Keep girls and women in Real sport

Women and girls are in the midst of a cultural sexualisation and exploitation crisis across all spectrums of our lives and impacting us in many harmful ways. According to the Australian Sports commission such sexualised promotions are “reason enough for some girls and women to choose another sport or even no sport at all”. Watch this 40 second video which emphasizes this powerfully Continue reading

How contemporary culture creates sexist men

Explicit imagery of women that we are faced with daily, negatively impacting on women’s body image and sense of self, while, as ‘The Bro Code’ says conditioning men to dehumanize and disrespect women, creating a sexist culture.

Enough is enough, things have to change. Those profiting off exploiting and sexualising women’s bodies won’t stop on integrity and decency’s behalf. Men – it is up to you to stop benefiting from it and buying into it. Women – stay brave, stay strong and keep speaking up for the return of our dignity. And what of the women that take part in this pornified culture, in the images in ‘The Bro Code’ preview, in our society? Read the article below

 

In a culture with widespread sexual objectification, women (especially) tend to view themselves as objects of desire for others… Pop culture sells women and girls a hurtful fiction that their value lies in how sexy they appear to others; they learn at a very young age that their sexuality is for others…

This unfortunately leads to a society where some women think they have to be as sexy, sexual and readily available as they can be to compete with the imagery they are inundated with daily, to feel good about themselves, to find their value in this pornified culture. A vicious cycle breeding disposable women, as youth as well as sexualisation is dominent in this culture.

Read more here: http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/07/06/sexual-objectification-part-2-the-harm/

Real Men, Real Love, Beautiful relationships

Due to illness and a need for rest on all levels here is some inspiration for women and men who desire a world and relationships based in real love.

“Real men stay faithful. They don’t have time to look for other women because they’re too busy looking for new ways to love their own.”  (Drake)

“We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between a man who flatters her – and a man who compliments her. A man who spends money on her – and a man who invests in her. A man who views her as property – and a man who views her properly. A man who lusts after her – and a man who loves her. A man who believes he is God’s gift to women – and a man who remembers a woman was God’s gift to man…And then teach our boys to be that kind of a man.”  (unknown)

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter” (Martin Luther King Jr.)

 

Try outs for Lingerie Football league Australia – verbal abuse and repeatedly called p*****s

So you are a female athlete and you think the Lingerie Football League could be an opportunity to get yourself on the international stage. There are a few things to seriously consider first.

Do you have model or porn star looks, figures and sex appeal first and foremost over your athletic ability? Are you happy to be verbally abused, continually? Are you happy to sign waivers so the LFL holds no responsibily if you are injured in tryouts? Are you happy to be mocked for being a women trying to compete with other women by the US LFL players? Are you okay with being subjected to what is typically male sexist language and gestures towards women from US LFL players? If you don’t hold up to the LFL’s  idea of how violent the game is and should be played, are you okay with being told you are “waisting their f’ng time” and continual put downs?

And one final question you should ask yourself is – do you really want to be a part of a franchise that not only exploits women for profit, endorses girl on girl violence with very little physically protection and no compensation if injured, but also treats women individually in this way?

One brave young athlete and university student went  on the inside to find out not only what the tryouts would be like, but how the LFL treats it’s potential players first hand and what their policy on health and safety for their players entailed – if any.

I took my place at the end of the line. Like all the women here on this cold night, I had come to try out for the Lingerie Football League (LFL). Though my motives were a little different. I wanted to see how we would be treated, what would be required of us, and to test the notion that this was real sport.

I was handed an application form, talent release and ‘Waiver of Compensation’ form. The last informed us that the League would not be liable if we were injured. Was that even legal? I saw one of the American players on crutches and wondered how she was paying for her treatment.

We each had a number written on our arms that would become “Your Name” on field – failure to respond to this number meant running a lap of the field, and a repeat of this offense would see us cut from the group, with no chance of selection. A girl ahead of me received number ‘69’, an honour which saw the US LFL team members cheering and joking that this girl had just received a free ticket through to the final selection. Every time number 69 was up, any athleticism or skill she displayed was overlooked in favour of continuing the joke that a numerical reference to oral sex was all the proof she needed of her potential.

about 80 (of us) milled around waiting. Amongst this group were a handful of obviously serious athletes. I later discovered that one LFL hopeful was already a part of a semi-professional women’s football league, and another had represented Australia in baseball.

