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Sexism and women studies

Facebook memes and sexism

I like to think I have been sensitive to gender equality, violence against women and the like for some time, but I have to say that the women studies course I took this past semester hammered a lot of things home.
I see sexism and discrimination against women in places I previously would have overlooked and in things I previously would have found funny.
This past week has been pretty hard for me. I have seen many of my friends participating in Facebook memes that denigrate and objectify women. When I do try to stand up against such, I am the one labelled as being insensitive and told I should lighten up.
I am very fed up this week and I am disgusted more each day that goes by to the point I feel sick to my stomach and my hands shake.
Here are a few of the images my friends have posted:

This one tries to make light violence against women. Strictly speaking it’s spousal abuse period, but since I am a man and the friend who posted it is a man, I saw this as directed at women. Besides, as the saying goes, it’s a dog is man’s best friend, not human’s best friend. It is never okay to laugh at the idea of stuffing one’s own spouse into the trunk of a car.

This is sexist in several ways. First it treats men as prizes (You’re all mine if you plan to marry in the temple. It treats women as objects of desire (if you aren’t going to get married in the temple, you don’t get me). It trivializes the sacredness of temple ordinances.

This perpetuates the stereotypes of women being emotionally unstable, and it ties so-called manhood to men being accepting of emotional abuse.

This objectifies women and glamorizes sodomization, both of which together promote sexual violence against women.

Yet another one objectifying women. This one goes even further by presenting women as objects that can be eaten. And why is it women have to wait for men to come along; why can’t they initiate relationships?

Finally, this one is sexist on several fronts. First, it promotes emotional instability in relationships. Second, it promotes the idea of women being owned by men. Finally, notice how the male progresses from boy to gentleman, but the female in the relationship remains a girl? Also, notice the female in the relationship is a girl, but the females outside of the relationship are women.
What disturbs me the most is that those who post these images are completely oblivious to the sexism contained within them.
And the sexism isn’t confined to just these images either. Every day, it seems, someone I know posts similar photos. New photos. The cycle continues: Someone promotes violence and sexism in their images and other perpetuate their messages by sharing them.
In all sincerity, what is there that can be done?

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

10 replies on “Facebook memes and sexism”

Dont you think the tree one is actually more insulting to boys? I mean, we can use a metaphor or a simile without objectifying, can’t we? I’d hate to be the stupid or lazy boy who just gets the rotten apples.

Dont you think the tree one is actually more insulting to boys? I mean, we can use a metaphor or a simile without objectifying, can’t we? I’d hate to be the stupid or lazy boy who just gets the rotten apples.

Absolutely I do. And what does it say about people who fall in love quickly? That the woman in the relationship is bruised and easy, and the man is lazy? I have been married for 16.5 years, and we dated 2 weeks before getting engaged, and were engaged for 2.5 months. I certainly hope that I didn’t get married to whom I did because she was easy and bruised and I was too lazy to eat an apple that I had to climb the tree to get.

Absolutely I do. And what does it say about people who fall in love quickly? That the woman in the relationship is bruised and easy, and the man is lazy? I have been married for 16.5 years, and we dated 2 weeks before getting engaged, and were engaged for 2.5 months. I certainly hope that I didn’t get married to whom I did because she was easy and bruised and I was too lazy to eat an apple that I had to climb the tree to get.

