Archive for July, 2015

I realised when I published the last blog entry that, for the second time this year, I went an entire month without posting anything. June completely passed me by, much like January did earlier in the year. I struggled to explain why, couldn’t quite get to an answer, I love writing this blog so how could I have possibly gone a month without writing anything at all? It was a conversation with a friend that revealed the answer – I burn out quite quickly.

It’s pretty much the perfect explanation. It also explains why I felt the need to take that break at the end of last year. What I’ve come to realise is that burning out is perfectly natural and not something to worry about. So I’ve not published anything for an entire month, big deal. All it does mean is that I can stay refreshed and driven to keep this blog going. So, apologies to those people, all 4 of you, who are left hanging when I don’t publish anything for a month, just know that I am still around. I don’t plan on going anywhere for a very, very long time.

Anyway, on to business. I consider it rather ironic that my last blog entry was concerning stereotypes and how TV often panders to them rather than doing a great deal to combat them and this blog entry deals with real people who actually embody existing stereotypes. Yeah, there’s a slight difference because the previous blog was about men and this one’s about women, but the point still stands.

Recently, a rather famous scientist called Tim Hunt was forced to resign over ‘sexist comments’ he made to a science conference in Seoul. He was speaking of women in science and happened to utter the line ‘when you criticise them, they cry.’ The internet went into meltdown and he was hounded out of his job, basically being told by the University he worked for “resign or we’ll fire you.”

Well, there are two stories this week that have exploded all over the internet. How do I know if a story’s reached that other level of mainstream appeal? That would be when it appears on both my timelines (if you don’t know by now that John Salmon isn’t my real name then where have you been for the last 2 years?!). Yeah, both of the stories I want to look at have cropped up on my JS timeline and my real timeline. It’s actually quite rare this happens. A lot of the stories I post about generally tend to be limited to my JS timeline so it’s a pretty big deal when a story appears on both.

I’ve written in the past about fat-shaming and how I think it’s all bullshit. I’m fat. I’ve struggled with my weight all my life. 2 years ago I was about 4 stone lighter than I am now. When I was 17 I was the fittest I’ve ever been and was still overweight so I know what it’s like to spend a lifetime not managing to look like the underwear model on the billboard. I came to terms with that a long time ago. I have an unusual body shape and I don’t think I’ll ever have a flat stomach or really good looking pecs. I don’t mind, I’m well aware that, if there is a God, he’s a cunt and likes to fuck with people for no reason. If people make comments about my weight and it upsets me or offends me well, guess whose fault that is? Yeah, it’s mine. If I was truly ok with my body then comments like that wouldn’t bother me at all.

The fact is, blunt and to the point, I despise being fat. Truly despise it. Not only do I constantly have to worry about which clothes might or might not fit (which is especially crushing considering everything did fit only a year or so ago) but it is literally killing me. My joints ache, my digestive system is in tatters, my skin is a mess, my energy levels are fucking pathetic and, worst of all, I have to walk up two flights of stairs to get to my apartment. I hate it and I’m well aware that the power to do anything about it rests solely with me and nobody else. If anyone upsets me with comments it’s because I, and only I, have given them that power.

So, what stories are hitting the news this week that have made me talk about my own weight issues and bring up Tim Hunt? These spectacular pieces of victimhood and patheticness:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tinder-date-woman-finds-novel-6010597

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/08/living/old-navy-fat-shaming-feat/index.html

Tim Hunt said ‘when you criticise they, they cry’. Now, aside from the fact that most of the internet started crying over what he said, the two stories linked above have women literally crying because people criticised them. Yeah, just how pathetic. A man loses his job for making a comment about women and not two weeks later two news stories blow up that prove his point! Is there a word for that?

I’m going to focus on the first article for most of this blog, mainly because it’s the one receiving the lesser attention of the two. I will still have a look at the second story as I believe that has a much bigger sense of narcissistic victimhood about it but it seems to be gaining just as many critical comments as positive so it’s not as much of a focus for me.

Now, I’m not sure if I’ve spoken about Tinder before but it seems to be an app that generates controversy every other week. I have an account but I couldn’t tell you the last time I got a match or anything.

Having said that, it seems to work for some people so there we are.

So, the first story deals with a woman who went out on a date with a man she met on Tinder. First of all I have to just highlight the headline as it is just too good to pass up.

It states:

Tinder date woman finds novel way to hit back at man who told her she was too fat to fancy

It’s funny that she comes up with a ‘novel way’ to hit back, particularly as the first sentence of the articles tells us her initial reaction wasn’t especially dignified:

A woman was left in floods of tears after a man she met on Tinder told her she was too fat to fancy.

*cough*when you criticise them, they cry.*cough* So, the first thing this woman does when she gets criticised is to break down in ‘floods of tears’? Ok, I get that this might simply be an immediate plea for sympathy but, come on, she’s a fucking grown woman and she’s in ‘floods of tears’ because a nasty man said something that hurt her fee fees? Damn, modern women what have you become?!

Fair enough, he said something nasty and it upset her, I get it, he’s a cunt and, presumably, is just another example of a man not knowing how to treat women right. I’ve written in the past about women’s reactions when men don’t like their bodies so it’s not like this is something new, but maybe he was a little too harsh in criticising her?

After telling us just how distraught this woman was, we then get this rather futile attempt at empowerment or some shit:

But instead of letting this mortifying experience destroy her self esteem, Michelle Thomas has used it to teach others about the right way to treat women.

