Reverse sexism

We love you Pussy Riot! Photo by Igor Mokhin.

Does not exist, people. Neither does reverse racism, ageism nor any other ‘ism’ for that matter (Save Ferris!). Sexism is sexism.

This week, apart from starting a new job, I joined Twitter. I will write soon about how it’s BLOWN MY TINY MIND, but first want to prattle about some total stranger lady I had to ‘unfollow’ almost immediately. Amid the thoroughly fascinating developments at the Ecuadorian embassy, Amanda Palmer’s hilarious latests, and the fact that Margaret Atwood is working on a graphic novel, I got the following tweet:

“How do you save a man from drowning? Take your foot off his head.”

This was followed by a few more like “Life without love is a shadow of things that might be” and “Change your life by changing your heart”, the normal staple of people on Facebook I don’t know very well and wonder why I friended them. The anti-man tweets kept a-coming until I clicked the off button.

This shits and upsets me immeasurably. Women have been put down, marginalised and been the butt of jokes for centuries. Today, we have about a zillion bluestockings, suffragettes, feminists and radical punks to thank for the fact that this largely doesn’t happen any more. We can thank them for that fact that not only are the words ‘Pussy Riot’ bandied about in mainstream media, but that their case is treated as serious and worthy of international attention.

Us ladies didn’t fight for the right to make this kind of joke. We didn’t fight for the freedom to treat men as badly as we’ve been treated – we fought for equal rights: the right to live our lives with precisely the same kind of freedom that men take as a natural. We also fought for respect. These kinds of tweets just erode all of that history.

It also upsets me that she thinks it could apply to any man – including my dad, my partner, and a whole bunch of my friends. While I find the new ad for Farmer Wants a Wife horrific (with its teams of ladies in bridezilla outfits competing and literally punching each other in the face for the chance to walk down the aisle), it’s a familiar trope shrugged off by most intelligent ladies with a tired ‘pfft’. We know that it’s slapstick. Ads for another sweltering pile of excrescence called House Husbands have upset my young man, and I can see why. It uses exactly the same insulting, corny, gender-based clichés used against women for the aforementioned centuries. It just takes us back to the start again.

So ladies – if you choose to make that kind of joke I’m going to put my foot on your head, and keep it there. It’s time to stop disparaging awesome feminist ladies of the past (and present). And regarding boofy guys with baby bjorns, Rich Fulcher said it far funnier in 60 seconds, right here.

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