We commenced three hours of drills as Mortaza patrolled with a clipboard, looking us up and down, watching our moves. A cameramen appeared, lying on the ground taking upward angle shots of us running past. I was very thankful to be wearing long tights. I felt less exposed than some of the other women. I wondered how the photos would be used and where.

It wasn’t long before the music pumped up and the LFL players surrounded us, firing us up, urging us to be aggressive to each other. They then went on to insult us, screaming “You’re a p****!” (derogatory for female private area) followed by a hand gesture in the shape of a vagina. As well as acting as an insult, the vagina hand shape was also later held above the heads of the top 20 as a victory sign.

We were shown the drill once and then expected to be able to mimic it. If we failed to do so we were screamed at, called a p– and then Mortaza would yell “Stop wasting my f’ng time, if you are here to f’ng sight see, get the f- out!” The way he spoke to us, made us feel like what we had to offer was never good enough. Along with being ruthless he also showed a lack of knowledge of the sport.  Mortaza made a fool of himself as he attempted to demonstrate a simple drill.

One drill was girl against girl. If we didn’t fight with all we had, we would be pushed to the ground, but that wasn’t good enough for Mortaza. He didn’t just want us to wrestle the girl he wanted us to “pancake the shit out of her”. The girl that ended up getting smashed to the ground was laughed at and along with the hand gesture, was called a p– by all the LFL players.

We were expected to physically hurt our opponent. I think this is what disturbed me most. It wasn’t about playing football, it was about how aggressively we could act towards the other girls, how much pain we could inflict, all to entertain the crowd.

For most of the girls this was the first time they had encountered American-style football, playing a sport that isn’t actually Australian. Yet we received incredibly harsh criticism when we failed to match the skills shown by the LFL players who were professional players.

One of the girls I became friends with was behind me and I expressed my concern at the uniform we would be required to wear if we were chosen. She seemed oblivious as to as why this would be a concern. The tall blonde went on to be selected for the top 20, despite lacking the skill, speed and strength of other hopefuls.

LFL All Star Liz Gorman joked about it being the “fat story” as she had to lose weight when she was picked for the team. (I had already read that players who gained weight were humiliated). ”It is it about image,” she said. She also made a comment about the uniform,“The uniform it is was it is.” We were also warned about the amount of criticism we would receive from being a LFL player and that people would be harsh about our appearance so we had to look after our bodies.

Mortaza then read out the numbers of the girls who were chosen for the final round. Despite my ability to perform the drills, it was clear Mortaza wanted a certain ‘look’. So I was not particularly surprised that a number of us who had displayed greater football skills remained on the sidelines.

While a couple of the girls who made the cut were obviously talented athletes, in the end it was clear to everyone that our ability to play gridiron was a far lower priority than how our body would fill out the uniform.

The night ended with a pep talk about how to look sexy on Saturday night when those selected for a Sydney team to play competitively in December 2013 would be presented during half time at tonight’s LFL game in Sydney. They had to make sure hair and make-up was done and they were showing themselves as sexy, hot girls who had had a lot to offer – on or off the field.

A number of us worked hard and I’m still recovering. We faced constant belittlement and abuse. But our form wasn’t important if we weren’t stereotypically hot.

I’d love to be able to play gridiron someday. I love to test my body and mind to the limits of endurance. But I want to play a game where we are respected and valued for our abilities on the field. I want to know that our clubs would take care of us in terms of salary and insurance. I don’t want to play some pseudo sport where we are expected to wear sexy underwear and engage in girl-on-girl violence, and be called p*****s, because that’s what we have been reduced to in a strip show style spectacle for the gratification of men, under the guise of sport.

And what else of LFL founder Mortaza’s presence at the try-outs…

He strutted around like a pimp, barked orders and was so aggressive.

All this from an athletes point of view as well as a young girl who could of been really excited to try out for this new rising sport to then be told “I’m wasting their f’ng time,” and then being put down and been called a p– over and over again.

Tal Stone is a 23 year-old Sydney university student and athlete.

