Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Object!

This is another Fem11 inspired blog, inspired by the group Object, who challenge sex object culture. They spoke in the afternoon about the issues they have campaigned against, as well as their newest protest they are taking to government.

The sexualisation of women can be seen throughout our culture from Porn magazines, lap dancing clubs to the ever growing brand Playboy. Object have protested about all of these issues, tackling the government on laws to change the representation of women in the media as well as the laws on prostitution to help protect the women involved. The representation of women in the media can be unfair, and lead people astray to how they think they can treat women.

Anna on the cover of Observer, August 2010. 
Image from Object.org.uk


Porn magazines, including Nuts and Zoo, exploit women from the front cover to the last page, with reality tv stars posing in underwear and even features with readers girlfriends sending in photos. These magazines can impose ideas that women who flaunt their bodies, rarely larger than a size 12, are easy and fun because of the way they have been photographed. It has been suggested through research that a man who increases his intake of porn, can change his perception and social skills around women because of the way they have been misrepresented.

This is how Object took action against these magazines which are freely displayed in supermarkets and leading newsagents. They aimed their protest at a branch of Tescos, who banned people from entering stores wearing Pyjamas in fear it would offend people.


This video is Anna Van Heeswijk, key activist and leader at Object speaking on BBC News about the objectification of women in certain magazines. This talk also features a former lads mag FHM editor making a bit of a fool of himself.

I think what Anna is campaigning about is spot on. Women are being misrepresented in our culture. However, tackling as something as large as porn magazines is an uphill battle and would be a struggle to completely ban them. The only fight that would win would be the misrepresention of women on the covers of these magazines so that people browsing in shops are not exposed to such images anymore.

The problem is that there are many celebrities in all our magazines and reality TV shows who glamorize exploiting themselves. Many female contestants from Channel 4's Big Brother went on to pose for Nuts and Zoo after their evictions, including Imogen, Saskia, Michelle, Aislenye, Chanelle amongst many others we've never heard of before. Katie Price, formally known as the model Jordan, is renowned for her modelling career, stripping off for various shoots with her large breasts out. Since moving away from her modelling career into writing, star of her own reality show and a mother of three children, she still exploits her body on red carpet events and stories of her personal life. People admire and look up to her for her manic and magazine-exploited life, spending thousands on clothes, plastic surgery and make-up to follow in her example!
These people give women a bad name by sexualizing themselves and becoming a sex object in these magazines. They suggest that there are women who will happily expose themselves to men, which will lead a select few to abuse this perception of women.


 Before I went to the Object talk, I came across twins who run PinkStinks, an organisation to help give young girls better role models rather than women as suggested about. They promote the idea that girls need to be more open minded and not brought up as princesses but as a young person with a choice to play with lego, cars or Barbie dolls. I was very interested in what Abi, co-founder, had to say as they wanted the young generations to realize their potential in life and avoid them being exposed to the sexualization of women that is occurring frequently in society.

A staggering 63% of girls would rather be glamour models than nurses, doctors or teachers, according to the survey by mobile entertainment providers www.thelab.tv. 
[Source: Menmedia, 2005] 

How disgusting is it that our next generation would rather be tanning themselves than helping others? Have we turned our youth into a sexualized self-absorbed society? The poll of 1000 girls, ages 15-19, saw more than half suggest Abi Titmus as a key role model. What has Abi Titmus done that we should be rejoicing over? Only 9% said J K Rowling, and only 4% for Germaine Greer.

Aside from their ongoing Porn Protest, Object recently protested outside Hugh Heffners new Playboy club in Mayfair, London.
I have always been against Playboy and what it stood for, and until Saturday I had not heard another soul so against the brand. The brand has sexualized women for decades, with a pink bunny as the logo which has become popular on merchandise for children on pencilcases, lunch boxes and duvet cover. My sister and best friend purchased their branded goods as teenagers at secondary school which always disgusted me, but was their choice. The way that Playboy represents itself and the women involved, glamorizes what they do- with a tv documentary that had women scattered throughout Hughs Playboy Mansion, suggesting a life of luxury, in a bikini. Who really lives in a mansion with a dozen other women lazing about in bikinis all day? Realistically, we all prefer a day in our pajamas and dressing gowns watching This Morning followed by an afternoon episode of Neighbours and Deal or No Deal.

Todays culture is warped. Women are under the impression they need to be glamorous and wear 'glamorous' clothing, which generally consists of next to nothing. What happened to admiring the sophisticated glamorous Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor rather than short-skirted Katie Price and 'stars' of The Only Way is Essex?? What happened to looking up to intellectual and life-changing females like Florence Nightingale, the Lady with the Hammer*, JK Rowling, Anne Frank and Joanna Lumley. These are women who made a difference through their passion and belief. What can we actually do to make young people realize that the glamorized culture of being a celebrity is actually a life far from glamorous and admirable.


*Florence Nightingale was given the title of The Lady with the Lamp by the media at the time. Soldiers she dealt with and helped nurse to health called her The Lady with the Hammer. This was due to a cupboard that was full of medical provisions that were kept aside only for Captains and other higher ranking soldiers. Upon a large intake of injured front line soldiers, Florence took a hammer to it so she could help heal the them.

LINKS 
Object - Campaigning against sexual objectification of women
Pink Stinks - Campaign for REAL role models

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