a written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another
I find myself pondering the question: do the editors at Zoo Weekly Magazine understand what an apology is?
This week a Change.org petition, initiated by Collective Shout supporter Matt Darvas, a man who, with his family, cares passionately for refugees and is deeply engaged with refugee communities in Newcastle, NSW, resulted in an apology from Zoo for an appalling competition to find Australia’s sexiest boat person.
Zoo Weekly was asking female asylum seekers who had “swapped persecution for sexiness” to send in pictures — and joked about “shooting” them with a camera.
In the world of lad’s mags like Zoo, even female survivors of the most horrendous human rights violations on earth can be offered up as masturbatory material for its male readers. Hot refugee women for you to get off on! Brutalised beauties for your viewing pleasure!
The apology, published on its website and hardcopy issue stated:
“ZOO Weekly regrets any offence caused to any of our readers, and to any asylum seeker or refugee and their families and supporters. We apologise for being insensitive.” — Tim Keen, editor of Zoo Weekly
Mr Keen, editor of jerk-off weekly, said the apology was extended to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Zoo had tried to persuade the Senator to pose for the magazine, promising to host “the next boatload” of asylum seekers in its office is she did so. She said no. But no matter. The editors just photoshopped her head onto the body of a bikini model. Problem solved! No consent required!
Have the female editors and staff of these magazines, which claim to advance female equality, had anything to say about their stablemate’s treatment of female refugees and elected representatives. The condemnation should be loud and unequivocal.
Without any accountability to or discipline from ACP, Zoo continues to be enabled to continue this exploitative and sexist behavior.
Nina Funnell, who I’m happy to say is become a regular contributor here on the MTR blog, has written a thoughtful analysis of the dead-women-are-sexy Monster video clip soon to be officially released by rapper Kanye West. It has been encouraging to see the issue attracting global coverage. Here’s Nina’s piece.
Sex, death and Kanye West: music clips need to get real
Supposedly “sexy” music videos are usually not, writes Nina Funnell.
What do you think of music video clips these days? Too sexy? Too raunchy? Too smutty? Not me. I’m going to go out on a limb and say today’s video clips are not sexy enough. In fact, they are not sexy at all. And they never have been.
Watching heavily made-up women squeeze into too tight clothes and ridiculously high heels before grinding back and forth on an imaginary phallus, all while trying to maintain their contrived ‘come-hither’ look and big hair, does not make me think about sexual intimacy, true sensuality or deep and satisfying physical pleasure. It just looks like hard work.
Video clips said to be too sexual rarely offer anything other than a contrived, heavily choreographed and deliberately manufactured version of a hollow and artificial sexuality. It’s all so sad and so predictable.
Advertisement: Story continues below While many commentators argue that video clips over-sexualise women, the real problem is they actually deny the sexuality of women all together. Instead of analysing the clothes and dance moves within these clips, we should look at how desire functions.
As so often in popular culture, women are expected to appear desirable, but to be completely lacking in all desire of their own. The best example of this is Britney Spears in her Hit me baby days and Jessica Simpson circa 2002. Both Spears and Simpson stated they were virgins and intended to remain so until marriage. Meanwhile, they would grind back and forth wearing tiny outfits all designed to titillate. In other words their sexuality was to be consumed and enjoyed by everyone except themselves.
The “sexually rapacious virgin” is just one paradox of our sexualised pop culture. But a while back I began to wonder where our sexualised pop culture is really heading. At some point all the bouncy hair, big boobs and tiny skirts just gets old. These days humping a pole is not so much risqué as passé.
So once sex (or rather, the limited and stereotypical representations of pop-culture sex) gets tired, what becomes the new frontier in risqué representation?
Well, if the new Kanye West clip for his single Monster is anything to go by, sexualised death might just be the answer. In the teaser to the clip, two dead women in lingerie and high heels swing back and forth from a metal chain, hanging from the ceiling. Another two young women are slumped on a bed, like lifeless mannequins. A man advances on them. His intentions are clear. The whole clip is littered with eroticised female corpses.
