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.
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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?