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The summer sexism was called out?
July 16, 2013 5:46 AM   Subscribe

There have been some high profile examples of sexism in the UK media this summer. Are we seeing a groundswell of strong female voices calling out sexism? Big Brother has in the past caused the UK media to focus on uncomfortable issues such as bullying and racism. Following the removal of a housemate for aggressive behaviour towards a fellow female housemate, how will the conversation continue this summer?

Wimbledon coverage exposed a strong current of sexism, with players girlfriends being highlighted, Virginia Wade forgotten and Marion Bartoli insulted.

No More Page 3 has been gaining column inches with Caroline Lucas highlighting the campaign in the Commons whilst William Hague has been caught out muttering 'stupid woman' under his breath during PMs questions.

The everyday sexism project has had success in getting Facebook to agree to update its policies regarding hate speech directed at women and the charity Eaves has criticised the media for glamorising violence against women.

Meanwhile Big Brother contestant Daley has been removed from the house after pinning Hazel by her throat, the narrative thus far in the programme and in the press has been of wicked Hazel leading Daley on, will the UK media take the view that aggressive behaviour is always inexcusable or will Hazel be blamed?
posted by Ness (19 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Inverdale already had a track record of sexist remarks as a BBC commentator of major sports events previous to this years Wimbledon. These aren't just marginal remarks, but way over the line derogatory, unwarranted, personal, condescending and plain nasty remarks. Again, he's breezily apologized, and remains in his job. Probably until the next incident.

One has to wonder what kind of power he has at the BBC, and/or how dysfunctional or plain broken the BBC is, for him to freely repeat this, over and over, with no consequence.
posted by Wordshore at 6:00 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


You left out a particularly weird UK story. The public choking of Nigela Lawson by Charles Saatchi and his subsequent move for a divorce because she failed to defend him from the ensuing bad press.
posted by srboisvert at 6:04 AM on July 16, 2013 [21 favorites]


I've been wondering what Inverdale's daughters have thought about the whole thing. There's a huge gap in Josie's Twitter stream for the Wimbledon dates so I wonder if she's got rid of a lot of problematic messages.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 6:09 AM on July 16, 2013


Meanwhile Big Brother contestant Daley has been removed from the house after pinning Hazel by her throat, the narrative thus far in the programme and in the press has been of wicked Hazel leading Daley on, will the UK media take the view that aggressive behaviour is always inexcusable or will Hazel be blamed?

Here's some, but not all video of that event, starting at 1:07.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:11 AM on July 16, 2013


While playing at the Roundhouse in London, Amanda Palmer also recently sang about the sexist reviews she has recieved in the Daily Mail (NSFW).
posted by fight or flight at 6:11 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ah yes, the Lawson choking, that was silly of me to leave out, I was put in mind of it as the Big Brother episode unfolded.
posted by Ness at 6:11 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Boris Johnson joking that Malaysian women only enter university to find husbands?
posted by BinGregory at 6:14 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Virginia Wade forgotten comments reflects everything I hate about this conversation. You know why Virginia Wade has been forgotten? Because Women's sport is marginalised and often ignored. That's what we need to tackle. For a small number of pedants to turn round to those that say Wimbledon hasn't been won by a Brit in 77 years with the "Unless, you know, women are people too." line ignores the causes of that statement in favour of point scoring.

Har-de-har. You're very clever. We don't think women are people. You win. Now sexism is dead.

To me, It's like some people don't give a shit about equality except when they can get to point the finger at those they don't like. It's a shaming behaviour, and it has no goal except to shame.

Meanwhile, we all get to take a pot shot at that old sexist fossil, the BBC. Look at creaky old BBC with its sexist presenters and it's horrible sexism. Never mind the fact that they appear to be the only mainstream organisation in the UK that seems to give a shit that the English team is currently competing in a major international football tournament (The Euros).
posted by zoo at 6:17 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let's hope that this is "the summer where sexism started to get called out in some small ways, and then continued to be called out over and over in more and more public ways so that the culture could understand itself better and maybe change over time."
posted by cubby at 6:29 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The BBC is not alone in the Wimbledon coverage callout, I was mindful not to highlight articles that focused solely on the BBC coverage (although its hard not to with the Inverdale issue). The Guardian Wimbledon articles point to examples from ITV, Vogue Magazine, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Express, The Times and the Telegraph.
posted by Ness at 6:35 AM on July 16, 2013


Yeah, this does seem to be a bit of a thing.

A couple of other examples: the splendidly-named Twitter Youth Feminist Army, and the relaunch of Spare Rib (which may or may not actually happen, and will probably be awful, but still...).
posted by jack_mo at 7:16 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


For those of you who don't follow football, zoo's point is reinforced by the lack of attention to England's Womens national team being largely ignored at the Euros. (Not that they're doing particularly well.)
posted by kendrak at 7:19 AM on July 16, 2013


With the understanding that the plural of anecdote is not data, I'm American, recently wrapped up working with some (adult, professional) folks from the UK and I was taken aback by the casual sexism, objectification, etc.

Obviously Americans are a million miles from perfect on this front, but I've worked in a slew of places in the USA, some looser than others, never heard nearly that much from U.S. colleagues.
posted by ambient2 at 7:20 AM on July 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


There have been some high profile examples of sexism in the UK media this summer.

Just a reminder that there are examples of sexism in the UK media practically every day. I very much doubt this is the summer where everything changes. But we live in hope.
posted by billiebee at 8:11 AM on July 16, 2013


The UK is more sexist than the US (see the pay gap for evidence of this), but there are other cultural factors at play when you're comparing the UK to the US. I'd argue that the UK is less polite, so sexism and objectification are easier to see.
posted by zoo at 8:15 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd argue that the UK is less polite

How rude!
posted by billiebee at 8:21 AM on July 16, 2013


zoo, it reminds me of the always-fascinating phenomenon of visiting American friends being appalled by the more casual use of the word 'cunt'. They tell me that it demonstrates the sexism of our culture, and I truly do not know if they're right or if it's the opposite.

The Charles Saatchi affair was interesting to watch (once my rage passed) - the lauded marketing guru putting out talking point after thoroughly massaged talking point, trying again and again to manipulate public opinion in the way he has done for the last several decades - and failing, and failing, and failing.

At a certain point I realised that he really believed all of the contradictory statements he was making, which confirmed his guilt to me. The classic pattern of a powerful abuser.
posted by forgetful snow at 9:33 AM on July 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Glad I have been lagging on catching up with Big Brother - guess I'll skip that episode...
posted by stoneweaver at 9:54 AM on July 16, 2013


Maria Miller writes to the Director-General of the BBC.
posted by Wordshore at 1:48 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


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