Thursday, March 18, 2004
A big up today for the women who are hoping to set up Yes Radio, which will soon come to London and has been featured on Woman's Hour. It will be a rap station which bans the casual (and not so casual) sexism usually found in rap lyrics. The women in charge of it are intelligent, interesting and positive in their approach. They've set up a station in the community, inviting young rappers to come in and talking to them, taking an educational approach and showing them how their music can go in a different direction. Rap music can sometimes be great, and all praise to a station which tries to take away the sort of imagery which prevents people like me enjoying it.
I often scare my liberal friends by saying I'm not against censorship in some areas. But it's only a very imperfect solution for me, and I'm much more in favour of finding ways to prevent people thinking of saying the kind of things which I would want to ban. Women's representation in group leadership will often change the entire atmosphere, not because idiots aren't thinking what they always think, but because they're too ashamed to say it out loud. If they do, then they know they'll receive some fierce argument in turn.
This forces people into self-censorship, but only insofar as it forces them to be rational, beyond their casual prejudices. Perhaps they do resent it, and talk about 'feminazis' and the like when they're among friends, but all the more reason to make such representation as wide-ranging and accepted as possible, to make sure such people are never 'among friends' in this respect, to force them to reconsider their ideas.
Sport is when it comes out most, where drunken men watch football in the bar and, for 'mild' insults say the players are acting like girls. Much more often, though, it's saying they're 'poofs', 'fags' etc. Needless to say, I think a need for the same sort of representation is just as pressing for the queer community.
A strange situation exists in some groups, which deem themselves 'enlightened', where women's representation has been abolished, because women are supposedly already fully considered (always a bad sign when a man is telling you this, as I've had happen to me), while LGBT, ethnic minorities and disabilities representation remains. It's almost the worst of all possible worlds, with women ignored for the reason above, implying that those in power are happy to admit that they are prejudiced against all the other groups. So much for enlightenment.
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