Okay, now that I’ve got your attention, here’s the issue.
So one morning, I was reading the newspapers, going straight to the Forum column (HAH) because well, a lot of ground issues are brought up there. I read through and there was this letter from a woman wondering aloud in printed forum letter form of whether lingerie ads (models only in boxer panties and hugging themselves) placed at the billboards of bus stops in the heartlands was going to send the wrong message to our young, especially if these ads were placed near schools.
The Point, Exactly
While I did not really care for the fact that the lady kept using the “THINK OF OUR CHILDREN!!!” ruse, she does make sense. Our young are getting smarter and more resourceful in a very fast rate thanks to things like media influences and highly accessible information from various sources.
But with all this already heavy media influence, where we have our kids trying to speak in accent, our girls trying to do things like achieving the perfect body ala model thin so that they can be more attractive to the boys who probably encourage it, many other things take the back seat.
Morality comes into question (pre-marital sex too young too quickly and for the sake of “love”), Health becomes a worry (with the obsession with thin-ness, healthy body image takes the back seat) and things end up becoming based on appearance.
So the main point and question is this, with ads like these in the Heartlands, are we further confirming with our young ones that girls should be seen as sex objects (for the males) and that they should be willing to be seen as such in order to be considered attractive? (for the females)
I’m going out on a limb here to say this is absolutely typical. In response to this lady’s letter, some guy replies her letter and goes, “NOOOO, it’s actually a Decent Shot.” Stating reasons that the technicalities of the shot were perfect and that the ad was a decent shot because it was clear. He also mentioned about the lack of advertising guidelines with regards to stuff like this. This would’ve been fine, I probably would have given him the benefit of doubt until he said something like this – If the strategic location of the model’s arms were to leave where they are now, it’ll cause accidents.
I’m not happy. For a few reasons:
- The last line was an OBVIOUS attempt to mock the lady whom his letter is responding to.
- And hence, it puts his letter in a spot where it’s now more GLARING that the entire letter was just mocking at “the-mountain-of-a-molehill-you’re-making-off-it’s-just-a-topless-hot-girl-what’s-wrong?!”
The Crux of the Issue
Many people know that Women’s Rights fight against things like genitalia mutilation, honor killings, public stonings, human trafficking and physical abuse etc… There are some things that are just as bad and worse, these things aren’t reported because they don’t seem like “huge things” to many – Societal Stigmas.
Take the above case for example, a woman questions if lingerie ads portraying women in a certain way objectifies women as sex objects and whether we are allowing people to think so. A MAN, then later comes in and SEEMINGLY sarcastically tells her to chill off and stop being a prude. Then follows a twitterhorde of other people who join in this man and laugh at her letter.
And I daresay that this is not the only case. Follow me on this, how many times have you heard:
- Parents and friends telling a girl, “If you don’t lose weight/ get a better dress sense/ put on make-up, no man is going to fall for you and you’re going to be alone!”?
- A girl receiving comments like, “So what if you’re capable? You’re not going to find someone looking like that!”
- Someone telling a girl, “Chill! It’s just a nude hot model for a slimming ad! If you looked like that you won’t be complaining!”
- People saying things like, “So what if that woman is successful in this and that? Not married no point.”
In the end what does all this fall to? You can’t imagine the amount of times guys tell me to stop being so strong-minded or decisive or driven so that I can be more attractive to them. Or how many times girls tell me to get a new dress sense, put on make-up or stop using “muscle mass” and “bone structure” as “excuses to not lose weight and be model thin” just so that I can be “more attractive”.
It’s not just societal stigma, it’s something called “Male Privilege”. Loosely translated, Male Privilege is kinda like a list of unwritten rights that guys have just by being male and thus, society and its “norms” are based around what most males consider to be normal.
And because male privilege is everywhere and domineering, feminism is often accused of being reverse sexism. Just to clear things up, Feminists fight for GENDER EQUALITY, meaning EQUAL RIGHTS and TREATMENT of MEN AND WOMEN. But because male privilege is around, coupled with extreme feminism which may turn people off, Feminism is often seen as Reverse Sexism.
But we’ll talk about Feminism another time.
My point in this whole rant is this: Men who laugh at women who are concerned about them being portrayed as sex objects do so because they don’t have others objectifying them as a choice cut of meat every single day. Hence, the conclusion of men being scum and pigs, thus being unfair to the rare diamond nice guy. I mean genuinely nice guy, not “nice guys”.
Women, on the other hand, have a part to play as well. Contrary to how some may think, some women are anti-feminist as well – probably the result of high conformity in a male privilege society. One thing you have to note though, the value of a person grows in his/ her personality, not purely on how they look because let’s face it, physical beauty is not only depreciating, it’s also individual, as is the personality of someone.
Are women EXPECTED to be seen as sex objects and keep quiet about it? I seriously think the thought of that is just repulsive.
Then again, this is just what I think. Do share your views on anything related to feminism, male privilege or just pure disrespect of genders. Comment box is right where you left it =)
Update: Fellow awesome mate Miss Hallelujah wrote her own take to this issue of male privilege and feminism. Do check her post out here. Check her blog out, she writes great stuff.