Sexism, Exploitation and Memes

I wonder how many memes there are on the internet?

They’re something we all see pretty much every time we log onto a social media site. That black and white lettering that protests some sarcastic message has basically become iconic now and will forever be recognised.

Memes are a way for people to rant, to express their opinions or just to make a joke in a quick and fashionable way and overall I think they’re pretty funny. There’s no better way to procrastinate than looking at a photo of a stupid dog with a sarcastic message printed over it.

But I wonder how many memes out there mock women? I bet most of them degrade or ridicule feminism and the actions of women in some way. Although these memes aren’t as cool as a dog wanting cupcakes or a cat with a moustache, they seem to be the most popular ones and the ones that are constantly being shared.

Obviously this is something I don’t like. But I don’t think it’s a problem to be blamed solely on the sharers, as most of these people don’t really know what they’re mocking anyway.

Recently I saw a meme which inspired this whole post. This meme basically said that women complain about men complimenting them or looking at them, but will continue to wear little clothing or present themselves in a sexual manner.

(Because obviously these actions are all just an act to attract men, right?)

The meme was basically saying “why are you complaining, woman? You obviously want this”

Now if I close my mind, I can almost see why some people would find this ironic. But it doesn’t take long for the stupidity (and a bit of fear) to come flooding back in.

People seem to think that if women want to be taken seriously, then they can’t dress in a certain way. For these people, women must not appear sexual in anyway and cover all parts of their body because, God forbid, should we see some cleavage then there’s no way we can concentrate on what these lasses are actually saying, right?

It makes me sad that some people still genuinely believe that clothing (or performances or whatever) has any impact on your rights to be taken seriously or to be heard.

As for the degrading comment…

The reason why a woman choosing, for example, to wear shorts that may reveal her vulva is not degrading is because she chose to wear them. She chose to reveal whatever part of her body she wanted and because it’s her body and her choice, this is not degrading. If you want to label it anything I’d go for empowering.

Everyone has a right to control their own bodies. And if that means they want to be sexual then let them. The problems occur when other people think they have the right to sexualise something that is not theirs. That’s why people speak out about adverts, films, posters or comments that use women’s bodies in a sexual way because the power has been taken away from the person who owns the body and given to someone outside of it.

The whole point of feminism is that people a choice, regardless of their gender. Women, like men, can freely express their sexuality if they want to. But it’s down to them to choose if that’s something they want to do. It shouldn’t be something that other people can choose for you.

Men are, of course, not excluded from this. How many washboard abs and toned physiques have you seen to promote, sell or generally just grab attention in the media recently? There’s tonnes, I know. But the reason we talk about women so much when we deal with topics like this is because it happens to us more. Plus, because it’s deemed acceptable to treat women this way we then start to do the same things to men.

It’s just not fair for anyone and it’s creating such a shitty situation.

Can’t we just let people do what they want, whether that be in fashion or sex or just life, and not feel the need to comment, judge or ridicule? Let’s be fair to one another and if you see something shitty report it and try to educate those who don’t understand why it’s wrong.

And before you ask, yes I can take a joke. I just prefer my jokes to have more humour than spite.


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Speak soon,

Rachael.


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