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Former PM Kim Campbell denounces sleeveless anchors

In a tweet on Feb. 13, former Prime Minister of Canada Kim Campbell made a comment about television news anchors and their choice or wardrobe. “Bare arms undermine credibility and gravitas,” she said in the social media post, referring to female broadcasters who choose to wear sleeveless outfits.

The article Campbell references is a blog post written by Dr. Nick Morgan, a speaking coach, on his own private website. According to Morgan, a sleeveless outfit for women or a casual looking t-shirt for men will mean people won’t think you are as smart as you are. “We humans are pretty simple creatures,” he writes. “If you show up in front of us with skin exposed, we’re going to think about your body.  If you’re wearing lots of clothing, we’re going to think about your mind.”

The blog post goes on to suggest people should spend “real money” at “a high-end fashionista place” prior to an interview or speaking engagement. Morgan mentions a study that compares photographs of naked and half-naked women and asks people about how competent they think they are. Ironically, the article was then tweeted out by Informed Opinions, a handle that aims “to ensure diverse women’s perspectives and priorities are equitably integrated into Canadian society.” That is how Canada’s former PM found the piece.

Let us first address the research — wearing a sleeveless dress is different than wearing a bra and nothing else. Therefore, I don’t think the study referenced in the original article provides enough context for the statement made by both Morgan and Campbell. To do so proves that society objectifies women to such a degree that showing shoulders or your arm is essentially equal to a woman being stark naked while presenting the news. Most people would agree this is a ridiculous statement.

The public response to Campbell’s support of this statement was mixed. While it is true that most women are judged 60 per cent by how they look rather than what they say, that way of thinking is not something that should be perpetuated.

What interested me the most was the response from television stylists, who actually urge women to lose the traditional blazer or pantsuit for something more personal. There were others who argued that blazers and long-sleeve shirts were more professional, but the general consensus was that clothing wasn’t an indicator or success or capability. Here are some examples of the response:

Featured Image: Kim Campbell poses nude behind robes in this Barbara Woodley photograph from 1990. (Barbara Woodley/Courtesy Museum of Civilization)

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

When buying lingerie can make the news

Clutch your pearls! Just recently, radio business reporter, Michael Kane was strolling through a shopping mall in Toronto and he noticed something that peaked his interest. He decided to tweet his recount, “ I’m just a reporter: saw two modestly dressed women with religious headgear come out of Victoria’s Secret store in the Eaton Centre.”

It’s 2017, so why is it shocking that women were spotting leaving a lingerie store? Women of all categories are entitled to wear underwear if they choose to do so. Much less, why is it an issue that these women were modest and wearing ‘religious headgear’? Muslim women are women too and it should not be tweet-worthy that they were seen exiting a lingerie store.

Mr Kane’s tweet was not warmly welcomed in such a multicultural city like Toronto. For a society that prides itself on diversity and celebrating various cultural backgrounds, scenarios like this are borderline funny and infuriating. People on social media began grabbing on to the phrase “ I’m just a reporter” and responded to Kane with tweets such as “I’m just a reporter: saw a group of White teenagers, in Lululemon outfits playing basketball in a public park.” Scenarios like this does not open a door for positive discussion, instead it brings up issues of ethnicity, social hierarchy, and stereotypes.

Kane made a poor attempt in claiming his tweet was meant to celebrate diversity and promote positive feedback, saying he wanted to bring “news to some, joyful observation to others,” while responding to one Twitter user. The tweet was unnecessary and though he did not say Muslim women, it is clearly implied. Kane continues to gather angry responses and some people even noted this casting of Muslim women as ‘others’ revealing Kane’s cultural insensitivity and intentional or unintentional views as a white male living in a diverse society.

Kane continued to defend himself against the critics, saying he was just sharing his views and he suggested people not judge him. The problem is that people on social media are hypocritical — people cast judgement, but don’t want want to accept judgment cast upon themselves. The tweet, and the conversation that followed, is entirely prejudice and unmindful. Needless to say, Kane did not win his diversity battle and his poor attempt of celebrating another culture seemed creepy, sexist, racist, and why was this a story worth the attention of others on social media?

Kane has since deactivated his twitter and honestly, I’m just a reporter: but it’s time to end cultural, sexist and ethnic insensitivity, evaluate your thoughts, and own up to your actions.

Dear Halloween: stop being so sexist

Dear Halloween,

I think you are a lot of fun. When I was a young girl, I relished the opportunity to dress up in a scary costume and go out with my friends at night. The candy — a big plus!

As I grew older, I started to go to parties. My friends and I would watch scary movies, gorge on candy and chocolate, and hit as many haunted houses as possible. Even now, at 26, I enjoy dressing up and going to Halloween-themed parties. It’s just an excuse to be a child again, right?! And there is nothing wrong with that!

