Friday, August 30, 2013

I dislike FHM and similar lad mags

For a long time, I wanted to write about this issue here, but I didn't know where to start. I have been feeling strongly about it for years. It's about women and how they are represented in media, and how this affects how men view women and how we view ourselves. I would like to hear the thoughts of other women in this issue.

Once, absent-minded, I was browsing the FHM Philippines website out of curiosity. There was another showbiz news item about how this Starlet is on the new cover and I ended up searching it on Google. Then I read something bad in an article. I know that maybe it was supposed to be humorous, but instead I felt resigned anger and sadness that these things exist. It made me very uncomfortable, and I want to dig deeper at my own feelings and find its causes. There was a sudden alarm in my intuition that said, 'there is something very wrong with this'.

Here's the excerpt on another 'How to hook up with girls' article, with tips on how to 'get' specific types of women:
3) The doctor and the attorney. Women with extra letters attached to their names (Engr, Atty, PhD, or MD) can be oh-so-proud about succeeding in a male-dominated career. Feeling nila, sila ang nakahihigit.*
If that chick always makes you feel inadequate, it’s time to put her in her proper place. So sit back and grab your balls while I show you how to get that feelingera** to think of you as her equal!

*English: "They feel like they are better"

My initial reaction was WTF. Women have been working hard to earn those degrees not only to help themselves but the rest of humanity. Women have been excelling for a long time in these fields, that before was only for men. Now this sounds like it was written by an insecure guy who thinks that the "Engr, Atty, PhD, or MD" is a woman's excuse to feel superior. At first read, it sounded selfish. It sickens me that the woman has to be put in "her proper place" -- that is, her innate talents demeaned so a man can feel better about himself.

I dislike articles like this. They are written in a humorous tone so you don't take them seriously, but in my opinion this is poisonous.

I learned more about sexism and feminism in following blogs on the internet (on Tumblr, here's a good informative blog to start with) with ideas that I agree with, that I can rarely find in mainstream media. FHM has advertisers, money, and marketing to keep it going. Sadly, each time a new actress bares her body on the cover, it is headlines. We congratulate her. We get write-ups like these.

Thoughts? Is my reaction exaggerated?
A quote from another post, hits close about an issue around the word 'creepy':
Hell, there are sites upon sites upon sites, and bestselling books teaching men how to push, talk, pressure, confuse, trick, threaten, and nitpick their way past our “nos”, past our explanations, past our boundaries. To so many guys, “no” (and any variation of no, including all explanations) means “wrong tactic, try again.”
          So we HAVE to say “you’re creeping me out”, because they ARE, because everything above is creepy, because not leaving us alone is creepy, because anything else we say gets pushed back onto us, and they refuse to respect our boundaries and that is fucking creepy! Creepy is the only tool we have to definitively send a message to a guy we’re not interested. You’re creepy, if you do anything else towards me, you’ll be even creepier and THAT they do understand.
          And that’s why they hate it so much. That’s why they want to take the word away from us. And that’s why we can’t let them. It’s the only tool we have in a society where nothing a woman says to a man to set her boundaries can’t be picked apart by that man and pushed back onto her to defend, and re-defend those boundaries.
I have experienced bad days when some people can't take NO for an answer. If my 'asshole radar' acts up, it's best to leave a situation before it starts. I had pretended to be nice... now I regret that. I should have been honest, and even if I'm laughed at and mocked, (I was, once, and that will be the last time) at least I will feel better that I have told what I really thought.

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