“The realisation that on issues related to poverty and sexual exploitation, there is no solidarity from Australian feminists…
“…I had wrongly assumed that those leading the charge against sexism would examine how ethnocentrism and economic disparity have created and maintained conditions, policies and norms under which exploitation of women is inevitable.”
“Yet an expanding sex trade only results in more women trapped in a cycle of poverty and violence. Rather than opening up new opportunities, women in the sex trade are far less likely to live to see 40 years of age due to the violence, illness and disease to which the johns expose them…”
“Vulnerable women’s voices are blocked out of feminist media in order to preference a few wealthy women in the Australian industry”
“I’ve come to realise that if anyone couldn’t care less about the countless Asian girls being exploited at home and abroad, it is Australian feminists.”
Amber Rose’s Slutwalk is the natural pinnacle of Slutwalk
“The kids of Slutwalk readily embraced anti-feminist stereotypes of second wavers and chose to distance themselves from the movement, selling out for media coverage and male support. And where did it get us? Well, you see young, privileged women today advocating for prostitution and pornography as liberated choices for women using the same language the Slutwalkers did: “My body my choice!” “I do what I want, fuck yeah!” You see efforts to encourage men to vote against Stephen Harper by offering blow jobs or exchanging nude photos for votes. “Sluts Against Harper” [NSFW — feel free to report this Instagram account for pornography] is direct evidence of Slutwalk’s impact on young people’s understanding of politics today. All women can offer, in terms of advocating for change, are their objectified bodies. While leftist men have long encouraged women’s subordinate status, only considering men’s liberation and equality something worth fighting for, it’s new for self-described “feminists” to glom on to this blatant sexism.
The neoliberal, self-centered, enormously deluded notion that if women simply “choose” objectification or commodification, it becomes empowering, now underpins mainstream feminism. We seem to have fully embraced the idea that “reclaiming” misogyny and making it our own is the best we can do. While it’s clear to those of us in the movement that this is anything but feminism, those engaged don’t see it that way, nor does the media. “
Now and then you see a documentary that stops you in your tracks. ‘Escape from ISIS. The story of the secret underground network rescuing women held captive’ which screened last week on ABC 4Corners, is one such piece of filmmaking. I’ve watched it three times now. Please watch this film – see the suffering of the women, the way they are traded by ISIS fighters – even little girls treated as the spoils of war. But see also the bravery of those who devote their every waking moment to rescuing them. Hold your breath as a large group of women and children, having walked for two days out of ISIS territory, are embraced by those who arranged their rescuer. And see their guide, deliver them safely, then walk back into ISIS controlled lands to do the same again. Click below to watch the full Four Corners episode:
Sexual objectification of women is Zoo Weekly’s core business. The publication contains highly sexualised images of women along with headlines and articles discussing their body parts. Readers are shown where to access more explicit content on its website and social media, along with ads for phone sex lines and adult shops.
Despite the pornographic content, there are no age restrictions on this magazine. Zoo’s website says ”We reach readers from their teens all the way to their 40s, because we know them better than anyone else” and describes itself to potential advertisers as “The best way to reach men aged 16-40″
Recent market data provided by Zoo shows that 36,000 boys aged 14-17 are among its readership.
As Laura Pintur said when she wrote about the petition for the Daily Mail,
‘What chance does the younger generation have when they are being fed a diet of soft porn and the abuse, sexualisation, and objectification of women has become so normalised?’
The petition has reached over 38,000 signatures, but Coles and Woolworths have continued to ignore the issue.
Young Coles employee Shannen had long felt the injustice of being required to handle and sell a magazine that promotes women’s subjugation and sexual objectification. Shannen signed the petition and was then inspired to take things further. She submitted an official complaint to Coles.
Coles has informed Shannen that the magazine will be discontinued.
“As a Coles employee, selling a magazine that celebrates the objectification of women made me feel deeply uncomfortable. The sale of Zoo magazine in my workplace creates a hostile working environment because it condones the purchase of a magazine that eroticises female subjugation and vulnerability. About two months ago I began the process of lodging a grievance with my union, the SDA, and my store manager regarding the sale of Zoo in Coles. I was motivated to pursue this complaint because I had signed the Collective Shout petition and thought that the timing was appropriate to lodge such a grievance.
