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sexism

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Gillette has made more than a few mortal, and almost exclusively male, enemies today after it debuted its brand new advert about toxic masculinity.

The ad is currently trending on Twitter, having clocked up three million views already on YouTube as well as 282,000 dislikes.

The two-minute clip opens up by showing men of varying ages and ethnicities staring into the mirror, before the narrator asking the question: 'Is this the best a man can get?', turning its former brand mantra on its head.

As the ad rolls on, it shows both negative and positive sides of supposedly 'masculine' behaviour, from bullying and harassment, sexual misconduct, 'mansplaining' and violence, to men standing up for sexual violence victims and acting as excellent father figures.

The video faces the Me Too movement head on as a brand which has a predominantly male audience, and regularly aimed its former ad campaigns at gruff, typically 'masculine' men.

Many viewers felt that the advert accepted its vital responsibility in speaking to their target audience, considering men have been notoriously at the heart of sexual assault allegations.

One especially poignant part of the clip shows Terry Crews speaking out about sexual assault, crucially standing up for both male and female survivors and their Bill of Rights.

On the one hand, Gillette's message slightly missed the mark by tarring an entire gender with mostly the same brush, though it did show varying 'types' of men. Some say the advert is capitalising on the #MeToo Movement, others say it's complete chastisement.

The reception has been extremely mixed, with some of the target audience (all men) wanting to go as far as boycotting the brand forever, and others praising it immensely.

One infamously vocal *cough* vile *cough* public figure to comment on it is, of course, Piers Morgan.

The deplorable King of 'Boys will be boys' rhetoric himself has been arguing with members of the public ALL THE LIVELONG DAY on Twitter, claiming man-hating 'feminazis' are waging a war against men through advertising. As if advertising in essence isn't inherently waging a war against women. But whatever.

(Let it be clear: Anyone who equates feminism with man-hating has absolutely zero notion of what feminism means. Feminists hate the patriarchy, not men themselves. They are two different things. Thus ends the public announcement services for today)

Why has the advert received such an angry response?

Many viewers believe that Gillette's efforts have created a video full of preaching, which isn't totally untrue. The video may have missed the mark with it's tone, after all, women know all about what condescension feels like.

We experience patronising behaviour on a daily basis in the workplace, among other settings. It never teaches us the lesson it's attempting to, which for me is the main problem with the ad.

I mean, the clip showing a line of men, standing behind BBQs with smoke wafting up from their grills, reciting “boys will be boys will be boys will be boys"? It's a bit obvious.

That being said, the ad didn't even show the worst aspects of the patriarchy, the worst of the predators, the horrors many women face every single day. It didn't even go that far when we think about it from this perspective, but yet thousands are saying it went more than far enough.

However, the ruthlessly aggressive response by some users to the video clip, in one way, reiterates the point.

While I don't believe all men (or women) should be tarred with the same brush, I do believe that the defensive backlash shows the toxicity of the defensive feminist-fearing aggressive male dialogue.

Like many women and men have said, only those who have done something wrong should be afraid of the Me Too era.

By becoming an ally for sexual assault survivors, by proving you believe in equality, by acknowledging the pain which survivors of sexist behaviour and sexual violence have undergone, by lifting up women and minorities such as the LGBT+ and trans communities; only then will society believe that you aren't part of the problem.

It's time for a lot of men to stand up and prove themselves; just because you haven't done anything wrong in the past doesn't mean that you can't stand up for what's right when it matters. And in today's Me Too society, it really matters.

Seeing a massively popular brand attempt to start a conversation is encouraging for most of us, despite the fact that the ad was overdone and the tone was slightly missed.

The male demographic clearly felt attacked by the ad (um, hello, EVERY MEDIA ADVERT makes women feel like sh*t about ourselves so now you understand how it feels) despite the fact that it was arguably trying to encourage them to better themselves for their own benefit.

Let's not forget that toxic masculinity is harmful to men as well as women. While men are the perpetrators of 90% of violent crime in America, they are also 70% of the victims of violent crime. They are also four times more likely to commit suicide.

By facing the aggression and violence inherent in society, men find gain too, yet so many of them are too angered by the ad to see that it isn't trying to attack them personally.