‘Instead of letting this mortifying experience destroy her self esteem’? this is presumably once she’s managed to avoid drowning in the ‘flood of tears’ she was left in? I think your self esteemhas already been destroyed!

The right way to treat women? Could that possibly be ‘don’t fucking say anything critical or they’ll start bawling their fucking eyes out’?

So she finds a man on Tinder and spends some time chatting to him before going out for a meal. It’s funny, she claims she was left in floods of tears and vowed not to let her self esteem be ruined, but have a look at what she thought about this man before he said what he said:

She did not find him particularly attractive and she was not too bothered about whether she saw him again.

If you listen closely that’s the sound of every little piece of my sympathy drying up quicker than a Californian river!

So, she bitches and moans on the internet that someone said she was ‘too fat to fancy’ but she’d already judged him as unattractive before that happened. Big fucking deal, you both found each other unattractive, the only difference being, presumably, he had the balls to actually be honest with you about why he didn’t want a second date. He didn’t sugar coat it, he was honest and upfront. Either way he can’t win, he tells you honestly why a second date wouldn’t work and he gets shamed yet if he had made up some bullshit excuse you would have gone crying to your mates being all ‘Oh em gee why can’t men just be honest?’ I’ve never even met you and I already don’t like your pathetic sense of victimhood.

The next bit of the article is quite long so I won’t reproduce it in full here but it simply deals with the message he sent her explaining why a future together wasn’t in the cards.

I find it funny, and incredibly infuriating, that this article, and the woman herself, focus on the one negative aspect that he lists as a reason for not wanting to develop a relationship with her. In order to accentuate the victimhood the title of the article and most of the paragraphs leading up to this point only seem to focus on the utter heartbreak this woman was put through, yet completely omit the praise he absolutely lauds on her. He sends her a letter outlining his feelings after that first date. They completely ignore the compliments he pays her whilst being unsure over her body:

I’m not going to bull***t you… I f***ing adore you Michelle and I think you’re the prettiest looking girl I’ve ever met.

“So whilst I am hugely turned on by your mind, your face, your personality (and God…I really, really am), I can’t say the same about your figure.

“I’m so disappointed in myself Michelle because I’ve genuinely not felt this way about anyone in ages, but I’m trying to be honest with you without sounding like a total k***head.

“We could be amazing friends, we could flirt and joke and adore each other and…. f*** me… I would marry you like a shot if you were a slip of a girl because what you have in that mind of yours is utterly unique, and I really really love it.”

Essentially, what this boils down to is a grown women throwing a tantrum worthy of a 5 year old because a man said he didn’t like her body and wouldn’t want to disappoint her when he couldn’t get a boner. I actually quite like this guy, at least he’s being honest and explaining why he doesn’t want to see her. Was he brutally honest? Yeah, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

If we want to, we could approach this from a more sinister angle – he is being shamed because he had the temerity to admit a sexual preference. In this world of body positivity and fat acceptance is it becoming inherently wrong to share a preference for a certain body type?

He didn’t call her fat, he didn’t say she was disgusting, he didn’t say she should lose weight, he simply said he wasn’t on board with her body. Big fucking deal.

The rest of the article is simply an exercise in narcissism. She needs the attention, she needs people to tell her that she is beautiful because, God forbid, a man telling her he doesn’t find her sexually attractive is enough for someone’s life to be ruined. He didn’t like your body sweetheart, woman the fuck up and deal with it.

But no, she embodies the ‘women are emotionally weak’ stereotype to a fucking T. What’s her reaction when she gets rejected? What’s her reaction when she goes through something that men go through all the goddam time? She breaks down in tears! Fuck me, grow a fucking pair.

The fact he sent the message was simply to hurt her, according to her:

“I think the only reason for sending the message is to hurt and to wound somebody.

Or maybe it was because you’re a grown ass fucking woman and he assumed, evidently wrongly, that you’d want to know the honest answer for him not wanting a second date. Yeah, he’s such an arsehole for treating you like an adult. Boo fucking hoo!

I wish that was it, but she keeps piling on the victimhood:

“It’s every woman’s worst nightmare. It’s this deep rooted thought that you have as a teenager and never really goes away that no matter how fun or clever you are, if you are a little bit overweight then nothing else matters to men.

“The message confirmed this dormant fear that I think woman have.

Yeah, maybe it’s the fear that not every man will find you attractive! Is that a nightmare or is it good ol’ narcissism?

Apparently, men having a sexual preference is simply not allowed. If you express a desire for a certain body type then you’re simply furthering the nightmare a woman has to go through. Look, I’m not a woman so I have absolutely no idea what it’s like growing up as one. But, I do know what it’s like to be rejected for the most stupid of reasons. Put on your big girl pants, stop trying to make this about something it’s not and move on with your life.

In order to show just how nasty and mean this horrible man was, she asks another man in her life what his opinion is. With him being a friend, she probably already knew what the answer was before she asked:

“A male friend said ‘no man would say that unless to wound and to cut somebody down’.”

Well, I’m a man and I’m pretty sure he didn’t say it to wound you, he probably said it because he thought honesty was a pretty good quality in a man.

So, having got the answer she wanted from another person, she decided to try and gain more sympathy by making an entire blog entry about it:

After her upset turned to anger, Ms Thomas decided not to suffer in silence and instead posted it on her blog as an example of how not to treat women.