It’s not surprising really. If sexualising live women has become boring, why not sexualise dead ones?
Of course many people will defend the clip in the name of art. Others will say viewers have the capacity to differentiate between dark fantasy and reality.
But others will disagree. Recently commentator Melinda Tankard-Reist criticised the blatant erotization of female death. In it she writes: “The men don’t seem horrified at all by the female corpses littered through the haunted mansion, the apparent victims of a serial killing. In fact, they seem to quite like it. It seems to turn them on.”
“The clip is not only interested in fetishizing female bodies – it revels in fetishizing female pain, female passivity, female suffering and female silence. The ultimate female is the quiet, passive female – a mannequin – who accepts violence, abuse and suffering while remaining hot and sexy.”
Since then a petition has been set up against the full clip being released.
So what are we to make of it? Is this just another articulation of our Twilight and True Blood inspired preoccupation with death and the eroticization of lifeless flesh? Or is there something unusually twisted, grotesque and misogynistic about depicting and sexualising dead looking women in this context?
Perhaps Kanye West is merely trying to be controversial and daring in an industry where sex (at least sex with living women) has become passe and predictable.
If so, he’s a bit behind the times. After all, the fashion industry has been depicting and sexualising passive, pale, expressionless and lifeless looking women for eons. Models with skeletal bodies and vacant stares have been the standard in high-end fashion advertisements for some time now.
The irony is that if we’re talking about what most red-blooded heterosexual men actually find attractive, it is rarely a sickly looking corpse. Most men I know are attracted to women who are active and confident in exploring their own sexual pleasure.
Maybe one day, video-clips will get truly radical and start offering representations of actual, three-dimensional females complete with realistic sexual agency.
Nina Funnell is a researcher in the Journalism and Media Research Centre at the University of NSW. Read the piece online here.
Those words leapt out at me. I liked the phrase so much, I thought it perfect for a new grassroots campaign movement which had been brewing in my mind and in the minds of some of my friends and fellow activists.
Research describing the harms of objectification and sexualisation was building around the world. The book was out. People were asking: what can we do?
It seemed the time had come for a strategic organised movement to equip and empower people to take action and support individuals already active against the onslaught of hypersexualised imagery, stereotypical, objectified representations of women and girls and the almost chic images of women subjected to violence.
So when Tania uttered those words – Collective Shout – I thought: that’s it.
In December last year a small team of women got together in Canberra to discuss the possibilities. We developed these goals:
• To expose corporations, advertisers, marketers and media who objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services and pressure them to change their behavior
• To bring an end to the broader pornification of our culture by challenging the hyper-sexualised images which have become mainstream
• To, more broadly, challenge all forms of sexual trade and commerce in women’s bodies, including pornography, prostitution and trafficking
• To help concerned individuals take up their rightful voice in the public square
Collective Shout is about naming and identifying the ways that women and girls are represented as sexualised, subordinate and submissive.
The movement has established itself as a serious, dynamic, agent for change. Collective Shout is now at the forefront of challenging the pornification of culture in all its forms.
In its first 12 months, the movement has achieved a number of significant wins. These include:
• Getting Bonds to withdraw bras for 6-year-old girls
• Getting supermarket chain Woolworths to disassociate itself with a sexist Lynx promotion
• Getting Calvin Klein billboards suggestive of sexual assault removed
We’ve reminded companies of the importance of corporate social responsibility. We have put them on notice that if they do the wrong thing, they will be exposed and boycotted. The bodies of women and girls should not be seen as fodder for companies to exploit for profit.
We’ve had great media coverage. Just this month, we’ve appeared in everything from Harper’s Bazaar to the Tumbarumba Times. Here’s some examples of recent coverage:
Our first birthday party
Collective Shout’s achievements were celebrated last weekend in Brisbane. Here are some pics from the night. Special thanks to Julie Gale, founder of Kids Free 2b Kids, our MC Erica Bartle, ‘Girl with a Satchel’ blogger, Margaret Keech, Member for Albert and Government Whip and Dr Robi Sonderreger, clinical psychologist, for your support and kind words on the night. Thanks also to all our sponsors, donors, musos and artists for your part in making the event special. Also to my CS colleagues and to Catherine Smibert for bringing it all together.
