Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sexism Alive and Well in the UK

These last few weeks I've been seeing, reading and experiencing numerous examples of sexism alive and well in this our, so called, days of 'equal opportunity'. What on earth is going on ?

I was watching TV recently, most shows that I watch now have been pre-recorded, or it's something on delay TV, so I can fast-forward the adverts, but on this particular day I must have been watching something as it was broadcast and therefore not able to fast forward the ads.. and, oh my, what an eye opener !

First I watched a yoghurt advert (thankfully I don't recall the brand otherwise I would be boycotting ALL of their products) and watched a girl pour milk into a yoghurt, call it a milkshake and then hand it to her 'brother'. But why didn't the boy make the yoghurt-milkshake and then hand it to his 'sister' ??

Then there's the Boots summer ad; there's Mum rubbing cream on the kids, a young woman waxing 'some area' of her body - thankfully we don't see - and then another female - in a tent applying make-up, presumably at a festival or camping trip. My big question is : don't Boots sell to men any more ? I can tell you that Dads certainly do apply sunscreen to their kids, and males go to festivals and they also use wax. So, Boots, where were the men in your ad ???

Then, the worse one of all, was the shaving foam or razor advert - I don't recall which, mainly because I was gob-smacked at the man's need for the assistance of a female whilst he shaved - she was either stroking his face, or pulling the blade or something. I mean, for goodness sake, can I guy not shave his own face ??

The problem is not that I have a problem per se with these old fashioned adverts, but what sort of message does this send out to my teenage daughter? What sort of message does this give to young children, both boys and girls, watching these adverts ?

I've just read the book called 'Leaning In' by Sheryl Sandberg, and another book called 'Thrive' by Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington post. Both books talk about women needing to take a more prominent role in business and  the need for more females on the boards of major organisations.  I have one question about this - where are all the men talking about this ? Where are the men saying this is a good idea ? Why aren't the men saying it is a good idea ? Are men happy with the current status quo ?? Do men think there should be a better gender mix on today's executive boards ? Would they admit it if they didn't think it was a good idea..

Then, finally, in today's Times newspaper there's a crappy article about girls being 'dominant in the classroom', and that 'it takes a lot of  patience and commitment to get them to back down'. Wow. Is this the message that is being given to girls (in front of boys) in today's schools ? And we wonder why there are not more females on the executive boards of organisations. It seems that girls need to be given more of a voice in the classroom if there is ever going to be more women on executive boards, not less.

I was so shocked by this awful article that I asked my teenage daughter about her own experiences in her single-sex, grammar school. Attendees at this school are amongst some of the most intelligent young ladies in London and will go on to be our doctors, lawyers and MPs of tomorrow.  I asked her how the teachers handled the more dominants girls. Her reply was that there was no need, the girls are just respectful of the teacher.  Maybe the school teachers need to look a little close at their teaching in schools, rather than trying to make their female pupils 'back down'.

Can I be the only one shocked by this ? Leave me a comment  ..