I haven’t read the blog because I don’t want to waste my life being told ‘how not to treat a woman.’ Apparently, ‘with respect and honesty’ must be on that list because it’s definitely something she’s not willing to hear. From this article, the only thing I could possibly learn about how to treat women is that they want you to lie to them and not give them the most basic level of respect to assume they can accept the truth about why a second date wouldn’t happen.

Not content with just shaming him, she now thinks it’s ok to shame him as a parent:

She added she had been motivated to write over fears about the effect the man’s attitude to women might have on his 13-year-old daughter.

I’m going to assume he’s not teaching her to whinge like a fucking child if someone says something bad about her. The more I read this article the less sympathy I have.

I’m not even going to paste the rest of it here because it devolves into basic narcissism and victimhood. It’s all there in the link for you to read. She honestly puts forth the idea that he ‘targets’ her to ‘take her down a peg or two’ simply because she seems happy and confident in her Tinder pictures! She also trolls out the ‘it’s hard to be a woman on the internet’ line. How narcissistic do you have to be? You think a man cares enough about your self-opinion to spend a week talking to you only to arrange a date solely so he can then call you fat in order to dent your self esteem? Fuck off.

It’s bad enough that you decide to create an entire blog post shaming him simply because he has a sexual preference but then you question his parenting skills because he has a 13 year old daughter? You’re a 30 year old woman for fuck’s sake! How about you learn to take criticism and stop trying to force your standards on someone else.

This article smacks of someone trying to ‘empower’ other women to get over the horrible bullying that they go through on the internet. Instead, it comes across as a whinging fucking woman-child complaining because a man had the goddam temerity to not find her sexually attractive. Her response to finding out this devastating piece of information? Yeah, she fucking bursts into tears and then moans about it on the internet. This is all over a man she openly admitted she didn’t find attractive and wouldn’t have gone on a second date with anyway!

Woman the fuck up, put on your big girl pants and get on with it.

“You criticise them, they cry.” Well done for truly embodying that stereotype!

As if that’s not bad enough, we then get an even bigger example of narcissism and victimhood with the second story:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/08/living/old-navy-fat-shaming-feat/index.html

If we look at the headline we get another lovely piece of manufactured outrage:

Plus-size customer stands up to body shaming in Old Navy

Wow, I’ve been to America and I’ve shopped in Old Navy, how terrible that a woman could be fat shamed in such a big store. What cunt of a member of staff told her she was too fat to shop there? What cunt of a member of the public told her she was too fat to shop there?

Er, well, no-one, actually:

Today I was shopping in Old Navy, standing in between a teenage girl and her mom,” Taylor wrote. “The girl picked up a plus-size tank top, showed it to her mom and said, ‘Look! Me and So-and-so can fit in this tank top!’ Her mom laughed and said, ‘Yeah, you could! That thing is huge!’

So…well…I mean…apparently…just…what the actual fuck?! Are there words enough to describe just how misleading that headline is? As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a short video underneath (which I haven’t watched) that says her selfie is ‘inspiring’. Yeah, inspiring to those who study ‘victimhood 101’ classes.

You see, my problem with this ‘fat shaming’ is that no fucking fat shaming happened! A daughter makes a comment to her mum that has absolutely nothing to do with Rachel Taylor and it’s suddenly an example of fat shaming?

A girl picks up a plus-size top, a top that, by its very nature, is going to big, and states that she and her friend could fit in it and suddenly this woman sees it as an attack on her body? Fuck, I can’t decide if that’s a bigger example of narcissism or victimhood.

I have t-shirts that are XXXL, my best mate wears XS shirts. You’re goddam right two of him could fit in one of my t-shirts. My best mate is a skinny cunt and I hate him for it, but it’s a hatred born out of jealousy not a genuine dislike.

What’s her response? Yeah, all too predictable:

“I couldn’t help it; I started crying,” Taylor added.

You couldn’t help it? Is that because you’re a woman and you struggle to keep your emotions in check? Damn, you’re not doing much to help the sisterhood break free of those stereotypes are you? Especially when the comment wasn’t even directed at you. Talk about basic attention-seeking. The mum and her daughter didn’t say ‘only fat fucking pigs can wear this’, they didn’t say ‘omg people who are this big are disgusting’, they didn’t say ‘fat fucks like this should kill themselves’ they simply stated a fact about the size of the shirt.

The fact you ‘couldn’t help’ but burst into tears is all on you, it’s got nothing to do with them and everything to do with your sense of victimhood.

What heart-warming, Hallmark channel message of empowerment does she hope people will take away from this episode?

“Be kind,” the post concludes. “Think about others before you speak. And if someone hurts you, you have to move on.”

Move on? Is that after you’ve whinged your way onto social media and talked about an incident that didn’t even fucking involve you?

Be kind? Or, in other words, ‘please don’t say anything that will make me feel bad about myself because I lack the ability to self-reflect and can’t control my emotions’. Grow the fuck up.

Target even decided to give her a fucking gift card. For what? For crying like an overgrown baby? Good going Old Navy, way to legitimise her narcissism and victim status.

Some people decided not to buy into the bullshit and criticised her for her incessant whinging. Her response was to post another ‘empowering’ post basically saying ‘a picture on the internet is not an invitation to criticise blah blah blah’. Wrong, if you’re going to get wound up over nothing and start crying like a woman-child then you’re damn right I’m going to have an opinion.

I read another article earlier on saying she ‘wants to meet the cruel commenter’ and take them out to dinner or something.