Watch the Collective Shout website for an announcement about our new “Crossed Off” campaign, which targets companies who have done the wrong thing and don’t deserve your Xmas dollar. Cross them off your Christmas List.
If you haven’t done so already, please sign up. And if you’d like to help us make an even bigger difference in the coming year, please make a donation on line through the website.
Ritualised aggression designed to keep women in their place
Listen to this:
Does it send shivers up your spine? Make you feel chilled?
That’s what it did to me.
The chanting pack, the ‘No means Yes’ mantra, the threatening insistent tone, the sense of ritualised aggression.
It felt like something the Klu Klux Klan might have produced. With Blacks exchanged for Women.
What you just heard though isn’t from a despised hate group. It’s the collective chant of a mob of privileged young men. Proud members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity of Yale University.
It wasn’t just the phrase ‘No means Yes’ they chanted. Added to that was ‘Yes means anal’, for that extra sense of domination. Get her on her knees and show her whose boss, young gentleman of Yale.
And it’s not like it’s even a one-off. Imagine being a survivor of sexual assault seeking counseling and support from the Women’s Centre, when this happens.
In 2006, fraternity members marched outside the Women’s Center on campus, chanting the same words. Two years later, members of another fraternity shouted about ‘Yale sluts’, also outside the Women’s Center. Michael Kimmell, writing for the MS Blog, asks these questions:
What does it mean to chant “No Means Yes” outside the campus Women’s Center, the place that offers a safe space for women who have been assaulted or abused? What does it mean to target the one place where women might actually feel safe enough to find their own voice, feel strong enough to succeed in a world still marred by gender inequality? It’s a reminder that men still rule, that bro’s will always come before “ho’s”. Even the Women’s Center can’t protect you.
Why doesn’t such behavior constitute instant expulsion? Why is a fraternity which spreads hate speech as one of its activities not shut down? Why should wealth and privilege protect these thugs from just consequences?
The latest in violence against women as a fashion accessory
It’s not hard to picture men like that in t.shirts like this:
A woman is bound and bleeding. But she’s told to ‘Relax, it’s just sex’.
This t.shirt is being sold in Australia today. To men and schoolboys here.
I’ve written about t.shirts mocking sexual assault and inciting crimes of violence against women and girls here before, and here. ‘It’s not rape if you yell surprise’, ‘It’s not rape, it’s surprise sex’, and, more recently, brought to you by Sexpo: ‘Silence is Golden’, depicting a bound woman with a red ball stuffed in her mouth, were a couple I highlighted.
Roger David’s range of tees depicted women bound, gagged, blindbolded and semi-naked. The company has continued to ignore complaints. Zero response, don’t give a damn. Ignore them back this Christmas.
Anyway, this latest monstrosity, ‘Relax it’s just sex’, is produced by that bastion of respect for women, Hustler. The U.S-based porn empire has exported its vile product to be sold in mainstream stores here. Just doing their bit to further entrench a culture of violence and every-day threat to women.
But what is new is the discovery that Lynx has the support of one of the world’s biggest supermarket chains – Woolworths. Is Woolies to be known as the women-as-fresh-meat people?
Prostitute-like services at the Lynx Lodge
Described as the ‘ultimate man-cation’, the Lynx Lodge appears to be parent company Unilever’s foray into the sex industry. The lodge seems to have all the trappings of a brothel, without explicitly identifying itself as such. “Lynx Lodge – Get Laid Back” declares the website.
“The ultimate man-cation destination to get you back to your primal roots.”
“Get laid back, as lodge staff pamper you with breakfast in bed and on-the-spot massages.”
“Golf range: Grab your wood.”
“Pool hall: Scared of being beaten by a girl? Some of our guests quite enjoy it.”
“Ball Games: Teamwork is everything, so be sure to focus on your partner’s backside to make out her block signals.”
