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Friday, 28 June 2013

Homer Simpson the new male image?

I was somewhat surprised to read this article in The Guardian, entitled Men and boys now second class citizens. It touches on a number of issues I have problems with concerning the way in which men (and by default, boys) have been depicted in the last twenty or more years at least. It has become fashionable to always show the males in any advert, TV show or film as being slightly less intelligent than the female leads. Advertisers often show men as being either stupid or one step removed from the stone age. Personally I don't find Homer Simpson funny, he's a stereotype, he's stupid and, frankly, revolting. His son is no more appealing, a smart-ass, crude, ill-mannered and well deserving a good thumping.

Yes, there are men like Homer, and far too many kids like Bart, but they are not as numerous as the TV, films or advertisers would have us believe. These negative images of men extend into a wide range of other fields as well. Men are typically presented as sexual predators and children are taught not to respect or trust just about everyone by the constant stream of advertising to promote child safety. In part this has arisen in order the advance the equality of women in the workplace and public life, but I suspect it has now gone far too far. There is a danger there as well, one the promoters of this image of men as violent, weak, machoistic, mysoginists would do well to remember. It was said to me many years ago during a discussion over a problem with an individual who always tried to detract from anyone else's achievement. What you take from another by slander, you take twice from yourself in respect.

How do we expect boys to grow up with real values if they are taught their father's are basically just better spoken/educated/looking variants of Homer Simpson? How do we expect them to develop real values when they are told they are no better? What do we expect of them when their "heroes" are foul-mouthed footballers, or drug taking Pop stars? No wonder other societies and cultures are beginning to laugh at us.

We are all human, we all have flaws and failings, but not all men are stupid, not all men are sexual predators, not all men are mysoginists. You may argue that men have it coming as the Guardian article suggests (I disagree - but you'd expect that), but that simply expressing a modern prejudice in politically correct language. Why should a boy be made to feel he is inferior? Why should he be made to learn in a system designed entirely to favour the learning style of girls? That is what the comprehensive system of education has become. Yes, some boys do cope with it, but the majority don't. That is a fact shown by scientific studies, but ignored because it doesn't fit with the ideological dictat that says girls and women must be given the advantage.

You cannot take something away from one person to improve the lot of another without damaging both by so doing. The one will resent being impoverished by being disadvantaged, the other will assume it is a right, and cease to appreciate the effort necessary to attain the full benefit. Both, in the end, will be brought into conflict. When a well qualified young man can turn around and tell someone he doesn't expect to get promotion in his career because of his gender, his skin colour and his religious affiliation you know that the situation is becoming serious.

It is time to call a halt to the presentation of males in general as stupid, boorish and incompetent. They don't deserve it, and ultimately everyone will lose by it.

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