Bleats

Hannah Gadsby Is Tired Of Good Men, Good White People And Good Straight People And It's A Big Mood

Unsurprisingly, men are offended.

Hannah Gadsby delivered the opening remarks at The Hollywood Reporter‘s Women in Hollywood Gala on Wednesday, and her speech was a searing criticism of good men, and good white people, and good straight people, who criticise bad men/bad white people/bad straight people, but do so while constantly shifting the goalposts of what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

 

Gadsby started by saying she wanted to talk about good men, which garnered applause from much of the room. She followed that up with “…you’re going to regret that clap.”

In her speech, she mentions the abundance of ‘Jimmys’ on late-night television and in the public arena who are given the space to condemn ‘bad men’ while reminding everyone that they’re one of the good guys.

“But the last thing I need right now in this moment in history is to have to listen to men monologue about misogyny and how other men should just stop being “creepy,” as if that’s the problem.”

Gadsby’s issue with these men and their monologues is that, to them, there are two types of bad men: irredeemable men like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, and the ‘FOJs’: the Friends of Jimmy, like Louis CK, who are otherwise decent men who made a mistake. “These are apparently good men who misread the rules — garden-variety consent dyslexics.”

Gadsby’s issue with this is that men often draw a different line in the sand of acceptable behaviour for different occasions.

“They have a line for the locker room; a line for when their wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters are watching; another line for when they’re drunk and fratting; another line for nondisclosure; a line for friends; and a line for foes.”

Gadsby says that we need to talk about this line, because only good men are the ones allowed to draw it, and all men believe they are good. Good men get to draw the line to suit their own needs – if they make a mistake, and, say, masturbate in front of colleagues without their consent, they can just move the line so that their behaviour isn’t ‘completely unacceptable’ but simply ‘a mistake’. And their friends, the Jimmys, will support them in this. (And sometimes, women can be Jimmys too.)

In Gadsby’s words, “they move the line for their own good”.

She doesn’t just stop at calling out ‘good men’, though.

“Now take everything I have said up until this point and replace “man” with “white person,” and know that if you are a white woman, you have no place drawing lines in the sand between good white people and bad white people. I encourage you to also take the time to replace “man” with “straight” or “cis” or “able-bodied” or “neurotypical,” et cetera, et cetera.”

As Gadsby explains, everyone believes they are fundamentally good. Of course people are going to give themselves the benefit of the doubt, and of course their friends are too. But that’s exactly why it shouldn’t be up to those people, or their friends, to determine what is an isn’t acceptable; to determine where the line is drawn.

Naturally, some men responded poorly to Gadsby’s remarks:

https://twitter.com/seankent/status/1070651302919708672

Here’s the thing, men who see themselves as good: if you genuinely are a good person and supporter of women, you won’t worry about what someone who’s never met you, and who isn’t specifically talking about you, has to say about you. You’ll just get on with the job of holding other men accountable and not shifting the goalposts whenever a ‘good man’ you know is accused of something unsavoury.

Or you could just go on Twitter and demand congratulations for not having assaulted anybody, because apparently the bar is that low. That’s another option.

You can watch the speech here, or read a transcript over at Vulture.

Jameela Jamil Wants Airbrushing In Ads To Be Made Illegal But It's Only Part Of A Much Bigger Problem

Tahani would probably disagree.

Jameela Jamil, AKA Tahani on The Good Place, wrote an opinion piece for the BBC over the weekend in which she explained why she thinks airbrushing, particularly in ads, should be made illegal.

She writes,

“I think it’s a disgusting tool that has been weaponised, predominantly against women, and is responsible for so many more problems than we realise because we are blinded by the media, our culture and our society.”

Her reasons for banning airbrushing are:

  1. It misleads consumers – if you buy a product because the person in the ad supposedly looks the way they do because of the product, you’re bound to be disappointed when you realise they’ve been airbrushed
  2. It’s bad for the person being photographed – she explains, “If you see a digitally ‘enhanced’ picture of yourself, you run the risk of becoming acclimatised to that level of flawlessness and it makes it harder for you to accept your actual image”
  3. It’s bad for the public, especially young women, who are vulnerable to body image issues and things like eating and body image disorders

In a follow-up tweet, Jamil highlights the double standards discussed in her article. Men’s flaws are less likely to be airbrushed away, while women are airbrushed within an inch of their lives to look as young and flawless as possible.

