18 Aug 2012, Comments (13)

Men outraged by sexism: I should be more sympathetic

Author: Helen

Yes, I’m definitely one of those bad feminists, because when the news items broke about the two men who believed they had been unfairly discriminated against by Qantas and Virgin airlines, even though I agreed with them utterly, there was a certain part of me which was slapping its thigh and guffawing loudly, because isn’t this what we’re always ridiculed for? that is, complaining about sexism?

And didn’t the dudes emote about it!

“Mike”:

‘Balatant discriminstion [sic] like this is just wrong. No other way to put it. …The scene I would create if I faced this would be worth seeing.

“GJ”:

As a man I resent absolutely the fact that men can be so slandered.

Naturally, some broke out the sarcasm. “JohnA”,

Parents could be asked for a preference male, female or don’t mind. Then they could choose white, black Asian or other. Religion is important too. Age, political affiliation, sporting team and code should be checked. Can’t be too careful…

The outrage is two-pronged (no jokes, please.) On one hand the men have been subject to discrimination on the basis of their gender and have been made to go to the back of the metaphorical bus, as it were. In addition to that there’s the realisation that it’s just really shitty to have assumptions made about you on the basis of your gender.

Which is why my response, too, is twofold. On the one hand I couldn’t agree more with the premise of their outrage. I am, you might say, on the same page. But at the same time, for the very same reason, I’m… well.. Bahahahahaha.

People making negative assumptions on the basis of our gender? Being denied opportunities or being treated differently on the basis of our gender? Welcome to our world.

I do hope that the Johns and Mikes who voiced their protest so loudly in the comments threads of these articles have had an epiphany. I hope that the next time they read an article about women suffering gender discrimination or objectification, they won’t jump into those comments threads with the usual: Suck it up, Princess… Drink a ton of concrete and harden up… Stop looking to be offended… and the rest of the litany of dismissive comments that we get for pointing out sexism in the everyday world.

Well, a nasty old feminist can dream, can’t she?

Comments (13) »

  • Ann ODyne says:

    Well put indeed.
    I do wish though, for The Daily Double win, that the Adjacent Male Passenger, asked to move, had been a priest.
    Unaccompanied child passengers are assigned to a crew member who is their trip guardian (just saying for people who might have to use this service).

  • IanH says:

    Dear Helen,
    As a raging feminist you completely missed the point !!
    This was not just a case of gender bias alone. This was obviously also a case of suspect criminality.
    HOW OUTRAGEOUS that a man be implicitly labelled a potentail pedophile, just because he EXISTS!
    This simply perpatrates the hoary old feminist cry of “every man is a potential rapist !”
    I, for one, respectfully protest to any male or female that trots out that piece of bullshit/false reasoning.
    I’m sick and tired of being labelled a potential criminal because of my gender !!!
    DO ANY OF YOU feministas get accused of that OFTEN?

  • Kath says:

    Fear you have just lost any chance of a moral high ground. (not intending on reading any more of the site, so this might be a non-issue of course).

    Thinking “at last, a few more incidents like this and maybe…” would be one thing. But enjoying/laughing at something you pretend to spend so much time rally against?

    Sadly, its this sort of “feminism” that’s doing more harm than good.

    Two steps forward one step back i suppose.

  • Helen says:

    Dear Ian, that’s how gender bias works. There’s always a corollary.

    No-one wants to see women play so forget that career in professional sport.

    Women don’t fit in to our company’s culture so forget making partner.

    Women aren’t tough enough to do [insert challenging career here.]

    Women have a natural aptitude for [insert low paid pink-collar job here].

    Google “stereotype threat”. People are making assumptions and decisions every day of the week based on gender stereotyping. It happens to men too, but in general it works in their favour. In this case it hasn’t and their calling out of the sexist stereotyping is taken seriously.

    That’s my point.

    Kath, I am devastated that you won’t be returning to this blog. Say isn’t so…

  • Simon says:

    I’m a man, and I’m not particularly offended by the supposedly sexist aspect of this. Men really are more likely than women to be pedophiles intent on abusing young children. I don’t know the odds, but for the sake of, let’s say men are three times more likely.

    What I’m offended by is the moral panic about pedophilia and the resultant absurd fear that pedophiles are lurking everywhere just waiting to pounce on YOUR CHILDREN. The odds of a woman abusing an unknown child sitting next to her on a plane is approximately zero, and three times approximately zero is still close enough to zero for it to be a ridiculous policy to move men away from unaccompanied children. Especially when it’s almost always family members who are the perpetrators of child assault – if the airlines were serious they’d be separating the accompanied children from those accompanying them – that’s a better predictor than simply being male.

  • David Irving (no relation) says:

    Helen, I think a certain amount of Scadenfreude is quite understandable. I certainly won’t condemn you for it. In fact, I share it (as far as a bloke can).

  • David Irving (no relation) says:

    That’d be Schadenfreude. Damn my shitty typing.

  • Liz says:

    The sexism also cuts the other way. My first response was; “Shit. Why is it a woman who always has to look after the kids”.

  • Tori says:

    For me, it’s not that I’m amused by gender discrimination. It’s that I’m amused by people who react to gender discrimination like this is a new thing in the world.

  • David Irving (no relation) says:

    Good call, Liz. Unsurprisingly I missed that one.

  • Helen says:

    It’s that I’m amused by people who react to gender discrimination like this is a new thing in the world.

    Yes, that’s it, exactly.

    And they don’t see the converse side which Liz and David referred to.

  • Glauke says:

    I originally interpreted the title to mean: “I, a het-cis-man, have just understood how sexism structurally disadvantages women (including humans I know and love) and I am therefore outraged, and resolve to be more sympathetic, thus helping undo some of the patriarchy.”.

    Silly me!

    Also, what Tori said (she’s often right)

  • Helen says:

    Welcome Glauke, and apologies for letting you languish in moderation overnight.

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