But, I have to say: the older I get, the more disappointed I become. You’ve become very sexist, my dearest Halloween, and it’s becoming really hard to love you.

I was having a hard time coming up with a costume idea this year, and decided to go to a party store for inspiration. I wandered up and down the aisles, looking at all of the outfits labelled for women. It was disgraceful. Everything was “sexy”: sexy cat, sexy devil, sexy milkmaid, and sexy foods (you think I’m joking, but I’m not). Anything not labelled “sexy” was revealing in nature. All the dresses were really short and the tops were a little more boobilicious than I would like.

Of course, the male costumes are all weather-appropriate for the month of October in Canada.

Then, I made the mistake of googling “halloween costumes – ideas for women”. Oh dear, Halloween, what have you transformed into?!

You used to be a day of innocence. The day was about the scary stories, the history, and of course, the candy. People honoured the dead in your name! There would be street festivals, family dinners, and cemetery rituals. Now, even the candy is too expensive for people to care. It’s all about what people wear and who takes notice of those legs.

My biggest concern is that kids are growing up thinking this is the norm. Teenage girls are putting on plaid skirts and letting their bras show through their blouses. Girls are plastering their face with glitter and lipstick, going to parties in bikinis, dressed as pop stars or scantily-clad video game characters. The number of people I see on the subway dressed up in outfits that cover very little of their body is startling. And, it increases every year.

To be clear, if a woman wants to dress up like a sexy kitten, that is her prerogative. A woman should feel safe during this holiday to be whoever she wants to be! I’m just arguing for options!

Halloween, I know you don’t have a lot of control over people’s decision-making, but please tell me this is not what you had in mind! Please tell me you didn’t want people to objectify themselves or parade around in skimpy lingerie. Please tell me that this is all a big mistake!

Of course, you can’t tell me anything. You’ve become too commercialized, too selfish, too self-involved to care what you are doing to today’s youth.  I never thought the day would come when I would be disappointed in you, Halloween. I never thought you would give up on your roots.

At the end of the day, I stayed true to myself. I decided against buying one of those horrendous and sexist costumes, and instead purchased some makeup and went as a scary, sewn-together monster.

Because, Halloween, I will never give up on you. Even when you are at your worst.

Sincerely,

Katherine DeClerq

A bout of sexism: Clinton is not too “weak” to be president

The United States presidential election seems to be a race between two cartoon characters rather than a campaign to find a leader for one of the most powerful countries in the world. The rat race continues with claims that Democrat leader Hillary Clinton might be too “weak” and unhealthy to lead the country due to a bout of pneumonia.

Health concerns have been a point of contention in this election because Clinton, 68, and Donald Trump, 70, are the oldest competing campaigners in US history. At the 9/11 ceremonies on Sunday, Clinton appeared to faint in public and her doctor later announced that she had come down with pneumonia. The media and Trump supporters have latched onto this diagnosis as proof that Clinton is “weak” and may not have the strength to lead the country.

Both candidates have previously released health reports to the public, with Clinton offering a two-page detailed report stating she had previously suffered from blood clots and fainting. On the other hand, Trump gave out a four-paragraph report in which his doctor explained he had “astonishing health” and would be the “healthiest president yet”. Comparatively, it is easy to see which candidate is giving the most information on the status of their health.

Though Clinton has been honest about her health in the past, her bout of pneumonia plays against her, especially considering she is the first female candidate in history to run for president in the United States. Opponents may use her pneumonia as an example of how her status as a woman makes her weaker. If Trump had become sick during the campaign, he would have claimed it was because he was working so hard and has been putting ‘the people’ first.  Americans would have applauded his efforts. Sure, with the campaign in its final two months, this is not a good time to be fainting. But Clinton is a human being and all people, men and women, are susceptible to getting sick. Let’s not play a double standard.

The way that many Republicans and media outlets are claiming her illness makes her a weak competitor is ridiculous. Pneumonia is a fairly common occurrence, affecting over one million Americans per year. In fact, her attendance at the event even though she was ill shows she is quite strong and dedicated to her campaign.

Maybe the people backlashing Clinton should be looking inward and should assess why they are placing so much pressure on one individual to be perfect. Is it now necessary to elect a leader in perfect health? Have the rules changed and to err is no longer human?

The US election is a prime example of how propaganda can be so damaging to the democratic process. Clearly, it pushes candidates to the brink of exhaustion and wastes time focusing on trivial issues. Perhaps Clinton felt she couldn’t rest even though her doctor ordered it because of a potential backlash, which is completely unacceptable. Instead of goading Clinton and calling her weak for getting sick, let’s focus on making sure Trump doesn’t get elected — because then we will surely have bigger problems than a bout of pneumonia.

Stayed tuned as election day grows closer as we will find out the fate of the United States on November 8, 2016.