It’s good to be back.
Over the past month, I’ve watched so many news bulletins, seen viral videos and read hashtags of tons of stories with varying topics. There’s a lot to think about, and a lot that can be said. So to start off, I decide that we should start off easy.
I’m going to teach you how to end sexism.
To start, I’m going with this definition of sexism: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. I like this definition, because like any great politician, it goes both ways on the issue. Men and Women can be sexist. However, there is no denying that women have bigger problems with this. So how do we end sexism?
Every story that primarily deals with gender has to be reported: using people of another gender.
You might think, “Yeah, this has been done before. Haven’t you seen that Jets fan getting harassed on the streets of NY video?” But this time, I want to go further. In order to report any news story, any article that might have a bias towards one particular sex, you must create an article swapping out another gender. You cannot reveal the true story…for 24 hours. This would lead to a series of discussions that could lead to shocking revelations once the truth comes out. If this happens enough, people’s fundamental way of thinking could be altered. And to show you, here’s a couple of news stories over the last months that have been about gender
Story 1- #Gamergate
Story Summary: Zoe Quinn, a video game developer, is accused of starting a romantic relationship with an editor of a gaming magazine by her ex-boyfriend. Her ex-boyfriend says that this lead to positive reviews of her game. In the insuing weeks, Quinn and other female gamers receive threats and angry messages from (predominately) male gamers. Oh yeah, and they’re also upset about ethics in game journalism or whatever.
Gender Flip Version
Zack is an ordinary video game developer. One of 86% of male gamers. His ex-girlfriend accuses him of sleeping with a female editor of a gaming magazine. She also claims that lead to positive reviews of his game. The following weeks, Zack and other male gamers (re: a whole lot of people) receive threats of violence and angry messages from (Predominately) female gamers. Oh yeah, and they’re also upset about ethics in game journalism or whatever.
Discussions That Would Take Place:
In most forums that you find this story, there is little to no talk about the possibility that the boyfriend may just be feeling scorned. But I guarantee if the second story was published, the focus would be on the ex-girlfriend. Some might even claim that she was crazy. Even though this is a possible drawback, male gamers would also realize: Holy Snaps, there’s a lot of female gamers out there. (About 50%, to be exact. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/18/52-percent-people-playing-games-women-industry-doesnt-know) Lastly, I’m sure there would be huge backlash at women threatening violence against men. I’m sure that “crazy” would also come up again.
And after 24 hours…
Gamers get the real story. The ones who criticized women for threatening violence are forced to come to terms that males were the ones holding the threats. Or that maybe guys can get a little unhinged when a breakup occurs. But most importantly, “Holy snaps, there’s a lot of female gamers out there.”
Story 2-#Alex From Target
Story Summary: A young girl is at Target. She looks up and notices an attractive male cashier and decides to take a picture and tweet it out. The cashier’s name is Alex. #Alex from target becomes an overnight media sensation. He gets fangirl attention of all ages and even makes it onto Ellen! Oh, and he’s sixteen.
Gender Flip Version
A young boy is a target. He looks up and notices an attractive female cashier and decides to take a picture and tweet it out. The cashier’s name is Alexa. #Alexa from target becomes an overnight media sensation. She gets fanboy attention of all ages and even makes it onto Elllen! Oh, and she’s sixteen.
Discussions That would Take Place:
Did you notice the exact point where the gender flip version got creepy? The idea of older men posting a lot of compliments to a teenage girl is a little unsettling. Discussions would be had on whether this is too much attention for a teenager…in an ideal world. Let’s face it: this is a big problem already for our female pop stars who start as teens and our young actresses. So the discussion would probably turn to getting her a modeling contract or movie deal. She’d still be on Ellen though.
And after 24 hours…
People realize that it was an Alex all along! And then…Alex still becomes popular. But people weep for Alexa, the Target employee that never was.
My method is flawed. Flipping genders may promote some deep, thought provoking conversations. It could also create worse discussions as a byproduct. This method also leaves out those who don’t fit into male or female gender boxes. And it doesn’t offer a direct fix to each problem. But consider one last thing.
You turn on the news, flipping through six or seven stories. One may be about domestic abuse in sports. Another may be about a male celebrity getting botox into his face and everyone remarking on how different he looks. A third is focused on an Ebola nurse who just wants to get home to her family. Before you can make any assumptions, you have to ask:
Which gender is this really happening to?