The Lynx Effect site presents provocatively dressed women (including in busty maid outfits) ready to do a man’s bidding, entertain and excite him. Emma, for example, is a “great cook” and “can do the splits – what more could you ask for?”
A video ad on the site shows a number of young women lonely and desperate for men to arrive at the lodge. Helpless and passive, they have no man to serve, therefore no meaning in life. One girl takes off her clothes and wades naked into the lake waiting for him to arrive.
Another video shows more women in sexually inviting poses and scenes. While called ‘hospitality staff’, the message is they will provide forms of sexual entertainment. Women are shown in wet t. shirts, borrowing from girls-gone-wild type themes.
“The concept of the Lodge is a play on popular male fantasy, so the girls are there to hang out and ensure Lodge guests have fun,” Lynx spokeswoman Laura O’Donnell told the Courier Mail.
She claimed all activities would happen in open public areas and that Lynx security staff would keep a watchful eye on everything. Does that include in the master bedroom where the site promises lodge staff will tuck you in and prepare you for sweet dreams?
Lynx draws attention to the backsides and cleavage of their models, but doesn’t expect any physical engagement? What about sleazy jerks who come expecting the girls to get their kit off, and try to grope them? Male visitors are primed to expect compliance, with the models at the ready to cook and serve them breakfast after a ‘sexy wake-up call.’ The Lynx girls are represented as seeking – indeed desperate for – every kind of male attention.
What is in place to protect women from sexual assault at the lodge? Will they have panic buttons? (What if they’re in the boat?) Given that the place is spread out and there are many different activities each day, how will a woman’s safety be guaranteed?
Submission: telling her what you want her to do
The theme repeated over and over is that the Lynx Mynx is to be ‘told what to do’. Lynx comments on its Facebook pages suggest a voyeuristic web-cam scenario:
“… if you love Faye so much, you’ll tell her what to do”
“The videos get released tomorrow and we’ll reveal more Tom… basically imagine a big brother-style house with these girls and you have to vote for your favourite and give her stuff to do….”
”so yesterday we filmed the first things you told the Lynx Mynx to do… it was a lot of fun, video coming soon so watch this space, but here’s a couple of pics to give you a little taste…”
Unilever: real sexism not real beauty
In case you didn’t know, the Lynx brand is owned by Unilever which also owns the Dove ‘Real Beauty’ campaign. Unilever is fueling borderline-prostitution of women through its Lynx brand while claiming to care about women’s true beauty and worth.
Trawling for business in Martin Place
Last Thursday Unilever took its Lynx Lodge promotion to Sydney’s Martin Place. The event featured young women in bikinis in a hot tub while men were offered massages on their way to work. Lynx shower gel was spread across the women’s breasts, in an image reminiscent of porn shoots. (Being linked with porn is no problem for Unilever, with cross promotions for Axe- the US version of Lynx- with Playboy models. For example “Watch how Playboy.com gets dirty and how they get clean with Axe shower gel”).
The event was described in ‘Time Out Sydney’ this way:
Lynx Lodge Pop-up SpaDate
Bikini-clad ladies, steaming hot tubs and on-demand massages sound like your thing? They’ll all be on offer at Martin Place for one day only to offer a sneak preview of the soon-to-come Lynx Lodge. The new all-male travel concept, located at Lake Macquarie and set to open in November this year, comes courtesy of the team behind its namesake, lady-wooing antiperspirant.
In the meantime, dudes can dive into one of the pop-up resort’s many spas along with a bevy of female beauties, or opt for a stress-relieving back rub from an accommodating hostess. Stop off on your way to work to take part in the ultimate boys’ trip draw – the chance for one guy and seven very lucky mates to initiate the first of many man-cations at the Lodge.
Did Sydney City Council have no qualms about approving this event? Were there any objections to offering sex-based entertainment in the middle of the street? Or should we expect to see more of this?
As Australia’s largest food retailer and second largest private employer, Woolworths recognises we have a high level of social responsibility, and we take these responsibilities seriously…
As a member of those communities we understand that we have a duty to be more than just a retail outlet, but to also make a positive impact on the societies that we serve. We work to the principle that we can never take our customers for granted – we need to earn their trust and respect and this means acting responsibly both inside and outside our stores.
