Hello! Nothing to do with us - we’re all based in America. Our blog’s title is a not-uncommon phrase, so it’s likely someone else translated it into French and started slapping stickers on sexist ads (which, obviously, we support 100%).
I posted about this a while ago; here’s another great perspective. I feel obligated to share the fact that a friend of mine is the Levi’s visual merchandising director and has asked each store to do Commuter displays on female mannequins. A good start, but they’re still men’s jeans. Anyway.
So I’ve been thinking about getting a new pair of jeans as the only pair of “denim” I own is a pair of too-short, too-thin “jeans” I bought for 10 bucks at Forever 21 last year. I use jeans in quotations because I think they’re more spandex than anything else. I wanted a pair of jeans that were both hard-wearing and somewhat flattering and my mind immediately turned to Levi’s. Thanks probably to media conditioning starting from when I was a young child, I associate Levi’s with all things American, hard-working, and made to last. I remember going to Dillard’s every year or so to pick out a new pair (“Mom! I need 501’s! Not 506!” [or whatever number I preferred]). As I started to search this weekend online, I remembered Levi’s had introduced a commuter line, specifically marketed for cyclist commuters. Wow, waterproof pants with all sorts of cyclist friendly features such as a U-lock holster, reflective tape inside the cuff, and a higher waist? I could finally start carrying my U-lock! I could bike on rainy days! Here’s the (seemingly) warm and fuzzy inducing video:
Seems great right? Shots of people biking through urban areas (yep, I do that), hauling bikes over their shoulder up stairs (yep, I do that), and biking through the rain (yep, i do that too!). The fabric repels odor? Cool, I rarely wear deodorant and I rarely do my laundry. BUT WAIT. Where are the women?
Oh that’s right, the commuter line is only marketed at males. Now, currently, supposedly, Levi’s is trying to break in to the market and is seeing how successful this product will be and the best way to do that is market it to males. Look, I have no problem shopping in the men’s department for clothes and the commuter jackets and pants could probably be worn by any gender. But there’s a bigger issue than whether or not these pants will be flattering on my girl ass.
Cycling, especially commuting by bicycle, is still a male-dominated activity and advertising and campaigns still cater to this demographic. Even as numbers of cycling commuters increase, the gender gap continues to grow. More and more men are commuting by bike but women are doing less so (From a presentation by Elly Blue or “Take the Lane” and one of my very favorite bike activists who I had the great pleasure meeting earlier this year). She also came up this with Bechdel-like test to expose sexism in bike advertising. Are women presented at all? Are they active, rather than passive? If the gender was reversed would the message remain unchanged? I think this advertisement set well illustrates the problem: males modeling jerseys are shown riding bikes through mud and rain, while women modeling are among stylized graphic flowers wearing billowing silk scarves. Gross. There’s also blatant hyper-sexualization of female cyclists like this strange advertisement that features a sexy nurse pumping up a tire. And let’s talk about street harassment for just a moment: not a day goes by that I am not made to feel uncomfortable by cat-callers while I ride my bike. Further, it’s just plain unsafe. If a driver honks at me, I turn and start looking around to make sure I’m not inhibiting traffic or about to get killed. When someone is just honking because they want a piece of ass, I’m super pissed.
The cycling community itself is still rife with sexism. The fixed-gear scene is a bit of Boy’s Club. It’s totally male dominated. On one hand, I thrive on the challenge on proving I can ride just as hard or as fast as anyone and that I can keep up with the best of them. There’s is nothing quite as rewarding as knowing I’m going HAM. But it shouldn’t be this way. From what I’ve seen, only a select few women have been able to make it in the “scene” and have been accepted by male peers. Maybe this means we need to step up and ride harder, or maybe we need a cultural change. So the other hand is that there’s a sort of fetish-ization (is that a word? Do you know what I mean?) of women riding fixed. When I first started riding a track bike, I felt like a demi-goddess. Male cyclists everywhere were giving me attention. At first it felt like respect. But I don’t think that’s what it is. When some people find out that I ride fixed, I get put on a sort of pedestal, not necessarily because I’m a great cyclists or because they respect me but, in the choice words of a particular male cyclist, “that’s sexy as hell”. Sure, track bikes are sexy. If someone tells me they ride fixed, I generally think they are 89% sexier than they actually are. But that might not necessarily be the most healthy attitude. Finally, I think I’ve adopted some internalized misogyny. When a girl rides by on a track bike set up on a freewheel, I sneer a little because somehow I am “better” because of my riding style.
