Sunday, January 20, 2008

Swedish Sexism in Advertising Under Attack

Following up on a post I wrote a couple of days ago about the Swedish ban on advertising that targets children I thought I should write a quick post about the current issues surrounding sexism in Swedish advertising.

First, a quick side note. Sweden considers itself a country full of feminists. Good things have come out of this with Sweden having one of the smallest margins in pay scale between the sexes. But sometimes it goes too far. A woman was hired to be the sexual discrimination ombuds(wo)man. Her starting salary was less than her predecessor, who was a man. Clearly this was a sign of rampant sexism in the most ironic of forums. Or seeing as how her predecessor had been at the post for years and this woman lacked the same experience she was started at a lower salary. But that would make too much sense.

Anyway, Sweden tries to fight sexism in all aspects of life. And what better place to fight sexism than in advertising where scantily clad women tout the newest products? Sweden could find no better place and is now thinking of banning sexism in advertising.

The idea is to ban anything that someone might be offended by that can be construed in a sexual way. That leaves a lot of things up to the imagination. As my buddy JRH often says, “I’m offended every day,” but he also says “I don’t give a fuck.” He has managed to combine the two and lives a happy life where offensive actions, words, behaviors roll off of him like the mascot of his alma mater.

Ads displaying H&M’s winter lingerie line were attacked because they featured a super model. Are they sexist? Women wear lingerie. Women buy lingerie. I imagine that women buy lingerie in order to look sexy. Is it sexist to show a woman (who happens to be a super model) dressed in lingerie? And who gets to decide what is offensive? Of course this example brings up deep rooted sociological issues of why this should even be considered sexy.

What about male underwear ads? Personally, I think it is an affront against all men when I see a Hanes advertisement with Michael Jordan prancing around in underwear or asking people “Boxers? Or briefs?”

Or ads in which ripped men are flaunting the newest cologne by Calvin Klein? Or beautiful women showing how easy it is to wash a car in a bikini? As my mother always used to say – “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” (Rumor has it that my mom reads this, so as an aside… she never said that. I lied. I apologize. But you get the idea.)

Honestly, I’ve never seen an ad, with men or women in it, that I have felt was so outlandish and sexist that I thought that there was a problem with sexism in advertising. Most of the time, those ads that are seen to be sexist are so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh. Or you should. Unfortunately, a symptom of APC (Acute Political Correctness) is being unable to laugh at anything that could be turned into some sort of egregious slight against all of humanity. Or at least one distinct group. Unfortunately, this view often wins out, to the chagrin of people thinking with a clearer mind.

Complete political correctness eliminates everyones differences and takes away what makes life so interesting. People are different. Some people are smarter. Some people are better looking. Some people are more athletic. Some are even women. And some are even men. But political correctness wants to make sure that everyone is the same. Ridiculous.

Ideas of what is offensive are vast, a United States Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart, was quoted as saying in response to a case involving a movie that was considered obscene “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . [b]ut I know it when I see it.” Which simply means to me that it is up to the interpretation of the individual.

Banning ads that might be deemed sexist by a neo-feminist, and banning ads that might be deemed sexist by a 93 year old woman, and banning ads that might be deemed as sexist by the common person is going to be a very difficult task. And who wins? Is political correctness so important that something as benign as a super model modeling lingerie could be deemed as sexist? Or an ad touting underwear shows a butt, in underwear, with the tag line “We love bottoms?” That’s not sexist. That’s targeted marketing. An underwear company sure as hell better love bottoms. Otherwise they are in the wrong branch.

The banning of ads that some people might be offended by smacks of Big Brother. Which I always find entertaining because for some reason Big Brother is often interpreted, at least in Eugene, as the conservatives spying down on, and controlling, everything a person does. Yet here it is, in the social welfare state that is Sweden. An attempt to control what the people are exposed to. Maybe a bit extreme. But no more extreme than completely banning something as difficult to define as what may or may not offend an entire country.

