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?