This 1953 advertisement features a woman wearing red lipstick and looking at the reader while holding a Del Monte ketchup bottle with the appearance of being about to open it. The tagline directly below it is, “You mean a woman can open it?” with the word woman underlined. The first sentence of the article it accompanied stated, “Easily—without a knife blade, a bottle opener, or even a husband!” - Wikipedia

This 1953 advertisement features a woman wearing red lipstick and looking at the reader while holding a Del Monte ketchup bottle with the appearance of being about to open it. The tagline directly below it is, “You mean a woman can open it?” with the word woman underlined. The first sentence of the article it accompanied stated, “Easily—without a knife blade, a bottle opener, or even a husband!” - Wikipedia

Sexist images hurt, like racist symbols, but fewer people care

There are a lot of bad isms in the world.

We’re witnessing a long overdue, global discussion on race, fueled by Black Lives Matter, and a blossoming awareness of injustice.

More people are recognizing and reacting to symbols of racism; the Confederate battle flag, the Swastika, mockery of things sacred to Indigenous people.

Mind boggling, then, that similar representations hurtful to women persist unchallenged, seemingly forever a part of our landscape, like rocks and clouds.

I know, I know. It’s not a contest. But surely a person of sensibilities is allowed to protest two things at the same time.

Overheard in the newsroom…

Accusation: “DeMeer, you can make anything about gender.”

Response: “Thank you, sir.”

Consider how an increasing number of people respond emotionally to the Southern Stars and Bars, an image many associate with white supremacy, and slavery.

Contrast that ‘kicked in the gut feeling’ with how images promoting rape culture, and the dehumanizing of women, are received.

A billboard on the highway of a partially clad, large-busted woman bending over a table to serve draft, an ad to promote a pub, possibly provokes a smile. Magazine covers, the ones prominently displayed in your local convenience store, frequently sexualize women and girls, or link sex and violence.

If you can bear it, take a look at the content of popular video games.

And then there are the things men wear.

Freedom of expression, to say nothing of fashion, is a cornerstone of what we hold dear. However, when the message on a T-shirt is so blatantly anti-women it approaches hate speech, at the very least, it is time for a quiet word with the offender.

Perhaps that person just needs to be educated.

Several years ago I took action against a collection of T-shirts, employing drastic measures. (Disclaimer: I am not condoning breaking the law. Do not try this at home.)

It was a few days before Christmas, and I was dragging myself through a Brantford, Ontario shopping mall, when I passed a T-shirt kiosk. You know the ones, little pop up booths in the centre of a concourse, displaying dozens of novelty shirts too racy for Walmart.

Many of the shirts on display were devoted to jokes about beer, farts and the Toronto Maple Leafs. (The latter understandable, surely.)

But at least half-a-dozen blatantly promoted hatred and violence against women. One had a picture of a target, and a request for people to shoot an ex-wife. Another featured a joke about how to sexually assault a date.

I circled the kiosk, removing every offending T-shirt, in every size, and then approached the young man at the till. No doubt, his mouth watered at the thought of that many sales, and the resulting right-before-Christmas commission.

“You want all these?” he asked breathlessly.

I explained the shirts were offensive, possibly illegal, and they should be removed from the racks.

Had they been hidden in the back corner of some low-lit head shop, I would have let it go. But these shirts were there for everyone to see, each one like a poster, and hanging in full sight of Laura Secord, Northern Reflections, and Santa’s workshop.

He expressed bewilderment, refused to take down the shirts, and would not call the kiosk owner.

What else could I do, except pick up the merchandise – it weighed at least 15 pounds – and abscond.

My heels clicked rapidly on the ceramic tiles. The clerk, while he didn’t yell “stop thief,” followed, begging me to come back, telling people around him I didn’t pay.

I bee-lined to the mall administration office, kicked open the door, as my hands were full, and dumped the whole mess on the counter. Then, politely, I asked to speak with the manager. Symbols reflecting racial intolerance are fairly easy to identify.

There’s also a world of pain, among the rocks and clouds, and we need to stop accepting that as part of the landscape.

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Men in a work camp at Mile 46 on the Big Bend Highway. 
(Revelstoke Museum and Archives Photo 2259)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for June 17

Bumper strawberry crop, Mt. Logan climbers and unemployment relief

(File)
‘It’s not going to work here’: Revelstoke mayor to meet province over ambulance changes

There is a new system being introduced across the province called Scheduled On-Call (SOC)

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The crosswalk is at Third Street and Mackenzie and was installed on June 17. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
Painting a rainbow: First Pride crosswalk installed in Revelstoke

‘It signals to the community that this city is inclusive,’ Mayor Gary Sulz

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read