Self-Regulation of Sexual Objectification by Australia’s Advertising Industry? Miserable Fail.

Despite their own claims, the Advertising Standards Board in Australia, in a more than feeble attempt at self-regulation, has failed miserably to police community concerns about objectifying and objectionable advertising.

By dismissing the vast majority of claims, the circular logic of the Mad Men of Australia enables the ASB to report that there is little in the way of objectifying material out there.

The advertising industry of Australia demonstrates a their ‘men are monkeys’ and ‘women are for sex’ approach to advertising.

This excellent blog piece by Melinda Tankard Reist hits home; clearly demonstrating the failure of the ASB to enforce sexual objectification rules.

If the examples Melinda raises are NOT sexual objectification of women, the sexual objectification tests are clearly rubbish.

http://melindatankardreist.com/2014/10/ad-watchdog-in-australia-a-dismal-failure/

Not surprisingly, just as happens when police police the police, the ASB are acting themselves like advertising industry monkeys on this issue. It is more than high time to test objectively their tests/rules for identifying objectifying materials.

And so, what do we think of self-regulation for the advertising industry when it comes to objectification of women?

On a scale of one to ten, ten being ‘the best we could do’ and one being ‘lousy’, we really must be talking about fractions here.

If you happen to know any of these Mad Men at the ASB, please pass on this link of REAL tests for sexually objectifying material, just to make it really clear to them: https://brianiselin.com/2014/02/24/the-sexual-objectification-test/

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20 things that tell us patriarchy is alive and well (or “20 reasons we all need feminism”)

Can you believe some people think the battle for gender equality is over? Are you serious?

Wake up! There a millions of things that tell us patriarchy is alive and well and, concomitantly, we still all need feminism. I have even seen some people trying to say that patriarchy does not exist.

Hmmm….try thinking a little, people, with that thing between your ears.

Some people look quizzically at me when I speak of patriarchy; as thought it is a completely alien term. Not only is patriarchy not alien, it is the way all of our societies operate. Think of it like a plane; the patriarchy bit is the framework, the superstructure, the skin, the wiring, the fuel, the food both on board and carried by passengers, the cockpit, the black flight recorder, and most of the controls. And the extra cushions.

People who don’t know about it have quite simply not asked, not observed, and/ or not been taught about it. People who believe it does not exist are quite simply ignorant. No excuses for this one; it’s not like you just weren’t in class that day. The patriarchy deniers are the ones who during the 1960s would have seen the freedom-riders in Alabama and wondered what the fuss was, or would have stood watching a lynching of a black youth and thought it was ‘normal’ even though no white boys were hanging alongside.

And yet, patriarchy – like racism – is really not that hard to understand if your mind is open to it. It is simply the predominant social system everywhere on Earth where men are the primary authority figures in the central societal roles of (a) political leadership, (b) moral authority, and (c) control of property.

In short, patriarchy is a system where men primarily hold power and influence.

These following 20 quick observations quickly demonstrate patriarchy is still alive and well, and why we still need feminism to get us anywhere near a form of equality between the sexes.

You know we still have patriarchy and need feminism when:

1) … a woman doing the same job as a man will be paid around 25% less.

2) … you don’t see an unattractive and aging female actor as lead in a movie with an attractive lover young enough to be her grandson.

3) …. women’s swimming outfits get skimpier, and men become ever-more prudish, donning the longest swim trunks possible.

4) ….Twitter trolls go after a feminist man, saying he is gay or stupid, but go after a feminist woman by threatening to rape her.

5) ….a female public figure is subject, even before opening her mouth, to comments about her hair, the way she is dressed, or her makeup.

6) ….despite being more than 50% of the world’s population, on average women only make up 20% of parliamentary seats.

7) … only 4% of CEO posts in Fortune 500 companies are held by women.

8) ….. anti-social behaviour in boys is dismissed as ‘boys will be boys, while anti-social behaviour in girls is not tolerated (ever heard of ‘girls will be girls’?).

9) …. mostly only women wear makeup. Men don’t, because under patriarchy nobody really cares how men look.

10) …. women most often take the man’s surname when marrying, almost never the other way around.

11) … the waiter most often gives the bill to the man at the table, or gives the wine to the man for tasting.

