Paperback Sexism (Available at a Department Store near you.)

I don’t like sexism.

Which, I get, is kind of like saying ‘I don’t like the dentist’ – it’s pretty much a given. No person of sound mind and body is actually going to admit to liking it, because it’s prejudice – and nobody seriously wants to be labelled prejudiced. So people play it safe, and if anybody asks they’ll say that they agree women should be able to vote and wear jeans and have equal pay (and do all that other good shit Caitlin Moran famously spoke about) because they think that’s what the antithesis of sexism is all about. They proceed to enjoy the rest of their day, content in the knowledge that they’ve done enough to successfully remove themselves from the ‘narrow-minded bigoted’ category, often giving it very little after-thought. So they don’t really stop to contemplate anything beyond textbook sexism, much less stop to consider how it’s subliminally present in just a load of everyday things, much much much less consider how it impacts men. Because it’s a real sad truth – but a truth nonetheless – that sexism against men is not as widely spoken about as sexism against women.

 But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Sometimes it’s actually right in front of us, blatantly splashed on a paperback book, situated in the middle of a department store. The sight of which aggrieved me beyond comprehension. Want to see?

Now let me explain what the actual fudge, you’re looking at.

That right there is a book designed to help guys determine how many ‘man points’ they deserve by attributing/deducting points for certain behaviours. For example; you receive man points for the ability to park a car, eat a steak or catch a spider, but lose man points for doing yoga, watching a rom-com or admitting you have an emotional range beyond that of a tea towel.

By that logic, if you’re a woman who can park the car and eat a steak than you’re inherently masculine. If you’re a man who can use a power tool and name all the characters in Sex And The City then you’re some kind of 21st Century androgynous enigma.

You don’t need me to tell you that’s absurd.

You also don’t need me to tell you that none of these things –absolutely none of them – deserve to be attributed to a gender. We all know that parking a car isn’t specifically masculine behaviour, nor is it feminine behaviour. They’re all gender neutral, and should obviously be treated as such. We wouldn’t expect any man to feel emasculated if he had to stop and ask for directions; nor would we expect any woman to feel less feminine because she didn’t have to. We know that by composing a book which defines masculinity in such rigid – and completely ridiculous – parameters, it similarly provides an unwritten definition for femininity. Both of which are outdated, harmful, and the absolute definition of small minded. We know this because we’re smart (we wouldn’t have made it this far if we weren’t.)

We also know that the author of this drivel agrees with us.

How do we know that?

Because they decided to remain uncredited.

 I think that says it all.

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