Given the impressive support base for this petition, I gained confidence with the knowledge that thousands of people were behind me and it was only a matter of time before Coles succumbed to these pressures. Knowing that Coles is discontinuing Zoo magazine makes me feel relieved, for myself, and also for other young women in my workforce who no longer have to put up with selling a magazine that promotes rape culture.”
Win! Thank you Shannen for taking a stand.
Thanks to Coles for supporting your employees and taking an important step towards a safer community for women and girls.
What about Woolworths? Take Action!
Share the petition – urge Woolworths to do the right thing and #binzoomag
Do you work for Woolworths? If you’re an employee of Woolworths and would like to get in touch with us click here.
Further reading on the history of Zoo Weekly – click here.
Activist group claims victory after Coles withdraws lads mag Zoo Weekly from shelves
Coles has deleted lads mag Zoo Weekly from its magazine range with lobby group Collective Shout touting the move as a win for its campaign urging the supermarket and rival Woolworths to ditch the title it claims promotes rape culture. Read more.
US rapper Tyler the Creator has announced that he has been banned from Australia. This is yet to be confirmed by the Department of Immigration, but that hasn’t stopped Tyler the Creator’s fans from unleashing their rage.
In a statement of solidarity, End Online Misogyny has published a sample of the abuse that Collective Shout’s Coralie Alison has received over the last few hours.
*content warning* This is not an easy read. This is what happens when women speak out against misogyny and this is why we need you to stand with us.
Here is the letter to the Minister for Immigration
The Hon. Mr Peter Dutton MP
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Parliament House, Canberra ACT
We are writing to you regarding visa applicant Tyler Gregory Okonma -stage name ‘Tyler the Creator’- who is due to arrive in Australia for a national music tour September 3.
Australian Immigration Fact Sheet 78 on Controversial Visa Applicants refers to “people whose presence in Australia may, because of their activities, reputation, known record or the cause they represent and propagate, vilify or incite discord in the Australian community or a segment of that community, or represent a danger to the Australian community or a segment of that community.”
We believe the application by Tyler the Creator meets the Department’s definition of ‘Controversial Visa Applicant’. Our views are based on the content of his song lyrics and his behavior during his July 2013 tour.
Tyler the Creator seeks to enter Australia in order to profit from the broadcasting and selling of these lyrics. While his activities are therefore commercial, the content of the product he sells propagates discriminatory ideas about women and other groups, and represent a danger to a segment of the Australian community on the potential basis of incitement to acts of hatred.
Tyler the Creator has received widespread media attention over the span of his career for misogynistic hate speech against women, as well as homophobia. He is renowned for his songs advocating rape and extreme violence against women, including murder, genital mutilation, stuffing them into car boots, trapping them in his basement, raping their corpses and burying their bodies.
A characteristic feature of his songs is retribution against women who he perceives have wronged him. For example, he sings about strangling and chopping up women who reject his sexual advances and raping their corpses.
“Raquel treat me like my father like a f*ckin’ stranger, She still don’t know I made Sarah to strangle her, Not put her in danger and chop her up in the back of a Wrangler, All because she said no to homecoming.’”
“You’ll be down in earth quicker if you diss me tonight, I just wanna drag your lifeless body to the forest, And fornicate with it but that’s because I’m in love with you…c*nt.”
Other lyrics include:
“F*ck Mary in her ass.. ha-ha.. yo, I tell her it’s my house, give her a tour, In my basement, and keep that bitch locked up in my storage, Rape her and record it, then edit it with more sh*t”
“You already know you’re dead, Ironic cause your lipstick is red, of course, I stuff you in the trunk”
“You call this sh*t rape but I think that rape’s fun, I just got one request, stop breathin”
“I wanna tie her body up and throw her in my basement, Keep her there, so nobody can wonder where her face went, (Tyler, what you doin’?) Shut the f*ck up, You gon’ f*ckin’ love me bitch, Sh*t, I don’t give a f*ck, your family lookin’ for you, wish ‘em good luck, Bitch, you tried to play me like a dummy, Now you stuck up in my motherf*ckin’ basement all bloody, And I’m f*ckin’ your dead body, your coochie all cummy, Lookin’ in your dead eyes, what the f*ck you want from me?”
The messages propogated in these lyrics pose particular risk to the Australian community by conveying the message that interpersonal conflict might be legitimately resolved through violence. Unfortunately this message still enjoys resonance in significant parts of our society which heightens the risk posed to women and children of his entry.
We draw your attention to a previous Collective Shout campaign in June 2013 calling on the former Minister to revoke Tyler’s visa. As a result of our actions, Talitha Stone, a young activist who led our campaign, was subjected to multiple rape and death threats from Tyler’s fans, with the artist himself inciting violence against her on twitter and at his Sydney (all-ages) concert, where a young woman was also raped.
While there has been significant attention given to his suspected terrorist activities, his conviction and jail term for threatening to kill an ASIO officer and his angry claims that Parliamentary Secretary Steve Ciobo was inciting Australian Muslims to travel to Syria to join ISIS, less has been said about his threats to Australian women.
In January, shortly after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in Paris, Mallah threatened women columnists Miranda Devine and Rita Panihi in a twitter post:
I’ve always held the view that women who express opinions and are then subjected to violent threats and vilification should be defended, regardless of whatever political or ideological side of a fence they are on. I wondered, when some in the audience clapped in support of Mallah, if they were aware of his rape threats against Australian women or whether this didn’t matter enough to them to refrain from applauding?
And why don’t threats of sexual terrorism against women attract the same condemnation as other terrorist related threats? Mallah may have distanced himself from some of his earlier views, but his gang-rape tweet is only five months old.
Political scientist and commentator Dr Jennifer Oriel had been invited to be part of this week’s Q&A panel. She refused because of Mallah’s threats of sexual violence. She wrote this about her decision.
Last month, I was invited to appear as a panelist on the ABC’s political talk show Q&A.
Last night, Q&A featured a self-described “Muslim activist” who tweeted about gang-raping female columnists in January and pled guilty to threatening to kill an ASIO officer.
Why would I want to appear on Q&A following such an outrage against freethinking women and our nation’s protective forces?
The man who tweeted the idea of gang-raping female journalists also has expressed support for an Islamic caliphate.
I consider him such an inferior example of manhood that I would prefer not to stain the page with his name, but here it is for the record: Zaky Mallah.
After deploying the standard Islamist narrative on the ABC – i.e. Islamists are victims and anti-terrorism is unfair – Q&A’s audience applauded Mallah.
That tells us a lot about the state of Left-wing politics today.
In the 21st century, the hard Left goes soft on men who attack liberal democracy and promote violence against women as long as such men belong to a Left-anointed minority.
Q&A host Tony Jones upbraided Mallah, but only after he had blamed the government for jihadism.
Today’s limp corrective by the ABC falls well short of the explanation we need and the apology Australians deserve.
The terms of reference for the investigation into the ABC’s indulgence of Mallah must include why a man who threatened to kill an ASIO official was cast as a victim while offending our liberal democratic government’s anti-terrorism policy.
And why a man who promoted the gang-rape of female columnists was welcomed into the ABC studio and given the privilege of being a selected speaker from the audience.
What might have happened if either of the two female columnists Mallah proposed should be gang-raped in January were on the Q&A panel last night?
Unlike those female columnists, I was actually invited to be on a Q&A panel this month.
I have written extensively on Islamist terrorism and have been threatened for doing so.
The thought that a man such as Mallah might have been sitting a few feet away from me unrestrained is, quite frankly, horrifying.
There are serious questions which must be answered about the contemporary Left, and its continued indulgence of Islamist terrorism and misogyny.
We might begin by asking why the taxpayer-funded ABC indulged a man who promoted the idea of gang-raping female columnists.
