'Posh Sexism', An Example.

There has been much media coverage of violence against women and misogyny in the UK press of late. All to the good, prompting hopes that at last a backlash is underway against the unequal treatment of women. I’ve posed the question several times: what can we do?

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Jun 30, 2014
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My answer to that is call out sexism whenever we see it, whatever gender we are. If we stay quiet every time women are demeaned or discriminated against in our presence, we fuel the flames. In a country such as ours where sexism is so institutionalised, many of us fail to recognise it; which means we fail to recognise the insidious and confidence shattering effect it has on us, on our young women and girls, and the subtle ‘women are not as good’ message it sends men and boys.

Let me give you an example from one of the UK’s quality, broadsheet papers, The Observer.

The Observer published a story about the Australian writer and broadcaster, Clive James. James is a popular and loved figure in British culture; his much publicised illness has prompted a plethora of articles and peons of praise. The Observer article was no different and clearly the writer, Robert McCrum, associate editor of The Observer, is a fan. Here’s the extract which made me suck my teeth:

His health has been so bad, he has to deny rumours of his imminent demise. His marriage has been on, and off, the rocks, after the disclosure of his long affair with a bottle-blonde Australian model. On Saturday, he spoke movingly about his wife and daughters, as if to scotch any rumours.

Did you spot it? The author clearly rates Clive James highly and writes he has been having a long time affair with another woman, and the affair was relevant to the piece I agree. You’d have to imagine consent then on both sides, yet the author in his praise of James seems keen to downplay his part in his casual use of the phrase ‘bottle-blonde’ is damning. What matters it one jot what colour her hair is? Would it have been more acceptable if she were a natural blonde, or brunette, or bald, for heaven’s sake! For a long time 'blonde' has been a synonym for not very bright, and getting it from a bottle? How common! And how easy to trot out that phrase to plant the idea of ‘unworthy’ in our minds. To label her in this way is sexist and demeaning, albeit a minor infraction. I agree, there is far worse in the world happening for us to get angry about.

But that is my point. These hidden examples of sexism which we all indulge in from time to time, are all part of the larger problem. We need to watch ourselves. And we need to call it when we see it.

P.S. Check out RenewYou, my one day course for women available across the UK, in Pakistan, South Africa, USA, Canada, Belgium,Greece, & Thailand, delivered by specially selected trainers. Click on the map to find one in your area. Alternatively you can find a list of all licensed trainers here. RenewYou can also be run within organisations.

Go to the profile of Jane C Woods

Jane C Woods

Women's Personal Development Specialist - Changing People, -

Hi, I’m Jane C Woods and I have an absolute passion for helping women achieve success in their lives. Be it the glass ceiling, the crystal maze, or very personal issues, I’m all about helping women achieve to their full potential and live the way they want to without being carbon copies of men. But I’m not about putting men down in order for women to get ahead, there’s plenty of room; I just want the guys to shifty up a bit… If my face looks familiar it's because I love Psychologies magazine (I've been buying it since the very first issue, such a good resource) and it's the only place I choose to advertise my courses. I write on women’s issues on my blog, www.changingpeople.co.uk, and am regularly featured in magazines, and on radio, but I’m probably best known for RenewYou. RenewYou is my one day personal development course for women. We have an international network of experienced, specialist women licensed to deliver it and empower women across the globe. Our goal is to reach one million women. It’s a big goal but… In 2013 we started with a single RenewYou specialist, me. Now you can find a RenewYou Courses across the UK, in the USA, Canada, Greece, Bangkok, Pakistan, South Africa, Belgium, with new countries being added all the time. My dream was to create a thriving and caring business on ethical, and dare I say, feminine terms, with a real community spirit of help and encouragement. And it’s actually happening with the support, expertise, and enthusiasm of my wonderful trainers. I think, (apart from my two lovely kids, a daughter and a son) that it’s probably my proudest achievement to date. Wonderful Changing People Women: One of the joys and privileges of my work is that I’ve connected with some really inspirational and wonderful women – from politics to entertainment to academia. They include: TV presenter, house fixer and matchmaker Sarah Beeny Amazing entrepreneur Sam Roddick of Coco de Mer Outspoken and entertaining academic Mary Beard Politicians like Siobhan Benita and Natalie Bennett Ex BBC broadcaster Miriam O’Reilly who bravely took on the might of the BBC- and triumphed A very rare interview with Sarah Montague, of the influential BBC Radio 4 Today programme I hope you like the posts and I hope they are helpful. Live life to the max and never hide your light under any bushels!

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