President of Procter & Gamble, owners of Gillette, stated that;

"By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behaviour, and supporting a new generation working towards their personal 'best,' we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come."

No doubt Gillette anticipated a backlash to the clip, but all publicity is good publicity as the saying goes.

Gillette has collaborated with the Building A Better Man project, which aims to reduce violent behaviour in men, and The Boys and Girls Club of America, which helps young men develop better communication skills.

The company is also donating $1m a year to US charities who work to support men over the next three years.

It has to be said that their efforts deserve praise, since #MeToo began there has been a shocking amount of defensive commentary from groups of men as opposed to constructive conversations and support for women and minorities suffering at the hands of the patriarchy.

Gillette has rarely found itself in the midst of controversy, but today everyone is talking about them.

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Claire Foy has gained international recognition for her powerful portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web and now as Janet Armstrong in First Man.

As part of her acceptance speech for the #SeeHer recognition gong at the Critics' Choice Awards, she delivered a moving statement about the complexities of female roles.

She became the third actor to receive the accolade, which was launched by the Association of National Advertisers in 2016.

She followed in Viola Davis' and Gal Gadot's footsteps, winning the award which aims to increase the number of accurate depictions of women across the media.

Foy made sure to speak about how numerous people refer to her role in the 2018 Neil Armstrong biopic First Man as "just the wife", which she strongly opposes.

“I’ve had the opportunity to play some extraordinary women, for all sorts of reasons, and none more so than Janet Armstrong,” Foy said.

"She lived her life with such bravery and resilience and determination and love," she added.

“I can’t tell you how many times during the making of the movie and in the press tour that people said to me, ‘Well that part is normally the part of just the wife’." 

“And there’s no such thing as ‘just the wife’.” This statement got rapturous applause from the star-studded audience, clearly emphatically agreeing with the British actress.

Foy illustrated that it’s an actor’s responsibility to question who they portray, how they portray them and “how we want people to see themselves on screen” to create change.

Viola Davis presented Foy with the award, and Foy explained how she’d previously watched Davis’ acceptance speech for the 2016 #SeeHer award in preparation for her own.

She was eternally inspired by the outstanding Widows actor’s words that “the greatest privilege in your life is to be who you are.” WE STAN.

The actress concluded by saying she hopes the #SeeHer award will give her “encouragement” to be “brave enough to face and see myself”, and that she hopes it will also help others to do the same.

*Passes the tissues around the office*

im not gonna cry emmy awards GIF by Emmys

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Beauty pageants such as Miss Universe attract a hell of a lot of negative attention daily, especially since Donald Trump owns one. Anything he owns usually turns to ash, TBF.

From those who feel it's concepts are totally outdated for the modern world, to those expressing concern over how problematic the notion of 'swimsuit bodies' is, pageants are often in the spotlight for scandals.

Once again, pageants are in the media after Miss USA, Sarah Rose Summers, was filmed mocking foreign beauty queens and even IMITATING THEIR ACCENTS at the Miss Universe competition.

Can you believe?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This is beyond clueless. 

The sexism surrounding the pageants is bad enough, without the racism added to the pile of problems. Summers can be heard saying;

"Miss Cambodia is here and doesn’t speak any English, and not a single other person speaks her language. Could you imagine?"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sarah Rose Summers (@sarahrosesummers) on

Summers then went on to mock yet another contestant, Miss Vietnam, saying:

"She’s so cute and she pretends to know so much English."

Not only did she mock her for her lack of English (as if Summers knows anything about being bilingual), she then made fun of how Miss Vietnam spoke.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sarah Rose Summers (@sarahrosesummers) on

Summers has since posted an apology after the internet went absolutely mad at her, understandably.

She wrote:

"In a moment where I intended to admire the courage of a few of my sisters, I said something that I now realise can be perceived as not respectful, and I apologise."

I mean, why did she say 'can be perceived' as disrespectful? It's straight up normalised racism, gal.

Own up to it, and check yourself, Regina George. *sigh*

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Tasmanian comedienne Hannah Gadsby has called out "good men" during her acceptance speech at the The Hollywood Reporter’s 2018 Women in Entertainment Gala.