Is it because the targeted columnists, Miranda Devine and Rita Panahi, are politically conservative and therefore considered deserving victims by Islamists and their Left-wing allies in the West?
Are we seeing a new form of politically correctness in Australia – politically correct misogyny?
Perhaps misogyny is permissible to the Left when the victim is a conservative woman.
As a female political commentator who leans conservative, my right to free speech and bodily security may not mean much to the ABC.
But I did not spend my formative years in the 20th century fighting for women’s rights only to surrender to an Islamist-Left alliance of misogyny in the 21st.
I expect a public apology from the ABC for its outrage against freethinking women, freedom of speech and the basic security of Australians.
Until such an apology is given, I will not consent to appear on Q&A.
Update: Mallah and some others have argued that he used the phrase ‘gang bang’ not ‘gang rape’. A man who calls two female journalists whores, and argues they need to be gang-banged on popular morning television, is not inviting them to join him in a mutually pleasurable experience. Note he has continued to tweet misogynist messages about and to them, in which he upholds his use of the term ‘whore’ to describe them.
Zoo Weekly has a long history of exploiting and objectifying women for the enjoyment of male readers. During this time, supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths have quietly profited from the sale of this unrestricted magazine in stores around the country. There are a lot of reasons why Coles and Woolworths should rethink the sale of Zoo Weekly, but we’ve narrowed it down to just 20, in no particular order.
Petition Creator Laura Pintur writes for Mamamia on Collective Shout’s campaign to get Zoo Weekly out of Coles and Woolworths.
Laura Pintur has started an online petition calling for lad’s magazine Zoo Weekly to be removed from supermarket shelves. Today, she writes for Mamamia about why she’s taking on a mag that is read by 36,000 boys aged 14-17.
I was so happy when I heard Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young had won her defamation case against Zoo Weekly. When I saw what they did to her, putting her head on a semi-naked bikini model’s body, I thought – how can they get away with that? Happily, they didn’t get away with it in Senator Hanson-Young’s case.
But every day they’re getting away with objectifying women, teaching boys to be predatory, encouraging sexual harassment and violence, spreading rape culture – all while calling it ‘humor’.
My friends and I don’t think it’s that funny to say to men and boys: “If the object of your affection is drinking, that’s already a point in your favour… you want to pick the “loosest/skankiest” one of the lot and fetch her a drink…separate her from the flock. You’re off alone, boozed-up and charming — these are three green lights!”
Giving men and boys the green light to assault women who are under the influence of alcohol is inciting them to commit a crime – when what we need to be doing is educating young men and boys about respectful relationships.
A recent Zoo column joked about punching your ‘misses’ in the face – and this kind of language is important. A 2011 UK study compared lads’ mags’ – including Zoo – and statements from convicted rapists. It found many people could not distinguish the source of the quotes.
Zoo Weekly uses the same language as rapists in its magazine. Sexually objectifying imagery and demeaning content feature on Zoo’s social media sites.
Zoo contributes to a culture that is hostile and threatening to women. It puts my friends and I in danger.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012 Personal Safety Survey found one in five Australian women over the age of 15 had experienced sexual violence. When big supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths sell Zoo it normalizes harmful attitudes to women. Zoo magazine is unrestricted, meaning there are no age restrictions on who can purchase the magazine. Zoo Weekly’s parent company, Bauer, has commissioned their own statistics that show 36,000 boys aged 14-17 read Zoo.
This is why I’ve started a campaign through Change.org, with the support of Collective Shout, calling on Coles and Woolworths to stop selling sexist Zoo Weekly. More than 37,000 people have now signed.
If Coles and Woolworths want to pride themselves on their corporate ethics and support for communities, why do they think it’s OK to profit from degrading women and girls?
I know there’s a lot more that has to be done. This is just one thing I felt I, as a 23-year-old woman could do. It’s my first campaign, the first time I’ve done media or spoken out. But I felt I had to do something.
I have seen first-hand the costs of what this magazine endorses, not only in my life but the lives of other young people. What chance does my generation, and those younger than me have when such major corporations help groom boys to treat us badly?
If you would like to sign Laura’s petition, you can find it here.
Lads’ mags, sexual violence, and the need for feminist intervention
Magazines such as Zoo not only reproduce and legitimise sexist and predatory views of sexual violence and gender roles. They also make such attitudes seem normal and acceptable.
Laura Pintur’s accusation that Zoo reproduces “rape culture” is particularly insightful because of the emphasis on cultural and socio-political contexts of these media texts. The implied understanding is that sexual violence is woven into the very fabric of our wider society and culture. Full article.
Lost Innocence: Why girls are having rough sex at 12
They know, or think they know, a few other things, too. That oral sex doesn’t count as sex. That sending nude pictures via text or Facebook is the new flirting. That boys their age watch porn regularly, and demand from their girlfriends the sexual menu they see online – hairless, surgically-enhanced bodies, ‘girl-on-girl action’, and much, much more.
They are learning from the 21st century’s version of sex education class, the internet…But these lessons are a dangerous mix of misinformation and distorted images of sexuality, which is contributing to behaviour that can leave young women with deep psychological and physical scars. Full article.
‘We are enrolling them into a billion-dollar global industry that objectifies, oppresses and conditions women to believe they are created for sex’
The studio is dim. Neon lights flash around the room in a club-esque fashion. A swarm of what appears to be 6-year-old girls climb, twist and twirl around the floor-to-ceiling iconic poles that will be used for much more than monkey’s business once it’s past their bedtime. Dance attire for sale at this Bendigo, Victoria, pole dance studio include booty shorts with ‘Flirty’ plastered across the bottom.
“We didn’t want to get it mixed up with the concept of adult pole dancing,” says Saari Frochot-Ryan, owner and manager of Z Fit Studios, which hosts the ‘Monkey Kids’ pole program for children aged 3-11.
“The classes are completely child appropriate,” says Frochot-Ryan.
Z Fit Studios also offer ‘Teen Pole’ lessons, as well as a range of ‘naughty’, ‘sexy’ and ‘provocative’ adult classes. On the company’s website, this ad appears below the ‘Monkey Kids’ information:
According to The Project, in an episode last month, pole dancing is the booming new exercise fad for Australian children. Promoted as innocent child’s play, instructors promise a fun fitness experience with significant health benefits.
Welcome to the 21st Century: where we create a child-friendly replica of the most prevalent symbol of the adult entertainment industry and label it ‘fun’.
This is pornified culture disguised as a shiny after-school sport. It may be pole dancing training wheels now with upbeat music, neon colours, kindergarten giggles and games; but in a few years a riskier game begins.
Pole dancing has a long-standing association with the sex industry. It was hailed an icon in the burlesque scene throughout the 1950s, and by the 1960s was established worldwide in gentlemen’s clubs, strip joints and red light districts. Pole companies argue that its origins trace further back to the traditional Indian sport ‘Mallakhamb’: a strength training method executed on a vertical wooden pole.
What they fail to mention however, is that the sport was developed for male wrestlers and women were banned from participation. The sport was deemed culturally inappropriate for women due to the pole’s symbolism: a phallus, or spiritual representation of the male genitalia.
The pole permeates time and culture with the sinister notion that women are decorative objects to be twirled, twisted and tangled around; a global denotation of the way we reduce women to mere titillating instruments. The pole teases out the approval, gratification and sexual advances of a male audience who pay for this ‘entertainment’ around the globe; the exchange of cash for voyeuristic pleasure.
This history is now prettily packaged as a fun fitness opportunity for your child to achieve optimum strength, flexibility and coordination. Let’s take a look at what will be available for your daughter in a few short years.
At Pole Princess in Victoria, there are six class options available for teenage girls. They must have the written consent of parents to attend, and fathers are not permitted inside the studio. Aside from the ‘Sexy Legs’ and ‘Princess Workout’ classes, there is the ‘Booti-Funk’ option that, as stated on their site engages “sexy exotic movement.” Or your daughter could enrol in the ‘Burlesque’ lesson, which uses traditional burlesque choreography combined with “the sexy dancers of today, like the Pussy Cat Dolls.”