 

There have been many memorable airbrushing fails over the years, including the time GQ Mexico airbrushed out Chrissy Teigen’s nipples:

Or the time a magazine gifted Oprah with an extra hand:

Or the time Jezebel acquired unretouched photos of Lena Dunham from her shoot for Vogue:

(If you’re obsessed with celebrity retouching disasters, follow CelebFace on Instagram.)

The worst thing about airbrushing photos of celebrities is that they’re already thinner and more beautiful than the average person, so what message does it send when even their natural looks aren’t deemed ‘good enough’?

Jamil makes a pretty standard feminist argument against airbrushing, and she raises some good points. What she doesn’t do is explain why she feels this is something the law needs to be involved with – criminalisation is a pretty extreme response to something that could probably be dealt with through proper media regulations, and requirements for disclaimers when advertisements and magazines do use airbrushing.

It also only addresses one part of the issue. Young girls can be affected by what they see in magazines and on television, but airbrushing isn’t the only thing that has negative effects. Constantly and exclusively seeing depictions of incredibly thin and gorgeous women (like Jamil herself) who have a team of hair and makeup artists to make them look as good as possible before they leave the house can’t be good for anyone’s self-esteem, either.

Nor can things like the Victoria’s Secret fashion show that celebrate a very narrow body ideal and deliberately exclude anyone who falls outside of that. Or jokes made at the expense of fat people that crop up in almost every single comedy show, because they’re so normalised that nobody thinks twice about making them.

Letting female celebrities look more like themselves in photoshoots and on magazine covers would be a great start to combatting the plethora of problems contributing to young women’s body image issues. But the buck doesn’t stop with photo retouchers: it should include makeup artists, facialists, dermatologists, personal trainers, and plastic surgeons, too.

Entire industries rely on women hating their bodies, and the women of Hollywood (and, indeed, any women with influence) could and should be doing more to challenge those industries and the power they have over vulnerable young women.

Jamil’s article, and the fact that she hasn’t allowed photos of herself to be airbrushed since she “finally [got] the clout to refuse” are a good first step, but airbrushing is only one facet of a much larger problem.

Banning airbrushing, but not improving representation of diverse people and bodies, and not challenging how society talks about things like dieting, weight loss, and thinness, is like cutting off one of the Hydra’s heads only to watch ten more grow back in its place.

California Takes A Step In The Right Direction By Requiring Female Representation On Corporate Boards

Who run the world? Girls.

California has become the first state in the US to require that publicly traded companies have at least one woman on their board of directors.

The law was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday and mandates that companies whose primary offices are located in California comply by the end of 2021.

If the company has five directors, the law requires that at least two of them be women, or at least three if there are seven directors.

Since it’s California, that means that all publicly traded companies located in Silicon Valley will be affected by this. The biggest names in Silicon Valley, including Facebook, Google, Apple, and Twitter, already have women on their boards.

Apple has 2 women and 6 men, Google has 3 women and 11 men, Facebook has 2 women and 7 men, and Twitter has 4 women and 7 men. Of these, Twitter is the closest to equal representation, but 4/11 isn’t exactly a 50-50 split.

According to CBS94 companies based in California have no women on their boards, including Skechers and TiVo.

Ten years ago, Norway instituted quotas requiring women make up 40% of directors at public companies, and other European countries soon followed. While The Economist found that critics’ worst fears didn’t come to pass, the supposed benefits of more women on boards and in director positions haven’t necessarily come to fruition either.

These changes haven’t led to the closing of the wage gap between men and women, nor have they had a huge impact on company decision-making. It’s now a waiting game to see whether these changes being implemented in the fifth-largest economy in the world will benefit women beyond those chosen to sit on boards.

(Header photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

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