She voiced her opposition to the way in which certain men discuss their 'bad' male counterparts, and essentially still have the power over women.

"All men believe they are good", she stated, explaining the unbalanced narrative surrounding misogynistic behaviour.

She elaborated on the issue of good men speaking on behalf of all women, therefore having the power to draw boundaries;

“I want to speak about the very big problem I have with the good men, especially the good men who take it upon themselves to talk about the bad men,” she said.

“I find good men talking about bad men incredibly irritating, and this is something the good men are doing a lot of at the moment.”

A line which especially caught the media's attention was regarding the "Jimmy's and the David's and the other Jimmy's" of the world.

Her references to infamous talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, are in relation to their previous comments surrounding the #MeToo era.

Gadsby believes the duo can only regard bad men in two ways: either as extreme perpetrators of sexual violence such as Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, or as friends who have taken a misstep but are well-meaning, such as Aziz Ansari.

“We need to talk about how men will draw a different line for a different occasion,” she said.

“They have a line for the locker room; a line for when their wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters are watching; another line for when they’re drunk and fratting; another line for nondisclosure; a line for friends; and a line for foes.

“You know why we need to talk about this line between good men and bad men? Because it’s only good men who get to draw that line.

“And guess what? All men believe they are good.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The comedienne's candour has been applauded by numerous people, who appreciate her honesty in the face of such a difficult audience.

Her Netflix stand-up show Nanette was released earlier in the year to widespread critical acclaim, and faced tough issues such as rape, sexual assault and homophobia.

We have SO much respect for this badass lady, what a woman.

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In case you missed this entire furore, Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé hit the headlines over the last few days over their outfits while performing together in South Africa.

While Beyoncé was dressed like… a QUEEN… Ed Sheeran wore his usual t-shirt and jeans attire. 

Social media users have commented on the possible gender dynamic between the two, where the female singer is under pressure to look a certain way, while the men are allowed to dress in whatever manner they want;

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kathy Wilson (@kathywilsonnyc) on

Others online think the entire debacle is rather hilarious, and Ed Sheeran evidently is on this side of the sea.

The 27-year-old singer-songwriter is known for his down-to-earth style of things, and replied with predictable humour.

He posted a purchase link to the t-shirt which he was wearing in the performance on his Instagram story;

Instagram/@teddysphotos

He later added:

"Follow hoax1994 for more of my amazing fashion choices x. #dresstoimpress"

The clothing company Hoax are of the same mind as Sheeran, and posted to their own Instagram feed:

Well, you can't say he doesn't see the funny side of things.

He doesn't appear to be very concerned about the whole debate online, at least Hoax are getting some top quality promotion because of it all.

What are your thoughts, does Ed need the Queer Eye guys to give him a make-over?

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World-renowned footballer Ada Hegerberg had just been crowned the first ever female recipient of the Ballon d'Or award, which essentially is a marker that you are the best player IN THE WORLD btw, when French DJ Martin Solveig put his foot in it.

He created a hugely awkward moment on stage when he asked the gifted player if she could 'twerk', to which she curtly responded with a simple 'No'.

We probably would have responded in a much less classy manner, but that's a testament to how much sexism she has presumably had to deal with as a female footballer.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The 42-year-old DJ claimed that the Lyon and Norway superstar forward, despite answering "no" – had told him after the ceremony that she "understood it was a joke".

Hegerberg also told BBC Sport she "didn't consider it sexual harassment" after the 23-year-old was recognised as the world's best player in Paris

It was all the more awkward seeing as the footballer's speech was referencing her hopes of inspiring girls to believe in themselves.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The reaction on social media was swift and furious, with tennis player Andy Murray commenting on the matter; "Another example of the ridiculous sexism that still exists in sport."

"To everyone who thinks people are overreacting and it was just a joke… it wasn't. I've been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal."

Solveig took to Twitter to express his apologies, but claimed that it was a total misunderstanding.

He also uploaded a video, claiming that anyone who has known him for a while is aware of his respect for women, and that it was taken out of context;

We don't quite know what to think of this one.

Do you think the question was out of line, and that Murray is right in saying that sexism still exists in sport?

