Archives for posts with tag: #everydaysexism


@LennoxHerald 11 March 2015

You couldn’t get a book and film more at odds with the founding principles of International Women’s Day than that film of that book. As thousands of women and girls are being kidnapped, enslaved, tortured and raped for real by militias in Boko Haram in Nigeria, by Isis in Northern Iraq and by organised gangs of men past and present in Oxford, Rotherham and across the UK, author E.L. James and the film’s makers kept their eyes fixed on the dollar in their very own value-free cultural vacuum. Almost weekly we hear of the ever expanding extent of Saville or some other celebrity’s sexual abuse of vulnerable women, children and young people while ‘safeguarders’ look away and do nothing.  Paul Gadd may finally have been put away for life but people queued to watch the same criminal behaviour glamourised and sold back to them for their titillation on Valentine’s Day.  Give me strength!

In the movie, the perverted sexual proclivities of a very rich, handsome, white American magically convert the entrapment and sexual torture of an intelligent but naïve student into a ‘love’ story and endeavour to  make it ok.  So ok in fact women that you can buy Tesco’s branded range of ‘fifty-shaded’ lingerie with the messages while your local Ann Summers shop will helpfully provide all you need to kit out your very own red room so that you too can submit to being handcuffed for the delight of your very own Mr. Grey.

your local Ann Summers shop will helpfully provide all you need to kit out your very own red room so that you too can submit to being handcuffed for the delight of your very own Mr. Grey.

Mr. Grey is simply a stalker, sexual predator and rapist who doesn’t know that no means no.  Rape Crisis in Scotland are in despair.  Faint heart never won fair lady apparently!  Stalking is a criminal offence and our hero’s regime of husbandly control – aka domestic abuse hereabouts –  is criminal behaviour and Scotland’s courts are full of it. Fancy pants won’t cut it there as admissible evidence in the case for the defence.  Scottish Women’s Aid are also in despair.


                                                                                                   Mr. Grey is simply a stalker, sexual predator and rapist who doesn’t know that no means no.

Shading sexuality as a strategy of pure power and violence dehumanises men and women and kills romance stone dead.   International Women’s Day has been celebrating women’s achievements and publicising their continued struggle for equality and freedom for over one hundred years. If we accept cruel sexual fantasies as mainstream entertainment, mistake it for romance and an excuse for branded lingerie and the fluffy accoutrements of torture we are sleepwalking into a dystopia which will take another century to correct.


Sun competition ban

This article was originally published in The Conversation on 10 December 2014 by Anni Donaldson

The contortions of The Sun newspaper against mounting opposition to its notorious Page 3 topless women would be laughable if they did not represent a much wider problem. With even glamour queen Katie Price apparently throwing in the towel and having her breast size reduced, you wonder how many senior Sun executives seriously want to keep it going. Even they can’t have entirely missed the dawning of the new millennium and 40 years of advances in women’s equality.

Page 3 dates from a time when Benny Hill, Les Dawson and Jimmy Savile were the acceptable faces of a male-dominated culture where women just needed just to “calm down dear” and take a joke. As the No More Page 3 campaigners say, this isn’t just about getting rid of a sexist image in a newspaper. This is part of women’s “wider struggle for better representation, equality and human rights”.

Everywhere you look …

British society is slowly wakening up to pervasive everyday sexism, rape culture, the normalisation of pornography and epidemic proportions of sexual exploitation, gender-based violence and sexual abuse – both here and across the world. Post-Leveson, how long can fair and balanced journalism co-exist with the continued stereotyping and objectification of women? You don’t have look far beyond Page 3 to see the Ched Evans row, the Grand Theft Auto Rape Mod, the Fairlife milk adverts and countless more.

The wider picture? It certainly won’t help that this is a country that was recently described by a senior UN official as having an “in your face sexist culture”. Fewer than one quarter of reporters on national dailies are women. Research has shown that men outnumber women as television and radio experts by four to one. The TV industry’s unwillingness to put older women in front of the cameras is meanwhile legend.

An imbalanced society. PandaVector

Light amid darkness

Yet if this is the mountain still to climb, we are arguably at a slightly higher altitude than we once were. Part of this is changing times – The Sun’s management at least sounds awkward defending Page 3 these days, and it ditched the page in Ireland with little effect to circulation. Its UK days also look numbered.

The atmosphere has also arguably been changed by the slew of sexual abuse scandals that have hit the media in the last two or three years. Operation Yewtree, Rotherham, Rochdale and the Westminster affair have all created a sense in which practices that used to be tolerated are now being confronted. The media has been shamed by its own past acquiescence and has not shied away from full coverage that gives the impact on the victims its proper due.

So how do we make these steps forward permanent? Unrelenting campaigns from No More Page 3 to Everyday Sexism are obviously part of the answer. Scotland might also have something to offer here, through the work of anti-abuse charity Zero Tolerance. In 2013 it launched the first Write to End Violence Against Women Awards and published a media guide to promote responsible journalism and reporting of all forms of violence against women. The group also awards an annual wooden spoon for the worst examples of sexist reporting. The 2014 award winners will be announced on the evening of 10 December.

It is a reminder that we could do with a high-profile version of these awards for the whole of the UK. If we can give large amounts of coverage to Bad Sex Awards in writing, we need exactly the same approach for writing that degrades women. To give others a chance of course, Page 3 would need a category all of its own.

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