TL;DR: I guess I’m still working this out in my head, but ultimately what I’m trying to say is that sexism is a huge hurdle for the cycling community that’s being perpetuated by advertisers and our own members of the scene.
For a long time, Betabrand had similar “bike to work” pants but only for men. I just checked and I guess they’ve finally introduced a few pairs for women. I subscribe to Thrillist, and last week, they had an article about pants that look like nice work pants but feel like sweatpants on the inside. Hallelujah! I clicked through the article and imagine my surprise when it turns out they only have them for men.
Like the OP said: yes, a woman can buy men’s pants and wear them. But they usually aren’t cut right and don’t really look that good. It all plays into the “male as neutral” thing that’s so pervasive in our society that most people won’t even admit it exists. When you make a new product, you make it for men only, and you never have to mention that in your ads or sponsored articles. Us ladies are a “special interest group” when it comes to clothing.
Well I wanted to give it a shot, but in the first 30 seconds he called the women who host “The Talk” cunts.
I know of his reputation as a sexist and no, I can’t stand to watch it.
What’s it about?
- Kaitlyn (narrow minded Kaitlyn home from 6 hours of work)
I saw a great thing about men and women - jokes like that are targeted at “men” while sexist jokes are frequently against individual women.
Immature men still have power, even over mature women.
Men are occasionally portrayed as sexual objects in adverts targeted at women, usually for something like perfume, or diet sodas. It’s nowhere near as prolific as the objectification of women, mind. If a man isn’t being terrible at household chores, he’s usually being presented as a power fantasy (see: literally every Axe/Lynx commercial ever made).
It’s similar to comic books. People usually try to combat the argument that women are presented almost exclusively as sexual objects in comics by pointing to the muscular build of most male characters. The key difference is that female comic book characters are designed - usually by men - to look fuckable, while female characters exist as a power fantasy (Shortpacked! demonstrated this perfectly last year).
Those were the days.
Exactly. You can’t say “Gender roles are bullshit” and dismiss the notion that it’s about dominance and privilege. If it weren’t about dominance, if the privilege didn’t exist, then nor would the sexism. They’re all part of the same terrible machinery.
Firstly, some Racism 101 - you can’t be racist against white people in a society that views white as the norm. Similarly, you cannot be sexist against men in a society that views men as more important than women. The fact that America is still, in 2012, locked in debates about what constitutes “legitimate rape”, and how certain parties want to ban birth control and abortion seems pretty indicative of what sort of society we’re living in today.
The assumption that women don’t fix cars, work on computers or do sciency stuff because they’re not smart enough, and that men don’t do housework because that’s what women are for, is entirely about dominance. That’s what gender roles are all about, in the end. It’s about one gender keeping the other under their thumb, and men have been doing exactly that to women for the majority of history.
Men cannot be the direct victims of sexism. Chances are they never will be. I won’t say there isn’t prejudice against men, because that definitely exists, but so long as men hold the power there will never be sexism against them.
The dictionary definition of sexism is not what sexism is in the real world - sexism involves power and (cis) men have power.
When I said there’s nothing men and women are “for” I mean gender essentialism is bullshit.
I don’t mind the ones where the line is “you’re not you when you’re hungry” - the first ones were of 20somethings acting like divas - Liza Minelli, Aretha Franklin - not sexist, especially since others followed with well known male actors.
But that is ugh
Regarding that last ask, that idea that car repair is “Men’s Work” stems from the idea that women are too weak, feeble and simple-minded to wrap their heads around the inside of an engine. Which, by the way, is the same reason boys get chemistry and geology sets from their grandparents at Christmas, while girls get dolls and toy ironing boards.
I’m sorry, I don’t fully understand your message.
Saying “Women don’t fix cars” is sexist. There is nothing men and women are “for”.
Ah yes. They’re usually auto-tagged as such. I’ll try to remember to add a link to the sidebar tomorrow.
That’s odd, I thought we did. It’s not particularly well-marked, but it’s there.
This neatly sums it up. Thanks, Anonymous. Thanonymous.
That depends on how you wish to define victims. They are not the targets of sexism. When someone makes a “men can’t do housework” joke, it’s not a sexist joke about men but rather a reinforcement of the patriarchal (and, obviously, sexist) idea that men don’t do housework because that’s what women are for.
HA HA no
I didn’t, but I’ll have a look when I get home from work!