If Men Lived In A Woman’s World Here’s What It Would Look Like

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Sexism is so rife in our culture nowadays it becomes harder and harder to stop it. Some say that it’s just the way the world is-deal with it. Others fight it head on. The Everyday Sexism project in the UK has become a well-known platform for women sharing their stories of sexism on a day-to-day basis and giving others the confidence to speak up when they feel they have been violated by words or actions.

Buzzfeed have also been great with their parody videos where they swap the gender roles, showing what it’s like to live in a woman’s world, and challenge those norms that women are supposed to just “deal with”. And in those videos we see how ridiculous and often comical it is when men are put in the position where they are objectified by women. But the thing is, for women it is not funny, it’s old and boring and needs to just stop.

Just last week writers Holly Eagleson and Lauren Wade put together a great piece for Take Part discussing disgraced American Apparel CEO Dov Charney (for apparent sexual misconduct and allegations he kept an employee as his personal sex slave), and perv-tographer Terry Richardson. They also used some well known photos taken by “uncle Terry” as he is creepily referred to by some in the industry, and put men in place of the objectified woman. They pointed out how cowardly it was that American Apparel only fired the CEO after their stocks plummeted, not for his disgusting behavior.

These two awesome women make some great points about this incident, saying it’s not as if it is a stand-alone moment in fashion and advertising.

“Richardson and Charney aren’t the first to create hostile work environments, nor are they pioneers in exploiting sexuality to sell clothes…However, their porny influence has trickled down through the ad industry to an alarming degree in the last two decades. Whether or not the recent controversy will lead to the downfall of either, it’s time someone called out the rampant sexism they’ve fostered. What better way to start than by replacing the women in controversial ads with dudes like Charney and Richardson? They’re just as disturbing as you’d expect, but only half as distressing as the originals,” they write.

“The idea that femininity is a disposable commodity couldn’t be clearer. The ad also reinforces the insidious idea that women should feel alienated from their body parts…” Here are the images they created:

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What will it take for the industry executives to realize that it doesn’t matter whether a photographer has become an icon until himself and shot presidents and their wives, or whether a CEO builds up a company exponentially. If it is at the cost of a human being’s dignity, how is it any better than a sweatshop or human slavery? When does a decision-maker become detached from emotion, and green-light the dismembering of a woman’s body to please the masses and make a tonne of money?

We can use humor to attack the issue but it is going to take a lot more to actually force change. It starts with individual decisions, and we applaud all those brands and magazines who have publicly declared they will no longer work with Terry Richardson. Larger companies have to take a stand and lead the way. Those influencers and trend-setters need to recognize the incredible power they yield over everyday people with the images they produce.

Until that happens, we are stoked to see major media outlets like Buzzfeed using their popular platform to share positive and thought-provoking messages. In the video we see an imaginary world where a young boy looks at a poster of all the American Presidents and seems daunted that they are all women. We see a male comic come off stage and get told by a group of females that they were surprised he was so good because it’s hard to find men who are funny. These are REAL scenarios that happen to women. And it’s time it stopped.

We can all play our part by eliminating sexist language from our everyday lives and not perpetuating the misogyny which surrounds women.

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