The worrying normalisation of misogyny

The car ad that prompts a sexist backlash

Audi, the car manufacturer, recently released an ad for the Super Bowl which has become controversial. It was not because the message relating to gender parity, was particularly contentious or new. It wasn’t. It was a dad’s message to his daughter. According to the World Economic Forum‘s Global Gender Gap Report of 2016, the US is lagging behind many other countries in this area, sitting in 35th place. But what does stand out about this video is the number of “thumbs down” a car ad would be receiving, compared to the number of “likes.” There is a significant difference. Not just that, the nature of the comments attributed to the video is worthy of mention, many of which are extremely sexist. Today it is not uncommon to see an outpouring of virulence and sexist commentary, across all platforms. Sadly, the normalisation of misogyny is becoming an increasingly common part of our daily social media diet. It suggests that gender resentment is hovering very close to the surface and can spew out at the slightest, even benign, provocation.

Read: Misogyny as a hate crime, effective or just words?

Threatened base

It would be too simplistic to blame one person totally for this trend.  But there is no doubt as a senior world leader, President Trump has in many ways legitimised the outpouring of sexist commentary and overseen the normalisation of misogyny. He is the champion for many men who feel aggrieved. In his election campaign it was suggested that “he is saying what we are all thinking.” And let’s not forget this, there are also many women who admire and support that stance.

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