At Poleates in Blacktown NSW, girls as young as 15 are invited to participate as ‘pole virgins’ in the ‘Virgin’ class for beginner dancers.
Desert Pole Fitstate in their ‘Pole Fit for Kids’ advertisement that “in order to become a professional pole dancer, it is never too early to start.” Directly below this, a video plays of a dancer on her knees, seductively removing her skirt to reveal an underwear and stiletto combination, before launching onto the pole.
And over in Sydney’s north, teenage girls aged 13-16 can attend classes at Pol-arise. According to their website, girls will find themselves “developing washboard abs, tight toosh and a long, lean, sexy physique”, whilst simultaneously resolving “self-confidence and body confidence issues.” This is the image the company uses for self-promotion:
In contrast to the claims made by Pol-arise, the pressure to achieve a ‘sexy physique’ holds no resolution for body image issues. Sexualisation is a proven, direct causal link to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders and the rapid decline in girls’ psychological health.
Kids pole programs are an embodiment of the way culture distorts girlhood to fit an adultified mould. As Linda Papadopoulos writes in her review commissioned by the UK Home Office, The Sexualisation of Young People, we are “legitimising the notion that children can be related to as sexual objects” through engaging children with hyper-sexualised behaviours.
“We are raising a generation of girls aspiring to careers requiring a ‘sexy’ image”
We are raising a generation of girls aspiring to careers requiring a ‘sexy’ image. A UK online survey asked 1,000 teenage girls their dream profession. Out of the available choices including teaching and medicine, 63% selected ‘glamour modelling’ and a quarter of girls placed ‘lap dancing’ as a preferred choice.
The aspirational connotations associated with sex trade and pornographic practices, according to Papadopoulos, are reflective of our pornified culture.
This deeply ingrained cultural mindset has led us to believe that girls’ engagement in pole dancing is a harmless practice. I disagree.
Search ‘pole dance kids’, and the fifth result is of a primary school-aged child imitating mainstream pole movement to a sultry soundtrack in her home: complete with hair flicks, back arches, knee spreads and a delighted online troll who says: ‘She’d look even better wrapped around my pole.’
Search ‘pole dance teens’ and the inappropriate content warnings issued by YouTube are indicative of what kids pole programs are setting little girls up for: grinding, twerking, thrusting, leg spreads, body rolls, sliding and crawling along the floor in padded bras, g-strings, lingerie and ‘naughty school girl’ costumes. And this is all before turning 18, where girls may then transition into adult lessons around the country ranging from beginner, to advanced ‘strip and lap’ classes.
Encouraging our girls to partake in a key income-generator of the sex industry is a mistake.
We are enrolling them into a billion-dollar global industry that objectifies, oppresses and conditions women to believe they are created for sex. We are enrolling them into an economic and cultural landscape that proliferates the commodification of the bodies of women and girls; a culture that screams body before brains.
Let girls run, kick a ball, surf, dance, hike, indoor rock climb, balance the beam at their local gymnastics club. There are many fitness avenues that are not founded on the premise of gratifying male sexual demand.
Jemma Nicoll is a UTS Journalism graduate and freelance writer. She is the founding director of Inspire Creative Arts in Sydney, and facilitates self-esteem development programs for girls.
How sexualised behaviour has become the new normal
While the content was disturbing, it was encouraging to wake up to the front page of The Australian on the weekend and see the issues myself and my colleagues write and speak about most days, reflected on the front page.
Source: The Australian
A news piece titled ‘Click bait: kids at risk as sexualised behaviour becomes “new normal”‘ by National Education Correspondent Natasha Bita, described how unsupervised internet access was spawning a generation of hypersexualised children who mimicked the adult porn they saw online. It cited warnings from psychiatrists, police and child welfare expects that the scourge of ‘sexting’, ‘selfies’ and social media was endangering children’s physical and mental health.
