This post originally appeared in VICE UK
This year should have been a great one for women. I mean, for starters, it's 2014. That is the future, basically. Most years should be great years for women by now, at least until gender is made irrelevant by our robot rulers (or made super relevant again, if the future follows The Jetsons model).
But, as the days rolled on, women around the world found themselves waking up like this, if "this" is a state of baffled horror at the reactionary weirdness of lady-hating dude-bros. A fog of misogyny descended and then drifted into loads of different areas that had previously seemed fun and safe.
Here are just a few things that sexism straight up ruined for me in 2014.
My favorite lecturer at uni was a philosophy PhD candidate called John who was, to date, the only guy I've ever met whose sexiness was enhanced by a ponytail. He taught Practical Ethics, a class in which I primarily argued with fundamentalist Christians about abortions and lied about being a vegetarian in an attempt to impress Professor Ponytail. So my associations with ethics have always been basically great. Also because, if you're talking about ethics, it's generally because you're trying to ensure that people are being treated fairly, which is, you know, good.
Enter Gamergate, the online crap tornado that occurred when women involved in the video game industry suggested that maybe a culture which had been entirely male-dominated since its inception and often treated women as sex objects could think about modernizing a bit. In response, male gamers did totally rational things like spread rumors about game designer Zoe Quinn's sex life and threaten her so much that she had to leave her home. Oh, and then in October they made terrorist threats against Utah State University because they were hosting a lecture by Anita Sarkeesian, who'd become infamous in gaming circles for her Tropes vs Women in Video Games series. All very chill, appropriate responses.
And all of this was done under the guise of concern for "Ethics in Video Game Journalism," because I guess just saying, "NO GIRLS ALLOWED IN THE GUNS 'N' WANKING CLUBHOUSE" didn't quite fit on their banners. I am now distrustful of any call for ethics in any arena. Thanks, men.
Who among us hasn't tried to Euro-up a look with a high, dark neckline, ideally paired with red wine and a touch of disdain? And for those of us prone to hormonal spot breakouts on our chest (Not me. Not me. Just a "random example"), a turtleneck can be the perfect accessory to your complexion's crime.
And then Dapper bloody Laughs—or "character comedian Daniel O'Reilly", as his mum calls him—comes along, does that Newsnight interview and ruins the garment forever. It's bad enough that he built his career on rape threats and the general degradation of women, now he has to make the otherwise innocent turtleneck synonymous with bullshit televised apologies?
For shame, Daniel. I mean, on the list of Sexist Cunts of 2014, you're way behind, say, Julien Blanc, but at least he had the good sense to do his choke slams while wearing deep Vs, which have literally always been awful.
Touching Sporting Narratives
Everyone loves a good "triumph over adversity in order to become a highly paid professional athlete" story, don't they? It's like how everyone likes Kanye West because he broke his jaw once. But can we be touched by these stories after it turns out that, actually, difficult background or not, top-tier athletes will continue to be righteous, violent assholes when it comes to women, and that the institutions around them will continue to protect them?
I mean, Pistorius had both his legs amputated before he turned one; Ray Rice's dad was killed when he was young; Ched Evans is called "Ched"—all were starting from positions of pretty serious disadvantage. But every time I feel like being inspired by their stories, my buzz gets harshed out by all the murdering/assaulting/raping they did. I'm canceling my Sky Sports subscription and it's sexism's fault.
American College Comedies
Say you're the kind of idiot who laughs at the jizz scene in Scary Movie—that's all been ruined this year, along with my enjoyment of all the other terrible popcorn comedies set in American colleges throughout history. The cause? The horribly depressing amount of stories to emerge this year that detailed how prevalent rape is on American college campuses.
It's kind of hard to get into a hilarious party scene when you realize you're scanning the background extras to see if any of the dudes are dropping things in the girls' drinks, or if a Rolling Stone journalist is walking around the party with a skateboard saying, "How do you do, fellow kids?"
Last year called, it wants its cronuts back. Photo via Flickr user ccho
Did you know that when a donkey and a zebra have a kid it's called a zedonk? Seriously. Type that into Word and marvel at the lack of squiggly red line. Such an adorable name for this heartwarming example of interspecies love, and yet I can't enjoy it any more. Nor can I dig the retro charm of cassingle, the coronary-disaster that is the cronut or the modern marvel that is the vlog... LOL, jk, vlog was always a terrible word for a terrible thing.
But when hundreds of naked photos of female celebrities were released without their permission in September, this hilarious sex-crime was initially dubbed Celebgate. Which was pretty bad, in terms of whacking a jaunty label on a crime. But that wasn't enough for our merry band of pervs, so this label was soon overtaken by The Fappening.
You know. Because fapping is an onomatopoeic word for wanking and these dudes wanted you to know they were getting off on gross violations of privacy. RIP, portmanteaus—never forget (nevget).
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