The word misogyny has recently been redefined in Australia as “entrenched prejudice against women”. This switch from the more commonly accepted definition of “hatred of women” is partially thanks to the now-famous speech delivered by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in October 2012.
Her angry words against Opposition Leader Tony Abbott have been commended by many, supporting Gillard’s fury against the representation of women as inferior to men, homemakers and bitches. And yet, this support comes across as sadly superficial. (Add Like or Smiley here.) The rampant sexism in our world is insidiously real and, on the whole, completely accepted. The female faces of Fox News say it all. Young and blond would appear to be the only requirement to deliver the categorical truths at Fox. And it’s not just the weird world of Fox; it’s ingrained in today’s stories and entertainment. I recently noted this in two films last week. Flight opens with Nadine Velazquez walking naked back and forth past the camera.
Her nudity is aimed to establish a night of debauchery, even though Denzel Washington isn’t measured by the same standard, staying in bed, unexposed. Later in the film, Washington also meets a lovely addict (Kelly Reilly) who the viewer previously saw begging for heroin on a porn set. While the atmosphere of a self-indulged and self-medicated world is the point of these characters and scenes, the manner in which they are portrayed is baldly gratuitous. The same can be said of Looper, a science fiction film in which women are either sex workers
or sexy and fiercely independent.
It’s not that either Looper or Flight – or for that matter Fox News – are the epitome of art or expression. Actually it’s more the fact that they aren’t that make it all the more insidious. This is what is accepted in our culture. Women equals sex. It’s not equality. It’s an equation.