My colleagues, Melbourne child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, managing director of the Young and Well Co-operative Research Centre, and federal government cyber safety adviser Susan McLean, expressed their concerns about the impacts on children of early porn exposure. “There is overt and covert pressure on children to behave in a sexualised way,” Ms McLean says. “This shouldn’t be the new normal. The No. 1 issue I deal with in high schools is the enormous pressure from boys to girls to put out sexually through images. ”
Michael Carr-Gregg said online pornography was skewing the way teenagers viewed sex, love and intimacy. “Boys see girls as sexual service stations for their pleasure…I’m seeing it virtually every single time I have a clinic. Their idea of sex is porn sex — it’s a terrible distortion of one of the most precious and important parts of their lives, which is love and intimacy.’’
Central to the piece was the example of a selfie of a 13-year-old girl posed on Instagram last week, with the words ‘Boner Garage’ scrawled on her bare tummy. Australian author and columnist Nikki Gemmell wrote a profound and incisive response, directly to the teen girl. She has kindly given permission for me to re-print her commentary in full here.
‘Boner Garage’ girls, my heart breaks for you
Dear 13-year-old Instagrammer,
“Boner Garage.” Oh, right. So that’s what you’ve just written on your bare tummy, in your child’s scrawl, in black marking pen. You’ve helpfully added an arrow pointing downwards so we get exactly what you’re referring to. That’s what you’ve artfully photographed in your child’s bedroom as your celebratory birthday selfie. You’ve deliberately, proudly, made those two dispiriting words the focus of your shot.
Your glossy blonde hair is across your face so no one can see your features. The room behind you looks utterly normal, middle class; just like any teen’s cherished and girlie private space. I don’t know you, but you have hundreds of followers, boys and girls, and you’ve not locked your account to strangers. Happy 13th birthday. My heart breaks for you.
That you define turning 13 — that wonderful, releasing cusp in a woman’s life — by those two bleak little words. Boner garage. That you somehow get pride out of them. It’s an age marinated in symbolism, a fulcrum into growing up; a time where everything should seem celebratory and wondrous, with the world deepening around you. Symbolically, in many cultures, you become morally responsible for your actions around this age — but I just want to protect you right now.
It’s readily available on a ¬mobile phone and most teenage boys have one. They look at what their mates are looking at. That can mean anal sex, group sex, oral sex — women servicing men in the ugliest, most disempowering of ways.
Porn, of course, is sex with no light in it and the best sex is bursting with light and life. Teens need to be told this bleak and reductive world is not what normal, loving relationships are about; sex should never be violent or degrading and woman are not just sexual objects.
Doctors are seeing teenage girls presenting to them — highly embarrassed — with bowel problems because of traumatic anal sex. Because it’s what they’re ¬assuming they’re meant to do.
As for you, my birthday girl, I just wish there’d been an adult or responsible friend around to stop you posting that Insta pic. Because your electronic footprint lasts, and can be disseminated. People may well be seeing what your 13-year-old self wrote, so proudly and stupidly, in years to come. Parents see the accounts of their children’s mates; as well as friends of friends you have no idea about; teachers and principals trawl; and so, of course, does the dark side of the net, those dubious adults beyond your world.
By scrawling those ugly words on your midriff you’ve already flipped yourself into the dark side of femininity and I don’t think you even realise it. Boys won’t admire you for doing this. They’ll disrespect you, disparage you.
Source: The Australian
But that won’t stop them using you as their so-called Boner ¬Garage. And I guarantee the ¬experience will be bleak, and ¬lonely. You will not feel empowered afterwards, or cherished. You will not feel what you want more than anything in this world — loved. You will feel cheap, and used, and ugly, and alone.
And at the end of that reducing little ¬experience you will ask yourself, is that it? Is that how I’m meant to feel? And that’s why my heart breaks for you. Because I’ve been there. And I can tell you, it’s not what empowering, exhilarating and tender sex is about. Often you have to wait a long, long time to discover that. With someone you love. Where respect is mutual. Where you’re having sex on your terms; talking, laughing, working things out together; saying what you like — and what you don’t. And being listened to.
