No, this is not a good opportunity to talk about 'reverse sexism'


Kasey Edwards

The young woman whose job it supposedly is to, god forbid, look at men.

The young woman whose job it supposedly is to, god forbid, look at men.

Rise up poor downtrodden men who have long suffered under the totalitarian regime of feminism! The day to claim your inalienable right to perv at chicks without being judged is at hand!

You now have the slam-dunk, silver-bullet, rolled-gold argument of arguments to justify your ogling: WOMEN DO IT TOO! And now there is video evidence to prove it.

I refer, of course, to the unnamed woman in a blue shirt looking at UFC fighters during their weigh-in in Las Vegas in December last year.

When the video went viral over the past couple of days, cries of 'double standards', 'reverse sexism', and 'poor me' echoed around the internet as angry men took to YouTube and the comments sections of websites to vent about the woman's perving.


Well, when I say perving, I don't mean the fist-pumping, shaars-yar-tits-luv type of ogling. On the YouTube video — that's now been viewed over 1.7 million times and generated just as much debate — the woman in question is seen glancing in the direction of the fighters standing less than a metre away from her as they removed their clothes.

Seriously people, where else was she going to look? And where were the thousands of people in the audience also looking?

According to some reports, the woman on stage was simply doing her job, checking that the fighters weren't carrying or concealing anything during their weigh-in. Just as this man appears to be doing at a subsequent weigh-in.

But nonetheless, this video has been used as proof — PROOF! — that men have been wronged yet again.

"If it was a man, you'd have some... feminist calling for his head," cried one revolutionary.

For one man it was the last straw: "Frankly, I'm sick to death of women thinking they can treat men in the workplace as mere sex objects, only there for their visual and physical gratification."

Jamie Briggs, anyone? How about Chris Gayle?

Sure, the public reaction to the woman perving at the fighters — and let's assume for the moment that she was in fact perving — would have been different if she was a man checking out at a woman.

But that's because it is different. Like most things in life, context is important.

Firstly, the woman in question is looking. She's not yelling filthy statements or, a la Chris Gayle, taking advantage of a live national TV audience to embarrass the guy. She's looking.

And while we're on Chris Gayle's comments, these are set against a backdrop of prevailing sexist attitudes surrounding women's place in sport. Women are frequently told they have no place in the arena outside of grid girls and cheerleaders. The issue is not just about whether or not it is 'sexist to flirt'. It's about undermining, yet again, a woman's professionalism by turning her into eye candy.

When a male boss or colleague stares at a woman's breasts instead of her presentation, her work and professional credibility is undermined.

How often are men reduced to nothing more than sex objects; where their worth as people or professionals is based entirely on how f--kable they are? Not often, I'd say.

Secondly, a man isn't killed or seriously maimed by a woman. Every. Single. Week. Despite what men's rights groups might pretend, men are almost always the perpetrators of gendered violence.

With this in mind, when a man ogles at a woman it's reasonable for her to feel violated, threatened and often fear for her safety.

Even the most tragic Men's Rights Activists would have difficulty arguing that the UFC fighters felt threatened by the young woman's gaze.

The social context and the history surrounding the female gaze is completely different to that of the male gaze. It therefore follows that the response to it is also quite different.

To see how ridiculous the claim of reverse sexism is over the UFC video, you need look no further than the creepy and predatory comment written by the person who posted the video to YouTube.

"I sure hope someone gave it to her good that night…"

Even when a woman shows a hint of agency regarding her own pleasure — even if it's just visual pleasure — her agency is turned around into passivity. Yet again, it's up to a man to decide what to do to her.

If the day ever comes when women no longer fear being raped and sexually assaulted by men, when women are not hired, fired and promoted based on their looks, when women's worth is no longer reduced to their hotness, then, and only then, can we talk about reverse sexism.

Kasey Edwards is the best-selling author of Thirty-Something and Over It. What happens when you wake up and don't want to go to work. Ever again.