For the full article go to: http://melindatankardreist.com/2012/06/abused-yelled-out-called-pussy-and-told-to-pancake-the-shit-out-of-her-my-experience-of-lingerie-football-league-try-outs-in-sydney-last-week/

Sign petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-lingerie-football-league-in-australia

See also: ‘Divers in speedos, Warwick Capper’s footy shorts, wrestling: the stunning arguments in defence of lingerie football’, MTR

‘When women are sport: lingerie football comes to Australia’, MTR

‘Meet lingerie author’, Kerri Sackville

‘Lingerie Football League: what it’s really about and do we want it in Australia?’  xyonline

Strip club meets bucks night at Sydney Allphones Arena–Oh, I mean Lingerie Football League

For those of you who didn’t get an insiders look at the LFL Promo match at Sydney last night, you missed the cause of equality for female athletes being set back, here are the updates…

Grey team player loses her pants, the mostly male crowd goes wild, they replay it ‘close up’ on the big screen and the crowd cheers. Pink team makes a touchdown, player celebrates by slapping her thighs and making hand gesture of a vagina. An athlete in the crowd says “I’m a sports person and I find this so offensive.” LFL players dance for the men, the men go wild, not unlike a strip club (sounds like strip club sport, looks like strip club sport, equals strip club sport). Three male spectators are invited on the field to chase and tackle one of the LFL players (Melinda Tankard Reist – “in no other sport would crowd be invited onto the field and tackle [grope] a player.”

Collective shout tweet – “sexual harassment of players is accepted and even encouraged at the LFL, how many men’s sports would condone the same?” and asks “is there any protection from sexual harassment in their contratcts?” As Nora Dett tweeted, “Three men tackling one women to the ground is entertaining? Outside the LFL setting that would be a very different story.” One spectator was overheard saying, “nobody goes to this for sport. It’s like saying they go to a strip club to see a good dancer.”

Women in lingerie handing out merchandise to the men in the crowd, the men go crazy. A trialthlete says, “can’t take anymore, leaving” and even free tickets can’t keep some disgusted audience members from leaving. Older female host asks men in crowd so stop stacking their beer cups up, they throw beer on her. Caitlin roper tweets “they claim LFL is about sport, it’s really for men who like seeing women get hurt.” (While having their pants ripped off).

A lot of men getting drunk and becoming more aggresive, yelling at LFL players, this is not promoting women’s equality in sport. LFL player on her way to the VIP lounge nearly grabbed by a pack of men, security has to step in. Blow up doll passed around the crowd, one man simulating oral sex, men boo at attendent who takes it away, remember the whole family was invited. afeministmother tweets “to see the exploitation and abuse of women yet again ‘regulated’ and packaged for the main stream is depressing.”

Melinda Tankard Reist tweets, “wonder what Cory Bernadi thinks of pants down close up replay, 3 men on 1 woman tackle and blow up doll? The LFL still sport Senator?”

During time-outs the LFL tune camera’s onto two women in audience kissing, men go mental. Some men at LFL have paid extra for the party zone, they can ‘stay back, take pics and whatever you want.’ Lap dance anyone?

Remember the LFL contracts prohibit the players from wearing underwear beneath their lingerie uniforms (close up replay of player losing her pants) and the LFL offered special prices for juniors aged 2-12 years.

Sign the petition now to stop the LFL from forming their franchise in Australia next year. The goverment won’t step in, this is up to the Australain people! http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-lingerie-football-league-in-australia

To see these tweets and more first hand go to Collective Shout (@CollectiveShout) on Twitter

http://melindatankardreist.com/2012/06/a-sad-day-for-all-women-in-sport-deborah-malcolm-reports-on-weekends-lingerie-football-league-game/

Porn culture – you know there is something wrong when…

You run a feminist’s blog speaking up against porn culture and you find these search terms were used on your home page:

high school girls naked in locker room

13 year old girl tight wet t-shirt

very young girls sex

When has sexualisation, porn culture and the sexualisation of teenagers and our children gone too far?

When men (not paedophiles – men) are searching for these pictures. And when young girls are taking part, or forced to take part, in these pictures!

Stand up, speak up. Calling all good men and women to action

Specialist support needed in schools for kids who are growing up faster

I’ve just read an article by Elissa Doherty from April 23rd 2012 which states “pre-teen girls donning skimpier clothing and wearing make-up has forced a school crackdown.”

So much so that the Victorian Principles Association wants welfare officers in every school to provide specialist support to kids who are embroiled in the complex issues of growing up too fast.

The Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive Dr Joe Tucci said “…young people were being bombarded by adult concepts, and research was showing more 12 to 13-year-olds were engaging in sexual activity.”

With a spokesman for Education Minister Martin Dixon saying “by the end of the Government’s term, two-thirds of primary schools would have a primary welfare officer to support students,” shouldn’t we also be addressing the issues of why this is happening to our kids while we support them through it? Call for Governments to take responsibility and action on the sexualisation of children

You can read the full article at http://m.news.com.au/VIC/pg/2/fi1171963.htm

Collective Shout – a grassroots campaigning movement against the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls in media, advertising and popular culture.