12) … 1 in 3 women are subject to serious sexual assault by men, including rape.

13) …. photo shots of Heads of State are an exercise in ‘Where’s the Woman?’

14) …. women are forbidden from combat roles in the military.

15) …. men order a lap-dance with their business lunch.

16) …. you see topless women on page three of some fool’s rag of a newspaper.

17) ….weakness is described as ‘being a pussy’, ‘being girlie’, ‘being a girl’s blouse’, or even more directly ‘being a woman’ (saw this last one on West Wing last night; shame Aaron Sorkin!)

18) ….blonde (read: meant to be ‘stupid person’) jokes are only about women.

19) …. an otherwise corporately responsible car company (or all of them, in the case of car shows) will launch a new supercar with scantily clad women rolling around on the bonnet.

20) …when parents go all ‘Jack Bauer’ to protect their daughter’s virginity but rationalise their son’s away as ‘playing the field’ or ‘sowing his oats’.

21) … when a man with many sexual partners is a stud and a woman a slut.

22) ….when a little boy ‘displays leadership qualities’ while a girl with the same behaviours is ‘bossy’.

23) …when you walk into a clothes or toy store for children and can almost feel the pink/blue line being painted on your forehead.

Yes, I know I said 20, but there are just so many!!!

Feel free to mail in some other “You know patriarchy still exists when…”

We Expect Too Little of our Boys

Too often, responsibility for a boy’s behaviour falls on girls. in the playground this manifests as boys playing rougher than girls and the girls being held responsible should they get hurt. It manifests as ‘boys will be boys’.

At the adult level this manifests as a rape victim being blamed for tempting or teasing the man, or dressing like ‘she wanted to be raped’.

The lack of responsibility for our boys managing better their strength leads to a lifetime of blame avoidance for the impact of that strength. It also leads to the rape culture all-too prevalent in our society.

Sexual assault on women is not about sex; it is about power. Boys are taught that physical strength can be used to achieve ends, and that it is a positive thing to laud that power over others. Very often this means bullying girls and, later in life, women, through exercising physical power.

This article from the very clever Kasey Edwards articulates the feeling that, yes, we are indeed not raising our boys to take responsibility for their own behaviour, and often laying the blame for a man’s behaviour at the foot of the woman.

We see this in rape culture as a beaten woman ‘deserving it’, a raped woman ‘asking for it’. It even comes up (with thanks to the anonymity that cowards use on the internet) in the form of public figures – especially those espousing gender equality – who ‘need need to be raped’.

http://www.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/parenting-and-families/are-we-expecting-too-little-from-our-boys-20141012-11535b.html

It is unacceptable.

And unforgivable.

Rape culture, the abuse of women, and women being to blame for men’s bad behaviour, has got to stop. It stops with us at the family level.

The way we raise our sons has everything to do with the way men treat women. Let’s revisit the way we raise our boys.

"If we don't create the 'gender issue', we certainly exacerbate it by maintaining such low expectations for boys."

(With credit to Kasey Edwards and Daily Life for the accompanying photo)

Women as Sexual Objects, Men as Sexual Subjects

The normalisation of the objectification of women, the treatment of women as the decorative sex, that men are considered sexual subjects while women are only sexual objects, are issues at the forefront of equality between the sexes.

Sexual objectification is not only deeply (and bizarrely) rooted in our cultural subconscious, but it’s also something that has to change if we want a truly happy, sex-healthy society.

Putting the issue of sexual objectification of women into specific relief is the clever Laci Greene, as always talking great sense about why we need to – and how can we can – stop it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_4dPB9MVS8&list=PLTXiNEUzXWKTOhoUZWMcXY2vVQs7NwCxq

Neanderthal attitudes excusing violence against women

While proud of my country for so many achievements over the decades and centuries, there are a number of dark stains on our consciences.

One of these is violence against women.

In an age when women have been into space, are in Parliament and sometimes even in Cabinet, when women CEOs start to become a decent percentage (albeit at still perversely low levels, but better than at any time before) of overall senior corporate positions, there are a very large number of men out there who think violence against women can be justified.