That ‘cruel commenter’ being the mother and daughter who were having a conversation between themselves that this narcissist just couldn’t help but insert herself into in order to play the victim!

“You criticise them, they cry.”

Again, well done for cloaking yourself in a stereotype in order to gain as much attention as possible. Woman the fuck up!

I’m sorry if this blog sounds overly harsh or if my swearing takes way from any salient point I may have. I just find these two stories to be scream-worthy. I just want to put my head back and let rip a guttural roar of frustration. Fat acceptance has long ceased to be about trying to get people to accept their bodies for what they are and has simply become a circle jerk of fat women saying ‘you shouldn’t be allowed to say anything nasty about me because I’m too sensitive to be able to handle it.’

As someone who has struggled with my weight I am sick and tired of reading stories where people are giving other people the power to hurt them and then complaining about it and expecting people to fawn all over them. If you are fat and other people’s words hurt then the power is within you to do something about it. Either you lose the weight or you accept who you are. Either way, the choice is entirely yours.

The most annoying, frustrating and infuriating thing about this is that these two stories have become huge and both involve women literally crying because people have criticised something about them. The response hasn’t been to say ‘well, you’re a fucking grown up, deal with it and move on’ but rather mass outpourings of sympathy and mollycoddling. This merely a couple of weeks after a man was hounded out of his job for suggesting women cry when they are criticised. Well done for proving him right you morons!

So, which is it to be? Are you strong, independent women who want to break down the stereotype of women being emotionally weak? Or, do you want to cry victim and be blanketed in sympathy and virtual hugs every time someone says something you don’t like?

I would hug the fuck out of a woman if she was genuinely upset, I don’t deny that for a minute. But crying over a man you already admitted was unattractive or crying over a comment made that wasn’t derogatory, untrue or even aimed at you is not a genuine reason, it’s overgrown babies grasping for a little bit of sympathy because their poor fee fees were hurt.

I’d like to think women are stronger than that, more capable of taking criticism. The initial reaction to Tim Hunt’s comments seemed to suggest they are. However, maybe that’s not the case after all.

It’s just a shame that the 2 stories here so clearly show that some women are simply too used to being shrouded in cotton wool to truly want to break the stereotype. Until those women learn to woman the fuck up we’ll continue to see stories like this.

“You criticise them, they cry.” Maybe Tim Hunt wasn’t so wrong after all?

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I’ve been faffing around with this particular blog entry for months. Months and months. Every time I sit down to write it I suddenly lose focus on what the main issue is, suddenly seem to forget exactly what it is I’m so pissed about. It’s strange, every time I sit down to watch a film I get a tornado of ideas blasting through my brain, then as soon as I sit down at the PC to write about it my brain is a barren wasteland with not even a piece of tumbleweed to break up the drudgery.

Ok, all (rather shit) poetic metaphors aside, this is one of the hardest blog entries I’ve written, not because the subject matter is dark or controversial or anything, simply because I don’t know how to approach it. I can’t make up my mind if it’s a valid entry to write or if it’s going to come off as little more than incessant whingeing. I don’t know if I want to take a serious tone or a more light-hearted one, unable to decide which tone best fits the content. In short – I don’t even know if this is worth my time to write about.

Then, a few days ago I had a brainwave. There’s an article I first saw about a year ago that links in perfectly with the blog I’ve spent so long trying to figure out. Why haven’t I written about that article sooner? Well, I e-mailed the link to myself (as I often do when I’m at work and can’t favourite it) and then promptly forgot about it. Every time I remembered I couldn’t muster up the energy to search through months of emails to find it. When I email myself links I don’t title the emails, for no reason other than it’s quicker, so I couldn’t even search for it. It never crossed my mind to simply go to Google and search for it. I know, I’m a twat.

Then, another brainwave. I realised I’d waited so long to actually start this blog entry that it would quite nicely tie into two other blog entries I’d been planning to write. I know, talk about buses!

This could easily become a complete whinge-fest so I will explicitly state right now that this entry is simply to highlight. It is not meant to be taken as me thinking all television is evil or anything like that, it’s simply a way for me to highlight some of the things I find wrong with modern television. That doesn’t make them inherently bad, it’s just a different perspective to how we watch television.

So what exactly is this blog about, the one that’s been causing me so many headaches over the last few months? Well, it all starts with this:

http://www.theonion.com/article/woman-takes-short-half-hour-break-from-being-femin-35026

I’m well aware that this has been published on The Onion, a well-known satire site. However, the fact is that this is actually pretty accurate in terms of how feminists view modern television programmes so I’m going to use it as a starting point, I’m not going to analyse the actual article.

I’ll admit right now that I don’t intend this particular blog entry to be a steadfast denial of any of the points raised in the above article. I’ve no doubt they’re valid points, they’re just one on a spectrum of ideas and opinions that can be furthered by using television as a starting point.

It’s funny because I’ve seen feminists applaud this article as a bastion of feminism, as an example of how even one half an hour programme furthers the damaging stereotypes of women on television. Again, it’s not my intention to dispute that. I’m not a woman and I have no real idea of the impact television has on a woman’s self-esteem. I do have an idea of what impact television has on a man’s self-esteem though. Mine specifically.

I do find it a curious choice of programme though. Again, I know this is satire, but ‘Say yes to the dress’ is quite obviously low-brow entertainment designed for us to laugh at the women on it, a way of us going ‘haha, look at the degenerates on television, I’m glad I don’t allow myself to stoop to that level of degradation, what with me being morally superior and cultured and all that.” It’s not rocket science that this TV show is going to be full of archetypes and car-crash moments to make people laugh.

