Anonymous · Inequality

‘The BBC pay-gap’ written by Anonymous

This week, I have been left absolutely astounded as the BBC have released their pay roll for their top earning stars and subsequently revealed their blatant gender inequality and highlighted the ever present gender pay gap.

Funded by the tax payer, I have always viewed the BBC as a company that could be trusted. We’ve been paying for news updates, radio and entertainment and our money must be being spent correctly? However, after being pressured to release the wages of their presenters and actors, it was revealed that of the top 10 highest earners, only two of them are women. When I first read this news I was amazed, surely a company as established and world renowned as the BBC couldn’t be so sexist? Yet, as you delve deeper into the numbers, the pay gap becomes even more prevalent.

The highest earner on the BBC’s pay roll is Chris Evans, making a staggering £2.5 million. Somehow, the first woman doesn’t appear until number 8 on the list, with Claudia Winkleman making only £500,000, 1/5 of Chris Evans’ salary. Granted, both presenters have very different roles within the BBC, however if you compare Alex Jones and Matt Baker, despite having identical jobs as hosts of ‘The One Show’, Baker manages to earn £50,000 more than Jones.

As a corporation funded by the public, the BBC should be setting an example in gender equality, rather than giving a man a higher wage simply because of gender. If we ever wish to live in a world in which every woman, in every job can be earning the exact same salary as her male counterpart, then we have to start at the top. The BBC are now in a powerful position in which they have the ability to portray a positive change. If in a years time they can reveal 2017’s pay roll, showing they have made changes to decrease the gender pay gap, then they can be used as an example to other companies, proving if they can, why can’t everyone. However, this is an idealistic and unlikely outcome. The BBC have taken a hit from the release and now they have appeased the public by releasing the data once, it’s unlikely they’ll take the risk to do it again, despite the positive steps they could take towards gender equality.

Harassment

‘The attitudes towards women in nightclubs’ by Katie Frost

The attitude towards women who defend themselves against the objectification of today’s society has yet again proved to be a disappointment. Recently, I was subject to harassment in a club unlike any I have experienced before.

Here is a little context:

Men grope. If you are going on a night out, particularly a girl’s night out, you have to be prepared for unwanted attention in an overcrowded club, as disgusting as this concept may be in the 21st century – hungry hands will usually find you.  This is what happened on ‘said’ occasion. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing a glare and a ‘leave me alone’ won’t solve.

The ‘star groper of the evening’ moved around my small circle of friends, putting his hands around waists, touching butts… and each of us, in turn, told him to go away. Once he had completed the circle, finishing his groping with me – I told him none of us were interested, and told him to move away from us. Unbelievably, he asked me to clarify, as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing (because he’s just such a catch with his hands all over my friends) so I repeated; and the ‘groper’ finally sulked off.

The night carried on.

A while later, he reappeared. Bumping into me with force, hands venturing “unconsciously”. The ‘look’ did not warn him off this time. After the third or fourth time of his launching his drunk self into my body, I had had enough. I turned around and pushed him away me. With this, he fell right on his arse… literally. My shock of having actually pushed a somewhat 23 year old bloke to the floor in my frustration of being touched and pushed about – shocked me… let alone the shock it brought him – along with the humiliation and anger.

He stood up and began to get aggressive, bee lining for anyone who happened to be standing in his way. My friends were holding him back, as he was trying to get to me. He was lashing out manically, and in his anger, he managed to get a hold of my friend’s top. She was desperately trying to get him off while completely freaking out and in the struggle he ended up ripping her top. Finally, three guys turned round to help, and they managed to pin him against the wall – but in the chaos, he’d grabbed my other friend and had her in some form of, what I can only describe, as a backwards headlock. Eventually, we managed to get him off her. Someone had to go and find security to defuse it all.

He was kicked out of the club. We were told he had a life long ban. However, when we explained to the bouncer that he had grabbed my friend by the neck, and showed him the developing marks – he said if we wanted to involve the police, then we would have to say quickly so they can take his name and details. In all the panic and shock of the situation, it didn’t click… to have to ban someone, you need their name at least surely? Let alone some details of who the person is. The bouncer did not even consider what had happened to be much of an issue… so yet again this guy got away with it! His next targets may not be as confrontational as my friends and I. Who knows what will happen to his next victims.

Here comes the pinnacle point of the event….

By this point, my friend with the ripped top was making her way to the Ladies, when some guy stopped her and said something along the lines of “you deserved that.”

Now. Excuse me?! How in god’s name, did we deserve that? Did any of us deserve it? We had simply stood up for ourselves after repeatedly being touched inappropriately. Not only did this one guy make this comment – but in the jam packed club, only three people stepped up to help. Three. It is not as if this “groper” was haphazardly being violent, he was raging with it! Even when I tried to thank the lads that helped, they looked at me with such disregard, almost a look of disgust as if I was the one in the wrong.  The whole attitude towards us that evening was just that of pure unimportance. As if we had caused the problem, and were more of a nuisance than anything else. Very few people came to defuse the situation and the bouncers did not seem overly concerned.