If you don’t mind, I am going to offer some of my own thought because I feel that your post is too feminist-leaning. Here are my thoughts:
1. Who is your real friend?
“This one tries to make light violence against women.”
How about cruelty to animals? No gender has been specified, so you should not take the feminist standpoint here. Spousal abuse is wrong in any case. And who would be so stupid to believe that the person in the trunk would come out smiling (or the dog for that matter)?
But in considering the subject of spousal abuse, the pervasive notion in society is that only men can be abusive, as your comment suggested. For example, look at this one-sided campaign:
Stop abuse against women. Noble campaign.
http://www.dreamgirlfriend.co.uk/
Flip side of the coin? Nope. Only men are abusers.
http://www.dreamboyfriend.co.uk/
2. If this isn’t your castle, then you aren’t my prince.
I don’t see where religion fits into this, but interesting standpoint.
We live in a society that punishes men in divorce proceedings and leaves women at no-fault. Men are forced to pay alimony, lose half their belongings and have their children torn away from them, as mothers usually get custody. There is a gender bias and many women are using that to their advantage.
“Evidence is given that among college-educated couples, the percentages of divorces initiated by women is approximately 90%.” – https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Divorce#Gender_and_divorce
We commonly refer to these women as gold-diggers.
3. Boys become men when they…
“Nice guys have been conditioned to believe that if they are good, giving, and caring, they will be loved, get what they want, and have a smooth life.” – http://www.nomoremrniceguy.com/ngs.php
The key word is “conditioned.” This leads to absolute misery for the beta man, who gives and never receives. He ultimately is disrespected from his wife for being a pushover and useless shell of a man, which leads to divorce. This is probably the guy who built a castle just to get someone to “accept” and marry him.
This isn’t about women being so much emotionally unstable as it is the unrealistic expectations of feminists. And it’s sad that men fall for it.
4. How to get men to wash there hands
First, the person who wrote this caption should learn to spell. Second, there is no context to this image. Is it in a strip club, or perhaps an art installation?
I know this is not the first time sinks, chairs, urinals, etc. have been designed this way, but I really don’t see the purpose of becoming outraged for such installations if the context is appropriate.
Third, sodomy is an acceptable sexual practice amongst consenting adults. This includes straight and homosexual couples who are not bound by the guilt imposed by their religion/society. Also, you imply that these sinks only refer to sodomy, but are forgetting about vaginal sex, doggy style.
Some extreme feminists believe that any kind of penetration is wrong because it suggests oppression and domination over women.
Of course, the feminists will react with outrage at any display of “female objectification,” especially if it implies a sexual act. Perhaps I should be upset that penis lollipops exist.
I think my biggest issue with this image is that it appears to be a pain in the ass, pardon the pun, to reach the sink itself.
5. Girls are like apples on trees.
I think whoever wrote this has it backwards and believes their worth is greater than it actually is. If a woman has a 100-point checklist of what she wants in a man, she has unrealistic expectations and no man will ever be good enough for her.
This is the kind of person who asks, “Where are all the good men?”
Taken, by other women. Or climbing the tree to find an apple that’s not overly ripe with their own self-worth. Why climb a tree that is too tall, with unstable branches near the top?
But to say that men don’t try to climb a tree as high as possible to get the tastiest apple is a crazy notion. Every man wants their perfect red delicious. Then again, some men just want a quick snack.
On another note, isn’t this female author being demeaning to other women by referring to them as low-hanging fruit?
6. A boy makes his girl jealous of other women. A gentleman makes other women jealous of his girl.
Again with the “boys” vs. “men” thing. Who thinks this up? I think the sentences are somewhat unrelated.
A man worth his salt and secure of himself will naturally be attractive to other women, and in a new relationship a woman might feel anxiety that other women might take him away. He could be feeling the same way about her.
“Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.” – Bruce Lee
Is the second sentence about putting a woman on a pedestal, again referring to picture #3? Or perhaps it now displays this man of high value as a prize, just like the castle in picture #2? Up to you to decide.
I believe a loving, long-term relationship is what both men and women should be jealous of.

Animal abuse is wrong, and thank you for pointing that out.
Spousal abuse is wrong, too, regardless of gender. I did touch on it, but admitted that since I am a man and the person who posted it is a man, the implication was it was directed towards women. Regardless, spousal abuse is wrong no matter which gender is involved. I am confident that instances where men are abused by their partners is vastly underreported.
I wasn’t suggesting that sodomy is not common or natural. I was saying that the objectification of woman combined with sodomy promotes violence. In this case, the woman is an inanimate object in a sexually provocative position. Assuming anyone even tries anything remotely sexual with this objects, it is entirely one-sided, perpetuating a common belief that men are entitled to any sexual activity they want and women are obliged to accommodate them.
Just to reiterate, the above collection is only a small portion of the crap being shared on Facebook, but the themes are common. If only relationships were always based on mutual respect and actual love, many of these would make no sense and elicit no laughter.

