Lately I’ve been conflicted about something I posted on this blog a little less than a month ago.
Earlier this year I started posting funny YouTube clips on Fridays, including this clip from This Hour has 22 Minutes about John Baird:
We had been talking about John Baird that week and criticizing his overly aggressive style in the House of Commons, so when I saw the video I thought it was funny and apt.
I didn’t write it on the blog but I saw the Toronto Sun cover as comparing women to dogs in a demeaning and dehumanizing way. As much as I think Guergis’ actions were seriously sketchy, I don’t think it’s cool to put her face next to a dog’s and say they’re the same thing.
So given that, I’m feeling like it might’ve been a bit hypocritical of me to go around promoting the video comparing John Baird to a dog.
On the one hand, a satirical sketch by a group like like This Hour Has 22 Minutes is clearly not meant to be taken too seriously, whereas the front cover of a newspaper at least has the pretense of being objective media. One was intended to be a joke, and one wasn’t, so you could argue they’d also have different impacts.
You could also argue that there’s a long history of comparing women to animals in order to maintain gender hierarchy (e.g. calling women “bitch”, “chick”, comparing them to “meat”, etc.). That could mean that such comparisons about Helena Guergis would be more damaging and oppressive than against John Baird.
On the other hand, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s great to go around comparing men to dogs or other animals. So I’m calling myself out on that one but I’d also be interested to hear what you think: are these types of comparisons always bad, or just in certain contexts, or just when applied to women, or should we just see them as a joke and forget about it?