A now unfriended person recently posted a Very Stupid Thing on Facebook. ‘We have sexually harassed all of the female staff at this restaurant… they are only sending male waiters now.’ It had been a very long day, and while this made my skin crawl I let it go. Unfortunately the algorithm brought it back up when another women called rightly called this dudebro out. He countered with what was clearly, to his mind, intended to be a genius revelation. The status had originally been posted by a female friend, but Dudebro had swapped the gender of the wait staff. COMEDIC GOLD, ammiright?
Actually no. Let’s break this down.
So Dudebro’s justification for posting this status boiled down to ‘demonstrate a point about gender perceptions’ and ‘have a laugh’. I don’t think gender-flipping works the way he thinks it does. This is an approach that was popularised by The Hawkeye Initiative—a series of images that replaced female superheroes in overtly sexualized poses with Hawkeye. It works because seeing Hawkeye contorted to deliver the maximum amount of T&A looks absolutely ridiculous, and resultantly points out double standards when it comes to representations of male and female characters. It serves an actual purpose; through highlighting the level of sexualisation ladyheroes are subjected to we are able to engage with content more critically. This doesn’t mean you can just genderswap anything and then praise yourself for being a subversive genius. An actual understanding of the patriarchal power structures at play is required. Read the rest of this entry »