If you’re really going to use Say yes to the dress as an example of how TV is damaging to women then I will also pick a deliberately outlandish TV show that denigrates and humiliates all males – Tool Academy. Tool Academy is a TV show in which ‘tools’ are ‘taught’ how to be ‘good boyfriends’. Yeah, sounds horrendous. And before everyone starts complaining, I know that series 3 involved women, but the first 2 series were solely focusing on men and just how shit they were. It’s easy to be offended if you pick the right show.

What I do want to use this blog to highlight is the wider issues of how masculinity is represented on television. It’s hardly a secret that men occupy pretty much the entire spectrum of idiocy when it comes to how they are portrayed on TV. I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel, just add my own perspective and share some of the effects that people don’t realise these TV shows have.

I’m well aware that there are heroic, positive male characters on TV. This blog is not to try and gloss over that, or try to deny their existence. It’s simply a counter to the idea that those are the only portrayals of men on television. For every brave, heroic male character on television there are 10 absolute morons, incapable of looking after themselves. These monolithic cavemen often rely on women to sort their lives out for them and, when no women are available, simply bumble through life with no real purpose or lasting achievement.

That doesn’t mean these characters aren’t likeable or well regarded, it just means that the spectrum of male characters is by no means always heroic. There are any number of idiotic but loveable characters. The point is that, no matter how likeable, they still occupy that spectrum of idiocy.

What I want to do is, initially, pick the TV programmes and films that aren’t big hitters. By that, I mean I’m picking programmes that aren’t huge ratings winners or generally lauded by critics and audiences, at least for the most part. So, in essence, that means I’m going to skip over things like 2 And A Half Men, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens and Rules of Engagement. It’s not because I don’t think those shows are worthy of focus, just that the one-dimensional characters on those shows have largely been recognised and, perhaps more importantly, I personally haven’t watched a great deal aside from Friends and 2 and a half men. Maybe I’ll touch on them later on but, for now, I want to stick to the less popular stuff.

Why am I sticking with the less popular shows, what impact could that possibly have? Well, the point is simple; these TV shows are neither huge ratings winners nor massive critical successes which simply illustrates the point that these one-dimensional portrayals permeate all aspects of television, not just the big hitters. In my opinion, as I’ll discuss here, that makes them possibly more damaging than the more successful shows. Yeah, they won’t be seen by as many people, but the stereotypes and one dimensional characters are presented as the norm and not challenged by anyone.

I’m talking about shows like Brotherhood, a new comedy made by Comedy Central. There are 3 main male characters, all brothers, that live together and get up to all sorts of hijinks. Can you guess how all three are presented? Yep, none of them are particularly positive, they occupy a very limited scale of development:

Jamie – he’s the teenager and is mute. Before the series starts it’s been 6 months since he’s spoken in response to his mother’s death. He puts up with the utter banality of his two brothers and is seen as kind of a nothing character, only there as a pawn to help accentuate the stupidity of his two brothers.

Toby – the utter moron of the three, obsessed with parties and women. Doesn’t have a job, is a slacker who expects everyone else to clean up his messes. Is obsessed with telling Dan to ‘lighten up’ while not displaying any sense of responsibility at all. Has a one night stand with Jamie’s teacher and then pines after her.

Dan – Nerdy, clean freak, awkward older brother. Rubbish with women and often tries, unsuccessfully, to stand up to Toby. Is seen as a party pooper and general thorn in everyone’s side.

That’s not to say they aren’t likeable, Dan is actually quite witty and will reply to Toby with sarcasm and thinly hidden frustration. But that’s the 3 main (and only) male characters in this one sitcom. The whole programme is about Toby and Dan’s efforts to look after Jamie now their mum has died. They are shown to be virtually unable to look after themselves, let alone a 14 year old boy. They eat baked beans, play video games all day and live in a messy flat. Even at work Dan is constantly upstaged and belittled by his boss.

In one episode, Dan’s boss moves in with them for a few days. The quickest way to get rid of her? Toby tells her Dan’s in love with her. Her response is to leave immediately, because nothing can be quite as repulsive as this particular man being in love with you.

Again, that’s not to say they aren’t likeable, or that the female characters don’t occupy some place on the stereotype line. The point is that we are always being told about how nice it is to see shows like Girls that finally show female characters in a different light, a non-stereotyped, more realistic light. That makes it sound like men are these perfect specimens – they aren’t, they occupy a very thin wedge of character development for the most part. One well developed male character does not make up for the plethora of absolute morons.

One interesting thing to note about the feminist argument on stereotypes is that these women seem unable to be seen as ‘whole’ without a man in their lives. They’re seen as ‘tools’ to further the male characters’ development, a pawn in the game of ‘who’s the most masculine’.

What they don’t realise is that a huge portion of male characters are shown to be utterly worthless when women are absent. If they aren’t worthless without women then they are utterly inept at getting women. Men are either idiots who need their wives to guide them through life, idiots who make mistakes and need their wives to explain to them why what they did was bad, socially inept weirdos who only get women because of some sort of social pity or creepy sleazeballs who don’t get women because they’re presented as borderline sex offenders.

