000 diverse and individual experiences of gender inequality submitted to the Everyday Sexism Project from around the globe.

These stories have been used to work with ministers and parliamentarians in various countries; to teach about consent and healthy relationships at schools; to help police forces improve their response to sexual offences; and to tackle workplace discrimination in businesses.  Laura Bates

When I read the article it occurred to me that it might be an interesting experiment to use some of the 100,000 testimonies that got left behind on the cutting room floor.  Specifically, I thought it would be interesting to travel thru the looking glass and use Laura’s own timeline to look at the concept of inequality and sexism from the perspective of men.

A few points before we get on with the show.  My intention is not to undermine or distract from the many, many experiences of sexism shared by women.  Nor is it stimulate distracting debates about what proportion of ‘victims’ or ‘perpetrators’ are men or women.  Most of all I don’t want to indulge any idiots out there who think a victim of sexism should be treated less equally because of their sex.

The purpose of the exercise is highlight a significant blind spot in Laura’s apparent perception of sexism and in doing so hopefully highlight one of the reasons why many men will struggle join campaigns against sexism where, like the exceptionally patronising heforshe campaign, they find themselves completely written out of the story.

Laura does acknowledge that men and boys do share their experiences with the project and she will even occasionally feature them when it suits her preferred patriarchal perception of the modern world we all share.

father

And so… using only submissions to the #everydaysexism hashtag on the occasion of it’s third birthday, I have very quickly pulled together a snap shot of the world that privileged women like Laura Bates somehow seem to struggle to see.

It starts young. At 11 or 12 you begin to experience harassment …

When you make it to school, the sexism continues …

Even within your family or an intimate relationship you may not escape sexism and violence …

When you reach university, you are bombarded with harassment and even assault on and off campus …

You graduate to a pay gap, and a workplace rife with sexism and harassment

When you choose to start a family …

On your way to and from work, you pass through public spaces which can be unsafe …

You walk past billboards and buses and magazine stands conveying an artificial ideal to which you are constantly compared …

The sexism you face might combine with other forms of prejudice …

Yet while all this is happening, other people seem not to see it …

If you try to speak out you risk being belittled at best, disbelieved or blamed at worst …And yet, in spite of all this, people are standing up in their droves. According to the testimonies sent to Everyday Sexism. Laura Bates

war on dads

Next | #questionsformen

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