Why Do Men Sit On The Left And Women Sit On The Right?

This is no joke. Sorry if you thought I was going to double you up with laughter. No, today I’m talking stereotyping! I thought it a thing of the past, but it seems it’s as evident today as it has always been.

Take, for example, Television. Have you ever noticed that during a pub scene on a TV show the men seem to be always drinking pints or bottles of beer while women are drinking glasses of wine or a gin/vodka tonic? How often have you seen a man in a pub scene drinking a glass of wine and a woman drinking a beer? Some may say it’s down to taste, but surely not all the men in Coronation Street only drink beer while the women always order a glass of wine? I’ll give it to Emmerdale (another UK soap-opera), as I have seen at least one female character (the vicar!) drinking a pint of beer. It’s refreshing to see but I’ve yet to see any of the men walk in and ask for a gin and tonic! It’s always “pint please, Chas.”

Let’s turn our attention to the news. I know a lot of people don’t watch the news on TV because it’s always depressing, but take ‘Breakfast’, the BBC early morning news programme. Why does the man always sit on the left of the screen and his copresenter, a woman, always sit on the right? Is it some kind of power struggle? Why can’t they occasionally swap positions?

Charlie State and Naga Munchetty
Charlie State and Naga Munchetty, Presenters of BBC’s Breakfast – He always sits on the left while she always sits on the right.

Which leads me on to why does it always have to be a man and a woman when two people read the news on TV? ‘Breakfast’ does occasionally have two women presenting the show, but I’ve never seen them have two men present the show. Why? Is it not acceptable to have two men present the news together? And it’s exactly the same over on ITV. The man sits on the left of the screen while the woman always sits on the right of the screen. Have you ever noticed that on many news programmes the male presenter always seems to be a lot older (not you Charlie) than the woman presenter? Very rarely is it the other way around. Is there a reason for that?

Let’s move on to driving. Yesterday, while waiting to cross the road, I counted the number of cars that drove past where there was a man and woman sat in the front of the vehicle. Would you be surprised if I told you that in just about all of the cars, it was the man who was driving? I’ve seen it when on holiday as well. The majority of the time it’s the man that drives a hire vehicle while the woman sits in the front passenger seat.

It happens in our family all of the time. We go and collect my sister-in-law and her husband and I can guarantee that my sister-in-law will sit in the back of the car while her husband will sit in the front passenger seat. Same goes for my niece and her boyfriend. When they come down to visit us, it’s always him that does the driving regardless of whose car they are using. Take two couples going off on a car journey together. Why do the men always sit together in the front while the two women sit in the back of the car?

London 2012 Olympic Games
Celebrating at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Sport also suffers from stereotyping. I was delighted to hear, today, that Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow won an Olympic bronze medal in the synchronised 10m platform diving. On TV, ‘Breakfast’ mentioned it all morning and the interview with Daley and Goodfellow was aired far too many times. They even interviewed a friend of Daley and Goodfellow who talked the audience through the last dive more times than I care to remember. However, where was Clare Balding and Co when Ed Ling won an Olympic bronze medal in the men’s trap shooting for Great Britain? Was he not worthy of an interview Ms Balding? And why, unlike Daley and Goodfellow, did he only get a few seconds of a mention on ‘Breakfast’? Ed, if you’re reading this then, unlike the BBC, I’d be delighted to interview you and celebrate the fact that you won an Olympic bronze medal.

British Flag - The Union Jack
Credit: en.wikipedia.org

Finally, let’s turn back to drink (must we? yes!) How many of you ladies enjoy drinking whisky? Does anybody out there consider whisky is only a man’s drink? Why am I asking these questions? It’s something that recently came up in conversation.

It seems I’m as guilty as most others at stereotyping. Reading through this post, why did I put an exclamation mark after the word vicar? Do vicars not drink alcohol?

Do you have any examples of stereotyping in today’s world? Does it bother you or is it something we just take for granted?

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