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Keeping Up with the Sexist Double Standards

Why do we only care about what women look like, not what they say?

Shanika Lee-Morris

Naked Politics Blogger 

I’ll be honest- I really wasn’t expecting to see on my Twitter feed today that Donald Trump was meeting with reality TV queen Kim Kardashian in the White House. There was a slightly surreal realisation that American politics seems to be increasingly driven by rich reality TV stars; but there was also a more disappointing undertone to some of the reporting of this meeting.   

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The New York post reported “Trump Meets Rump” on their front cover with a less than tasteful play on words “Kim Thong Un”. Her behind is mentioned three times within the article. Weirdly, some fractions of the press aren’t really interested in what she had to say- which it turns out was pretty important. As is often the standard when discussing  something a woman is doing, the focus went straight to sexualising and objectifying her.   

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Sure, Kim Kardashian’s brand is built heavily on what she looks like and her sexuality as a woman. She’s the first to admit that she finds it empowering to feel comfortable in her own skin and to take her clothes off. But that’s not an excuse for then sexualising her in every context. She strolled up to this meeting fully clothed to raise the important issue of prison reform and specifically the case of Alice Marie Johnson a mother of three who has been imprisoned since 1996 for a “first time non-violent drug offence”.  

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If we flipped this in reverse, would it be the same? As it’s been pointed out on Twitter male sex symbols like George Clooney have come to the White House during the Obama presidency to discuss serious issues, but it would be pretty much unthinkable that the coverage of it would centre around his appearance. 

Even with both Trump and Kim Kardashian being potentially divisive and in many respects unlikable figures, the social media world seems pretty united that whatever the purpose of the meeting, flagrant degrading sexism isn’t an appropriate response. Whether we support her as an individual is irrelevant to ensuring a basic level of respect when it comes to everyone. No woman or man deserves this.   

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This could have been a great opportunity to discuss a very difficult issue. The real story should be highlighting that America’s criminal justice system sometimes unfairly penalises citizens, delivering unduly harsh, if not life sentences that are disproportionate to the crimes being committed. But unfortunately it’s a cause that’s been cruelly ignored by some poor editing choices.

I’m pretty bored of keeping up with the sexist double standards constantly being set between men and women. Clearly we’ve still got a long way to go before women are judged beyond what we look like.

 

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2 comments

  1. https://www.politico.com/blogs/politico44/2012/03/clooney-dazzles-white-house-press-corps-117616

    First paragraph…

    “more than 50 journalists stopped work to traipse outside to the front lawn to hear Clooney speak about Sudan after a meeting with President Obama. And, some admitted privately, simply to gaze at the man that People Magazine has dubbed the WORLD’S SEXIEST MAN. Twice”

    It’s one of the things people know him for, so it gets a mention.

    Kinda like Kim’s ass. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. Is that the same as referencing someone’s appearance in a highly sexualised manner three times on a front cover? It gets a mention but it doesn’t form the core or basis of the piece in anywhere near the same way.

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