Newsflash: Loose Women don't speak for all women
Thursday, 27 January 2011
The existence of the daytime television show Loose Women and the fact that its presenters are thoroughly irritating, reinforce tired stereotypes and in no way represent the feelings of all women does not in any way negate the fact that misogyny is a major problem.
In the wake of the furore surrounding Dominic Raab's comments about feminists and sexism on Sky Sports, people seem to come out in force to insist that let's be honest, all that's gone on isn't really a problem, is it? The REAL problem is the presenters of Loose Women and the way they deride men. Because they're somehow representative of the way ALL WOMEN treat ALL MEN and really, the programme just goes to show how much of a raw deal men are getting these days. Loose Women is the embodiment of what feminism has done to gender relations in our society.
I can't stand Loose Women and the sort of attitudes it promotes. I've written before about the way inequality is bad for men AND women and that unpleasant stereotyping is harmful to everyone. I don't think it's acceptable to make sexist generalisations about men. When I have spoken out - and others I know have spoken out - about the Sky Sports affair there has been no allusion whatsoever to 'all men' being sexist and 'all men' having those sorts of views about women and women in the workplace. Condemning all of us off the back of Loose Women is not the same, I'm afraid.
Dominic Raab may not think that workplace discrimination is much of a problem in 21st century Britain so I assume he hasn't seen the research which has shown how companies and HR departments attempt to filter out female applicants of childbearing age, or female applicants who are married. I assume he doesn't read below the line on news stories about parental leave and workplace equality when commenters hold forth with their opinion that 'no company should even bother employing women in their 20s and 30s because they're only going to get pregnant' or my personal favourite: 'I'm a woman and I am appalled at these women who think it's acceptable to get themselves pregnant and expect to keep a job'.
I am a married woman. I am in my 20s. I am aware that this doesn't bode well. A lot of people don't really think I should expect to get a decent job because I'm only going to go and get myself pregnant. Whether I want to have children or not (and whether I do is none of anyone's business) I'm the sort of person that plenty of people think managers should 'think twice' about employing purely because I'm in posession of a womb and a partner.
When women manage to get past this and find a job with a company that treats them like a human being, they're still faced with the sort of people who think that they probably aren't very good at their job because they're a woman. Because they have no technical knowledge and don't have the right sort of 'wiring' for maths and engineering. Because sports are for men and because they have 'no spatial awareness'. Because they're supposedly physically weaker or because they menstruate or because they're 'too emotional'. Because 'female managers are bitches'.
All of this, of course, pales in comparison to whatever happens on Loose Women. Just lighten up ladies, it was only a blokey joke about a female linesman.