How is supporting a view of women as subservient sexual slaves having a positive impact and acting responsibly? Does “high level of social responsibility” apply to the status of women in the community?
Does this look like one of your fresh food mum’s, Mr Michael Luscombe, Woolworths Managing Director and CEO?
Lynx – encouraging and rewarding sexist behaviour
Comments from men on the Lynx Facebook fan page show the effect of its advertising on them. Women are products to be won, they are ‘it’ or ‘that’ and judged mercilessly.
“DO I WIN A BLONDE , NICE ASS , LARGE NATURAL BREASTS,NICE EYES”
“you no that you would ruin that all night long”
“nah i seen better”
“she’s not that great”
On a pic of Jessica Simpson: “isn’t she a whale now?” “yeah she is”
On Scarlett Johannssen: “Scarlet get me a beer “
Lynx asks: “We thought it’s time we started talking about those annoying irritations when it comes to the dating game. Her clingy mates, the drunken brother, the barman that ignores you… what else shall we add to the list…?”
Jay Cooney: “the fuckin horrible moose that attempts 2 dance wit u”
Nathan Ireland: “The fat ugly mate that drags them away because she is upset the fittest bloke in the pub (besides us*) does not fancy her hippo-croc-a-pig ass!”
Allan Davison: “The fat friend”
And there you have it, the Lynx Effect, proudly supported by Unilever, Woolworths, Sydney City Council and maybe even Lake Macquarie Council.
The ultimate man-cation is, really, the ultimate objectification.
And even if the lodge is just a marketing ploy and not a real place, Unilever’s contemptuous attitude to women still comes through, loud and clear. Its campaign is a threat to the equality, freedom and wellbeing of all women.
Details on how to complain can be found here. We at Collective Shout are about to launch our Lynx Stynx campaign. Keep an eye on the Collective Shout website for more on this.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve met or heard from young girls whose experiences give further disturbing insight into just how bad things are for girls right now.
A 12-year-old girl approached me after I addressed the question ‘Are girls being treeated as sex objects?’ before an audience in Sydney’s western suburbs. She revealed she was being molested by boys at school. It had gone on every day for two weeks. She hadn’t told anyone. She asked the boys not to do it. They ignored her. Her eyes brimming with tears, she wanted to know how she could make it stop, or if that was even possible.
An 11-year-old girl in a NSW country town was the only one in her friendship group who had not yet had sex. Her friends had made arrangements for her to lose her virginity at the annual show. She didn’t feel she was ready and was looking for excuses she could give to get out of turning up. Was there any way out for her or would she have to give in?
Two 14-year-old girls told me about multiple unpleasant sexual hook-ups, pressured by older boys into acts they felt bad about after. They feared resisting and felt powerless to make it stop.
None of these girls seemed aware that they had a right not to be harassed, not to be molested and assaulted, not to be coerced into unwanted sexual activity. It was so common for themselves and their friends to be treated this way. And they feared repercussions, being ostracised, causing a ‘fuss’ and attracting attention for making a complaint.
Fortunately, a young policewoman had just introduced herself to me. She was able to assist the first girl. An educator was trying to help the second. And the 14-year-olds were looking at getting further help and advice.
What a world our girls are inhabiting. They are having to comprehend and negotiate difficult things at ages when they shouldn’t have to. They are being systematically preyed upon. Here are two more examples in as many days.
Porno pic cyber-bullying at ‘epidemic level’
CYBER-bullying is reaching epidemic levels, says a Melbourne youth worker, amid new claims about young girls being pressured to provide pornographic images of themselves.
Police are investigating a case at St Joseph’s College boys school in Geelong, in which it is believed a computer hacker stole an older student’s Facebook identity and then pressured a grade five pupil to provide pornographic images of himself to a Facebook “friend”…
Youth worker Les Twentyman has also revealed that he was told about a girl in year eight at a school in Victoria’s east recently being lured into performing sex acts with year 12 boys that were filmed and posted on the Internet. Read more.
Police warn on ‘juvie hunting’
POLICE and teachers have grave concerns about an emerging youth phenomenon dubbed “juvie hunting”, where older teenage boys groom younger girls for sex.
Sources say juvenile hunting is rife in Perth schools where boys aged 16 and 17 target younger teenage girls in a contest driven by popularity and status.
The Sunday Times understands that teachers at several Perth 2schools, including Sacred Heart College in Sorrento, lectured Year 12 boys about the possibility of criminal charges if they have sex with a girl younger than 16, the legal age of consent…
Police had received more reports of offences against children since mandatory reporting came into place last year.Read full story here.
Preyed upon and pressured to provide porn images. Preyed upon and molested. Preyed upon and forced to provide sex acts. Girls are targetted for all this at younger ages and many boys seems to think they are entitled to do whatever they like to them.
We have to turn this around. Girls need to be informed of their rights. They need to demand an end to this. And the boys who act in these ways need to know it is illegal. And if they don’t stop, those in authority over them must act quickly to make them see how serious this is and that there really are consequences.
I’d really like to hear less of these accounts. I’d like to hear some good stories from girls.
More Reasons to Hate Lad’s Mags: Zoo advises spurned lover to slash ex girlfriend’s face
I’ve written before about lad’s magazines which thrive on the objectification of women and act as porn training wheels for boys.
Now Zoo has run an advice column by British hardman actor Danny Dyer urging a heartbroken reader to “cut his ex’s face, so no one will want her”. The advice was written by regular British columnist and actor Danny Dyer.
As well as the suggestion that he slash his ex girlfriend’s face, the reader was told: “You’ve got nothing to worry about, son. I’d suggest going out on a rampage with the boys, getting on the booze and smashing anything that moves.”
Zoo said it was a “production error”. Like really what they meant to say was “Time mends a broken heart son, give yourself space to heal and relax in a bubble bath”.
Fortunately the reader rejected the advice and said he couldn’t ever hurt the woman he was with for a year.
Kira Cochrane has written an excellent piecewhich asks, if Danny Dyers slasher comments were an error, what about the rest of Zoo?
I’m glad that people have picked up on this comment, but I hope the anger won’t flare up and die away as it usually does. This shouldn’t be an excuse simply to lambast an individual…but to take notice of a magazine, and a wider culture, that depicts women as meat. If anything positive was to come out of this stupid throwaway comment, it would be that.
It seems nothing is off limits to be sexified for the purposes of grabbing attention and flogging stuff, whether it be a company’s products, a music video, or reviving a celebrity’s flagging career.
Glamourising violence against women as sexy is the latest trend. Blood has become the new black.
Violence. Fear. Threat. Torture. Scenes depicting rape. Women murdering each other. Women who want to die. Suicide porn. It seems the world just can’t get enough of women made submissive by fear, battered women, women seeking self-annihilation, dead women. Nothing like a hot female corpse (and so much less trouble than the real thing, don’t you think?).
And now it’s actress Lindsay Lohan’s turn. In a photo shoot and video clip, just released, Lohan is dressed in dominatrix style lingerie, black stocking and boots. Lohan is smeared in fake blood. In one scene she holds a gun to her mouth. In another a man standing over her points a gun at her as she lies on the floor.
Deeply disturbing are what could be read as indications of self-harm on her arms, especially around her wrists. There is a trickle of blood at the side of her mouth. The photo and video shoot take place in front of a blood spattered wall: a mural of sliding red. Though about to be killed, or about to kill herself, Lohan is also shown as sexy, prone, arching her body, breasts pushed out, legs spread. Lindsay, do you not care about the message this sends?
Even murder and suicide are sexy.
This is just the latest in a towering monument to the celebration of violence against women.
In March 2008 I wrote about a shoe company, Loula, which ran a full page colour ad campaign in Harper’s Bazaar, featuring a murdered woman trussed up in the boot of a car. Just in time for International Women’s Day. For a store opening just blocks from where exactly that happened to a real woman, Maria Korp.