When telling a member of my family how I’d defended myself, I was told that I should have told the bouncers and let them deal with it… my instant response to that was “the bouncers don’t care.” If I had approached a bouncer and said, “that guy won’t stop touching me and bashing into me” the response I’d have most likely been faced with is, “move away from him.” Now, why should I have to be the one to move, when he was the one causing harassment?  Involving the bouncers did not even occur to me until he became a raging lunatic. I am perfectly capable of being able to tell unwanted hands to leave me the hell alone. I always have done, and I will continue to do so. Because I will experience it again and again and again, and it is not acceptable, nor should it be belittled.

This is how “rape culture” has become a thing, through belittlement. Harassment is so mundane in today’s society, nobody is shocked or surprised by it. Not bouncers, not club goers, not even me. Slowly but surely, we have begun to expect harassment. How has it become so acceptable for straying hands to explore our bodies without consent? How is that more acceptable than telling those hands to fuck off?

Speaking of telling harassers to fuck off… this same evening my friend asked me if I had just been tapping her butt as if it were a drum… (we are very close friends). I looked at her blankly – it wasn’t me. I pulled her towards me and we shuffled as best we could across the dance floor, not being able to get very far due to the popularity of the club. We carried on dancing – until I felt someone tapping on my butt as if it were a drum. I turned round and attempted to confront the guy. He would not even look at me in the face! He was just smiling, staring at the floor (with a slightly sheepish look, embarrassed that I didn’t fall at his godly knees with adoration for his masterful butt tapping) and completely ignoring me!

Nightclubs should be a place where people can relax and have fun. I always considered clubbing to be a rather beautiful thing despite the stigma surrounding club-goers. People crowd together to drink something that relaxes and provides them with confidence, they dance for hours focusing on nothing but what is in front of them.
That has been tainted now. When out, I’m on constant alert, watching out for friends, making sure nothing is slipped into my drink when I’m dancing, chatting, crossing the dance floor… Clubs are now uncomfortable places.

The attitude towards drunk, club-going women is that they are vulnerable and inviting. My parents are always telling me “don’t ever walk back by yourself” because I am deemed vulnerable, an easy target. My clothes are never suggesting and even if I do not happen to be wearing any at all – it still does not suggest anything.

I am not vulnerable. If you refuse to leave me alone after a fair warning, I will get annoyed.

I am not inviting. You keep your hands off me. My outfit is not an invitation.  We are not objects to be marvelled at, neither are we pets to be stroked. If people feel they will be unable to control themselves in a club environment. Then they should be the ones to stay at home. Women should be comfortable and confident in being able to go on a night out, without the constant fear and unease of unwanted attention. There are plenty ways to grab a girls attention. But grabbing her is NOT one of them.

Attitudes towards club-going women need to change drastically. Respect that women are out to have a good time, and do not want to be touched up all night. Being drunk is not an excuse to manhandle women.

Have respect. Do not belittle harassment. Do not put up with it.

Carly Miller · Female Representation · Sexism in the Media

‘The accuracy of ‘average’ female characters: Suits’ by Carly Miller

As someone who didn’t really know what they wanted to do with their life until they got to University, I am proud to say that I have my goals set on becoming a lawyer, and with that, the academic goal to get into law school. This goal is a very big deal for me as when I started my university career, I thought I had my heart set on media technology and communications; turns out, I was wrong and I believe you have to make a few wrong turns in life to find yourself on the right road for your future. After coming to terms with myself, and what I really wanted to do with my life, my parents never seemed 100% for it. In fact they were, and still are very weary; weary in the sense that they don’t believe that I can achieve this goal; with my father constantly suggesting that I should go into speech-pathology (not once in my life have I sparked interest in that field of study). While the wheels continue to turn in my head, I can’t help but wonder why no one in my family can see me as a lawyer, and if I am the only one who experiences this. Thus, leading a few other thoughts: If I am the only female who experiences this, which I can’t possibly be, because that would mean one of two things:

  1. The world is actually caught up with feminism and supports women with what they set their minds to and what they want to accomplish.
  2. My parents are just as muted as my personal testimony suggests and they are part of the problem society has created.

However, being more realistic with the concept of society not being “there” for women and their career choices; it seems as though most of the world are “visual” learners in the sense that when it comes to us women and how we “should” make our career choices.  We may or may not realize that women are profiled by a constant marketing whether it be in a simple 30-second ad on YouTube you cannot skip, a new Netflix show or a groundbreaking new-summer blockbuster. Yet, all of these things have one thing in common: the precise calculation of how relatable a female character can be.

