Misogyny, Feminism and the age of Chivalry

I was thinking about writing a post after I saw Lily Allen’s new music video for ‘hard out here’, or more specifically the public and media backlash, which saw tabloids criticizing her for having previously had liposuction and now publicly denouncing the media  industry which puts pressure on women to match up to unrealistic, photo-shopped ideals. (and also the accusations of her being racist for hiring a majority of Black women dancers in her video)

My initial reaction is- so what if she had liposuction then sang a song about the pressure to appear perfect? Who better to give a first hand account than someone who felt compelled to have plastic surgery because of media pressure?

And the racist jibe is just silly- A few weeks ago I read the article below where Victoria Beckham was accused of being racist by Naomi Campbell for having all Caucasian models in her show- I have no idea if this is a sound accusation or not, although 80% of models used for New York Fashion week were white, I don’t know if this is proportionate to the overall ratio of white models to other races but I suspect not, hence the outrage and upset.

Lily Allen was quotes as saying that she chose girls based on their ability to ‘twerk’ as it was needed for the video, and their dance skills in general- as you would expect. It actually never occurred to me that the dancers were mainly Women of Colour, and I think its disrespectful to use the inaccurate accusation to sensationalise a subject and gain column inches and that it detracts from  and damages the case where racism is a real problem.

I digress- the point I was making is stories like this in the media confuse me- if we want to look pretty and wear make up or lose weight are we succumbing to media pressure? Is it not ok to want to look our best? But also the media does berate women for looking too thin and in the same breath accuse another woman of being too fat or having cellulite! Personally I do think the media bombards us with bikini clad women, impossibly slender and perfect, just 3 weeks after giving birth and it makes me feel inadequate and a little depressed- all be it fleetingly, and its almost got to the point that I enjoy the ‘circle of shame’ articles with a fat bulge, sweat patch or cellulite highlighted just to feel that ‘they’ are as normal and flawed as me! But I also disagree with them being exposed and criticised for these normal tributes. It makes me feel conflicted, and I revelled in seeing Debenhams use average size mannequins of 12, 14 and 16 instead of the standard 4 and 6, which absolutely in no way represent the majority of women!

I also saw a short by The Geena Davis Institute on Women in Film with some surprising statistics in the stereotypes and character portrayal of Women’s role in film and the article below on the Bechel test- in which a film is required to feature two main female characters to have a conversation about something other than men! Its hugely surprising to see the films that fail this test! It made me think, the films we watch often still have this archaic formula of the damsel in distress being saved by the hero. So how in this day and age do we still have such a lack of prominent female character roles in film and TV?

The final straw came when I commented on a picture a friend had put on facebook; a black and white pics from the 50’s of a man opening the car door for a woman with the slogan ‘real men still do this’. I commented, I guess a little jokily- ‘why, because us women folk are so fragile and stupid that we can’t even open a car door?’ the conversation that followed is posted below.

I guess I made my opinion pretty clear, but I have also included a link below to a male view on the chivalry vs misogyny debate to get a balanced viewpoint. I would really appreciate some feedback on this guys, thoughts and different view points. The conclusion that I reached is that some people are not able or willing to examine themselves enough to see why they behave and accept behaviour they way they do and just can’t see the wider picture of society.

real men1 real men 3 real men 4 real men2 real men5 real men 6

Bechdel Rule

Beckham racism row


Chivalry vs Misogyny- a male view

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media


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