New Internationalist

We Are Not Amused

Issue 150

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We are not amused
Feminists are often accused of not having a sense of humour.
But can you blame them? Most cartoons and jokes contain offensive
stereotypes, and false assumptions about women. Here is a
New Internationalist attempt to debunk some of them.

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Do women nag more than men? Given that women have prime responsibility for domestic work, it is reasonable that they request help. However, there are seven belittling terms commonly used to describe women’s talk (chatter, natter, prattle, nag, bitch, whine, gossip) and no male equivalents.

Source: Man-Made language, Dale Spender

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Are men sharing housework with women nowadays? One recent American study showed that even when men claimed to be doing their share of the housework, they only contributed ten per cent of the time and effort needed.

Source: Signs Vol 6. No. 3

'This man who followed you - was he sober?'

Is sexual harassment and rape only a problem for attractive women?

Inadequate statistical evidence is available on the incidence of sexual crimes against women: Sheffield Rape Crisis Centre has found that as many as nine out of ten rapes are not reported to the Police. However, the London Rape Crisis Centre has found the sexual crimes are committed against women of all ages. Of those who contacted them and gave their ages in 1981-2, 16 per cent were younger than nine years and five per cent were over 35.

Source: Sheffield Men Against Sexual Harassment Information Pack and London Rape Crisis Centre Report 1985

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"The filing was easy -
they were all letters..."

Are women stupid? Detailed statistical analysis of school leavers in England and Wales showed that little significant difference between the numbers of exams passed by girls and boys at age 16. In fact girls did slightly better, 58 per cent had at least one good pass compared with 52 per cent of the boys.

Source: HMSO Social Trends 1984

'Did you notice how content Ghandi was with just one cheap piece of clothing?'

Are women always buying clothes?

Evidence is scarce but one French study shows that husbands consume more of the household’s surplus for their personal needs than do wives.

Source: The Main Enemy, Christine Delphy.

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Is a wife an expensive liability? If the services provided free by a wife were bought at market rates, they would cost $14,500 at 1979 prices.

Source: State of the World’s Women Report, 1985


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