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42 comments:

  1. First off, I think you're right. This is too far and who's to blame? I'd say, the extreme-feminists... But also the politicians for listening to them. Nearly all politicians claim to be feminists but that's all a load of politically correct bullshit. if they didn't say that they themselves were feminists the extreme feminists (who think it's okay to say that "men are animals" but if a company that sells underwear to women has an ad that, surprise surprise, shows a woman in underwear they start screaming "gubbslem" and what not...)

    People will always get offended by things but that's no reason to ban it. I'm what you would call atheistic and I may get offended when they show a "gudstjänst" on TV in which the priest claim that there is a God, but as your friend "I don't give a fuck" because it's their right to say whatever the fuck they want, if I get offended by it or not is a whole different matter.

    I want to be very clear with that Sweden is a very democratic and free country but the politicians ambitions to make Sweden the most liberal country (both when it comes to gender and what not...) and fear to get called "sexist" have also turned Sweden into one of the most politically correct and extreme feminist country. Don't get me wrong I think that men and women should be equal and I'm glad that the gap between men and women is really narrow but to me it seems that many politicians and feminists think that women are "more equal" than men. Which your example with the ad showing Micheal Jordan in underwear shows. I mean, why isn't that sexist, then?

    I do think, though, that you're wrong about the Big Brother-thingie. You're almost comparing today's Sweden with the situation in George Orwell's novel "1984" (which I disagree with...) but as I hinted earlier I get more "Animal farm"-vibes, even if only slight and a little bit far-fetched. I'll explain why I disagree with your Big Brother-reasoning: It's not the "Big Brother" trying to control what we see - it's them letting us control what we see. if we get offended we can just make a call to that ombudsman and the state will start an investigation... However, I don't think that this is much better than what you were sudjesting. In a democracy people have to tolerate getting offended by statements, ads etc. so the politicians need to stop their stupid laws that are only made because anything that may be interpreted as sexist, if so only by the extreme-feminists, is SOOO politically incorrect. And there's nothing that those coward politicians are more afraid of than not being politically correct. puke...

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  2. Couldn't agree with you more!
    Good writing there too.

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  3. This reminds me when I lived in France, there would be topless women in billboard advertisements. Sexist? Well, maybe because the company was selling lotion. Or maybe not; after all it is just the human body.

    For Sweden priding itself on equality, some people take it to the extremes. At the end of the day, men and women are biologically different. They will never meet in the center of the road. I am sure if women wanted to see men in lacy Bjorn Borg briefs or the men wanted them, it would have happened by now.

    As a result, the men in Sweden have been run over by the women. They are told what constitutes equality (feminism to the max) and told how to behave thus creating a unisex society. Now we can all agree on some great things about Swedish equality, but that is for another post...

    Let the women wear some hot lingerie. Take a lesson from the French: the female body is beautiful; might as well adorn it. The Swedish men could surely use some fire in their lives. ;-)

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  4. well said by everyone. some really good points brought up. I need to comment on the Big Brother thing. Robban you make a good point. Obviously, as I mentioned, I brought up a bit of an extreme comparison with Big Brother, but I think you are right. A very small minority of the public, in this case the hardcore feminists and PC junkies are controlling what the government allows to be shown.

    The extremists views, in really all aspects of life, from feminism to conservatism to liberalism to all the other isms doesn't bode well for the general public.

    Maybe the French got it right.

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  5. Åh. Du skriver bra, men mina ögon dras neråt & ditt inlägg är långt. Jag lägger till dig som bokmärke och läser en annan dag. Engelska kan ju vara en bra övning också ;)

    Ang. McDonald's, så ja, 43 000 kr på nio månader är inte illa för en gymnasieelev. Men mardrömmar, ångest & stress talar emot. Annars är det ett ganska kul och väldigt socialt yrke. Men då har jag provat på det liksom, och man ska hinna med mycket innan man dör.. så :)

    Godnatt!

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  6. thanks for the "aside"

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  7. "Grunden till sexism ligger i den ideologiska eller religiösa föreställningen att naturgivna skillnader mellan könen ger dem skilda uppgifter i samhället."

