In an ideal world, sexism would be a thing of the past. Whilst there is no doubt that it affects both men and women, historically speaking, it is the fairer sex who have received a larger amount of discrimination based on their gender.
Ever since I was a young girl, men have equated my worth to my appearance. There have even been instances where I’ve been belittled for my commitment to education by men who’ve told me it won’t gain me any points in their sexist eyes. Although these men are definitely in the minority, their views are damaging to society as whole, and there are certain cultural norms which unfortunately perpetuate them – such as the consistent oversexualization of women in the media. However, thanks to social media, people have been given a platform to call out this sexism in a way that they could never do before. Twitter, in particular, is famous for its ability to enable ordinary people to call out wrongdoing in society. There aren’t many women who have been given powerful fictional roles, but there are a few notable exceptions, and one of them is Wonder Woman. First created in 1986, the female superhero has been wowing the world with her superhuman capabilities. Wonder Woman has been the subject of countless movies and comic books over the years, however, her latest incarnation in Justice League has caused outrage online because of an extremely disconcerting change in her outfit. The outfit change was pointed out by writer and critic Atte Timonen on Twitter. She described it as a “step backwards” and compared the proposed outfits for the upcoming Justice League movie and the most recent Wonder Woman (2017) movie. “Because when I go into battle, the first thing I want to is expose all my vital organs to the weapons of my enemies,” one Twitter user sarcastically wrote in response to the post. Another quipped, “Even the lower leg protection goes from functional to WTF.” The functionality of the outfit was rightfully questioned with many users writing statements such as, “I mean, yes, they have great abs. But it makes no sense to fight like that.” Others criticized the body type of the women modelling the new outfit: One Twitter user even decided to lend their creative talents to the argument and made this: However, not everyone was so critical, and Twitter user Elmer Butterscotch said that the movie’s costume designer Michael Wilkinson should be given the benefit of the doubt for now. “To be fair, it’s possible that the scene in which we see the Amazons in JL takes place in the distant past, as implied by the trailers. In that case, they would have had to change the looks.” Whilst there’s no way of knowing what the women will wear in the final cut of Justice League, the conversation this outfit change has sparked on social media is indicative of a wider, positive trend: women are sick of being oversexualized in the media. “It’s all subjective,” Butterscotsh added. “But we still don’t know exactly what the Amazons will look like in the film; the director has shown different looks for them, too. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.” Studies have proven that women are three times more likely to be subject to oversexualization in the media than men. But it’s not just ordinary people who’ve been calling out sexism in 2017. Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke made a point of comparing it to racism: Regardless of whether you think that the proposed Justice League outfits are sexist towards women or not, I think that we can all agree that it is important that people are able to express their opinions about sexism. An open discussion like the one enabled by social media will help men and women to feel less defined by arbitrary gender expectations, and instead realize that their worth is based on who they are as individuals.
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