Men experience sexism and men can be judged, belittled and mocked just by virtue of being male.
Rob McGibbon certainly felt he experienced it when he saw a Harvey Nichols posted that displayed the words ‘great men go down’.
He took to Twitter to vent at his disbelief that the department store could put up such a risque double entendre.
The angry tweet said: ‘I have asked Harvey Nichols to take down its lewd and offensive poster. The anti-sexism debate must work both ways. It’s not the double entendre that irks me, it’s the double standard and casual hypocrisy. Eggshells for all.’
Others chimed in to support his view that the sign was sexist towards men because had it been reversed to reflect what a great woman is supposed to do, there would be uproar.
Some validated the claim, saying: ‘Just imagine the uproar if the sign was for women! We would never hear the end of it!’ and ‘maybe it’s about time men started complaining about sexism’.
While others saw the lighter side of it saying: ‘Alternatively we could just have a little giggle and not be as sensitive as the screaming permanently offended…come on let’s be better than them…or do we really live in a post joke world now?’
But do these men who call out male sexism ever stand up (with the same gusto) as when women experience it?
I have asked @HarveyNichols to take down its lewd & offensive poster. The anti-sexism debate must work both ways. It's not the double entendre that irks me, it's the double standard and casual hypocrisy. Eggshells for all. pic.twitter.com/Y7FBSI0Jch
— Rob McGibbon (@robmcgibbon) January 15, 2018
While this sign was probably just intended as a cheeky directional pun, it is also a well-intended dig at the lack of men who perform oral sex on their partners.
But just how sexist is it? Are there double standards? Let’s consider the reverse.
Derogatory attitudes towards women are so prevalent so yes the sign would’ve been offensive had it been aimed at them. Also, expectations of what women are supposed to do are also very prevalent, especially in porn culture.
Women are also twice as likely to go down on their partners as men, according to a study in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.
The fact is women’s pleasures are seldom explored let alone propagated by media and there seems to be a general expectation that women should give blowjobs while men are rewarded or praised for going down.
Society ruthlessly splutters and polishes what it means to be a real, great woman, so much so that another sign regurgitating the message could be accused of sexism.
It’s not to say that men deserve a bit of sexism, but those who find it offensive could really dig deep and ask whether it’s sexist in its own right and not just in relation to the reverse.