Yumi Stynes in SBS documentary Is Australia Sexist? Picture: Supplied
Yumi Stynes in SBS documentary Is Australia Sexist? Picture: Supplied

Setting men up as ‘sexist’ proves nothing

For a country that offers so much, we are hell bent on proving the negative about ourselves.

Are we racist? Are we cheats? Are we obese? Are we anti-Islam?

As a whole, as a nation we are, of course, none of the above.

But any number of these infuriating stereotypes are churned through as TV entertainment and on-rotation crises because we cannot accept ourselves as decent humans.

And so to this week's pejorative dilemma - Is Australia Sexist?

Hosted by podcaster Yumi Stynes, the SBS single episode documentary set out to explore this theory but did so via a series of one-dimensional stunts to again prove a negative.

The idea was to mix the results of an academic survey on sexism with secret camera experiments.

And the upshot was that despite the global revolution of #MeToo, here in Australia we languish in the dark ages of Don't You Worry Your Pretty Little Head where men judge women as inferior and solely on their looks.

Yumi Stynes hosted the single episode documentary which set out to explore the question of whether Australia is sexist. Picture: Richard Dobson
Yumi Stynes hosted the single episode documentary which set out to explore the question of whether Australia is sexist. Picture: Richard Dobson

There's no real equality - as a woman, you're screwed on all fronts. That's our reality, claimed the producers.

But what this type of faux science has delivered is not, in fact, a contemporaneous slice of Aussie life in 2018.

The very people forcing equality down our throats have spawned a far more dangerous hybrid - entrapment feminism.

Here's one example from the program.

A young woman in a skimpy outfit taking daylight selfies and randomly standing on a traffic island gets leered and jeered at by passing (male driven) cars.

I would never say she deserved that attention but it was definitely a scenario set up to elicit that precise response.

Tyler stood on a traffic island taking selfies for the SBS documentary. A tally of street harassment, compared to a man doing the same, is shown on screen. Picture: SBS
Tyler stood on a traffic island taking selfies for the SBS documentary. A tally of street harassment, compared to a man doing the same, is shown on screen. Picture: SBS

A young man in a T-shirt and shorts doing the selfie thing gets no grief at all.

Verdict: we are sexist.

Example two: A boy gets more lollies than a girl because he is male.

The suggestion is that this deficit in lolly snakes reflects what is going on out there in the adult world. Verdict: we are sexist.

I would argue that there's no female empowerment in setting up a man to prove he is sexist.

Example three: This was illustrated perfectly by the scenario where Stynes created a fake profile and watched with horror as the explicit pick-up lines started pouring in.

One line in particular was vile bordering on ludicrous and I won't repeat it here. But Stynes setting up a date to confront the author does not prove the creep was sexist.

He was just a creep.

Do we have to tar all men with the same brush?

Women can be just as suggestive on dating apps with potential partners.

Where was the young man who advertised on a dating app and received several crude reactions to his profile pic?

Yumi Stynes confronted a man who left a lewd message for her on Tinder. Picture: SBS
Yumi Stynes confronted a man who left a lewd message for her on Tinder. Picture: SBS

He wasn't there because to show his side of the story doesn't tally with the agenda of feminists determined to entrap men and show them at their worst.

That's not female liberation - that's control

As a woman who appreciates the sight of a good looking male, I can resist the urge to whistle at him or call him out for his hot abs.

I have also taken notice of beautiful women in the same way. Does that make me sexist or just appreciative of the sight of an attractive human?

Is Australia Sexist? also tackled gendered toy buying and the horror of giving dolls to girls and trucks to boys to play with.

Example four: In the hidden camera experiment, adult volunteers were asked to play one-on-one with babies and toddlers dressed in pink or blue.

But of course the boys in blue were actually girls and vice versa. Isla, a baby with dark hair, wore a blue top to become Ian, Charlie was Charlotte, Samuel was Samantha etc.

What was the point - an attempt to be "clever" and trick the unsuspecting volunteers?

Boys were given more lollies than girls as an example of sexism. Picture: SBS
Boys were given more lollies than girls as an example of sexism. Picture: SBS

Stynes and Dr Marilyn Metta from Curtin University analysed the selection of toys and it's no surprise really that a man handed baby "Ian" a fire engine while a woman gave a toy tea set to "Samantha".

It's playing as we did as kids. My daughter loves Lego but I am sure it would not deter her later in life for taking up a career in beauty if she so desired.

"Limiting girls to traditional girl toys has a direct impact on the underrepresentation of women in science and technology and engineering," Dr Metta told the program.

It was a very long bow to draw.

"We need to create a world that's a lot more … gender free," she added, "so boys and girls are not conditioned into those fixed, very limited and damaging roles and stereotypes."

Again, why do we need to gender cleanse the world?

How can that possibly build relationships between the sexes?

So be careful when you're out Christmas shopping this week.

Think twice about that Barbie doll for number one daughter as the fake boobs and synthetic mini might set her up for career fail.

I don't subscribe to the view that we should manufacture situations to paint males in a sexist light, unless of course we are prepared to apply the same standards to ourselves as women.

But could we even be confident that we could pass the test with flying colours or simply expose ourselves as sexist beings too.



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