Nena + Pasadena’s fashion statement celebrating the objectification of women
Wondering how some of our footballers are putting their Code’s ‘Respect and Responsibility’ policies into practice?
Curious as to whether all the effort that has gone into addressing sexual misconduct, harassment, indecent exposure, violence and other myriad manifestations of disrespect for women? (You’ll find some here)
Perhaps Hawthorn star Lance “Buddy” Franklin can help us answer these important questions?
Here’s some t.shirts he has designed – and is seen here proudly modeling – for his Nena and Pasadena brand.
Franklin is headless wearing in the t.shirts above. But of course it’s him.
Because there just aren’t enough porn-themed t.shirts already stuffing the racks of numerous stores, all the way from City Beach to Roger David, our buddy Lance has got into the act, teaming up with Men’s Fashion Label Kiss Chacey and Sushi Radio to create the new label for young men to “appeal to a broader cross section of their fans and the ever growing fashion conscious youth of Australia”.
A topless women, with her breast and nipple visible, has her head wrapped in a scarf. Perhaps that’s because her face – and her full humanity – don’t count that much. A headless woman, her butt cheeks glowing and emphasised. Because, again, no need to bother with her face. The man in the photo with her is not revealing his backside. They pretty much never do.
Another image depicts a topless woman covering her breast with her hand. ‘Angel of silence’ reads the slogan. The best kind of women right? They let their bodies do the talking and keen their mouths shut. This image features on billboards.
Up until a short time ago the same ‘Angel of Silence’ image was also the profile picture for Nena and Pasadena’s facebook page. It’s been replaced with a new one of Franklin in a t.shirt with a bearded man on it. That man has clothes on.
The AFL’s Respect and Responsibility Policy “represents the Australian Football League’s commitment to addressing violence against women and to work towards creating safe, supportive and inclusive environments for women and girls across the football industry as well as the broader community”.
In serious tones, the Code informs us that ”in March 2009, the AFL, in cooperation with State League/TAC Cup Clubs, commenced delivering a State League Respect and Responsibility Module. The aims of the Module are to:
• Promote safe and inclusive environments for women and girls at all levels of Australian Football and the wider community;
• Increase players understanding of how sexual assault, violence, harassment and abuse can affect the lives of women and girls;
• Provide practical information that assists players to understand the meaning of consent, and identify situations that have the potential to go wrong; and,
• Provide players with information that may assist them to build and maintain social relationships with women that are healthy and respectful.
I asked anti sexual violence campaigner Nina Funnell, who trains other elite sporting codes on their attitudes towards women, sex and consent, what impact she thought these t.shirts could have:
It is vital that sporting codes and individual athletes who undertake and commit to respectful relationship courses are consistent in their behavior. To superficially pay lip service to respecting women while simultaneously perpetuating attitudes or behaviors that either objectify or harm women is not only disingenuous and insincere, it is destructive as it undermines respect for women as a value. To send a confusing message on this topic is worse than sending no message at all.
AFL players are recognisable public figures. They get paid the big bucks for a reason and it is their responsibility to exercise due diligence in thinking through the issues and brands they endorse. Like other athletes and public figures, they must take responsibility for this. “
The t.shirts are a form of harassment. They normalise sexualised representations of women and send a message that women are merely ornaments and decorations whose sole role is to bare their flesh and gratify men. They erode efforts of the AFL to change the disrespectful attitudes of many of their players. And they make the work of women like Nina Funnell even harder.
Does Franklin share the patronizing and dismissive views of his business partner Tim Arandt who has been sending this reply to Collective Shout members who have voiced their complaint?
Thanks for your comments and views but we feel we know what young people want to wear so we choose to continue our design concepts in full. I have three teenage boys of my own and have discussed your email with them, they were humored by your thoughts and added that the 6 o’clock news contained far more adult contact than a tshirt!! If you feel that we degrade women or promote violence against women please further your emails to the editor of the herald sun.
So teenage boys are now the leading experts on understanding the nuances of how the repeated sexualisation of female bodies affects young women’s self esteem and experience of public space? They are the arbiters of cultural standards regarding young women? The same boys whose views are reflected in a recent White Ribbon foundation report which found that one in seven teen boys thinks it is permissible to hold a girl down and force her to have sex if she has flirted or ‘led the guy on’.
But back to Buddy Franklin. Interesting to see he weighed in on the St Kilda nude photo scandal.
“I know that the AFL puts in place things at a young age, as soon as you get drafted, where you’ve got to be smart enough to know what’s going on in your private life and not to do things that are going to get out in public.”
Maybe Lance buddy, you should have kept those t.shirts of yours in a cupboard.
Published today on ABC’s The Drum.
For details on where to complain see Collective Shout website.