    Såhär definieras sexism enligt de flesta lexikon och encyklopedier. Personligen har jag aldrig varken sett eller hört begreppet "sexism" förklaras som 'lättklädda kvinnor som gör reklam för underkläder'

    Sexism i media handlar inte om hurvida mycket kläder en person har på sig eller hur hennes anatomi ser ut, det handlar om hur man väljer att framställa henne i könsperspektivets skarpa ljus. Vi måste komma ihåg att det är främst barn och unga som påverkas av reklam, inte din (antagligen vuxne) "buddy".

    Jag anser att 50, 60 och 70-tals annonser med leende kvinnor som står vid spisen och serverar sin tidningsläsande make, är långt mer sexistiska än dagens bilder på lättklädda män och kvinnor. Det är de gamla reklamerna om hur man som man eller kvinna borde bete sig som är sexistiska, som sänder ut fel och svårtolkade signaler.

    Intressant hur du drar kopplingen mellan feminism/sexism till Sverige, då vi vet att dessa begrepp både funtades och växte fram i andra länder. (Feminismen i Frankrike, och sexism i USA). Frågan är då varför dessa länder inte reagerar, eller bryr sig i samma grad om könsdiskriminering, människors rättigheter och lika värde?

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  8. It´s americans like yourself that support the sexism, so don´t talk rubbish about sweden feminists.

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  9. Why shouldn't he? You (I guess you're one of them...) take it way too far. I'm for equality not for women being seen as better than men and men being seen as animals.

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  10. Vill bara säga att jag "anonymous" med det långa svenska utlägget, heter Peter, och att jag inte är densamme som de andra "anonymous". Anledningen till att jag är anonym och inte Peter, är för att det inte fungerade att posta kommentaren på vanligt vis, men jag är alltså inte hemlig :)

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  11. Interesting post,but this is a more complex issue than feminist groups going on a banning spree.Where do you draw the line and when do society take responsibility? As adults we could care less,we all know sex sells.But the reality of it is that a lot of young kids gets exposed to sexism more than ever before.We cant deny that there is a growing problem with objectifying women and its creeping down the age s.

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  12. Btw, while where on the subject of feminism and government laws it would be interesting to hear your views on the Swedish sexköpslag and what might be a better way to solve this problem (the problem of prostitution). I'm bringing this up because they debated about it on the show Debatt. When I was watching I kind of got my views of and believes about Swedish feminism and the politicians reconfirmed. It would be interesting to know if you saw the show and/or what you think about the matter, Hairy Swede.

    to the previous commenter: I don't really understand what you're talking about and what it got to do with this issue.

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  13. so many good comments. It's been interesting to watch the discussion develop. Aside from the douche who decided that it is Americans like me who support sexism it has been a very good discussion. And what I tend to do in these situations is invoke my Swedish citizenship seeing as how I am living here, working here, speaking the language, and traveling on a Swedish passport. so actually it is Swedes like me that support sexism.

    to everyone else, theres a few things to comment on that I really enjoyed.

    @anonymous who wrote in Swedish and then became Peter - You bring up some good points about how sexism in the 50s differs quite a bit from sexism today. and obviously the lingerie example was a bit extreme. but it happens. in fact, there was a bit of public outrage about the lingerie ads that H&M run every winter. which is why I used that example. I've also found that a lot of people find the skimpy clothing worn in ads to be considered sexist because of the idea that it is objectifying women. DCP also brought up an interesting point about the last part of your comment. She wondered if it were possible for there to be a feminist movement without sexism. I would say no. Because if women were not discriminated against there would really be no need for a feminist movement to fight for equal treatment of women. just throwing it out there.

    @ the next anonymous - you're right. this is a complex issue. but I don't think banning something completely is the answer.

    @robban - I'm not sure how I feel about the prostitution laws here. I didn't see the show you're talking about, but my understanding of the law is that the people who pay for sex are doing something illegal while those who are supplying it are not. The idea, I'm guessing, being that if you eliminate the demand then the supply will vanish. And that by not making prostitution illegal, the prostitutes aren't the ones doing anything wrong. Seems strange to me. Like making buying drugs illegal but the selling of drugs is quite alright.

