There are things I should not read

As a woman there are reports and articles I should just stop reading. The majority of main stream media with its casual gendered slant would be a good start.

Since the beginning of this year, New Matilda, an independent Australian online media outlet, has been researching various aspects of gender representation in Australia’s MSM with their Women in Media study.

The results have been  from the obvious to the  depressing.Coinciding with the “normal” dismissive arguments or the twisting of findings, if the outcomes do not fit the convenient operating models of the industry and wider society and culture around women. Essentially though women are more represented across the medium they are still under represented in bylines, as sources, as primary content and in the upper echelons of the industry. And as the media is the filter through which society views itself this has a knock on effect to how women are perceived and valued.

What is particularly depressing about the whole thing is the attacks work like this comes under. It is unfortunately normal when women or anyone dares to speak out to the on-going and systematic imbalance women face in daily life and how they are represented. Fairfax’s Clementine Ford aptly summed up the situation in her Daily Life piece ” It’s considered a weakness to be a woman in Australia”

The battle for liberation is apparently the last refuge for women unable to participate in an economy that places their sexual availability at a premium. Having someone want to fu*k you is evidently more of an aspiration than wanting them to see you as an equal human being in your own right, with opinions and thoughts worthy of consideration and an autonomy that is yours and yours alone.

But this merely symptomatic of a larger war against women in the developed world. Rights over women’s bodies and what happens within them are being systematically eroded.  Our bodies our health and how we want to live our lives is surely our own decision? But if  legislation such as what passed in Texas today becomes more normalised ,the legislation basically shuts down legal abortion clinics within the state and severely restricts access to abortion no matter what the circumstances, we women are in trouble.

We may have a perceived sexual freedom but it is not true freedom, we do not have equal representation, equal pay (Pay gaps between men in women are Australia are actually increasing and sits between 17 and 25 percent depending on where you live), equal support systems and we are always negotiating our lives through the male objectified gaze or how we are in relation to men’s wants, desires and power structures.

You are “equal” as a woman if you are slim, sexualised, live within the construct of what a woman should be rather than is, are  prepared to earn less , let others make the decisions about your body and what you are allowed to do with it, and learn to live with the subtle pervasive sexism inherent in daily life as a woman.

The Everyday Sexism Project  has powerfully documented what the female sex  live with through collecting the story of everyday incidents women experience around gender.

Obviously this is a very nuanced and complex issue and the above are general indicators of a growing trend of increasing issues for women legally and otherwise. Progress was made but now with terms like feminist becoming increasingly disparaged or distanced from,where are we heading?

Is there anyway to have a rational discussion about the inequities of this without being gaslighted or being told to get over it? How do we address and change our gendered interactions without further harm?

Or is it time to give up, put on the blinkers, shut the ears, climb into the imposed box, and stop reading the news and live life knowing these are the limitations. Living these imposed limitations not from a place of victim-hood but  of acceptance. This is how it is, it is getting worse in many subtle aspects…. or is it we are just starting to talk about how fed up we are with pseudo equality, an equality that does not exist in real life?

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