Sexism Affects Everyone

Intersectional Feminism

Feminism is not just for women, it is for everyone. However, it is primarily the battling sexism against women because they are the oppressed group. Women’s oppression is validated by the fact that it is present in the national dominant culture and the imbalance in favour to men in terms of political, economic and social power. Whenever I do some feminist reading on the web, there is always someone screaming, “WHAT ABOUT MEN?” “WE ARE VICTMS TOO!” This needs to stop. Women should be able to fight for their rights and equality without having to prove how it will benefit men—which it does.  Feminism is not about putting women on a pedestal higher than everyone else. It is about breaking the patriarchic system, allowing equality for all. Even though (straight) men have always had the upper hand, sexism affects them, too. It affects everyone—gays, lesbians, heterosexuals, transgender and everything in…

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Do I really look that young?

A very strange man came up to me this morning as I was walking to work and kept asking me if I was going to work or school. I ignored him but he kept asking so eventually I said, “I’m 21, where the hell do you think I’m going,” and he replied “Sorry, you just look so young.”

Why do some people consider it normal to approach a woman and ask such a thing?

Weird.

The No More Page 3 Campaign

It would appear that a lot of people do not understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to a feature in a particular daily newspaper that seems to think it is acceptable to reduce women to nothing more than a pair of breasts. There are many people in the UK who say that there are more important things to be worrying about, and they are right, there are many more important things to be worrying about, however it is perfectly doable to worry about more than one cause at a time.

Additionally, if page 3 was just one example of the relentless bombardment that women receive of hypersexualised imagery in the media, then the people who use the argument of there being more important things to worry about may actually have a point.

But it’s not just one example. There are countless examples of women’s bodies being used to sell all kinds of products from fragrances to cars to burgers, women’s bodies being scrutinised and judged in the majority of publications supposed to be ‘for’ women – in fact I feel that it is so damn normalised in our culture that a great deal of people are completely oblivious to it.

I struggle to comprehend how so many people do not seem to notice, or worse, do not seem to care about the way women are represented in the media. Women make up more than half of the world’s population, and yet such a small amount of people pay attention to how much they are misrepresented. 

Generally people seem to accept that this bombardment of images can have a detrimental affect on how women view themselves as well as how men view them.  Many people are well aware that the constant exposure to this kind of imagery  can cause insecurity and self-esteem issues among young women and skews society’s perception of women. There is documented evidence that supports this statement, and yet many people still claim that page 3 itself is ‘harmless fun.’

So, when the likes of Zoo, Nuts and similar publications are proven to have an impact on society’s attitude towards women, what makes The Sun’s page 3 any different? It is exactly the type of imagery that is within these lads mags, and, if anything, at least these publications don’t pretend to be anything else. They do not feature the daily news because the readers don’t want that – they want images of scantily clad women. These publications, as harmful as they may be, are clear on what sort of media outlet they are and what they are selling. Yet The Sun, a newspaper that markets itself as ‘family friendly’ gets away with featuring a young woman barely out of her teens on the third page of one of the most popular newspapers in the UK, as if a pair of breasts is all that is newsworthy about a woman. The Sun’s editor makes the ‘responsible’ decision of not featuring the usual topless woman on weekends as children are more likely to see it.

Now let me tell you, I had already seen The Sun on multiple occasions before I was the age of 10. My father used to buy every tabloid pretty much everyday of my life. He never used to gawk at the women on page 3, in fact, he used to remark on how he thought they were promiscuous, a sentiment I don’t agree with. The image frankly confused and embarrassed me greatly. I had no idea why it was there and it just felt so inappropriate – even at such a young age I could still see how wrong it was to have a woman stood in her pants on the third page of a newspaper. Even at that age, I could most certainly tell the difference between normal, natural nudity and posed, staged nudity. There is a huge difference.

And it’s not even just about the fact that it is inappropriate material for children. I think it is inappropriate to continue to represent women as sexual objects, particularly in an age where we are supposed to have reached ‘equality’  in western societies. Frankly, the topless image on page 3, for me is just the icing on the cake. On top of all of the other hypersexualised imagery in the media, it really is just the publication to top it all off. I want better representation of our women. I want the media to report on real women and their lives. I want women to be celebrated for what they do, not what they look like. I like to read about men who have done incredible things. I like to read about women who have done so too. I am sure other people would rather see an inspiring story rather than pointless nudity. Why does our mainstream media appear to make it so difficult to read a story about a woman that isn’t about her appearance?

And don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that objectification in the media is not happening to men too. Of course it exists among both sexes, however I find it ironic that the people who say that male objectification in the media is everywhere can only come up with one or two examples, such as the ‘Diet Coke Ad,’ or ‘David Beckham in his pants,’ as if these advertisements somehow make up for the never-ending stream of hypersexualised imagery of females that have been prevalent in the mainstream media for as long as I can remember.

 When discussing the NMP3 campaign, I am often called a hypocrite because of the fact that I happen to do a bit of modelling myself – as if somehow an unknown model who poses for unpublished work is the same as a huge corporation that serves women up as wank fodder everyday of the week, oh, except weekends! It’s all about context. I wouldn’t dream of telling women that they cannot do topless modelling, however I do have a problem with a leading newspaper normalising viewing women as nothing more than a pair of breasts. It is not the models that are the issue here, it is the corporation that is making the work available.