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  14. I think some of you might enjoy this... especially you robban!

    Sexist Advertising?

    and here it is for copy and paste incase the hyperlink doesn't work:

    http://www.thelocal.se/blog/20080124/263/

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  15. You got the law right. I think the idea of not criminalizing the prostitutes is actually the good part of the law. I mean, a lot of the times they're drug addicts that lead a shitty life on the street and probably can't get a "normal" job. They already are victims, why make it even shittier for them by making them criminals as well? Then there is a different kind, from what I learned from the show I mentioned.

    The tag line of the discussion being held was "Den lyckliga horan - finns hon?" and there was one woman who said she wanted to be a prostitute because she likes having sex. I'm not a sex moralist so I think, hell, why shouldn't she be allowed to? What's the harm? Except for the risk that she might spread the HIV-virus, of course, I don't think there is any. Don't get me wrong, I don't think spreading AIDS is alright, I'm just saying that if you want to deal with that issue there is a better way of dealing with it than hunting down every prostitute and throwing them behind bars, right?

    Now I'll come to the bad part of the law. You've said something about eliminating the demand and thereby the supply. I don't think you meant to but you made the weak spot of this law painfully obvious - you can't delete the demand. It will always be there, whether you try to eliminate the supply or the demand. There will always be people that are ready to pay money to complete strangers to get sex. Even if it's illegal.

    This is where, if i were a feminist, I would argue that men buying sex from women are sexist and "man piggish" but the thing is that 30 percent of the prostitutes in Sweden are men (got it from the show, Debatt). Despite this fact a politician (female, btw) said that the prostitution is an issue of gender equality. She supported this statement by saying that even if 30% of the prostitutes are men nearly 100% of the "torskar" (sex buyers) are men. How does that make it a case of women being suppressed by men? Anyway, from her statements I can guess that this was her main reason for criminalizing sex buyers, but as I showed it kind of fell flat (at least three quarters flat...).

    Anyway, back to the supply and demand-thing. Since, you can't eliminate the demand (and probably not the supply either) it seems obvious, at least to me, that this law isn't working. Maybe this is going to chock you but I think it would be better to legalize buying sex if it is in restricted and safe, for the prostitutes, forms.

    What is the safest form then? Well, why not state owned and controlled bordellos? I think this is very similar to what they have in Germany and frankly, I think it is a better idea than the Swedish law. Then the prostitutes would be a lot safer and it would be a lot harder for the buyers to rape or hurt them. I think it's better because then you bring the street hookers into a safer and more easy controllable environment and suddenly you control the supply and the demand would be redirected from the streets to a controllable place.

    I know many people don't love the idea of prostitution (me included) but let's face the facts - you can never get rid of it and even if you could there would still be people that would love to either sell sex or buy it. Then, isn't it smarter to get control of it and make it safer? That's just my opinion and I'd be glad to hear yours.

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  16. First, I love the title. Loosely translated "The Happy Whore, Does She Exist?"

    But anyway... actually the supply and demand of the sex trade is something that I meant to highlight. Just because I don't believe that you can completely eradicate the demand for sex.

    I agree with your comments about the gender part. Seems that if there are that many men who are also selling sex it isn't justa female thing. 30% is a solid number, but I imagine that this same politician would argue that until it is exactly equal with a 50-50 split then it is a gender issue.

    As to allowing prostitutes and johns. I don't know. Just because a law isn't working doesn't mean it should be completely scrapped. This is the argument that usually gets brought up in the US about legalizing marijuana. Can't eliminate the demand, probably not the supply. And does it really do that much harm? Alright lets legalize it. Legalizing it then allows for legitimization and in turn better control. While it makes for a pretty decent argument I'm just not sure I buy into it.

    I do think though that if a law is going to be made it needs to be enforced with consistency. And by that I mean that if being a john or torskar is illegal then being a prostitute should also be illegal. And if it is illegal to be a prostitute then being a john should be illegal.

