isms

Speaking of feminism, I like the definition that my friend shared with me a couple of years ago “If you have a vagina and you would like to be able to decide what to do with it, you are a feminist”.

I have recently read Alina Farkash’s post about shocking comments Russian women made regarding Shilo Pitt-Jolie who as we now know wants to be a boy and not a girl. One of them said “How can Angelina let her daughter do that, she is depriving Shilo’s future husband of enjoying such beauty!” (I almost felt sick having read that).

Because we grow up and do not necessarily subject reality to critical analysis when we are kids, some things are so ingrained that it is hard to tell what they are, one needs to make an effort. How you can understand if a picture is sexist: replace a female with a male and see what effect it has. Having said that, I recently realised that sometimes it will not work because effectively a mysogynist/chauvinistic picture objectifies women, however, modern pop culture has started objectifying children, family, happiness and men in order to gain profit.

Take this picture for example (a recent Russian initiative which is aimed at raising reading level and the Russian reads as “I would like to meet a smart guy. Guys, read books.”):

Apparently a sexist ad, you will say straight away, but when I tried to replace the girl with a handsome sexy guy, I couldn’t help but notice that the message is the same, it is not about gender, this is about how sex sells. Men are equally victims of modern society sexualization whereby they need to be ideal macho men/sexy geeks/romantic knights/what not which automatically turns them into merchandise. The moment people are defined through a symbol, they stop being people and turn into objects.

ps: the message behind the ad is cool – reading and good books make you smarter and hopefully better.

pps: here is my favourite blog about books (in Russian only, soz) and this is a cool tool to get working book recommendation based on your preferences.