“Boner Garage” implies none of those things. How passive and inert you make a woman’s wondrous sexual organs sound. Do you think so little of your body that you view it mainly as a receptacle for males to be in? The most common web definition of Boner Garage: “A vagina that has been pounded so much by erect penises that it has become a resting place for said penises.” Pretty ugly, eh?
I wish you courage, whoever you are. Not to dim your light among men; because that light is about so much more than the garage, as you call it, between your legs. It’s about your mind, your spirit, your vividness, your strength and your voice. There are only two ways to live in this world: as a victim or a courageous fighter, and you’re coming across as a victim right now. Of this rampantly sexualised world we live in. Of its female objectification and trivialisation. And of the voracious demands of teenage social media; the craving to be popular, known, that rampant desire to get more and more precious “likes”.
This isn’t the way to go about it. You’re advocating in the most dispiriting of ways a female sexual experience that’s stripped of mystery, of reverence and transcendence and, most of all, tenderness. As Iris Murdoch said: “There is nothing like early promiscuous sex for dispelling life’s bright mysterious expectations.”
Teenage girls and boys no longer seek sex education from textbooks with anatomical diagrams, giggling friends or flustered parents; they can get it from films with titles like Teen Ass 2, which they can access on the smartphones that they carry with them at all times. This week new figures revealed that sexualised images of women on social media have led to an increase in emotional problems among young girls. Researchers from University College London believe the rise in girls aged between 11 and 13 suffering from emotional problems such as anxiety may be linked to stress brought on by seeing images of women portrayed as sex objects on Facebook, Twitter and other websites. Teenagers rarely measure self-esteem or self-worth against personal and scholastic achievements, however brilliant they are, but increasingly by how many people tell them they are ‘hot’ on the photo-sharing website, Instagram, or other forms of social media…
Collective Shout has compiled examples of the content Zoo Weekly publishes and promotes to underage boys. You can view the images below, or click ‘view as slide show’ to view the images alongside explanatory notes.
Antoinette Jones – Principal – Mitcham Girls High School
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Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
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Heather Douglas – Parent – Pembroke School
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Paul Teys – Principal – Hunter Valley Grammar
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Justine Hodgson – English Faculty, Pymble Ladies’ College
“Melinda Tankard Reist has had a transformational affect on our school.”
Ms Stephanie McConnell, Principal – Turramurra High School
Purchase Big Porn Inc, Getting Real, Faking It, Men of Honour, Sexts Texts & Selfies, Raising Girls, Raising Boys, MTR DVD, Ruby Who? DVD & book, Girl Wise guide to friends, Girl Wise guide to being you, Girl Wise guide to life and Girl Wise guide to taking care of your body, and the new Wise Guys for the combined discounted price of $250.
‘The foremost authority in Australia cyber safety lays it on the line and challenges parents to find their digital spine.’ – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
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In this DVD, Melinda takes us on a visual tour of popular culture. “Melinda’s presentation leaves audiences reeling. She delivers her message with a clarity and commonsense without peer.” – Steve Biddulph, author, Raising Boys, Raising Girls
In this easy-to-read updated book, Steve Biddulph shares powerful stories and give practical advice about every aspect of boyhood.
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Men of Honour -written by Glen Gerreyn- encourages and inspires young men to take up the challenge to be honourable. Whether at school, in sport, at work or in relationships, we must develp our character to achieve success and experience the thrills life has on offer.
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“Getting Real contains a treasure trove of information and should be mandatory reading for all workers with young people in health, education and welfare” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Adolescent Psychologist
Do you read women’s lifestyle magazines? Have you thought about how magazines might affect you when you read them? Faking It reflects the body of academic research on magazines, mass media, and the sexual objectification of women.
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Ruby Who? is the sweet and innocent story of a little girl’s adventure in re-discovering her identity. Ruby wishes for so many things and dreams of being like others. Will she end up forgetting how to just be herself?
Defiant Birth challenges widespread medical, and often social aversion to less than perfect pregnancies or genetically different babies. It also features women with disabilities who were discouraged from becoming pregnant at all.