Collective Shout is a grassroots campaigns movement mobilising and equipping individuals and groups to target corporations, advertisers, marketers and media which objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services.  www.collectiveshout.org    www.melindatankardreist.com

Collective Shout names, shames and exposes corporations, advertisers, marketers and media engaging in practices which are offensive and harmful, especially to women and girls, but also to men and boys.

Collective Shout is for anyone concerned about the increasing pornification of culture and the way its messages have become entrenched in mainstream society, presenting distorted and dishonest ideas about women and girls, sexuality and relationships.

Collective Shout builds on work carried out in recent years around the issue of objectification and sexualisation. This includes research like Australia Institute’s Corporate Paedophilia report, the American Psychological Association’s Taskforce on the Sexualisation of Girls and a number of books – including the newly released Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls.

The harms associated with the increasing sexualisation of childhood and objectification of women have been raised in recent times by community groups such as Kids Free to be Kids, and many others concerned with children’s health and wellbeing.

A common response to issues relating to the objectification and sexualisation of women and girls is ‘What can we do about it?’

People want to act, but get weighed down and frustrated by complicated complaints procedures, a lack of community support and too often, inadequate responses from the targets of their complaints.

Collective Shout makes it easier: we are a ‘one-stop shop’ for concerned people to make their voices heard. Together we are directing the widespread concern on this issue into a series of hard-hitting and targeted campaigns to bring about the change needed.

It’s time for change, so get on board!

Join Collective Shout atwww.collectiveshout.org 

www.facebook.com/collectiveshout  To connect with Collective Shout, sign up for Facebook today. Collective Shout – for a world free of sexploitation. http://www.collectiveshout.org

Women’s body image – women and men both hold the power for positive change

I would like to start by saying that when I am not inundated with certain images of women, I love my body and my face, I feel like a beautiful woman, I feel so comfortable, lovely and happy in my own skin, as I’m sure most women do. But then we turn on the TV, watch a movie, read a newspaper or are subjected to magazine covers and advertising in shops, shopping centre’s, supermarkets, and on the street, or we watch our partners soaking in and benefiting from these images that permeate our existence, and then, oh boy, watch how fast our self esteem can plummet and we feel like an unworthy unattractive unlovable being.

On a media program this morning a psychologist stated that negative body image is the number one concern for over 40% of Australian women (though I think that statistic is putting it lightly, going off the number of women I know, meet and talk to about this, the percentage is much higher). And here are the facts of how and why we can become so quickly deflated and stripped of our right to feel beautiful and worthy.

 Media Awareness Network’ ask in ‘Beauty and body image in the media’

Why are standards of beauty being imposed on women, the majority of whom are naturally larger and more mature than any of the models? The roots, some analysts say, are economic. By presenting an ideal difficult to achieve and maintain, the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits. And it’s no accident that youth is increasingly promoted, along with thinness, as an essential criterion of beauty. If not all women need to lose weight, for sure they’re all aging, says the Quebec Action Network for Women’s Health in its 2001 report Changements sociaux en faveur de la diversité des images corporelles. And, according to the industry, age is a disaster that needs to be dealt with.

The stakes are huge. On the one hand, women who are insecure about their bodies are more likely to buy beauty products, new clothes, and diet aids. It is estimated that the diet industry alone is worth anywhere between 40 to 100 billion (U.S.) a year selling temporary weight loss (90 to 95% of dieters regain the lost weight).1 On the other hand, research indicates that exposure to images of thin, young, air-brushed female bodies is linked to depression, loss of self-esteem and the development of unhealthy eating habits in women and girls.

Unattainable Beauty

Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that media images of female beauty are unattainable for all but a very small number of women. Researchers generating a computer model of a woman with Barbie-doll proportions, for example, found that her back would be too weak to support the weight of her upper body, and her body would be too narrow to contain more than half a liver and a few centimeters of bowel. A real woman built that way would suffer from chronic diarrhea and eventually die from malnutrition. Jill Barad president of Mattel (which manufactures Barbie) estimated that 99% of girls aged 3 to 10 years old own at least one Barbie doll.3

Still, the number of real life women and girls who seek a similarly underweight body is epidemic, and they can suffer equally devastating health consequences. In 2006 it was estimated that up to 450, 000 Canadian women were affected by an eating disorder. Advertising rules the marketplace and in advertising thin is “in.” Twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8 per cent less than the average woman—but today’s models weigh 23 per cent less. Advertisers believe that thin models sell products.