Or do you think this all blown way out of proportion? 

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What does it mean to be an ‘empowered woman’ in 2019?

The phrase ‘empowered woman’ is intrinsically loaded with underlying meaning and misunderstood perceptions. When many of us hear the phrase, most people envision a sexually-promiscuous woman who refuses to have children and most likely drinks scotch.

Arguably, its meaning has dramatically changed in the last year, ever since actress Alyssa Milano’s ‘Me Too’ tweet went viral.

2018 has not been the easiest of times for Irish women.

Watching the news everyday has been a tortuous experience, with violence against women splashed across every publication, the media raining debilitating double standards upon anyone remotely famous and the paparazzi splashing unflattering female body images across the internet.

Two massively painful rape trials have illuminated the imperative need for changes in the Irish law regarding sexual violence and assault, and the horrific way in which women are treated and cross-examined in the courtroom.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Repeal movement was draining for everyone involved, the right to bodily autonomy is still undeniably under threat.

It’s worth noting that standards are changing all around us, lines are being drawn, boundaries are being set. Finally, I might add.

Women are always hyper-aware of the need for self-protection, especially when it comes to sex and dating.

We’ve all held our keys in between our knuckles as we walk down a dimly-lit road at night, we’ve all experienced unwanted attention on nights out, and we’ve all worried about what we wear, and the negative consequences our clothes could potentially bring.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Standards of relationships are changing in conjunction, as women entering the dating world have new questions which they are asking of potential lovers.

This also stands for workplace relationships, women are fighting back against pay inequality and sexism which are prevalent even in first-world countries such as Ireland and the UK.

Watching Little Mix and Ariana Grande fight back against Piers Morgan's recent sexist comments has been such a breath of fresh air.

The #MeToo and TimesUp movements have been eye-opening experiences for men, women and intersex people worldwide, with every facet of society examining its own behaviour with a new lens.

Unlike most men, women are expected to be looking for love around every corner.

During our teens and 20s, being single is depicted as a hugely empowering, freeing experience, yet a shadow dawns on the eve of our 30th birthdays: the misogynistic view that our biological clocks are ticking, and where on earth is our husband?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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I have learnt many things from relationships, mainly that learning who you are can often only become a reality when you face tough aspects of life alone.

This is not true for everyone, of course, but many women in this day and age have to shrug off countless societal pressures and notions which are veiled in misogyny and shame.

Female empowerment in this article can only be relevant to my personal experiences, women are extremely complex beings and each feels empowered in totally different ways.

For women with disabilities, of different ages, gender binaries, classes and ethnicities, feeling good about ourselves comes in all shapes and forms.

Sex is power, #MeToo has taught me that. I cannot speak for other women, especially those in the LGBT+ community, but as a heterosexual woman, I have also learned many other hard lessons about the need to empower myself and have control over my body and mind.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Women are not therapists, we cannot be expected to handle the emotional baggage of other people.

We have enough of our own. Watching Ariana get blamed for Mac Miller's death is a primary example of the degradation placed on people for leaving toxic relationships.

 Ariana Grande has entered ultimate female empowerment mode, sporting a friendship ring instead of her recent engagement rock, and regularly posting images of classic film stars and female icon moments on her Instagram account.

Her new music video will be a tribute to classic movies with female leads such as 13 Going On 30, Mean Girls, Bring It On and Legally Blonde.

Thank u, next; Ari’s latest phenomenally successful single, pays homage to her past loves before declaring that her relationship with herself is now a priority.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Reports claim that her ex-fiancé, Pete Davidson, did not support her sufficiently following the death of Mac Miller, her former love.

Ariana explained how toxic her relationship with Miller was; she endured the pain of watching someone they love struggle through addiction but realised that it was expected of her to ‘fix’ his pain, to mother him through his issues.

Her realisation that she could not carry out this burden was imperative.

When Davidson joked about swapping Grande’s birth control pills on Saturday Night Live, the reaction was mixed.

Many wondered why controversy erupted over the comment, yet many reflected on the notion of literally trapping a woman into staying with you through pregnancy, a huge emotional and physical ordeal for women.

