It starts with the preview for Hall Pass, a ridiculous sounding movie where three (?) women think that their husbands are such complete and utter idiots, they couldn’t get laid if they tried, so they give them a week “off” marriage.
It would probably be funny, insisted Steve as he lobbyed for it as a rental. I flat out refused. It’s insulting to everyone. First of all, what do you think of your husband if you are so disgusted by his sex drive (All you think of is sex! quips one of the women in the preview) and so convinced that he is unappealing to all women that you tell him to go and try to have sex with other women.
It’s this prevailing image as men as total idiots that drives me nuts. Mostly, because they’re not. If your husband is a complete dipshit, what about your son? You nephew? Your brother? And then there’s the fact that the idiotic way men are portrayed in movies and sitcoms (barf in my mouth, that one is especially bad) that excuses sexist behaviours, excuses the objectification of women. Of course they’re sexist, they’re too stupid to know any better! Don’t bother being insulted by his pea-sized brain, he can’t even help it! So women are objectified (hence hot fit wife paired with fat stupid husband in every sitcom since The Flinstones) and men objectify and everyone thinks it’s hunky-dory because men are stupid. Does this not make sense to anyone else?
Then there’s Beethoven which I watched with the girls one night because it’s just a cute movie about a cute puppy, and everyone loves puppies right?
Aside from the cute puppy aspect, it was dripping in gender bias and sexist. Let’s start with Mommy, who at one point, to help the Dad with his business I think, decides she needs to go back to work. The very first day being cared for by someone else, the little girl almost drowns. When the Mom picks them up and is accosted by the babysitter and told that the children need discipline, she sharply retorts with, What these children need is their MOTHER! So, for any of those little girls watching that movie out there, that’s a nice little push in the subconscious for them.
The Dad is a complete moron and so out of touch with his family that he ignores them at breakfast, is always the bad guy, the mom and kids side together – against him. He hates the dog and blames the dog for his life falling apart. The villians who want to rob him blind on the company he’s trying to sell trick him though the wife realizes they are trying to screw him. Does he listen? Of course not! Little Mommy doesn’t know what she’s talking about! Does she stand up for herself and tell him to smarten the fuck up? No! She bites her tongue and tells him meekly that she’ll support the house rules that he makes.
And then there’s Sixteen Candles. And Max and Ruby. And oh God, I can’t even begin to explain my hatred of Twilight.
It never ends, you know? This list of horrible stupid media that we consume blindly. But it all comes down to the fact that portraying men as idiots is harmful to both men and women. It increases sexism and the objectification of women. And the objectification of women decreases self-esteem (drastically and quickly) in girls as young as 9. They start to believe that their value is based on physical appearance. It also creates a false idea of women in the mind of men and boys, creating a conflict of ideals (women as equals vs. women as sex objects) that makes it particularly difficult for them to form a healthy relationship with them.
It’s never-ending, never-resting, infiltrated so deeply into our media that we don’t see it anymore. And short of turning off the tv permanently and putting my hands over the girls’ eyes in the magazine isle of the grocery store, I really don’t know how to protect my children from it.