According to a survey published by Mediaprism in November 2012 for the Laboratoire de l’égalité (equality laboratory), 56% of women and 34% of men feel they come into contact with sexist behaviour on a daily basis. (1) How can we explain this persistence of gender stereotypes? Who can be held responsible? What measures should be taken to fight against sexism? How can we make both the public and brands aware of the issues caused by stereotypes?
The media world receives sexism accusations
The majority of participants in this study believe the media are particularly responsible for the persistence of stereotypes. In fact 67% of them are in favour of a watchdog committee who would be responsible for ensuring that television ads do not reflect gender stereotypes. Nearly 8 out of 10 participants also believe that both public and private television should join the fight against stereotypes.
France: a « gender studies-ophobe » country
In December 2012, two deputies from the political party UMP, Virginie Duby-Muller and Xavier Breton, requested a “investigation commission on the introduction and the diffusion of the gender theory in France”. This fear of the notion of “gender” is not recent in France. Since the beginnings of the theories on the social relationships between men and women in the United States (1960), the scientific world and the French academy have demonstrated an apprehension in using the term “gender”. For many years, the expression “social relationship between sexes”, although untranslatable in other countries, has been privileged.
Why this taboo around “gender studies”?
It is due to the fact that radical American feminism continues to systematically associate “gender” and denunciation of masculine domination. Despite the new themes and new issues put forward by the LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals) and men’s studies movement, the “gender” discipline remains victim of prejudice. “Gender studies” are thought to be centered only on women, their theories homogenous, essentially militant and not mixed.
In June 2011, the program “Presage de Sciences Po” was put in place to fight against the bad reputation on researches on “gender”.
PRESAGE: legitimize and insert “gender studies” in France
The Research and Teaching Program on Gender, co-developed with OFCE, aims to insert a reflection on gender on all the activities of Sciences Po: teaching, research and on continuing education.
Several characteristics illustrate the willingness of this program to legitimize a new image on “gender studies”: