Tuesday, September 29, 2015

We Are Sexist Too!

There are people who seem to have this idea that if a woman has a hand in creating something, that thing is automatically Not Sexist. But that's bullshit. Women can do everything just as well as men, right? Well, that includes misogyny. Good job, us!

You see, there's this delightful little thing called "internalized misogyny." It is when a woman holds sexist attitudes about herself and other people of her gender. Internalized misogyny rears its ugly head when one woman compares her looks to another, when she insists that women really are "crazier" than men, when she believes that women are natural caregivers, and so on.

Internalized misogyny is the reason women are capable of creating sexist media.

When the song "Blurred Lines" was still a thing people talked about, the video (and lyrics, and Robin Thicke... and everything about it, really) got a lot of flack for being sexist. Yet there was always someone who was all too eager to point out the fact that it was directed by Diane Martel, a woman. They say it as though that is the only explanation needed; because a woman directed it, it couldn't possibly be sexist.

It's the same story with the game "Bayonetta." The main character (and the game's namesake), Bayonetta, is still held as an example of a hyper-sexualized female video game character. Again, whenever someone tries to talk about this, there's a chorus of lonely gamergaters singing verses of "nuh-uh! Bayonetta was designed by a woman!" An added bit of humor to this scenario is the fact that none of these guys seem to remember the designer's name, nor could they be bothered to take the two seconds required to Google it. (It's Mari Shimazaki, by the way.)

100% certified Not Sexist. Yay!

If the only defense for something is that it was made/directed/written/designed by a woman, I'd like to ask this: What if it wasn't made by a woman? If a man made this thing, would it then qualify as sexist? Why? How is someone's gender the dividing line between what piece of media is sexist and what isn't?

Women are every bit as capable as men of perpetuating sexist, regressive ideas about women. This means that when a woman creates something, that thing isn't inherently devoid of sexism. This is why it is important to actually listen to discussions of whether or not something is sexist. Invoking the creator's gender in such conversations is no different than sticking your head in the sand. It's an avoidance tactic, just another excuse to not have to think about things that make you uncomfortable.

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