    I am hesitant to say that the sex tade should be legalized. Because while it might lead to better control, the stigma of paying for sex will continue to push those who pay for sex down in society along with those who are willing to provide it. So I don't know that it can ever truly be legitimized in a way that will allow someone togo buy a blowjob just as they would buy a gallon of milk.

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  17. I'm sorry but I don't think you came with any good counter-argument on this one.

    The johns (that's the English word for torskar?) and the prostitutes would be pushed further down if it was illegal and they were buying/selling sex in the streetsand alleys than if they were doing the same at a state-controlled and state-owned bordello. I'm not talking about just better control, like in your marijuana-example, but pretty much absolute control of the prostitution. I think it should only be allowed in the state-owned and controlled bordellos and not in the streets. It should be made more profitable and favourable for the prostitutes to work at the "state bordellos" than at the streets so there would be much less "street-hookers". The street-hookers would be made illegal, along with the johns buying their services, and since there would be much less of them it would be easier to stop them.

    I laughed out loud when I read your comment about buying a blow job like buying a pack of milk but I was also kind of disgusted... I mean, I don't want it to be like that, really... I don't think buying sex is a good thing to do but my moral, or anyone else's moral for that matter, is not what should determine how the laws should be designed - it's what best for society and it's people that should. So therefore, I think that it would be better to legalize it, within the limits I've just explained.

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  18. I'm still not convinced. And I really have no reason as to why.

    DO have a question though. How does it work in Amsterdam? Is that government controlled?

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  19. Men need sex and women take advantage of that need by extorting money, from their clients. Men are already loseing out when it comes to prostitution, without being criminalised. Its very unfair that women can get what they want so easily, get paid for it then have tha law bullying thier clients. I wish bad luck to any woman who enjoys getting paid for sex when men never have such luxury and feminist pigs are happy to put all the blame on to men.

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  20. it is an interesting twist on things by making it illegal on one side but not the other I suppose.

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  21. The reason behind the law is actually quite simple, and very smart, I believe. You see, what would happen if selling sex was illegal? Most prostitutes wouldn't dare to report harassments and other crimes... would they? Thus, the law, which protects the prostitute.

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  22. yeah I suppose I understand why it is like it is. I'm still not sure how I feel about the law though. I just kind of think that it should be either completely illegal or completely legal

    But I do understand the idea behind it now.

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  23. ...beautiful women showing how easy it is to wash a car in a bikini?

    How do you get a car to wear a bikini in the first place? Sure would be easier to wash that car if you get the bikini off first.

    ;-)

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  24. just need to whisper sweet notings and make sure you rub it in the right place.

    cars are easy like that.

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  25. I am not sure what category this even goes into, but I have a question about sexism I suppose. What is the reason behind Swedish men not opening doors, pulling out chairs on dates, and especially, not paying for dates. Or buying a girl a drink if you get to talking at a bar. How long has it been this way? I mean, that is just normal not only in the US, but in most places in the world. I am by no means saying women are incompetent, but that stuff is just romantic. And what is wrong with a little tradition, regardless of modernization. I get this whole equal society thing, but does that mean men are not men and women are not women? Is there really no difference besides having an "inny" or an "outy?" I seriously just need this one explained.

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  26. but see, according to swedes then you dont get the whole equal society thing. because holding doors open is not polite or romantic. it is in fact demeaning and puts women in long held gender roles suggesting that they are unable to do anything for themselves.

    the feminists in sweden would have you believe that thee is no diference between a man and a woman, despite, as you put it, the inny and the outy.

    its ridiculous.

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  27. Yes, well, as an educated, competent woman I disagree. Feminism was meant to put men and women at an equal status- women were meant to have the same rights and career opportunities. That does not mean that the sexes are not genetically different (education people), have different chromosomes, hormones, etc. that are responsible for slightly different personalities. That said, I think it is actually MORE sexist to insist women have to be "just like men," that they are not allowed to be proud about a few differences women have (physically, and mentally). That the only way a women can be treated well is to become a man???? That means men ARE better and wanting to be a man is a better thing than being respected fully as a woman. I just feel more bad in Sweden as a female because I feel I should not be proud of being a career-driven, educted woman, but that I should try to act and think only as an educated man would.....

