It rather bothers me that here we are in the year 2012 and yet both men and women have to constantly fight to escape predefined gender roles. The two examples of this I want to focus on here are the new Huggies Dad Campaign and the cleaning tag found on the jeans by Emma Barnett–and in fact, it is not even the ads themselves I want to talk about, but the comments associated with them and the blatant lack of misunderstanding people have when it comes to gender based offensive material. Now, in my opinion, the determination of whether or not something is offensive towards a gender is rather simple: if it attempts to fit someone into a predefined gender role, it is offensive. However, as it has been shown time and time again that people do not believe something unless there is a lot of text involved, I cannot simply end this post here, sadly.
Now, when someone like Rush Limbaugh comes along and calls Sandra Fluke, and by extension, all women sluts and prostitutes because they want birth control included in their health insurance most rational people understand this as being offensive and as we have seen action is taken against the offending person and their actions. I am quite proud of the response to Rush’s comments and from what I can gather he is rather shocked at the events that have happened. People are speaking out not just against him, which he deserves, but against gender stereotyping across the board. However, the sad part is, it is the subtler experiences of offensive material that tend to slip through the cracks and garner responses such as “People need to lighten up” or “Come on, it’s all in good fun”.
When you have ads that place a person into a predefined gender role, you are creating an offensive situation. Especially now that we are in 2012, it is important to understand that aside from certain biological functions, there really isn’t any activity that one gender can do better than another. Fathers are just as good at being the homemaker as the mother are, in fact I am a stay at home dad myself and find it to be a very rewarding experience, and women make just as good soldiers as men for the simple fact that patriotism, and a desire to defend your home, does not come with an anatomical requirement.
It really does sadden me that the more we move forward as a society, the more our belief system moves backwards. Equality is quickly becoming a belief system that does not accurately reflect its own name. Equality applies to everyone, regardless of gender, color or sexuality. Especially when it comes to gender offensive material, both men and women are guilty of perpetuating predefined gender roles. Considering taking the trash out to be man’s work or dishes and laundry being the job of a wife are really beneath us as a society. Anyone is capable of doing any of the household tasks that are required; a family is supposed to be a team with everyone working together to manage the household and make it function as it should.
Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly project is a great example of alerting people to the amount of gender bias that is in the media. Both women and men are portrayed as having to fit into a certain model, well the shocking thing is average people don’t. I would much rather see advertisements depicting real people, with all their many flaws, than these seemingly perfect examples that are put forth to us. Real people have curves, extra weight on their body, imperfections in appearance and what not. Not all women are skinny with large breasts and it is also true that not all men have six-pack abs or seemingly monstrous packages.
This is not merely about “lightening up” or “having a sense of humor”, it is debasing to all genders and should not be allowed to continue. The standards that are being put into place for males and females lead to confusion, and sometimes anger, later in life when people realize they are not acting in a manner that society says they should be. We are all unique individuals and should be allowed to act as such. We can no longer choose what we are offended by, it is an all or nothing situation, and I would much rather see it swing towards the all end of things than going back to the standard where everyone is expected to fit into predefined gender roles.
- Rush Limbaugh isn’t the only moron out there, unfortunately (freethoughtblogs.com)
- It’s About Being Yourself and Objectifying Women (amandatheatheist.wordpress.com)
- Gender Roles in Superhero Culture (offoxesandhedgehogs.wordpress.com)
- Is gender labels important in establishing a child’s identity? (offoxesandhedgehogs.wordpress.com)
- The Woman Warrior &Ndash; Reality Versus Fantasy (socyberty.com)
- Gender (kaapvaal.wordpress.com)