Realise that we are not defined by our relationship status, and to have a relationship with yourself can be an incredibly growth experience.

Letting go of the pressure to always have an ‘other half’ can be freeing in itself. Don’t underestimate the value of your friendships, especially female ones.

rihanna rogue man GIF

SEX is empowering:

Learning what you like (this applies to anyone with a sexual partner- in a relationship or not) is CRUCIAL.

Women have always been expected to satisfy men in terms of sex, the language was never granted to us regarding how to communicate our desires, and how to find pleasure.

Consent in this country has always been a murky topic, hidden under the surface.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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I never heard the word mentioned until I went to college, and by the time I learnt the word’s true meaning, I had already had unconsensual experiences without truly understanding them at all.

Educating ourselves about consent, and only having relationships with those who truly respect us and our bodies can be incredibly empowering.

Learn how to say no, be selfish.

Women cannot be expected to please everyone, all the time. Often we have to work incredibly hard, in our employment or relationships, to get the achievements we deserve.

Learning to put yourself first can be a massive way of respecting our own mental health and practicing self-love and acceptance.

Ask yourself, what do YOU want, instead of what does everyone else want of you.

bossy beyonce GIF

Learning new skills

Self -defence classes, a new language, a skill such as website building, graphic design, even calligraphy. Why not?

If you have valuable assets such as the ability to drive, and even do nitpicky jobs such as online banking or tax can be empowering in terms of releasing yourself from co-dependence.

why do you need to do this sandra bullock GIF by Ocean's 8

Don’t let opportunities pass you by.

Go with your instincts. Do what you’ve always wanted to do, but always found an excuse never to do it. You miss 100% of the chances you let pass by, and you never know how much you can gain from letting your fears dissipate and challenging yourself.

Mental health

The importance of having a health mind can never be underestimated. Take personal time whenever you know that you need it, don't succumb to pressure. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Body confidence

Society makes it so damn hard to allow you to feel secure in your own skin. In a world with such fascination with image and beauty, loving yourself is a completely rebellious act.

Beyonce Satisfying GIF

Everyone is unique, so don’t try to fit a beauty mould which will undoubtedly change in the next five to ten years.

In the 90s it was bone glamour with malnourished models such as Kate Moss on the runway looking like all they needed most was a McDonalds, and now the Kardashians have transformed cosmetic beauty into plastic surgery-induced curves, glossy brunette hair and big lips and bums.

Who knows what the next big trend will be, but why force yourself to look like someone else? You are worth so much more than what you weigh or what you see in the mirror.

Taking control of your love life

The laws of dating have transformed recently, with apps such as Bumble finally realising that women don’t always want to wait around for the right person to ask them on a date.

unbothered michelle obama GIF by Obama

Try asking someone out, the worst that can happen is that they say no.

Food and health

I lived in San Francisco for four months and had the most atrocious diet, and when I came home I vowed to learn at least ten easy home-cook meals that are quick to make, and have health benefits. Having independence in terms of your body and health can be crucial to an empowering mindset, especially for women with chronic health problems.

Career

serena williams tennis GIF

Finding career success can be a huge morale boost, especially for women. Success shouldn’t be based on how much you earn, but how much you love your job and how you contribute to bringing a positive energy to the world around you.

Fight to be heard at the table, realise how intelligent you are and how you should be valued in your workplace. Don’t let anyone invalidate you.

You have the key to your own happiness, no one else.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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To be totally independent, ‘empowered’ single gal has countless benefits. Find your own definition of ‘empowerment’, some women are empowered by their style, their job, their relationship, their sex life, and others are empowered simply by being happy in their own skin.

Whether you're feeling great and powerful totally covered up or completely naked, do whatever makes you happy.

we did it mic drop GIF by U.S. Soccer Federation

As Ru Paul the Great regularly claims, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”

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Dublin Feminist Film Festival is back, and better than ever.

The DFFF takes place from 20 until 22 of November at the Light House Cinema, and will prioritise shining a spotlight on women in film and promoting and celebrating female filmmakers.

The huge gem on Dublin’s cultural calendar hopes to inspire and empower others to get involved in filmmaking, and after the turbulent year in cinema with the rise of #MeToo, the DFFF has more meaning than ever.

