Many people think sexism is a thing of the past. More women than ever are doing whatever they want -working or raising kids or a mixture of both – so they reason that it must mean they’re treated equally. Oh I wish it were true! Many individuals and companies aren’t sexist but some industries are still overwhelmingly that way, including my own: Media.
Proof: Barack Obama wore the same tuxedo all eight years of his presidency and no one noticed.
What Michelle Obama wore was the subject of scrutiny nearly every time she appeared in public. We remember the commentaries about the first lady’s upper arms the first time she wore a sleeveless dress. It was passed off as NEWS! Meanwhile, Barack was right there beside her wearing the same old thing and not a word was written about it.
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton told Jimmy Fallon recently that she gets social media flack for wearing the same pair of shoes in public. Is she supposed to throw them away, even if they’re comfortable? What’s on Bill Clinton’s feet? No one knows, notices, or cares.
Today Show Australia host Karl Stefanovic was so fed up with how his female co-hosts were treated, he conducted an experiment in 2014. While he was scrutinized for his interviewing skills or occasionally awkward attempts at humour, the women on the show were taken to task for how they looked. So Karl decided to wear the same suit for an entire year. While the women continued to endure social media scorn for their outfits, not a single viewer noticed what he wore. They paid attention to HIS content and HER looks.
It’s not just the dinosaurs who behave this way and it’s not the exclusive domain of men. Young editors of magazines, females and males, continue to perpetuate this B.S. and feed it to people whose brains are starting to atrophy. Humans cannot live on a steady diet of Kardashians, Real Housewives and the like. Here in North America women have it much better than in many other parts of the world but there are thriving attitudes that aim to keep us in our place. Look pretty. Don’t rock the boat. Please me or I’ll complain. Let’s bring up our kids and grandkids to look at the value of the person because they’re kind or productive or energetic or talented. Let’s not make it about their wrapping.