With women facing as many hurdles as ever to equality, and male privilege still remaining, who better to dissect such delicate topics than the man himself: Piers Morgan, Daily Mail journalist (I say journalist here in the loosest possible sense). Piers Morgan is a man who believes Donald Trump is a ‘breath of fresh air’. Piers Morgan, put simply, is an idiot. His recent article critiquing Ellen DeGenres objectification of Chris Hemsworth is just another case of a man fearing for his privileged status in society. The ‘if a man did this everyone would go mad’ argument has become as tiresome as it is irrelevant.
In the article, Morgan asks “But true gender equality surely dictates that both sexes should be held to equal behavioural judgment?” This argument is ridiculous. The present doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You can’t ignore centuries of institutional sexism and start on a blank slate and pretend that everything is all right and the world is fair. Despite recent improvements, there is still a long way to go before men and women are treated equally. Body objectification is not a problem solely affecting women, but women are more affected because, overwhelmingly, their abilities and hard work are totally ignored in favour of reporting how they look. There has not been naked photos of men in prominent pages of national newspapers for decades, yet women’s boobs and bums are used to sell everything from newspapers to yogurt. Ellen DeGeneres showing a topless photo of a man is not the same as the page 3 girls in The S*n. You cannot compare Chris Gayle to Sharapova because Sharapova’s tennis skill has always been overshadowed by comments about her looks. Men and women cannot be treated by the same standards in such situations because it’s simply not oppression to objectify or insult a group who has so much power.
Throughout the article, Morgan uses a few examples to generalise more than half the population of the world. He criticises bigotry in his article, yet he has so much intolerance for any points of view that differ from his own narrow-mindedness. In the last line of his piece, he almost gives an ultimatum to women to view humour in the same way that he does. His article is hardly even worth a response. Sadly though, many share his opinion.
Unfortunately, Piers Morgan is just part of a growing trend of feminist bashing. Popular commentators have written multiple times about the so-called dangers of feminism. The regularity with which the appalling term ‘feminazi’ is used highlights the sheer level of ignorance in our society. Comparing feminism to Nazism is absurd, but it reminds us that there are people who genuinely feel threatened by feminism. Giving attention to the oppressed is not the same as oppressing the oppressor. There needs to be widespread education on the history of women’s rights for people to understand why feminism is necessary.
Admitting there is a problem is the first step to solving one, and there are far too many individuals and groups who believe that sexism is a problem of the past. Until sexism is widely recognised as a big issue again, then there will be a considerable backlash against anything that attempts to address it. Influential people such as Morgan have to recognise the wider problem and not take individual incidents out of context in order to fuel bitterness and resentment. Until this happens, we cannot hope to tackle sexism, or to make the world a fairer place for everyone.
For those interested to read the Piers Morgan article that this response is directed at, please follow this link:
Image courtesy of Reuters