Dr Monica Germana, who has extensively written on sexism in popular culture, was invited to comment on the recent complaint from broadcaster Mariella Frostrup who denounces a new ‘double standard’ allowing women to lust over men, but then sees accusations of sexism when the role is reversed.
Dr Germana said: “I think there is a double standard but I do not think it is necessarily a bad thing meaning that it is a result of the gender unbalance that we have in place in our society and particularly the film industry has been showing a great deal of sexual harassment and sexism in place.
“Now, to say that there is double standard does not mean that it is okay to abuse or sexually harass men. It is to say that women have been receiving sexism for a very long time and if some men are receiving sexism perhaps that is happening because of the way things are changing and because more women are perhaps in position of power and therefore can exercise their power on men. However, we cannot say that any form of physical objectification equals to sexism. It is important to differentiate between the two. Sexism is a practice that involves discrimination, abuse whereas physical objectification can be part of that but does not equal sexism.”
Dr Germana concluded: “The issue is when, as a critic or as a journalist, you simply rely on a shallow point of view and you simply focus on physical looks for your review of a film or an artwork. We need to address a world where gender unbalance is taken very seriously.”