In general I try to only consume content created by women and other minority genders (herein WaMG) in all the media I consciously consume because men already control too much in my life. Lets take school as an example since I spend most of my time there. The most obvious one is my headteacher is a man as well as the majority of the SLT (Senior Leadership Team for those of you not stuck in secondary school) but then it becomes a little less obvious. Men write and approve the curricula taught in our schools, the for examination boards for England (AQA, Edexcel, WJEC and OCR) all have male CEOs, men are more likely than women to be in senior leadership positions and this is all leads to a laughable male-centric bias in not only the curriculum but the way schools are run in general for example slut shaming uniform policies.
It isn’t just that male created content is more prevalent and celebrated (78% of all UK front page bylines are male), men are deciding what content is prevalent and celebrated. Men are the music executives, the film producers, the TV commissioners, the newspaper editors which get to tell us the opinions and the points of view we consume. They decide what music we listen to on the radio, what we read in magazines, what we see on the TV and almost all the rest of the mainstream media. Their decisions severely effect our world view, whether we realise it or not, for example in the recent UCSB shooting, the coverage of the event has framed the murderer as having ambiguous motives despite an extensive internet trail of the man’s blatant violent misogyny. The media have been doing everything possible to hide the fact that these murders where a result of male entitlement in our culture. Men feel so much entitlement to women’s bodies and affection that it is some how a reasonable response to take a life. This is misogyny and a hate crime but from reading the large majority of the mainstream media’s coverage you wouldn’t know that. That is just one example of the incredible influence men have over our lives, its almost like some international conspiracy… OH NO THATS PATRIARCHY (ahahaaa I’m so funny). In short, there are too many men telling us their opinions.
So how do we fix this problem? I know one well discussed possibility is just to get rid of them all but on a more practical level, having a Men Cleanse is a good way of renormalizing the disproportionately male opinions we consume on a day to day basis. I have been doing a very basic version of the Men Cleanse for about a year now but it’s time to completely eliminate them from my life, at least for a week. The aim of this cleanse is to take the everyday media we consume and take it our of the male paradigm. This means not consuming any content created by men and if possible something men have had little direct control over. Until I started doing this I had no idea how much I consumed was actually male dominated and how hard it actually is to do this so I have made a little guide for you!
The Men Cleanse
- So the most obvious place to start with books is the author. Try not to read books written by men, google the author if you have to and if you are in doubt then just don’t read it yet, save it for another day.
- To take this one step further, only read books which have been edited by women and are published by publishing houses with female CEOs
- In general women’s magazines and fashion magazines are drenched in misogyny so just no. However if you are reading a knitting magazine or something similar, only read magazines edited by women and articles written by women.
- There are three categories I normally evaluate films with. The screenwriter, the director and the main characters. I would say a film would need two out of three of these to be a woman to pass the test and a majority female cast gives bonus points!
- Try to only listen to female singers or bands with female singers. In certain genres this can be really hard (rock, metal etc) because there is a huge lack of female representation at all levels of the corporate music industry. Hopefully this will also mean you get to discover some cool new bands too!
- For extra points try to only listen to songs written by women and/or produced by women. This can be extra tricky as it differs from song to song even on the same album but if you have time it would be a great thing to do.
- Again there are different categories to judge TV by. Producers, writers and characters all can be taken into consideration but these can differ from episode to episode. I try to only watch shows with the main character being a woman or over half the main characters being women but you may want to choose your differently.
- Now this may be tricky and can cause friction. Ideally you would unfollow/mute/unfriend all the men on your social media but this may not be possible, especially if the men in your life are not as feminist or understanding as they could be.
- On twitter you can mute a user which means you don’t get push notifications from them and their content does not show up on your TL and you can without them knowing an you can still follow each other.
- Almost the same thing is available on Facebook. You can unfollow a person on Facebook without them knowing and with you still being Facebook friends.
- Its pretty easy to make sure the writer of any article you read is by a woman. There can be issues if there is a news item you want to read about but you can’t find any coverage by a woman, I would google it and you probably will find something by a woman but I think exceptions can definitely be made here.
Online articles and blogs:
- It can be hard to find out who is editor/sub editor of what you are reading online so with online articles I just make sure the writer is a woman. I cannot tell you what a huge difference this makes to your perception of the world, there is so much ignorance and privilege cut out of your life, its great!
- I keep to blogs run by women and group blogs edited by women with women writers.