Friday, July 9, 2010

Gender Polemic

So, I was sitting here working while my housemate was watching the television. An ad-break came on, during which I heard the refrain 'Here come the girls...' My reaction was quite extreme: I think the correct phrase is 'my blood boiled'.

I suddenly realised I had a profound loathing for the false gender-identities projected by the media. While men and women do have slightly different wobbly bits we are fundamentally the same species, and I find myself increasingly annoyed by the fractious, factious way in which gender differences are presented.

It starts when you're a baby. Walk down the infant aisles of any toy shop and you'll see what looks like a tactical battle-map of baby-blue and pastel pink intended to genderise us before we can even figure out where our own toes are.

With these gender lines drawn, childhood sets about reinforcing them. Certain toys are deemed 'appropriate' for certain genders, and parents not-so-subtly nudge their offspring into stereotyped roles in order to ensure their kid isn't pointed out as 'the funny peculiar one' at school and mobbed like a peculiarly hued crow... or a Muslim.

Adulthood offers no respite. Conversely, the situation worsens in relation to our spending power. According to marketing firms and the media, women are superficial, materialistic, overly-emotional airheads who only care about babies, their weight, Davina's hair-style of choice and whether Kerry Fucking Katona is fat/in rehab this week.

Worse, we hear phrases like 'us girls have got to stick together' and 'men are from Mars, women are from Venus'.


As a bloke I prefer to decide who I spend my time with based on shared values and tastes rather than the fact that we both stand up to pee. I like logical, clear people whose motivations and beliefs are consistent, well-considered and understandable (and preferably geeks in my case).

I imagine a majority of women feel similarly (bar the geeks bit).

Women: next time you hear 'Here come the girls' ask yourself if you feel included in their perfumed, vacuous number. I know a majority of you don't, just like many of us 'guys' aren't obsessed with shaving, football or beer.

We'll love you just as you are.


  1. If I were not so busy trying to live out an idealised life as a quasi-Victorian anachronistic antiquarian (sing to the tune of 'I am the very model of a modern major general'), I'd be offended that 90% of the comments I receive are links to Asian porn.

    Since I am busy, I'll make some Darjeeling tea instead...

  2. See what I mean. I think if people are coming *here* to look for this kind of material, then there's something very wrong with them.

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  4. Mmm hmmm. Why do I feel like one of the marines in Aliens standing yelling: "You? You want some? AAAAAAaaaaaaagggghhhhh!!!!" while unleashing streams of ordnance at a horde incoming monsters.

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  6. Dakkadakkadakkasplat!

    "Come on, Asian porny comments! I'll take you all on!"

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  8. I'm disapointed. I thought 10 posts meant some long involved conversation to join in on. Silly me.

    But more seriously, gender difference do exist. Some vast majority of them may be cultural... but cultures do exist. Saying that cultural gender differences aren't 'real' is like saying music isn't real. It may be true on one level but ultimately we live with that existance. Though I can certainly understand disliking a cultures music and wanting to change it.

  9. Experience does suggest that there are certainly masculine and feminine qualities that people of both genders exhibit. There is a tendency for men and women to have a bias one way or the other, but the balance isn't always at either extreme. I believe it's not just our wobbly bits that are differentiated - but our brains too. Culture/nurture can reinforce or weaken our inherent gender leanings, but can't smother them entirely.

    As for the portrayal and polarisation of gender in advertising - marketing loves stereotypes, even though the true 'average' person is a rare thing indeed.

    For the record, I like neither football or beer. Shaving is important though (at least making it as comfortable as possible). 1 out of 3 isn't all bad.

    Now, here's a link from our sponsers...

  10. Oh my! Its like stumbling upon my own blog from when I was a teenager (otherwise known as the last time I watched telly enough to notice the horrible adverts). I've always lived on the lines that gender really doesnt matter, there *are* differences but they're not something we're bound to, we're human, we're the rebel ape, we taught ourselves to hold in our pee and do quantumn physics and stood on the freaking MOON, we're better than squabbling over the petty stuff.

    We should really celebrate what we have in common, but I guess so long as sex exists- and is something people find hard to deal with for whatever reason- the tribal gender war mindset is always going to hang around somewhere.