The festival is run entirely voluntarily, and all proceeds go to charity.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This year, the theme is REFRAME/REFOCUS.

Instead of foregrounding particular topics, this year features films which are directed by women but also shot by female cinematographers.

The emphasis is to get women as involved as possible in ALL aspects of film, not just in front of the camera.

The dual-aspect of showcasing and celebrating fantastic female film-making parallels with the hope to demonstrate women as compelling and complex characters and subjects.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The weight placed on cinematography this year is down to a very important fact: Rachel Morrison was the first woman ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for cinematography in 90 years of the Oscars.

Her work on Mudbound was breath-taking, and she worked hard for her nomination.

Historically speaking, cinematography has always been the hardest aspect of film for women to break into. One nomination simply isn’t enough.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Production roles have nearly always been male-dominated domains, but recently some of the most exciting and visceral films in global cinema have been created by women.

For the fifth DFFF, thinking of film from the point of view of a woman behind the camera asks questions about how women see the world.

TimesUp and #MeToo have asked hard questions which need answers, and women are stepping up all over the world to share our stories and experiences.

This includes screenwriting, cinematography, directing, producing and acting.

If someone won’t share your story and represent your experience, go out there and do it yourself. You can do it best.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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We’ve seen it this year with black female actresses taking control of their own projects to finally get the roles they have consistently been deprived of: Octavia Spencer, Taraji P Henson to Lupita Nyong’o are currently producing and seeking out their own projects.

From documentaries to dramas, short forms to features or foreign films to intersectional feminism, there are facets of every side of cinema on show.

Their current aim is to expand the notion of who ‘makes’ a film and what ‘films by women’ actually means, while raising questions about the idea of the gaze.

Do films shot by women encompass a whole other gaze? There’s only one way to find out… see you gals there.

As part of the festival there will be a talk by an esteemed academic on female cinematography, and a roundtable discussion with two Dublin-based female cinematographers as well as screenings of female-made films only.

Ready yourselves for some serious empowerment, ladies (and gents).

The deets:

The DFFF: 21st & 22nd November 2018 – Light House Cinema Smithfield Dublin 7

Launch & Special Events 20th November – The Generator Hostel Smithfield Dublin 7

Feature image: Instagram/@rmorrison

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Gender bias in the medical industry is becoming increasingly more prominent as a direct result of women sharing their stories and opening up about their experiences with pain and illness.

Just last year, a study carried out by the Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health found that women are less likely to be given CPR. Men were more likely to survive cardiac arrest in a public place by a massive 23%.

This year alone, the CervicalCheck scandal has rightfully caused outrage in Ireland, when it was reported that hundreds of smears were in fact out-of-date, which resulted in the wrongful diagnosis of numerous women who could have survived if they had been given the accurate results in time. Only mere weeks ago, cervical cancer sufferer and campaigner Emma Mhic Mathúna died aged 37, a mother of five.

In tragic and life-altering instances such as these, women deserve compassion and respect in their healthcare journeys, it has since been reported that doctors were told to "use their own judgement" regarding whether or not to tell patients about their misdiagnosis.

The right to information surrounding your own body should be the lowest bar set, it cannot simply be a privilege for the few. Bodily autonomy has never been an equal playing field for men and women.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Vicky Phelan sued the US laboratory who wrongfully interpreted the results and was awarded €2.5 million in compensation by the High Court, after finding out in September 2017 that her 2011 smear test was a false negative.

In 2016, researchers at University College London found that women with dementia receive worse medical treatment than their male counterparts with the same condition. I could go on.

Statistics and cases such as these may seem like aberrations in the system, yet so many women claim to experience sexism in their GP clinics, local hospitals and consultants offices every day.

Gender, race and poverty are undeniable biases in healthcare- none of these should ever be ignored.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sexism has been a major factor in medicine since time began, from Aristotle’s declaration that the female form is naturally inferior, to the connection of the uterus with apparent female “hysteria” in the middle ages, trying to get a doctor to empathise with female pain can be draining and hugely frustrating.

This is not helped by the fact that the majority of consultants and specialists are male, and are rarely trained to spot female symptoms or female illnesses in the same detail as those of the male body.