For years and years, men have had their hand in media in which women have been boxed as nothing more as a housewife from the 60’s up until Mary Tyler Moore broke the stigma that women actually wear pants and have the desire to hold a job. While television became more politically correct with their roles for women, people of color and sexualities, there is still an apparent stigma and formula that television and media follows. Now, I do deeply apologize because after reading this theory, you won’t be able to ignore any of the signs of shitty writing and lazy producing. Over the course of a few weeks, I will be analyzing some of my favorite television shows: USA’s Suits, BBC’s Sherlock and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.

Suits
Back in summer of 2011, USA released this snazzy, sleek, New Yorker, law firm drama centres around three white guys, a redhead, two women of color, and another white woman just to make sure white people are secure enough while watching the drama.

suits promo

Race doesn’t have much of a narrative to this show, as it is centered around the two main characters defending clients whilst trying to keep the other’s secret about not being a lawyer. However, it does cover all of the average checkmarks: men and women, of any hair color, or skin color can be lawyers if they are sleek enough, have great legs, can afford a $1500 pantsuit, and master the art of power walking down Fifth Avenue whilst eating a bagel paired with a coffee and going over a deposition with the new associate.

Examining the point of feminism for this show: notice how the women are standing, with confidence; and their hair? Sleek and polished. Along with their top designer dresses and suits. Just looking at this promotional photo alone, what are the first adjectives that come to mind? Having their shit together, ivy league schools, too cool for school. Along with all of these adjectives, one can argue that to achieve all of these listed above is to be in the upper class or come from some sort of money.

Circling back to the main point of this post, when society thinks of lawyers, they don’t tend to think of a woman who once had a passion for screenwriting and acting to now have a profound passion for the study of law. When I’m out in public or even in the safety of my own home, I don’t tend to look at average conversations with a stereotypical lawyer’s point of view of “you can’t prove this or that”, I tend to speak like a somewhat normal twenty-year-old.

Had I had graduated with a 4.3 GPA in high school with all honors, gotten into an ivy league school, then maybe I (as well as countless other women) the people I encounter in life would “see” me more as a lawyer. Profiling the way someone dresses, speaks, chooses what they watch, how many tattoos one has and even their gender is bullshit. But yet, because of shows like Suits, often in the dominate control of men producing, writing and directing. The vision of those actresses portrayed on Suits are focus group’s ideal box of women, never once thinking outside of the box of what real women look like, dress like or even talk like.

Examining the female characters: Donna and Rachel (yes, you may recognize the actress who portrays Megan as this is Prince Harry’s fabulous girlfriend), are the two main female characters on the drama.

Suits - Season 5

The writing does get very repetitive: 

  1. Actor says something clever
  2. Other actor responds with something equally as clever
  3. Actor one closes dialogue with a dumb punch line or pun.

Starting off with Rachel Zane, a paralegal at the firm, who is evidentially the secret daughter of a wealthy/successful lawyer; she is the first person at the firm to befriend the main character, Mike Ross (fake lawyer). They fall into the stereotypical “we are only friends, but we love each other, but won’t sleep with each other because it would ruin the friendship blah blah blah” Rachel has every potential to be an amazing lawyer and get into law school, yet her character has a clutch: test anxiety. Which, I can’t get mad about, because the show doesn’t over hype it and make her character surrounded by the anxiety. The show gives the character the tools and an example of a semi-decent support system to power through the LSATs and become her own person.

Donna is portrayed as the secretary, in fact so much of the power held in the, I believe she is titled as Harvey Specter’s personal assistant (don’t quote me, it’s been a while since I’ve watched). Donna falls under the “motherly” type of woman written for television. Constantly making sure Harvey’s tie is the “right” tie, that no one goes into his office unless she gives them approval, keeping the secret that Mike Ross hasn’t graduated from Harvard. Donna is in other words, the wheels behind the bicycle.

Donna’s character proves that Harvey really wouldn’t be the lawyer he is in the present season of the show without Donna always having his back. She never really sparks an interest in wanting to be anything more than a personal assistant to Harvey (that I’ve seen, again, have not seen the whole series), while this is perfect for the angle of how women can be whatever they aspire to be if it is a personal assistant or a partner at a law firm; the show does an exceptional job at one thing: Donna putting Harvey in his place.

We have all watched shows where the creators portray women as paper machete, the writers of Suits do an exceptional job of having the women stand their ground. Harvey is a womanizer and an asshole for at least 12 minutes per every episode. Donna sees through all of the designer suits and the hair gel, and puts Harvey in his place and keeps him on planet Earth. The platform of the show encourages women to stand their ground to their boss, man or woman, to stand up for what they believe is right and to speak up for what they think is right. While I’m aware our readers probably haven’t seen the show, as it isn’t the greatest show on American television, I do encourage our readers to delve into a few episodes if you all can get past the cringe worthy writing.