Turning the tables, missing the point #Everydaysexism #feminism

Posted: April 6, 2014 in Feminism, Masculinities, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

This week I’ve seen two videos that ‘turn the tables’ on gender roles, and specifically in the realm of ‘street harassment’ of women by men, the brutes. One (above) is an advert for Snickers, the other an Everyday Sexism project featured in The Guardian

The snickers ad has generated some commentary, including two posts with differing viewpoints in Sociological Images and a not very complimentary piece in Time Magazine.

I was going to write something myself but realised I don’t have much to say about either, really. I actually found them hard to watch, cringeworthy and annoying, especially the Everyday Sexism one. I think what’s most irritating about both is their heavy-handed use of ‘irony’ or what passes for it in our oh so knowing, clever-assed post-ironic world. Perhaps the Everyday Sexism/graun effort seems particularly crass because suddenly, feminists are using ‘humour’ to cover a topic they have previously had zero sense of humour about. My pal Ben who first showed me the Everyday Sexism vid had his comments about it deleted at Graun/Cif HQ, along with those by some other commenters. Maybe that ‘humour’ doesn’t run very deep then?

What do you think of these videos? Do they ‘turn the tables’ on gender norms or do they spectacularly miss the point?


  1. elissa says:

    What is even more tedious than the ads are the anal analysis that inevitably follow – it turns the stereotype on its head / reverses the seating at the table / and if you replace the protagonists with barn animals you will understand why PETA is against high rises.

    So glad you let this bad odor whiff by without added insight QRG – I would have disowned you otherwise 🙂

  2. redpesto says:

    My first thought was ‘oh, dear’ and I decided not to watch. Not fair, I know, but since there are whole set of problems with a simplistic ‘role reversal’ (or ‘role inversion’) – not least since sexual harassment is a crime in itself, not just a crime when it’s done to women by men which can be ‘shown’ in some kind of ‘Brechtian’ way by flipping the genders – I thought I’d let it pass.

    When I saw that this exemplary piece of video clickbait had gathered over 2,500 comments – and then a follow-up by the film-maker which has already attracted well over 1,000 more – the charitable phrase that springs to mind is ‘more heat than light.’

    • hi redpesto – yes when Ben sent me the link to the video he also commented that the graun were reproducing behaviour that they themselves point out is unethical and in some cases criminal.

      I can see the hypocrisy there but I don’t think a lot of what feminists call ‘harassment’ actually is. If it were, judging by the amount of ‘complaints’ to Everyday sexism alone, the courts would have no time to deal with anything else.

      But yes, you’re right its probably just clickbait anyway.

  3. elissa says:

    Take solace in knowing that the original, starring Joe Pesci and Mr. Rickles, remains timeless.

  4. Henry says:

    Well the videos don’t really prove very much – they are just a further excuse to go on and on relentlessly about (“everyday”) sexism – how much of it imagined or evidence of extreme reactions I don’t know

    Another point about this everyday sexism nonsense – assuming we all agreed it existed, what are they proposing should be done about it?

    I think they’d be rather coy about this, or just wouldn’t have any idea, but I think they instinctively know the power of complaining. The only outcome of this campaign can be an increase in everyday controlling behaviour.

    They’d say it was more women “speaking out against sexism”, but doesn’t it actually mean lots of women being deliberately touchy about any chance remark and making life unpleasant for any guy who says anything to the on the wrong day (when they’ve just spilt their mocha on the way to work at the Guardian HQ)

    • redpesto says:


      Another point about this everyday sexism nonsense – assuming we all agreed it existed, what are they proposing should be done about it?

      That’s the question Rachel Cooke poses in her review of bates’ book (with a side-order of comments on The Vagenda).

      • Henry says:

        Heh. Scathing review.

        Personally I think Bates et al far prefer complaining in a very generalised way about sexism (and trying to spread a certain attitude) than looking at realistic counter measures.

        They don’t want to say anything too specific either. Avoiding rational thought is being turned into an artform

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