Let’s take Mike and Molly. Melissa McCarthy is being lauded as an actor who is breaking down boundaries not just for female actors but for overweight actors too. It’s a shame she got her big break on a sitcom that treats men so badly. Her husband is an overweight policeman, a beer guzzling, overeating caveman stereotype who is constantly messing up and needs to be ‘educated’ on how to be a better husband. His partner, Carl, is a borderline sex pest whose ideas of romance are stuck firmly in the cave he so obviously crawled out of. Their friend who owns a small café (I’m not sure what Americans would call it) is an overly sarcastic foreigner who constantly wonders why he’s friends with them.

What about See Dad Run, a comedy about an actor who gives up work to look after the kids so his wife can go back to work. Seems noble, right? You’d think, that is until it’s revealed he’s a completely inept father figure who fails at the most basic tasks and has to grovel and apologise to Mrs. Wonderful before she’ll treat him like a human again!

As I’ve said, I’m ignoring the female characters for the simple reason that this blog entry isn’t about them, it’s about the men. So please understand, I’m not dismissing stereotyped portrayals of women, just sidelining them for this blog.

But I want to move away from Television programmes and focus on television films. Before that, though, I want to present the misandry of Hollywood. I’ve written a couple of blogs on how some of the major releases by Marvel are ‘not feminist films’ due to the treatment of female characters. Well, as a response to that, here’s a major motion picture trailer that contains that one, sex-obsessed, borderline creepy ‘comedy relief’ character who is unable to function in a socially acceptable way when around women:

https://www.facebook.com/antman/videos/1183473531679785/

Yeah, it’s only one example, but I’m pretty sure I could find more if I was that obsessed. As it stands I think the MCU is, for the most part, thoroughly entertaining, so I’m willing to let it slide. For now.

It’s a funny thing, originally I was going to title this blog entry ‘the misandry of Hallmark’ and focus on Hallmark films that further stupid and unoriginal stereotypes of male characters. However, I thought that title was quite limiting and, to a certain degree, unfair. That’s not because I really love Hallmark or anything, more because it would be unfair to single them out when it’s pretty much all romantic films that contain these stereotypes and one dimensional portrayals. To single out Hallmark would be untrue and would narrow the focus too much.

The truth is, while Hallmark does churn out the type of romanticised dross that I want to criticise, they are by no means the only ones who do.

There’s a TV channel over here in England called Movies 24. Around November time they rebrand themselves as Christmas 24 and only show Christmas themed films. These Christmas films are, for the most part, romantic dramas. The other 10 months of the year there’s a selection of action, drama, romance and comedy films. I only tend to watch the romantic films. There are 2 reasons for this:

  1. They are pretty easy to watch and are often more enjoyable than the big Hollywood rom coms.
  2. I’m a sucker for a happy ending.

As I’ve watched these films over the last couple of years I’ve come to the conclusion that the male characters are, to be blunt, fucking pathetic. Absolute morons who are only redeemed once the female characters get their hands on them. Stupid, unaware, arrogant, egotistical, idiotic, cowardly, commitment-phobic and generally all round losers who suck at life until they are reshaped into something more socially acceptable.

On the flipside, there’s the unattainable ideal, the perfect man who is presented in equally ridiculous ways. Both of them occupy opposite ends of the stereotype spectrum. There’s no room for the ‘real’ man, they are cast aside in order to portray either perfection of downright idiocy.

I have a rather large list of Christmas and non-Christmas films that treat men badly. I don’t want to go through the list one by one, so I’ll simply focus on the worst hitters and explain why I think they are so damaging.

Again, I should point out that, for the most part, I do enjoy these films. There is a certain charm about them and they do have happy endings so I’m not completely against watching them. I’m just bored of seeing the numerous articles about how sexist television and film is towards women when a cursory glance at these types of films show that the men are hardly presented that much better.

It’s also worth pointing out that these films, romantic comedies that, probably, present ‘problematic’ ideals of heteronormativity and all that bollocks, are predominantly aimed at and consumed by women. So when it comes to damaging portrayals of men it’s actually women who are the equally as affected. It’s women who internalise these negative portrayals and then apply them to the real world. It’s women who internalise the overly, and unrealistic, positive portrayals of men and apply that to the real world. It’s women who internalise these portrayals and then moan like fuck because their men either, on the negative side, behave just like the slovenly morons in these films or, on the positive side, don’t match up to the idealistic and overly brilliant Prince Charming figures.

So, shall we start?

Another Christmas Kiss – sequel to A Christmas Kiss (which had its own rather shitty portrayal of its only main male character). There are 4 male characters who could be considered ‘main’ characters and they are all morons. There’s the best friend, who is clueless when it comes to women and cannot sort out his own love life. Then there’s the father: spineless fuckwit who constantly disappoints his daughter because he cannot stand up to his new wife and family. Then there’s Cooper, the main character who is a degenerate playboy whose eyes are constantly wandering and who is always looking for the next big thrill. That is until he meets the main female character, Jenna, whose desire not to get her heart broken, again, and whose desire to avoid being another ‘notch’ on Cooper’s bedpost means she’s unwilling to trust him.

How does this all end? In a lovely full-circle moment when, buoyed by the very idea of being with Jenna, Cooper manages to convince her Dad to make amends with his daughter. Also, the flatmate finally takes the advice of Jenna and stops being a coward, calling his ex-girlfriend and finally admitting he needs to be with her.

See, without the intervention of a woman the three male characters are fucking clueless. They go around hurting the people they love simply because they’re too Neolithic to actually know any better. It’s only once Jenna starts to ‘teach’ Cooper how to be a better man that everything else falls into place.