Recent survey work done by VicHealth, found, for instance, that 1 in 5 Australian men think if a woman is raped while intoxicated, it is not entirely the fault of the rapist.

Almost the same number of men – and you’ll need to sit down for this – think that their own drinking or drug-taking can excuse their raping a woman.

And, in one of the saddest results, more women than men now think that a woman who is drunk and raped is somehow more deserving of her rape.

It’s an overall astounding set of results that speaks to why Australia is one of the few developed countries not going anywhere fast on gender equality.

Excuses for violence against women continue to disregard the rights of the victim in favour of an inappropriate claim to possession or access to women by men,

It’s got to stop.

And that starts with men speaking up against perpetrators. If 4 in 5 men are right-thinkling on this, then those 4 need to speak up, speak out, and help stop the problem.

And the all-important role to be played by women must surely be to make sure that as far as possible, women do not fall into the trap of minimising and excusing bad behaviour by men.

Let’s get the word out to the neanderthals in our societies that:

  • There is NO excuse for rape.
  • There is NO excuse for domestic violence.
  • There is NO excuse for violence against women.

For more, I commend this Guardian Australia article by Melissa Davey: http://gu.com/p/4xjen

Not on Our Watch; it’s time to act against violence against women

Please take a look at this very interesting new campaign in Australia to raise awareness about domestic violence.

As one of those few OECD countries going nowhere on gender equality, and suffering appalling rates of gender-based violence, Australia needs to live up to its ‘free’ image and start freeing women from the violence that impacts so many Australian women every day.

Called “Our Watch”, it is clever, and delivers clear messages about violence against women.

Its thesis is, correctly, that no child intrinsically wants to grow up to be an abuser, or be abused; it comes from the way we raise our children. Violence against women starts with the way we shape our children to view women. Make it right.

Act now – intervene now – to stop it happening on our watch.

 

 

My take on men opening doors for women; a common-sense guide.

At a dinner party recently, in conversation with a friend (thanks, Mette Mikkelsen, for making me reflect on this a bit more), came the subject of men opening doors for women. I am a man, and the interlocutor a woman. Both of us, I think it is fair to say, qualify as feminists. But our takes were different on the question of a man opening a door for a woman.

I shall start this by admitting that I do it. I will open a door for a lady IF the situation is such that it makes sense for both of us. But in the same way as I would open the door for anyone. To be clear, in my younger years I opened doors for women because I was taught that a gentleman does. And a gentleman does BECAUSE he is a man, and she a woman.

Like so many things that are symptoms of patriarchal structures, the ‘why’ of it is the proof in this particular pudding.

The issue, as there certainly is one attached to a man opening a door for a lady, is about the intention.

It is nice, not rude, or sexist, to do something nice for someone because you respect them, because they are another person, and it’s the right thing to do, and it’s courteous. I would, and do, happily open doors for a wide range of people, and allow them to go first out of respect, courtesy, or just plain niceness.

That decision should (and I hope it mostly is although we are all fallable!), not about the sex of the recipient of the benevolent act. I would like to think my act is a gender non-specific one. At times, however, I find myself through my Aussie male (sexist) conditioning, forgetting myself and opening a door for a woman BECAUSE they are a woman. Nobody is perfect. 😦 The trick, like combating racism, is to catch yourself out and question yourself.

Where it becomes a problem is if the intention of the male opening a door for a woman is to be ‘correct’, according to his own idea about what is correct, to her as a woman.

Why is this a problem, I hear you ask? That’s a great question, and the subject of my dinner party conversation.

Because doing nice things for someone CHIEFLY because of their sex is, you guessed it, sexism, and is quite simply the flip side of doing something bad to someone for the same reason. It betrays an uneven power relationship.

The safest way as a guy to act on this question of ‘man opening door’ is to, before the situation occurs, reflect on your own intent. Do you act out of niceness and courtesy in a general, gender unaware sense, or do you do it out of ‘correctness’ and hold the door mostly for ladies because they are women?

if the latter, for the sake of promoting gender equality, then consider changing your perspective.

That starts with understanding that women are not the weaker or more decorative sex, and you can and should rather open the door equally for anyone whether man or woman, young or old, out of niceness; because you are a good guy.

Try this: I open the door for women other people, because I am a gentleman polite.