THE OLD, yet very relevant, issue of sexism reared its ugly head again.
Celebrity Big Brother and ex-Coronation Street star, Ken Morley, was axed from the house after making lewd and sexist comments about his female housemates, along with using racially offensive language.
Morley, 71, angered his housemates after following them into the shower room, proclaiming that “this is the best place to look at **** in the world.”
Morley also called fellow housemate Cami Li “half Moroccan, half slut”.
After being removed from the house (and rightly so), Morley went on to appear on ITV’s lunchtime panel show, Loose Women, to explain his actions.
While watching the show, something struck me. The amount of sexist comments aimed at men, by the panel of the show, was actually quite blatant but instead of the outcry that Morley faced, the comments were well received and dismissed.
This prompts the question, why is it socially acceptable for women to be sexist towards men?
On the show in question, Coleen Nolan stated that she would “like to get to know Ben Haenow (X Factor 2014 winner)”, which was clearly meant in a sexual manner and this led me to think what if Ken Morley had said that about Fleur East (X Factor 2014 runner-up) or another young woman – would his comments have got the same laughs from the audience? Almost definitely not.
This also got me thinking, would a panel show called Loose Men ever get to air? Would a TV station ever endorse a lunchtime panel show of middle-aged men talking about women in the same way Loose Women talk about men? Again, I think not.
It’s not only Loose Women that are the culprits, as I also caught an old episode of Have I Got News For You this week, with Jo Brand the host.
In the show she was asked what her favourite type of man was and she replied: “A dead one.” Although it is obviously a joke and given, quite a funny one, it also got me thinking if we reversed that joke, would it still be funny? If a male comedian said that his favourite type of women were dead women, would it have got the same laughs? Again, I’m not so sure.
Examples don’t stop there, if you can cast your mind back to I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and Edwina Currie’s leering over X Factor reject Jake Quickenden, she said: “Just to sit and watch Jake doing his exercises and doing a bit of stretching and so on. That’s an old lady’s dream.” Again, reverse the subject and the object, is that still OK?
So what I am asking is, is sexism a shocking double standard within British society?
I spoke to some students on campus and took to Twitter to see how people feel about the issue, here’s what they said:
Chris Ber, 21, a history student, said: “I think it is a two way street really, it happens towards men but it just seems to be generally accepted.”
Thomas Hunt, 22, a psychology student, said: “I think the difference is is that men aren’t really bothered about what women say about them!”
Sarah Cunningham, 18, a criminology student, said: “I agree, if women can be so offended by sexism like in Ken Morley’s case, then women can’t then go about saying things like that about men.”
James Dunn, 19, an engineering student, said: “I don’t think it’s a big problem really, you can see where the line is crossed and mostly it’s just banter.”
Jess Mason, 20, a sports and exercise student, said: “People need to stop being so sensitive about things like this, people don’t know how to take jokes anymore and it’s almost as if people can’t say anything without the risk of offending someone.”
The sexism debate is likely to rage on, but with everyday sexism being generally accepted, it seems society has a long way to go.