What about the 4th man? Well, he’s actually pretty cool and has some nice lines. So why my beef with him? Well, he works in fashion, is foreign and comes across as quite camp. We are led to believe through most of the film that he’s probably gay, yet the surprise comes at the end when it’s revealed that he’s in a loving relationship. Yeah, the only way this film can present a positive male character is by leading the audience to assume he’s gay. That way, people are more likely to believe he’s genuine, because, for some reason, hetero men are just untrustworthy douchebags.

Nine Lives of Christmas – I actually really like this one and there are numerous positive examples of male characters overall, but they still all fall onto the stereotype scope. The main character is a firefighter (I forget his name), a ‘lone wolf’ who dates an endless stream of beautiful women and isn’t one to settle down. The other firefighters are presented quite well, though they still, to a man, have trouble breaking through the ‘jealous of all the women the main character gets’ trope. In the end, the main character meets a gorgeous young woman and has to make the terrible decision to stop womanising and admit he feels like this girl could be the one. Of course, that doesn’t happen because men are fucking idiots. He nearly ruins the whole thing, preferring to close down and not admit his feelings to himself because it might just mean admitting he’s in love. He manages to make amends with a grand gesture to the love of his life, begging her to take him back and be with him forever. Yeah, it’s the love of a good woman that makes him realise his life is unfulfilling and not what he wants. His stream of girlfriends is shown to be a negative thing. Isn’t that what we call slut-shaming?

Finding Christmas – a story about a Christmas house swap (almost like a cheap version of The Holiday) where the two male characters are presented as complete opposites. There’s the ‘musician’ type, a bit of a layabout, not into settling down, waiting for his music career to take off, wants to ‘live life’ and all that guff; then there’s the overly studious, ‘I have everything planned out for the next 10 years’ type guy. He wants to propose to his girlfriend but she says no, simply because she’s sick to death of his lack of fun. They both end up falling for women once undergoing their house swap. The ‘muso’ type even gets lectured on ‘you don’t deserve a woman’s time’ or some such bullshit. Seriously, I can’t even bring myself to re-watch that scene even for this blog? Why? Well, for the simple reason that the ‘you deserve a proper man’ line is spoken to female characters in nearly every single one of these films.

The main point of contention is the ending to the business man’s story. His girlfriend comes back into the story, admitting she’s realised her mistake (you know, because now he’s not a boring bastard anymore she suddenly changes her mind) and wants to be with him. Of course, his new girlfriend doesn’t like this and makes a really big scene about how he hurt her and all that overly emotional bollocks. I don’t suppose it’s a bad storyline, just that, not 5 minutes before this happens his new girlfriend reveals she’s got a young son. Yeah, he’s supposed to just accept that she lied to him, but she’s allowed to get all upset that his lie, despite not being anywhere near as severe, is the more damaging. Fuck off.

Bride By Christmas – ah, possible the most misogynistic of all the Christmas films I’ve watched. In this one, two friends literally bet each other that one of them can make a girl fall in love and marry him before Christmas. Yeah, it immediately sets up these two main male characters as absolute cunts. They see women as trophies to be won, prizes to be gained at the end of each challenge. They have no qualms about the fact this particular bout of Christmas merriment is bordering on emotional abuse. The premise is simple – make a woman fall in love with you, by any means necessary, and get her to marry you before Christmas. If he loses? He has to trade his cosy office for a cubicle next to a male colleague. A male colleague, by the way, who is another muppety cunt. Yeah, toying with a woman’s emotions for a fucking spot in the office.

So how does this film go about redeeming this utterly loathsome cunt? Yep, with the love of a good woman. Over the course of the film he realises what an utter moron he is, he tries to break off the deal and he finally admits that he loves this woman, eventually proposing, for real, at her house on Christmas Day. See, all he needed was to fall in love with a woman and his life up to that point would be revealed for the sham that it is.

Oh yeah, there’s also the ridiculously needy ex-fiancé who won’t just fuck off, but I’m not going to get into that.

Moving away from Christmas films now, I want to highlight just two of the worst romantic comedy films I’ve seen in the last couple of years:

Nearlyweds – A bubbly comedy about three close friends who, due to an admin error, find out their marriages were not finalised. Cue 80 minutes of men being portrayed as idiotic, clueless, snivelling, arrogant, out-of-touch, controlling morons. Constantly making mistakes, constantly ignoring their girlfriend’s needs, constantly doing the wrong thing, constantly saying the wrong thing, being spineless, cowardly, juvenile morons.

In one scene towards the end, one of the boyfriends comes grovelling to speak to his girlfriend, begging to be taken back, only to be intercepted by the two best friends. What does he do? He begs them to help him, to tell him what he’s done so wrong, because he’s so fucking clueless that he can’t simply figure it out himself. He’s such a caveman that he’s unable to figure out why his girlfriend is angry at him and needs the help of three oh-so-intelligent women to give him the tips required to convince his girl that he is actually capable of being a fully functional human being.

I detest this film for numerous reasons, but there’s one line that very nearly made me switch it off. In the aforementioned scene where said stupid boyfriend appeals to the best friends, the conversation somehow moves on to dogs, at which point one of the best friends says “and speaking of dogs…” and turns to look at the boyfriend, a gleeful hint of malice in her eye. Yep, call a woman a dog in a film and you can guarantee the world loses its collective mind, call a man a dog in a film and, well, he’s a pathetic fucking manchild so probably deserves it for being so clueless.

