So what’s the solution? Zip our lips and refuse to engage with the lowlifes who joke about rape, commodify the female body, and portray women as morons? Much as I sometimes would like to, I don’t believe that’s the answer. Taking the high road can’t mean simply ignoring what’s going on in our culture. Sexism and misogyny have become joke-worthy subjects in such an insidious way that people are now failing to even identify them any more. Imagine if racist or anti-semitic ads were popping up online every other day and were defended by those calling protesters “oversensitive,” labeling any objections “political correctness gone mad’ and telling them to “get over it.” Would we be told just to turn a blind eye and not give such companies the oxygen of publicity? More likely, we’d be calling for the heads of the responsible marketing executives on a plate.
Sexists’ favored method of shutting down feminists is to call them humorless, and accuse the men who support them of being emasculated and brainwashed. Well, it’s time to stand up and say that there’s nothing deficient about not having your laughter button pressed by the degradation of women. Anyone offended by misogyny needs to keep speaking out about it, even if it runs the risk of giving the perpetrator free advertising. Plus, there is such a thing as bad publicity—or Rush Limbaugh wouldn’t have shed 50+ advertising sponsors after recent online outrage at his misogyny. Reputations can certainly be tarnished, and refusing to keep quiet about sexist advertising can achieve that.
So don’t fall for the unhelpful advice to just ignore them and they’ll go away. That’s what misogynists want you to do. Just look at history—those who stood up to sexism achieved a lot more change than those who closed their eyes, put their hands over their ears, and sang “LA LA LA, I can’t hear you.”
This post first appeared on the website of the Women’s Media Center
Photo from Samsung ad via the Women's Media Center
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
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