Saturday, November 8, 2014

More thoughts on Sexism and Rhetoric

I came across this article on MSN news, "12 Sneaky Signs He'll Never Commit to You."

There are many things that could be said about this, but since we just read bell hook's piece on sexism/racism I thought it would be interesting to look at in that light.

The interesting thing about this article is that there are many others just like. What I mean is that there are these "advice" and "tips" articles for women in relation to men. What I find unfair about these articles is that both men and women are usually portrayed in a stereotypical way. Women are given advice with how to cope or handle maleness.

Since I identify as a feminist, I normally do not find myself taking up the banner of defending maleness. However, I find it equally alarming when any gender, whether it be female, male, or trans, be portrayed as flat, unshifting, fixed, or static.

Most alarming though, is that these articles portray maleness in a fixed state that must constantly be coped with by femaleness. While femaleness has been defined by maleness for quite some time, I do not think that giving women advice due to assumed victimization is helpful or useful.


  1. You have a great point, Abigail! When I talk to students about feminism and gender roles, I never hesitate to point out that gender stereotypes limit all people from reaching full personhood--men are limited in their ways of being, like women are. And it's a well-known fact that men die more frequently from stress-related illnesses than women do. They're oppressed by Patriarchy, too, just in a different way.

    Also, I find it alarming, too, that there's always one acceptable way to be male/female and, as you point out, it is flat and fixed. It's sad when little boys can't like pink and little girls can't like blue because the other kids will make fun of them and call their gender into question.

  2. I, too, would rather see multifaceted portrayals of gender in the media than flat or one-dimensional portrayals. As a teenager I had subscriptions to Seventeen magazine and Teen Vogue. Eventually I realized that those two publications (and most magazines targeted for that demographic of teenage young women) have so much content on clothes, hair, gossip, and celebrities that it seemed like it was similar content in each issue. There were very few revealing news-type stories that I was more interested in. These magazines often reinforce gender polarities, although it seems they have tried to become a little more multifaceted in their depictions of gender. Sports- and health-related magazines targeted toward men also have a lot of gender stereotypes and polarities in them, which is somewhat problematic, although these magazines have also tried to be more progressive in some ways.