If you don’t mind, I am going to offer some of my own thought because I feel that your post is too feminist-leaning. Here are my thoughts:
1. Who is your real friend?
“This one tries to make light violence against women.”
How about cruelty to animals? No gender has been specified, so you should not take the feminist standpoint here. Spousal abuse is wrong in any case. And who would be so stupid to believe that the person in the trunk would come out smiling (or the dog for that matter)?
But in considering the subject of spousal abuse, the pervasive notion in society is that only men can be abusive, as your comment suggested. For example, look at this one-sided campaign:
Stop abuse against women. Noble campaign.
http://www.dreamgirlfriend.co.uk/
Flip side of the coin? Nope. Only men are abusers.
http://www.dreamboyfriend.co.uk/
2. If this isn’t your castle, then you aren’t my prince.
I don’t see where religion fits into this, but interesting standpoint.
We live in a society that punishes men in divorce proceedings and leaves women at no-fault. Men are forced to pay alimony, lose half their belongings and have their children torn away from them, as mothers usually get custody. There is a gender bias and many women are using that to their advantage.
“Evidence is given that among college-educated couples, the percentages of divorces initiated by women is approximately 90%.” – https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Divorce#Gender_and_divorce
We commonly refer to these women as gold-diggers.
3. Boys become men when they…
“Nice guys have been conditioned to believe that if they are good, giving, and caring, they will be loved, get what they want, and have a smooth life.” – http://www.nomoremrniceguy.com/ngs.php
The key word is “conditioned.” This leads to absolute misery for the beta man, who gives and never receives. He ultimately is disrespected from his wife for being a pushover and useless shell of a man, which leads to divorce. This is probably the guy who built a castle just to get someone to “accept” and marry him.
This isn’t about women being so much emotionally unstable as it is the unrealistic expectations of feminists. And it’s sad that men fall for it.
4. How to get men to wash there hands
First, the person who wrote this caption should learn to spell. Second, there is no context to this image. Is it in a strip club, or perhaps an art installation?
I know this is not the first time sinks, chairs, urinals, etc. have been designed this way, but I really don’t see the purpose of becoming outraged for such installations if the context is appropriate.
Third, sodomy is an acceptable sexual practice amongst consenting adults. This includes straight and homosexual couples who are not bound by the guilt imposed by their religion/society. Also, you imply that these sinks only refer to sodomy, but are forgetting about vaginal sex, doggy style.
Some extreme feminists believe that any kind of penetration is wrong because it suggests oppression and domination over women.
Of course, the feminists will react with outrage at any display of “female objectification,” especially if it implies a sexual act. Perhaps I should be upset that penis lollipops exist.
I think my biggest issue with this image is that it appears to be a pain in the ass, pardon the pun, to reach the sink itself.
5. Girls are like apples on trees.
I think whoever wrote this has it backwards and believes their worth is greater than it actually is. If a woman has a 100-point checklist of what she wants in a man, she has unrealistic expectations and no man will ever be good enough for her.
This is the kind of person who asks, “Where are all the good men?”
Taken, by other women. Or climbing the tree to find an apple that’s not overly ripe with their own self-worth. Why climb a tree that is too tall, with unstable branches near the top?
But to say that men don’t try to climb a tree as high as possible to get the tastiest apple is a crazy notion. Every man wants their perfect red delicious. Then again, some men just want a quick snack.
On another note, isn’t this female author being demeaning to other women by referring to them as low-hanging fruit?
6. A boy makes his girl jealous of other women. A gentleman makes other women jealous of his girl.
Again with the “boys” vs. “men” thing. Who thinks this up? I think the sentences are somewhat unrelated.
A man worth his salt and secure of himself will naturally be attractive to other women, and in a new relationship a woman might feel anxiety that other women might take him away. He could be feeling the same way about her.
“Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.” – Bruce Lee
Is the second sentence about putting a woman on a pedestal, again referring to picture #3? Or perhaps it now displays this man of high value as a prize, just like the castle in picture #2? Up to you to decide.
I believe a loving, long-term relationship is what both men and women should be jealous of.

Animal abuse is wrong, and thank you for pointing that out.
Spousal abuse is wrong, too, regardless of gender. I did touch on it, but admitted that since I am a man and the person who posted it is a man, the implication was it was directed towards women. Regardless, spousal abuse is wrong no matter which gender is involved. I am confident that instances where men are abused by their partners is vastly underreported.
I wasn’t suggesting that sodomy is not common or natural. I was saying that the objectification of woman combined with sodomy promotes violence. In this case, the woman is an inanimate object in a sexually provocative position. Assuming anyone even tries anything remotely sexual with this objects, it is entirely one-sided, perpetuating a common belief that men are entitled to any sexual activity they want and women are obliged to accommodate them.
Just to reiterate, the above collection is only a small portion of the crap being shared on Facebook, but the themes are common. If only relationships were always based on mutual respect and actual love, many of these would make no sense and elicit no laughter.

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