The other day I saw something on Twitter that made me angry, very, very angry. I wished that I could muster the kind of scathing post, backed up with reason and examples, that Liz Gumbinner has been known to write on things like sexism in Tech and cheap stereotypes in advertising. I couldn’t quite get myself beyond 140 characters. My whole body was shaking, but with each tweet I tried to stay even.
“No wild attacks, Amanda. Stay focused,” I told myself.
I’ll admit that I half hoped that someone on Twitter would join in, defend me, attack him, something. I wondered if I was sounding like Tipper Gore did when she took on the music industry. My frustration with women as set dressing in ads or gratuitous vehicles for a love, or more likely a rape scene in movies, has hit an all time high. The issue on this particular morning was a pair of quasi hiking boots being displayed pressed upon a woman’s bare breasts. It just didn’t make sense and, more disturbingly, it came from a company I’d admired and seemed wholly out of character. When there was silence on Twitter, I actually felt even more confident—this was my battle, not having wingmen didn’t change anything.
I didn’t change this company’s mind and when the person responded that it was art with a capital A I did not laugh maniacally and attack the keys. During a subsequent thread on Facebook where I asked how people felt about T&A as a tool in advertising, I felt pretty good about the conversation that took place, though I wish that I could still support the company. I wish they hadn’t taken this turn, I wish that I wasn’t so bothered. They make a really sweet product, but that isn’t enough for me.
It would be great if I could allow myself to become inured to the barrage of faceless cleavage used to sell window blinds or the rape scenes that according to screenwriters, plausibly morph into love stories in movies. It would be so much easier. I wrote in a poem the other day that the snarl of my twenties has quieted a bit, but the truth is, the assertiveness of my 40s is only just getting started.
I may be in the minority, my protests may be tedious for some, but they are real for me and having the courage to use my voice is something that makes me feel genuinely proud of myself.
How about you? Are you finding that you can stand up for what you believe in?
They are not tedious. Your voice is important and I too find that as I get older I’m more and more comfortable standing up for what I believe.
I find that as I get older I have less tolerance for that sort of crap. And yeah, it would be easier if we could ignore it. I am proud that I can’t. My daughter, age 10: “Mom, are you going to make that noise again in this movie?” “What noise?” “That snorting noise you make when you see something about women that you don’t like”. “Oh, I expect so”.
I hope that she will eventually make that snorting noise herself – or that she’ll have no reason to because things will have changed. Oh, how I hope.
Keep raising your voice. You are not alone. I’m snorting right along with you.
Amanda, that was probably my Mothers greatest gift. She NEVER stood idly by and refrained from comment. This was a trait that mortified me when I was ten but that I worshipped as I aged! If we ignore what disgusts us nothing will ever change! Good for you for speaking up! Nana would be proud!
There isn’t a day that I see your name on ANYTHING in my stream that I am not grateful for your voice, your courage, your beauty, your gift for wordsmithing and articulating what so many do not. Whether you are the first, the last, the only, do not ever doubt the value in what you say or who is watching. There are little people (among so many others – including me) who are daily, hourly being shaped by your gift.
Thank you for being you. I adore you, my friend.
As we get older, it’s easier to be apathetic because we are tired. But it’s so important to stand up for what we believe. I often think of Billie Jean King and what she did for women’s sports. She could have easily said no to playing tennis against the sexist Bobby Riggs (they were even good friends) but she knew she was playing a bigger game than just that one match.
Confession: I saw that interaction taking place essentially real time on Twitter. And you know what? I never thought to step in because it seemed like you had it on lock all by your badass self, even though I was fist pumping on your behalf! But now I wonder why I didn’t at least offer one tweet of support because I really do find myself saying more and more of those kinds of things like you were, especially because of the 6.5 year old girl in my midst. I want a better looking, less hostile media environment/culture for her. I think even though for me I’m still struggling with the “I’m just a drop in the bucket, so what’s the point?” mentality, I do find myself increasingly not holding back anymore. And it’s hard, isn’t it, to take a vocal stand, especially if you’re in the minority position? But godammit I’m tired of other people laying down the path, and that’s what is fueling me most these days. Good for you for speaking up that day.
Some of the more recent posts don’t even show the product. Just models in bras and varsity jackets. http://instagram.com/p/nRfl2lPMZl/
Not sure how that sells mens’ shoes. My guess is he’s fallen in with a fashion photographer and gotten some bad advice. Anyone spending that much on wingtips is going to have a brain in their head.