‘UNEDUCATING’ ON GENDER, THE PRESENCE OF OVERT SEXISM IN JAPANESE MEDIA

Sexism is defined as the belief that members of one sex are less capable, intelligent, able or skillful than the members of the other sex. Some examples of sexism could be, for example, stating that women are less qualified to occupy a certain job position than any other male candidate. Sexism does not take into account the real capacity of the individual; instead, sexism is biased, prejudiced and highly unrealistic.

Devaluing someone’s opinion on a topic whilst alluding to their gender condition, limiting the scope of choices of a person based on their gender, imposing sexualized dress codes and differentiated gender roles; stating that ‘men do not cry’, that women should exploit their femineity… all of these are manifestations of sexism and forms of gender discrimination. Combating these gender stereotypes and sexist behaviors is our responsibility as a society.

Yahoo! Japan published on the 23rd of October of 2020 the following article titled 性別だけでこんなに差が出る。画像で見る男女の違い16選 , which could be translated in English as ‘Just based on our gender, we are this different. 16 images that show the differences between men and women’

(Link to the article: https://article.yahoo.co.jp/detail/b639c8f4dbcb1ae2b8b995534c64a1655c88e483)

This article, published on one of the most popular news platforms in Japan, Yahoo! Japan, defends that ‘the way that we think is different depending on whether we are a woman or a man’.

Followed by this quite serious sexist statement, a series of internet memes and images portraying prejudices and gender stereotypes is presented.

‘Men are not good at cleaning up’, ‘they do not have as many connections on social media’, ‘women are scared of the tiniest insect whilst men are not afraid of big and strong elephants’ are some of the prejudices reinforced and spread on this popular news platform.

The article written by 笑うメディア [Media to laugh] does not shield itself effectively under any kind of humoristic tone, as it does not warn the reader about any intended humoristic purpose, nor does it introduce the reader to any kind of fictional world. Instead, sexist statements are thrown in the form of generalizations and left behind for the most susceptible public to absorb.

The fact that a far-reaching news platform such as Yahoo! Japan publishes an article of this kind, that simply spreads gender discrimination and sexist stereotypes, as if they were general knowledge or had any true validity, suggests that the mission of this news platform this time has been one of rather disinforming and ‘uneducating’ the general public.

Written by Paula Fernández

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