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  28. as a general rule, I abhor any sort of movement that basically denies differences. people are different. just as you point out. different chromosomes, horomones, they make people different. that should be celebrated rather than trying to make someone be the same as everyone else.

    now if only some people would learn to embrace that rather than try to make everyone the same...

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  29. HS -

    Great post - and discussion.
    Thank you.


    m8surf -

    Very well put.
    I second your AMEN.

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  30. glad you enjoyed it. it did turn out to be a pretty interesting discussion.

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  31. I have never understood how using young, half-naked women in advertising can be considered "sexist". If anything, it goes to prove how men just cannot take their eyes from them. Isn't that really more of a compliment to the female gender?

    In any case, as if I would care if half-naked men were used more in advertising. I cannot for the life of me imagine that I would feel insulted. I mean, come on, who do we use in advertising? Yes, that's right, famous people and women, both of whom we are fans of.

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  32. I'm with you on this. I just don't really get it. I like half-naked women. It's not a bad thing in my eyes.

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  33. me and one of my swedish male friends were discussing this a few nights ago. feminists are HUGE here.. not by size but you get the idea.
    anyways, some seem to not understand how feminism works, they think they should have the right of way in almost everything. which is a total contradictory to what they are trying to make happen. also they bitch and whine too much.
    i dont care, im a female myself, and i beleive in equal rights... too an extant. i dont believe that men and women are " equal" mostly because studies had SHOWN we are not, and anyone with half of brain can see that we are not. there are just some things men are better at than women, and vise versa.
    for example, men are better at the mathematical process of decision solving, and women are better at multitasking and seeing the consequence of that said decision.

    i feel bad for men, feminist scare ME.

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  34. the feminist thing in sweden is something I just dont really get. or at least the extremist feminism thing in sweden. unfortunatly, it is those people that make headlines.

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  35. A year late, but I came here from googling around to see why Sweden is described as both a gender-equality paradise and a horribly sexist place to live.

    Honestly, I think these are issues you must make more of an effort to open your mind to, as a man. This is a very common response in discussions of women's issues -- "But what about this similar men's issue?"

    No woman will deny that men also face issues of discrimination, of unrealistic sexual imagery, and so on. But the fact that you are diverting the conversation from a real women's issue to a real men's issue, and then using this as proof that neither issue exists, says to me that you don't get it yet.

    You must decide whether the conversation is about the women's issue or not. And then you must prepare yourself to listen, with an open mind, to points of view that may not agree with your personal experience.

    Step one is imagining a world in which you might be wrong. Not even that you are wrong, only that it could be possible, no matter the apparent improbability, for a world to exist in which your perceptions are incorrect.

    This is important for women too. I am a woman in a male-dominated industry in the United States. There was a time in my life when I thought sexism was "over," and I too sneered at what I saw as excessive political correctness.

    Then I took a job in a place where it was excruciatingly clear that the offhanded "jokes" were nothing of the kind; they were a way of making breathtakingly sexist (and racist) remarks acceptable in public, and of propagating those views in a serious way.

    We cannot always gauge intent. Most women will be anywhere from pleased to indifferent if, for example a man holds open the door for her; very few will be offended. But there have been situations where this simple gesture was made into an inconvenience, or worse, a display of embarrassment, a means of setting me apart and down in ways that are difficult to describe.

    Sometimes we do overreact. We're all human, regardless of the plumbing. Some of us have personally been subject to more discrimination than others; we are all in different places in terms of dealing with and hopefully overcoming it.

    But this knee-jerk reaction, that you see nothing offensive and therefore to find offense is unthinkable, isn't helpful to anyone. Couldn't you ask one of those individuals about their interpretation, and listen with patience and sympathy to the reply? Especially patience; this is not something most of us have much experience in articulating, and it is quite possible that you will be the first person who has asked in a spirit of honest inquiry.

