Not long before International Women’s Day Stewart Green, election agent for the Enfield Southgate Conservatives and parliamentary assistant to David Burrowes MP, used an opportunity to announce his hate against women more than his disagreement with feminism.

His dismissive stance against feminism and women’s movement is more than a mere conservative rant. It is a misogynist call for violence and disrespect towards women.

With his sexist statements he implies not only that it is OK to hit women. He implies that they deserve it. That if women get hit, it’s their own fault.

He implies it’s accepted and necessary to discipline women, even with violence, when they say things you don’t agree with. That it’s OK not to take seriously what women are doing and saying, because after all they are only women. 

And that’s simply unacceptable.

Also on TUMBLR there are blogs that degrade women in various ways, such as objectifying them - portraying their bodies or parts of bodies in a seuxalized way and implying the represent a woman. Blog “perfect ass” does exactly.

It is showing sexist and mysogynistic pornified images of women and women’s body parts to please and entertain heterosexual men. It contributes to rape culture and general disrespect of women. It contributes to a notion that it is OK to exploit women’s bodies, that exercising male privilege goes beyond and above women’s rights to be identified as a full human being.

With the Winter Olympics in Sochi upon us in just over a week, it’s never been a better time for a preview of some of the hottest women from each country that we’ll surely fall in love with over the next month. Countless hours were spent making sure this list was as definitive as possible, so let’s put all rivalries aside for just a bit and be united under the sex appeal that each of these girls bring to their respective sports.

Sexist society portrays women as sex objects, also in situations that celebrate women’s other characteristics and achievements. The same goes for this article: though it is writing about top female athletes that are going to take part in the Olympics games, it shows them as objects of sexual pleasure and male gaze.

This means diverting the focus from fact that all these professional sportswomen are highly skilled athletes who are going to take part in the Olympics. All these facts are overdriven by portraying them as sex objects, reminding women that it’s not enough for a woman to “just” to be good or the best at what she does. She must be sexy too. 

There is no equivalent for ” The 24 Sexiest Men Of The 2014 Winter Olympics”, though some attempts are made to portray the hottest men in the olympic games - fully clothed and non-sexualised.

Would inviting these men to a photo-shoot and take half naked photos of them compromise their image as professional athletes? Yes it would. So why is it acceptable to do it with women?

Rape culture at its worst: Amazon now sells guides that instruct men how to rape women. This book is a blatant sign of misogyny in our society that spreads and promotes violence against women.

The guide teaches men that women’s right to decide about their own bodies doesn’t matter. That their “no” is just an insignificant obstacle to men’s need to sexual satisfaction. That what women think or want is less important than what men plan to do with them.

The mere fact that this book was published is another signifier of women’s role and value in our society: to rape and conquer.

Note: the book was removed from Amazon later on the same day.

Another blogger - another country - another perspective!

As feminists join forces around the world, so do we in the blogosphere!

I join Sexistradar from the city of Gothenburg in Sweden to help expose sexism in my surroundings, and bring forth strong arguments in order to smash down upon it. 

Although Sweden is supposedly one of the most equal countries in the world, it is nonetheless (or not surprisingly) a deeply sexist and misogynistic society. I want to try to expose both the blatant sexism in the streets of Gothenburg and in the mainstream media, but also show examples of resistance, both futile and fruitful. 

Check out my personal blog for more feminist related posts: 

http://katarinaerobreren.tumblr.com/

This image is sexist because it uses woman as an object of desire. The purpose of female objectification in this case? To sell Doritos snacks.

How to prove whether an image is sexually objectifying or not?

Caroline Heldman offers a good solution for this at her TEDxYouth talk in SanDiego. She presents as sex object test: if you answer “yes” to any of the 7 questions below, then you’re looking at the sexually objectified image:

  1. Does the image show only part(s) of a sexualized person’s body?
  2. Does the image present a sexualized person as a stand-in for an object?
  3. Does the image show a sexualized person as interchangeable? 
  4. Does the image affirm the idea of violating bodily integrity of a sexualized person that can’t consent?
  5. Does the image suggest that the sexual availability of the person is the defining characteristic of that person?
  6. Does the image show sexualized person as a commodity?
  7. Does the image treat sexualized person’s body as canvas?

The image of a woman flirting with the viewer to promote Doritos is suggesting that sexual availability of the person is the defining characteristics of the person. It answers yes to question number 5.

The only role of a woman on this image is to look sexy. Her body is used to promote snacks while she is merely an object of desire, without any whatsoever other role or purpose.

This photo was taken in Istanbul in December 2013.

This image is classic example of sexism in advertising. The clothing company Guess uses image of a woman in passive, lying on the ground in a sexy pose.

This is problematic because it reinforces the idea of women being weaker and passive sex that is there to satisfy and please the male gaze. It would be unreasonable to argue that Guess shouldn’t use women on their ads. They could however promoted their clothes by showing these women in action, giving them a character and a role other than being a passive sexual object.

Images like this one are very common in our society and effect it in different ways. They give women a role model to identify with, showing them a mirror of what is desired standards in the society. 

The photo was taken in Brussels in December 2013

When speaking in European Parliament Stuart Agnew said:

"I’ve never had a baby, but I understand if you do have a baby it can change your life – it changes your ambitions. So, the route is there. Those females who really want to get to the top do so"

His statement is sexist from many aspects. Firstly he’s blaming the women for their own structural discrimination. The fact that mostly women stay home with children is due to many reasons from economic inequalities that makes it more “practical” for less earning partners to stay at home, to social pressure and expectations. It is however not due to a lack of ambition but lack of equality.

The emotional, physical and psychological distress of women who end up being stuck at performing unpaid domestic labour and childcare, was very well described in Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique. Friedan calls it ‘the problem that doesn’t have a name’.

But Agnew’s purpose isn’t to address the problem that doesn’t have a name. He’s sexist remark was meant to argue against mandatory quotas in leaderboards of big companies which serve as a tool to achieve bette gender balance in the decision making positions. Agnew is using sexism to defend discrimination.

Article of Guardian’s author Melissa Kite rightly points out the problem of sexism in politics. However, immediately after this she shifts the attention from the real issue and adopts a sexist narrative when talking about the solutions.

The author recognizes that sexist behavior that male politicians engage in is responsible for sexist climate. She also establishes the fact that this repeatedly drives female politicians out of the politics. Then however she concludes that the problem isn’t in men but in women:

The problem is not that male politicians can be childish and offensive, but that today’s female politicians don’t seem to know how to handle them.

So her solution isn’t to support  female politicians or hold those men responsible for their actions. Instead she proposes that the victims of sexist male behavior need to ‘toughen up’:

This sort of sexist intimidation is wrong, of course. But I would argue that, rather than wait for the utopian day when men stop being misogynistic, female MPs should toughen up.

What is also problematic, is the term in the headline. “Man up” implies the dualist division men/strong, female/weak, connecting femininity to something undesirable, something one should change if one is to be perceived positively.

While arguing that female politicians should simply “man up”, Melissa Kite actually tells them they should stop being women. And this claim is problematic from two aspects. Firstly because it implies that politics is something only for men. And secondly because it accepts the current sexist state of politics as normal. 

So instead of challenging the current norms of male dominated politics, the author simply accepts them as a norm and expects that everyone adjusts accordingly.

Recently MicroSoft launched ads to promote the Xbox One: an email/letter template  of x-mas requests that men can send to their female partners. The letter opens with this:

Not sure if you’ve heard, but Xbox One is now available. That means we can start playing games like  Dead Rising 3. I know, I know. You’d rather knit than watch me slay zombies, but hear me out. Xbox One is actually for both of us. Seriously.

The problem with this narrative is that it completely embraces and reproduces the stereotypes of weak/passive female and creative/active male. The assumption that woman’s favorite pastime activity is either knitting or watching her partner play video-games, reinforces the stereotype technologically disadvantaged women. It erases the notion that female games exist, that technology is something women are interested in and take part in.

Ad was followed by a huge backlash and MicroSoft was forced to apologize for the wording and changed the ad. They stated that:

"The letter is fully customisable and we meant no offense, but understand how the defaults could be perceived. We’re making changes to the letter defaults and apologise for the oversight.”