The Importance of Trivia

This picture was put on Twitter today, with the comment “Very disappointed by @sainsburys sexism: since when are science/history/astronomy ‘men’s’ interests?”

Notice that there are magazines for artists, scientists, history buffs, and more. Once upon a time, when the world appeared to be in black & white, these were the preserve of men, but we aren’t living in the 1950s anymore.

Quite soon, there was a reply from a man who said something about how it happens the other way about (I can’t remember what his example was, but it’s not difficult to imagine one, cookery for example) and ended with “so what?”
So what indeed? Isn’t this all very trivial? Aren’t there more important things to worry about?
Well yes, in a way that’s true, but I’ve never understood the argument that we shouldn’t concern ourselves with a problem if there’s a more serious problem to worry about. Why not address both?

Besides, the trivial nature of this particular problem cuts both ways. It would not be prohibitively expensive to fix, just throw out the sexist signs and arrange magazines by genre; motoring, sci-fi, cookery etcetera. Let people decide for themselves what their interests are, don’t tell them what they should be based on gender.

And the cumulative effect is considerably greater than any single “trivial” incident. The drip-drip effect of casual sexism is more corrosive than blatant misogyny because it goes largely unnoticed, so shining a light on it, though it may well attract mockery, can help undermine the greater bigotry.

I was alerted to this topic on Twitter by someone with the username “@EverydaySexism” – well worth a follow. See also their website


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4 responses to “The Importance of Trivia

  1. Great post, Dave. Maybe next time I see it I will complain that my ‘interest’ was filed under ‘woman’s magazines’.


    • I knew there was something I’d forgotten!
      The fact that it happens in both directions doesn’t diminish the point that it’s sexism. It just confirms that it’s a problem that should concern everyone.


  2. Thanks, it probably helps that we’ve encountered that “argument” numerous times on various forums. I’m always surprised when I see it now!


  3. I want to congratulate you for this post, especially for putting forth that one thing most people seem so oblivious to: that there is no reason you cannot put X number of issues (especially when related in an overarching complex) down on the table, rather than having to keep them separate and only deal with one problem at a time. This usually creates the illusion of conflict in the most correlated issues that all need be dealt with in tandem…


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