    Yes yes, free speech is great, rah rah. There are many examples of free speech on public display being curtailed for the greater good. You can't put hate speech on a billboard. If a certain image is seen to have a negative impact on society, should it be on display in a public place? How large can the negative impact be before the message is no longer acceptable? Remember, for public display; this is a very different issue than censorship of privately-owned, privately-displayed materials.

    I am not trying to argue that it should be illegal to put an attractive woman in a bikini on a billboard. I am only trying to add some nuance to the discussion, to suggest that it is possible for reasonable people to see this as something other than a foregone conclusion.

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  36. Oh, and I'd like to add -- often the argument that men and women should be "allowed" to be different is used as a screen for the belief that all women as a group are different from all men.

    Please remember in these discussions that while we base general perceptions of men and women as groups on their averages -- men on average being more analytical, women on average being more verbal -- the people being hurt by these stereotypes are individuals.

    So what if the average man is more interested in math than the average woman? Why should that make it harder for one specific woman to take math classes, to get a job related to math, to be seen as competent in a field with a lot of mathematical work, if this particular woman just happens to be really, really into math?

    Scientific study describes populations, but in practice we're not one big homogeneous group. What we don't need is feminism or anti-feminism; we just need to be willing to see each other as individuals. Some of us want careers, some of us would rather stay home. (Just like men.) Some of us will be phenomenally good at what we do, many won't. (Just like men.) Some fields will doubtless continue to be male dominated, and that's fine! Girls shouldn't be forced into career paths they don't find interesting, but they should not be shut out simply because their interest is unusual among other girls.

    I'm a programmer. The question "what made you interested in this field?" -- one that is never asked of my male colleagues -- is getting very tiresome. For the same reasons as the men in my field, of course. Just because my interests happen to be shared by more men than women, I am often treated as if all women are incapable of sharing those interests, and therefore I must have some complex and uniquely feminine reason all my own. Nope! Sorry. Not that complicated.

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  37. Somehow I missed this comment. Sorry about that.

    Anyway, well said.

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  38. I really don't understand how anyone can say that equal rights are good, but to an extant. It's like the most worn out argument for keeping injustices. Oh of course slaves should be free, but to an extant. No more whipping but somebody got to pick my cotton. And oh of course women should be free, but to an extant. They can work but we can't trust them with voting, no no leave that to the men. Think about what people will criticize our time for in 50 or 100 years.

    You say that we are different and that we should be allowed to be different and I totally agree! But in my mind sexist ads, as sexism in general, and inequality between genders are preventing that from being reality.
    Of course you can have half-naked women or men in underwear advertisements because they have to show the product, but there is no need to portray them as sexual objects. And why would you put almost naked women or men in clearly sexual poses with products that don’t have anything to do with being undressed? Like this:

    http://www.reklamombudsmannen.org/Media/uttalanden/abs4.jpg

    And no, it's not an expression for people’s differences, it's society telling us how we're supposed to look and be as men or women.
    I'd love a world where guys could knit, be sensitive or weak without being called a fag and women could work as truck drivers or bosses without being seen as less capable. I just can’t see how portraying the same "perfect looking" women and men as sexual objects and something to strive for can contribute to a world where differences are good? It just creates crazy ideals and doesn't let people be who they really are.
    Feminism doesn't want us to be the same, but it does want us to have the same opportunities, whether you're a man or a women. Just think about it, there’s no need to hate. Happy holidays everyone.

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  39. Just thought I'd answer your question:

    Displaying a supermodle in lingirie being sold to average women is sexist because the average lingirie buying woman could never, in a million years, match the sexual standard set in them. It's hurtful to every woman who looks at it.

    Men and lesbians are of course free to enjoy immages of scantily clad supermodles, but they should not be allowed to hurt us in the process. Keep those images to those who feel good looking at them.

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  40. Yup. This is another one of those posts that six years later I wouldn't have written. Because I totally dont agree with the vast majority of what I've written here. I suppose that's the danger of writing in a public forum and then allowing your beliefs and opinions change. Thanks for all of the comments here, folks. I was wrong.

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