Self-Improvement or Self-Destruction?

The barrage of messages about thinness, dieting and beauty tells “ordinary” women that they are always in need of adjustment—and that the female body is an object to be perfected.

Jean Kilbourne argues that the overwhelming presence of media images of painfully thin women means that real women’s bodies have become invisible in the mass media. The real tragedy, Kilbourne concludes, is that many women internalize these stereotypes, and judge themselves by the beauty industry’s standards. Women learn to compare themselves to other women, and to compete with them for male attention. This focus on beauty and desirability “effectively destroys any awareness and action that might help to change that climate.”

“We don’t need Afghan-style burquas to disappear as women. We disappear in reverse—by revamping and revealing our bodies to meet externally imposed visions of female beauty.” Source: Robin Gerber, author and motivational speaker

http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/women_beauty.cfm

Media awareness network state on ‘Sex and Relationships in the Media’

The National Eating Disorders Association reports that one out of four TV commercials send some kind of “attractiveness message,” telling viewers what is and is not attractive.

Provocative images of women’s partly clothed or naked bodies are especially prevalent in advertising. Shari Graydon, former president of Canada’s Media Action Média, argues that women’s bodies are sexualized in ads in order to grab the viewer’s attention. Women become sexual objects when their bodies and their sexuality are linked to products that are bought and sold.

Media activist Jean Kilbourne agrees. She notes that women’s bodies are often dismembered into legs, breasts or thighs, reinforcing the message that women are objects rather than whole human beings.

Laurie Abraham, executive editor of Elle magazine, warns that the biggest problem with women’s magazines is “how much we lie about sex.” Those “lies” continue to perpetuate the idea that women’s sexuality is subservient to men’s pleasure. In her study of Cosmopolitan and Playboy magazines, for example, Nicole Krassas found that both men and women’s magazines contain a single vision of female sexuality—that “women should primarily concern themselves with attracting and sexually satisfying men.”

Jean Kilbourne concludes, sex in the media “has far more to do with trivializing sex than with promoting it. The problem is not that it is sinful but that it is synthetic and cynical. We are offered a pseudo-sexuality that makes it far more difficult to discover our own unique and authentic sexuality.”

http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/women_sex.cfm

Sexualized Images in Advertising by Jane Tallim, Media Awareness Network May 2003

Over the past ten years, advertisements in mainstream magazines have increasingly relied on the explicit sexualization of both men and women to sell products. Over the same period, the models used have become younger and younger. The images in these ads often imply – violence, superiority and domination, dismemberment (fragmenting and sexualizing body parts), playfullness and exaggeration, coy behaviour, approval seeking, emaciation, drug addiction and fetishism.

It’s not unusual in the fashion industry to see very young models setting standards of attractiveness for older women. What’s new is the emergence over the past two decades of highly eroticized portrayals of these young women.

[Go to http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/upload/article_sexualized_images.pdf to view some examples of this form of main stream advertising for yourself]

Sex Sells

Advertising often pushes the boundaries of good taste because of competition for “eyeballs.” Any image that entices a reader to linger over an ad – whether tasteful or not – causes that person to remember the particular brand advertised. Even controversy can be effective in getting a brand or name into the public eye (as Calvin Klein has often proved).

There can be no denying that “sex sells.” Abercrombie & Fitch, one of the most successful and trendy US clothing manufacturers, now puts its catalogues (which are geared to college students) in plastic bags to prevent them from being opened casually, because of controversy over the sexualized images of young people contained in them.

Increased sexualization in advertising is not happening in isolation; rather, it reflects the overall pushing of the envelope that is occurring throughout the media. In film, television, music videos and popular culture, sex is increasingly pervasive and mainstream – for example, music videos of artists such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera have been directed by well-known directors of pornographic films.

This article also goes into another atrocity of mass media, the Effect of Sexualized Images on Children

http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/upload/article_sexualized_images.pdf

How does advertising’s increasing encroachment into every niche of mass media impact our culture in general, and women in particular? Mothers Who Think asked pioneering advertising critic Jean Kilbourne, author of “Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel.”

A favorite on the college lecture circuit, Kilbourne has produced videos that are used as part of media literacy programs worldwide, in particular “Killing Us Softly,” first produced in 1979 and remade as “Killing Us Softly III” in 2000. She shares her thoughts here about advertising’s effects on women, children, media and our cultural environment — and explains why salvation can’t be found in a Nike sports bra.

