I normally write blogs on the world of zombies. Perhaps this one won’t be far off-track.
I like to find interesting photos to illustrate my blogs; the other day I was searching for some grisly photos of disease when I came across the most extraordinary photos of posters from the 1940s. I was horrified at the sentiment contained within these government sponsored messages.
Before I start I want to assure you that I don’t read about incidents in history and judge them with modern ideas, I understand these things were done by people of their time and accordingly do not judge. I prefer to recognise the progress we have made since then through the development of our civilisation. I know as well as you that this sort of progress is painfully slow at times and is variable around the world.
Don’t preen just yet thinking we in the west can show everyone else how it’s done, take a look at these three posters. Now you can lift your chin off the floor and close your mouth. The oldest of these is 70 years, a mere one lifetime old. Wouldn’t it have been more interesting to find a poster of a male sailor looking up for it and a woman looking askance with pretty much the same wording in the poster? Even Austin Powers knew about sailors, travelling from port to port!
I understand the relevance of the posters: better to have a soldier, sailor or airman die on the battlefield than in a clap hospital. Interesting isn’t it that the woman in the red coat is most men’s fantasy? Doesn’t she look a lot like Roger Rabbit’s wife, Jessica? For all her curves, moves and overt sexiness Jessica was a moral, one-man (well, rabbit) woman.
So, one hundred million service men saw these posters and because it was a government poster it had to be fact, right? They were told that all women, even the supposedly ‘clean’ ones are dirty and untrustworthy, and what do you get? The misogynistic fifties. A serious over-simplification, obviously, but have our attitudes really changed so much?
Since then we’ve had the female revolution for equality in the sixties, where I still suspect men made out best, in more ways than one. Attempts to ‘burn the bra’ certainly made a point but was mostly urban legend. Did it help women’s rights? Probably not, but then the story was promulgated by a newspaper that covered the 1968 protest and they were definitely run by men at the time. I dare you to type ‘burn the bra’ into your favourite search engine and see what you get. Most of it won’t exactly be equitable (not easy to find the right word).
I am not trying to be a male feminist and am pretty sure I’m not metrosexual (I almost never use skin moisturiser) but it seems to me that over time we make excellent progress with some aspects of our lives while in others we make almost no headway at all. I’m not even sure if the advent of social media has done anything to change this, it may even be providing negative impetus. There are a lot of opinions out there on this subject but one of the strongest indicators as far as I can tell is that there has been several quantum leaps upwards in the availability of pornography and worst of all, selfies by women. And no, I’ve not become short-sighted from my research on this blog, I’ve been wearing glasses since I was twelve years old (don’t go there, just don’t).
Finally, it seems that religion reflects the same message. The Pope is now, after a mere 54 years since the pill was released for contraceptive use, only just reviewing the use of contraception; something that probably 80% of the Catholic faith is already using – someone has to give a damn about the problems of having too many kids, medically for women and financially for the household. In the UK recently there seems to be a surge in the numbers of women who desire to cover themselves completely wearing the hijab, etcetera. I wonder what this says about our culture that even young girls are opting to do this. Is it because they feel pressured into taking this path by parents, religion or self-protection? They say not. Maybe it’s it a similar reaction to that in the USA where, for both sexes, the wearing of a chastity/abstinence/purity ring has become prevalent in some areas? Is it a cry for help, or to give the wearer some space to develop personally without peer pressure for sex, alcohol and other teenage experimentation?
The real question is: as a species can we make true progress on sexual equality without having to depend on draconian laws telling us how to think and behave? After all, following many years of the existence of equal pay legislation in this country, still we only talk about actually achieving it.
PS. Although The Walking Dead has some kick-ass women, it still has men as the primary lead characters. Why is that? Try reading my zombie books and see some better options. (see the blog came back on track in the end)
Zombie books by David K Roberts:
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle
The Common Cold: A Zombie Chronicle – Cabin Fever (Sequel)
Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle
Return Of A King: A Zombie Chronicle – Z Factor