irena sendler.

i was just stumbling and i stumbled upon a snopes.com page that explains the story of irena sendler (and verifies it).
apparently this woman is known as the female Oskar Schindler because she helped smuggle as many as 3,000 polish jew adults and children out of Warsaw.  her story was largely unknown until high school kids wrote a play about her effort in 1999.  however, it is believe that she was up for a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2007, but lost to Al Gore.  Al Gore.  and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

ok, granted, Al Gore has done good work, and has raised a lot of awareness, but consider how debated his acts still are.  for instance, teachers in England can be imprisoned for Political Indoctrination if they show his film without telling their students of the at least 9 glaring scientific fallacies (i can’t actually site that at this moment because i just read it yesterday in an open letter published in the paper version of the New York Times and i haven’t found it online).  not everyone believes in global warming and the science isn’t yet set in stone (if science can ever be set in stone).

however, we know the Holocaust happened.  for sure.  and we know this woman helped human beings escape certain death.  for sure.  we know she put her life at risk and underwent unspeakable torture at the hands of the Third Reich.  for sure.  and we know that’s work for peace if there ever was work for peace.  for sure.
(for still more information: Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project)

but you know who won the NPP?  a man.  you know why Irena Sendler’s name isn’t bigger?  because she’s not Oscar Schindler.   can you guess why Gore won that NPP?  because climate change is on everyone’s mind, not having a hand in on ending holocaust.
and you know what people want?   men to get the glory and for the good news to be newsworthy.

it just makes me really angry to see this woman being lost in history, as if history can afford to lose any of its heroines.  i’m glad men do good things.  really, i am, don’t get me wrong.  men are good.  but when their glory outshines that of women, there’s a problem.  it’s a problem, too, when women’s glory outshines men, because this isn’t an issue of Sexes, it’s an issue of Sexism, but i’m fairly certain those instances are far fewer than the former.
and it makes me angry that people would allow a conveniently controversial story to win out over truly honouring a solid, heroic humanitarian deed.  when that’s the point, according to my understanding, of the NPP in the first place.

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how media changes… or not.

so, many thanks to Feministing for bringing this to my attention…

they posted a link to The 15 Most Sexist Daytime TV Commercials; all 15 are appropriately offensive, but some just blew my mind.  The span from what seems like the 60’s to current-day, which meant my 21st Century Sensibilities were trampled on.
there was one on there i’ve seen before, so maybe you have.  the Bounty commercial where the kid and dad just stare at the spilled soda without engaging in any problem-solving action, and the mom just smiles knowingly and solves it for them, you know?  when i’ve seen it, i’ve never thought anything of it; it really doesn’t break any modern-day taboos.  i’m typically numbed to the women are smart and clean the house and men are dumb and don’t idea.  not as much as i used to be, but still.
the older ones, though, well, i didn’t know our society was so PC.  i’d heard it was, but i didn’t Know.
just have a look…
edit: i haven’t quote got the whole HTML thing with this blog provider, so it’s just links for now.

Mattel Toy Commercial

Talk about gender roles…  All little boys want to grow up to be something dangerous and play with dangerous things.  in order to Be male, you must enjoy guns and MURDER.  did you notice that?  that little boy murders the window lurker, and not out of self-defense, but good ole fun.  seriously?

Folger’s – Beautiful Wife, Bad Coffee

now, this is the kind of commercial that gets me all fired up.  all those sensibilities i was talking about see that she’s the perfect woman, and he’s understood to be the perfect man.  we’ve eased up a little on those roles in current commercials.  then, perfect men are vain and beautiful women cater to them by bringing them coffee, already looking all put together so to please him.  i guess the difference here is that in that time, that was totally real life.  women got up super early to be able to take care of that breakfast/coffee looking beautiful the first time he sees me stuff.  now, i’m sure some do, but would you, ever day?
this is what irritates me still more, she’s made into something that’s only good to look at because she can’t make coffee!  because a woman’s worth is in her face and her abilities in the kitchen.  at least we’ve moved beyond that… a little, most of the time.  if we’re being PC enough.
finally, though, she gives a fuck.  it really hurts her that her husband isn’t pleased with his coffee.  instead of telling him she has worth beyond her coffee skillz, and that if it’s so awful, how about he give it a try, she tells her tale of woe to a wiser friend, who tells her all the tips and tricks.  maybe it’s just the over-aggressive in me, but i’d say, if it’s bitter, there’s sugar and milk in the kitchen.  you buy the coffee the next time you’re at wal-mart.  but, again, men didn’t do the whole grocery shopping thing those days.

Mystery Date!

almost done, but this one just Kills me.
the guy that comments on this in the original article says, “Sometimes a commercial is sexist because the product itself is sexist. And so we come to Mystery Date. It’s hard to tell to whom this would be more offensive. Is it more degrading to girls and their depiction of waiting for a cad with seventeen ponies worth of swoon? Or is it worse for the guys, who get reduced to either tuxedoed studs, perpetually skiing douchebags or duds who, because of their inability to tuck in a shirt, are completely unacceptable for procreating?”  and i don’t know that i have anymore to comment.

Winston Flintstones

this final one, this is a doozy in regards to modern sensibilities, with one redeeming quality.
i have never seen a TV commercial for cigarettes, as they were banned here in 1965, so that’s one blow.
second, the reason Why they banned the TV ads: as to limit the demographic for under-aged kids.  i’m guessing 1965 was about the time they may’be possibility thought cigarettes cause lung cancer.  but this is a Cartoon!  this isn’t just the Camel camel, who people throw a fit at because he looks kinda cool, so smoking makes you cool.  this is, little kids, the neat characters in your favourite cartoon smoke, why don’t you try!
since a TV add for cigarettes targeting children is really bad enough, i didn’t Quite so irritated by the sexism.  although, specifically teaching little kids that women clean and men avoid cleaning [by hiding behind the house smoking] doesn’t sit well with me.
the redeeming quality is that when the women notice, they throw down their cleaning tools to the men, but there’s still a problem because the men sort of just ignore them; silly women, throwing a tantrum.

after watching these and the others, part of me is glad that we’re a little more PC.  little boys and murder, and the flintstones and winstons… it’s better days.
but the sexism is still there.  mutually degrading to men and women.  i don’t think people recognise how media perpetuates the negative habits we have and rarely encourages us to be better, otherwise not only would smoking be gone, but so would knowing, eager-to-please housewives and dull, expecting-to-be-pleased [working] husbands.  media does little to nothing to improve society (except for Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, that’s pure gold), and clearly that is a trend running all the way from when tv commercials began.  not to mention journalism… that’s a topic for another day.

 

p.s.
in case you’re too lazy to do the youtube search…
Dove Real Beauty commercial

and a personal favourite image from the campain to leave this all on a good note…