The massive success of the Barbie movie shows that society accepts jokes about men it would never accept about women.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, columnist and Iona Institute CEO David Quinn slammed the movie for portraying men as either “lecherous creeps” or “emasculated eye candy himbos”.
He said the film sends a bleak message to young people about relationships between men and women – and criticised the “unreal” number of lectures about the patriarchy it features.
Presenter Ciara Kelly said the film is “probably a bit of fun” that should be taken with a pinch of salt – but noted that there does seem to be different standards in society when it comes to men and women.
“I do think we view how we talk about men and how we talk about women differently,” she said.
“I think I still make comments on-air about men who are good looking - I say, ‘Oh he is hot or whatever - and I think I say those things without thinking – whereas we have moved into an era where men are not really allowed say those things.
“I think that what we accept from women about men and what we accept from men about women are two different things and that is kind of a modern phenomenon.
“We are allowed to punch up, but we’re not allowed to punch down. With punching up, I like what Matt Hague says - the author - he says punching up is still punching and is there, kind of, any need?
Ciara said people should be able to make jokes about both genders, within reason.
“As somebody who has sons and many men in my life who I love, I don’t really like the constant kicking of men,” she said. “I don’t.”
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“But having said that, I do think the Barbie thing is probably a bit of fun and I don’t think you can take it too seriously either.
“I mean, I don’t mind jokes about women. I don’t mind people joking - I don’t mean in a sexist way, but jokes about women I can suck up and think, ‘Oh this is funny’ - and it has to be the same.”
Fellow presenter Shane Coleman said men are “definitely” denigrated in the media.
“I mean TV shows and advertising portrays men as kind of hapless idiots,” he said.
“We have talked about it before on the show with Peppa Pig – the Daddy Pig is a bit of a moron and he can do nothing and Mammy Pig comes in a sorts out the day and so on.”
He said he does not get overly worried about it all.
“Let’s face it, men have had it good for the last how many thousand years,” he said.
“I don’t think we can get too upset if we are now in some quarters [made fun of]. I think we can take it.
“I’m not sure that I agree punching up is still punching. Like, I’m not sure that many of the punches land that hard personally.”