 

Her Minor Thing – without doubt the absolute worst film I’ve ever seen. Absolutely dripping with misandry, it’s about a news reporter who, on live TV, accidentally reveals his girlfriend is a virgin. Cue 80 minutes of the worst portrayal of men I think can ever have been committed to celluloid. The woman is actually portrayed really well, she owns her virginity and doesn’t let anyone shame her for her choices. She comes out of this in a very positive place.

The men, on the other hand, Christ do the men get shafted! There is not one positive portrayal of a male character, not a single goddamn one. Every single last male character turns into a drooling, pathetic, shambles of a man whose only desire is to be ‘the one’ to take her virginity. Every single goddam one of them. The boyfriend, the one who accidentally let the secret slip, becomes an utter moron, refusing to believe he did anything wrong and somehow failing to do anything right over the course of the rest of the film.

The best friend of said male character is also some uppity cunt who dispenses bad advice and is generally an all-round despicable human being. What’s his comeuppance? He gets beaten up by the lesbian friend of the main female character. It’s not shown on screen but the entire bar they’re in thinks it’s fucking hilarious. Why wouldn’t they? I mean, it’s only a man and he was being an utter cunt so he probably deserved it, right?

Not only do the visible male characters get slammed, the invisible male characters get slammed too. Once her ‘minor thing’ gets revealed, it becomes a big news item, leading numerous other women to phone in with their tales of contemptible men. Not a single goddamn positive portrayal of men.

Even the goddamn hero doesn’t get away from this fucking wreck of a film. Even the man our heroine ends up with holds a secret that ends up nearly destroying their budding relationship, leading him to make a grand gesture to win her trust back, because, as a man, it’s just so predictable that he’d be a disappointment.

What becomes of our intrepid news reporter who accidentally reveals this news? I can’t remember exactly, but I do remember it being suitably humiliating. I honestly can’t even muster up the energy to go back and watch it just to double check. Let’s just be sure of one thing, he deserves everything he gets, because he’s a man who’s behaved like a cunt throughout most of the film.

Look, I’m not trying to say that men are always portrayed badly, or that these films should be boycotted. I’m just saying that, for all the moaning we get these days about unrealistic portrayals of women, there are numerous instances of men being portrayed equally as poorly, especially on Television. I’m not saying women don’t get portrayed badly, or that there aren’t damaging stereotypes that get peddled by films. I’m simply saying that we need to stop pretending this is a thing that only affects women.

You might try and argue that the films I mentioned are nothing worth worrying about, that it’s Hollywood that we should be worried about. Well, if I wanted to I could go through some Hollywood blockbusters and give you examples of stereotyped and one dimensional characters. This is not a gendered issue, this is simply an issue of scriptwriters following story arcs that have been established for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

I’m picking on these slightly less high profile films because they are the mindless drivel you find on Channel 5 in the afternoon, the kind of stuff that, predominantly, women watch to while away the hours with tales of romance and love. I’m not having a go at women, if they want to watch them then that’s cool. Like I say, there are also films of this type that I thoroughly enjoy. I enjoyed Nine Lives of Christmas, it became one of my favourite films of last Christmas. All I’m doing is saying that, even in these enjoyable and less obvious portrayals, the stereotypes and one dimensional characters still exist.

What we don’t get in these instances are articles by progressives, liberals, feminists and SJWs decrying the lack of progress when it comes to fictional portrayals of men. There’s an article I read recently that rips apart Toy Story 3 (yeah, fucking Toy Story 3) because it doesn’t do enough to progress the development of female roles in films. Toy Story 3 is damaging because reasons.

Well, if Toy Story 3 is damaging (and I may well write an article about that article) then all of the above films are damaging. If Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy are not feminist films because of the portrayal of a small selection of female characters then all the above films are falling short in their portrayal of male characters.

As I’ve said before, if you go looking for misogyny you’ll find it; if you go looking for misandry you’ll find it. There are some films where misogyny and misandry are more pronounced. Those are the films to go after, not every single goddam film that just happens to have a woman say something you don’t think is very progressive or doesn’t fit your own personal ideals.

I like romantic comedies. I don’t have anything in my life even remotely resembling a romance at the moment so I like to lose myself in these films. As I’ve said, they’re easy to watch and generally have a happy ending. I’m fully aware that these films are chock full of stereotypes, that’s the way storytelling has been for a very, very long time. What I don’t like is when I’m expected to sit through a film where my sex is shown to be utterly incapable of functioning as a rational human being without the help of a woman. I don’t like sitting through a film where male characters are shown to be sex-mad, one-track-minded, mind-numbingly idiotic simpletons. I don’t like sitting through these types of films yet only ever reading articles that complain about the way the female characters are treated. It gets extremely boring.

In fact, it gets to the point that, rather than making me feel like you’ve got a point, you come across like a whinging fucking cunt who is upset because something didn’t go exactly the way you wanted it.

I could go on for days about the misandry of television, about the way male characters occupy such a small portion of the scale of character development only to be told that, actually, male characters are always the hero. I could but I won’t. Why? Because I think I’ve rambled on long enough for one entry.

I will leave you with one final thought, though: next time you watch television, or a film, and think ‘wow that’s a bit sexist/stereotypical/one dimensional towards women’ just have a look at the male characters and see if you think they are portrayed any better. You might just be surprised.