Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Equality Illusion - part 2

The Equality Illusion: Women and Men Today by Kat Banyard is excellent reading. It covers some of the same areas as Natasha Walter's Living Dolls. I would have liked to see more about the way stereotypes and conventional expectations adversely affect men - especially in view of the title but that said there is some excellent material here. It highlights the fact that we still do not have an equal society and that women's bodies are treated as men's playthings far more than they were prior to the rise of feminism.

I found the chapter on pornography very disturbing. Not being someone who searches for it on the Internet I had not realised the violence and sheer nastiness there is in much pornography on the Internet. The author only looked at the top 10 hits on Google and these were horrendous. I am in general anti censorship but this sort of stuff needs to be kept away from children as it seems to be fuelling some very unpleasant behaviour among teenage boys.

The sexual harassment girls are subjected to at school was truly shocking to read about as well - and yet teachers' reactions were - 'boys will be boys'. They did not take it seriously. But are boys subjected to the same treatment by some girls? The book is silent on this point.

The chapter on domestic violence was interesting though it did not shed any new light on the subject and omitted to mention violence perpetrated by women on men - suggesting that any such episodes are a merely self defence. I would have liked to have seen a bit more about violence can affect men as well. Domestic violence is serious - whoever is the victim.

There is a useful list of the organisations connected with the fight for equality and comprehensive notes for each chapter together with a short reading list. A well written book though the author omits to mention that while the Sex Discrimination Act has the date of 1975 on it, it didn't come into force until - I think - the end of 1976. I was applying for jobs in 1976 and I can remember being asked questions about my intentions as regards having children because I was newly married. These questions were not illegal at the time.

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