Fortunately, thanks to a campaign against the ad by a number of anti-violence women’s groups, it was pulled.
But of course, this wasn’t a one off.
We’ve seen Vogue Italia’s ‘terror porn’ fashion shoot which showed women being terrorised by security guards and German Shepherds.
And Dolce and Gabbana’s ads depicting a woman pinned to the ground by a bare-chested man while other men who look like they are waiting their turn, look on (the ad was banned in Italy).
Then there was America’s Next Top Model’s ‘Crime Scenes’ episode in which the aim was to look at sexy as possible – dead. To add to the appeal, the models were depicted as having murdered each other. Electrocuted, poisoned, stabbed, drowned, organs harvested, decapitated. Ooohh, cat fight – to the death!
All this at 6.30pm on a Sunday night, just before Australian Idol.
And then there’s these taken from Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Me Softly 3. The caption on the second says ‘Great hair never dies’.
And now Lindsay Lohan, soaked in blood, showing us you can still sell yourself as a sex object while threatening to kill yourself. Self harm is the highest cause of hospital admission for girls aged 13 to 19 in Australia. Should it be treated so lightly? Should it be seen as something you do if you want to be seen as hot and sexy? Branding yourself with blood as some kind of artistic statement?
All these images and messages make a mockery of global campaigns to stop the abuse of women. They feed violence, fuel violence and contribute to an environment which every day becomes more dangerous for women and girls.
Plus: Grand Theft auto gamer’s instruction video for best way to murder prostituted women
And Calvin Klein’s new men’s underwear ad: No, we don’t want to see your d—k.
Elizabeth at My Milk Spilt, whose piece on Facebook and violence against women I published here the other day, has now written about an experience she had in the Melbourne school where she is a teacher. The discussion with her students revealed just how de-sensitized young people have become about violence – and their lack of empathy. One girl is “shocked” that Bowling for Columbine attracted so much attention. Why? Because only 15 people died. The murder of a mother and her two young daughters wasn’t that brutal, because “they were only shot in the head” said another girl.
This is what a daily diet of depictions of violence, torture and brutality is doing to kids. Where will it take us?
How to kill prostitutes
On her site, Elizabeth has also posted a Grand Theft Auto clip. It features a male gamer describing his preferred method for killing prostituted women and instructing fellow gamers on the best strategies and methods for doing so. GTA is played by young boys around the globe. Given that it incites violence against women, why is this game and this clip allowed?
We Don’t Buy It
Calvin Klein has come up with a nasty add to promote its new underwear line for men. The language is aggressive and threatening. “Do you want to see my dick?”, “Do you want some f—ing more?” I like Happy Bodies take on it. Don’t buy Calvin Klein.
Nastier by the minute
A friend and colleague emailed me yesterday. She said: “All this is getting harder, faster, nastier by the minute. Maybe it’s me. But it does feel like this culture is growing exponentially.” No, it’s not just you T. Violence against women is colonising every available space.
Since my last piece on the cyberbullying taking place through Facebook, other sites targeting girls for their alleged flaws have been found. One identifying young women not considered “marriage material”. Another naming and shaming ‘12-year-old sluts’. Another for girls labelled “bitches”. British girl Poppy Bracey recently took her life as a result of a cyber bullying campaign against her. Poppy was 13. She was harassed for being “too pretty”. (Some commenting on the story said girls like this just need to toughen up). It seems no girl can ever be good enough. She must grow up trying to shield herself from virtual darts and real-life abuse, coming at her from every direction.
The piece below by Melbourne blogger Elizabeth (left) at My Spilt Milk (whose comments I have valued on my posts), is a passionate exploration of these online monuments to cruelty. Elizabeth nails the hypocrisy of Facebook in banning breastfeeding images while allowing sexualised depictions of women, harrassment and abuse to flourish on untold numbers of sites.
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“This powerful and humane book is a breakthrough…Big Porn Inc shows us we are poisoning our own spirits.” – Steve Biddulph
“A landmark publication” – Clive Hamilton
“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.