It may seem absurd in this day and age that the Victorians confined women to asylums, whether they showed any evidence of mental illness or not, but doubt still leaks into clinics and hospitals when it comes to female pain.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The fact that women have to go through the most difficult time to get a diagnosis of female illnesses such as fibromyalgia and endometriosis speaks volumes into the lack of funding which goes into researching these diseases, which affect thousands of women nationwide.

Fibromyalgia is still suspended in the disbelief of numerous practitioners, despite women pertaining symptoms for years at a time without gaining any appropriate treatment.

Lady Gaga has recently spoken out as a sufferer of this condition, asking for better healthcare to treat this complex disease which causes total body pain.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Women are portrayed as hysterical hypochondriacs, and men are constantly depicted as the silent stoic types, who refuse to show weakness in the form attending a prostate exam that could save their life.

The Girl Who Cried Pain represents a 2001 study by Anita Tarzian and Diane Hoffman which examined pain management and gender. It showed clearly that women were far less likely to be given pain relief or long-term medication for pain (drugs such as Gabapentin, Lyrica and Amitriptylene), and it also revealed that women are less likely to gain the adequate treatment by healthcare providers.

Ask Me About My Uterus by Abby Norman is another fascinating read which describes her torturous experience of trying to get a diagnosis for her endometriosis, a dangerous illness where uterine tissue grows on organs outside of the womb. Often the only treatment is sedatives, or a hysterectomy. Endometriosis UK has claimed that despite the illness affecting 1 in 10 women, it takes an average of nine years to get a diagnosis.

I had to beg my own consultant for a laparoscopy exam after two relentless years of chronic abdominal pain, and he stopped my GP from prescribing me my vital pain medication after claiming that there was “no reason” for my pain. AKA, he didn’t believe me.

I have since been diagnosed in the US after three years with a congenital pain condition where I was born with a vast excess of nerve endings at the base of my spine, which affects over 13% of women, and yet not a single doctor in Ireland or Britain could offer any treatment or advice.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When I went to America, the specialist who has thousands of female patients who travel across America to see him told me that he is refused funding daily for his clinical trials and research into female pain, for the reason that all the funding is instead siphoned into drugs aimed at male pleasure, despite there already being several high-quality treatments.

According to PubMed, there are currently over 2,000 trials focusing on erectile dysfunction, and a grand total of 300 on EVERY TYPE of female pain.

If you don’t believe that stigma and sexism is prevalent in healthcare, maybe question why it’s so easy for a man to walk out of a GP clinic with a prescription for Viagra, yet it takes a woman in excruciating pain nine years to get told she has endometriosis, a life-long illness.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Since 1995, it has been confirmed that women experience stimuli at a more intense level than men.

Women have a proven different experience of pain than men, surely they deserve to be taken as seriously?

Yet society has conditioned women to ignore their pain, to handle it with clenched teeth and no complaints.

If you’re going to focus entirely on male pleasure, don’t ignore female pain, because it won’t be kept silent.

By Kate Brayden

Feature image: Instagram/@kdkatcricket

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A recent survey revealed some startling revelations about young Irish girls and sport.

As part of their campaign, a movement called 20×20 made a video asking girls what it was like to an athlete in modern Ireland.

Those who were interviewed included a hurling player, a black belt in karate, and a runner whose family have nicknamed ‘Speedy.’

When the girls were asked who they looked up to they quickly names male sporting legends: Paul Pogba, Usain Bolt, Jack McCaffrey, Ronaldo, and Rory McIlroy.

However, when questioned about women sports stars they all hesitated, trying to think of a few that they had heard of.

“I don’t really know any of the girls,” replied a young hurling star.

The video was making an important point – that we need to be inspiring young girls by introducing them to and publicising female athletes more in pop culture.

“Whenever people are recording things, they don’t want to record girls for some reason,” explained one girl in an NFL jersey.

Another girl said that the only reason boys pass the ball to her in school is if the teacher says “you have to pass to five girls before you can score”.

“I just don’t say anything”, she said.

The video ends with a powerful statement…

“They have the passion”, the screen reads, “But they’re missing the inspiration.

“It’s time to show them a different future.”

20×20 is a movement that aims to put strong and powerful female athletes in the public’s eye so that young girls can be inspired to pursue their dreams despite all too common comments from those with sexist mindsets.

A cultural shift needs to take place, the movement urges, so that these girls are not limited by male sport-driven media.

Part of this shift is beginning, sparked by the recent accomplishments of the silver-winning Irish Women’s hockey team.

But there is so much more that needs to be done to truly encourage young girls to reach for the stars on and off the pitch.

It’s like the movement’s slogan says: “If she can’t see it, she can’t be it.”

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As a woman in society, it would be quite unusual to have never ever experienced any form of sexism. 

From leering, uncomfortable catcalls, wage inequality, and being forced to continue with unwanted pregnancies (thanks for that one Ireland), it's no wonder that The World Heath Organisation has indicated that gender specific factors have a negative impact on female mental health. 

'Depression, anxiety, psychological distress, sexual violence, domestic violence and escalating rates of substance use affect women to a greater extent than men across different countries and different settings.'

'Depression, anxiety, somatic symptoms and high rates of comorbidity are significantly related to interconnected and co-occurrent risk factors such as gender based roles, stressors and negative life experiences and events.'

'Pressures created by their multiple roles, gender discrimination and associated factors of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, overwork, domestic violence and sexual abuse, combine to account for women's poor mental health.'

'Gender specific risk factors for common mental disorders that disproportionately affect women include gender based violence, socioeconomic disadvantage, low income and income inequality, low or subordinate social status and rank and unremitting responsibility for the care of others.'

The World Health Organisation goes on to point out that sexist elements of society can dictate not only how women feel in regards to mental health, but also hopw those issues get treated in both men and women. 

'Gender stereotypes regarding proneness to emotional problems in women and alcohol problems in men, appear to reinforce social stigma and constrain help seeking along stereotypical lines.'

'They are a barrier to the accurate identification and treatment of psychological disorder.'

So I guess those 'wow, she must be on her period' or 'calm down, you're just being over emotional' comments were wrong all along (not that we didn't know that).

As it turns out, societal sexism can be a contributing factor for a women's mental health. 

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In the lead up to the World Cup in Russia, fears of off-pitch problems dominated the discussion. While there have yet to be any major incidents reported from the tournament, instances of homophobia and misogyny have been widely spread. 

However, calls for the football stands to be made a more equal space for female supporters compounded today, thanks to a rather unusual source. Photograph-sharing platform Getty has come under fire for publishing an article featuring a collection of "sexy" female football-watchers. 

The article, now deleted, was screen grabbed by indy100 and included the by-line: "Soccer is known asa beautiful game, and that includes its fans. Check out photos of some of the sexiest of them here." 

According to Indy 100, the gallery contained approximately 30 images of traditionally attractive women and not a single man. Oh, and there was another catch-line that read "Talk about a knock-out round…"

How charming and original. Not. 

Needless to say, Twitter was not pleased. 

This comes at a time when more and more women are calling for greater inclusion in the sporting world. Just last week, the ban on Iranian women attending matches was lifted and pages such as This Fan Girl have been working tirelessly to promote real women (as opposed to sex symbols) in the stands. 

A spokesperson for This Fan Girl, Emma Townley, told indy100 that the publication of the piece was "disappointing". 

"They need to do better, because of their size and influence they have a huge responsibility to not perpetuate the toxic male primacy that exists in football. I was going to tiptoe around this but we're so bored of this narrative.

"We set up This Fan Girl to fight exactly this, clearly, the problem is still fairly deep rooted and we desperately need balance."

In response to the backlash, Getty deleted the article and apologised saying that it "did not meet our editorial standards." 

Speaking to Channel 4 Getty's chief executive, Dawn Airey said that the piece as not reflective of company beliefs. 

"[The gallery] was not appropriate or in any way consistent with our company values or beliefs.

"We hold a deep belief in the power of visuals to incite change and shift attitudes and we have done and will continue to do, much work to promote and create a more evolved and positive depiction of women." 

We hope that this outdated approach to female football fans will die off soon. 

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