‘The truth is, most men gain insight into women not through quick fixes but by having close relationships with them over time, sometimes painfully. In the world of advertising, relationships are instant and the best ones aren’t necessarily with people.’

By now most of us know that these images are unrealistic and unhealthy, that implants leak, anorexia and bulimia can kill and, in real life, model Heidi Klum has pores. So why do the images in ads still have such sway over us?

Most people like to think advertising doesn’t affect them. But if that were really true, why would companies spend over $200 billion a year on advertising? Women don’t buy into this because we’re shallow or vain or stupid but because the stakes are high. Overweight women do tend to face biases — they’re less likely to get jobs; they’re poorer. Men do leave their wives for younger, more beautiful women as their wives age. There is manifest contempt and real-life consequences for women who don’t measure up. These images work to keep us in line.’

Adolescent girls constantly get the message that they should diminish themselves, they should be less than what they are. Girls are told not to speak up too much, not to be too loud, not to have a hearty appetite for food or sex or anything else. Girls are literally shown being silenced in ads, often with their hands over their mouth or, as in one ad, with a turtleneck sweater pulled up over their mouth.

One ad sold lipstick with a drawing of a woman’s lips sucking on a pacifier. A girl in a particularly violent entertainment ad has her lips sewn shut.

There are also many, many ads in which women are pitted against each other for male attention. For example, there’s one ad with a topless woman on a bed and the copy “What the b**** who’s about to steal your man wears.” Other ads feature young women fighting or glaring at each other. This means that when girls hit adolescence, at a time when they most need support from each other, they’re encouraged to turn on each other in competition for men. It’s tragic, because the truth is that one of the most powerful antidotes to destructive cultural messages is close and supportive female friendships.

Jennifer L. Pozner is Women’s Desk Director at Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), a national media watch group.   More Jennifer L. Pozner

http://www.salon.com/2001/01/30/kilbourne/

Hooked – The average person in the U.S is bombarded with over 3,000 ads a day, says activist Jean Kilbourne. Is it any wonder we’re addicted? By Clea Simon in Ms. Magazine.

The woman at the podium is smiling, her voice a little breathless, as if she were just a tad nervous about her reception. The image projected behind her, a larger-than-life Revlon ad, is of a woman who is neither breathless nor smiling, but instead presents a lacquered, doll-like blankness.”We are surrounded by such images of ideal beauty,” says Jean Kilbourne, reminding the audience—as she has in more than a thousand college lecture halls around the country—that we are all being judged against this porcelain perfection. And that when we are compared to such a standard, “failure is inevitable.”

We all eventually “have the bad taste, the poor judgment, to grow older,” she says in a low and friendly voice that gains confidence the longer she talks. Kilbourne pauses as her audience murmurs with the familiar laughter of recognition. The connection has been made. They see what she sees: how the ideal is unattainable, and more importantly, how it is being used against us.

For Kilbourne, that message has become a mission. As one of the preeminent scholars on the effects of advertising, Kilbourne has shown, through lectures, films, and a book, how marketing has perfected the science of seducing us. How its glossy allure can leave us feeling somewhat less than human. In the ideal presented by advertising, “our face becomes a mask,” she says to the assembled students, as she clicks through slides of cosmetics ads, all featuring flawless faces. “And our body becomes a thing.” Listening to her speak, one could almost think that Kilbourne is discovering these truths for the first time. Her indignation seems so fresh and immediate that you’d never imagine she’s been lecturing with unflagging passion on this topic for more than 20 years. Her voice is calm, even a little sad now that she’s flashing picture after picture of women with impossibly smooth, overwhelmingly Caucasian features onto the screen. “And turning a human being into a thing,” she continues, “is often the first step toward justifying violence.” The next series of ads begins by showing women as props, intended to make cars or apartments more attractive; it then shifts to tight shots of butts and thighs, and finally mere parts. Dismembered limbs. Meat.

Later, sitting in the kitchen of the Victorian house she shares with her 13-year-old daughter near Boston, Kilbourne is still eager to talk about her ideas. Yes, she lives this stuff. Yes, she says, there are many ads that we all recognize as sexist, the silly ones that use our bodies to advertise beer or boats, or her own personal bête noire, cigarettes. And many of us are also aware of the subliminal messages of the cosmetics industry: that we must, in the words of William Butler Yeats, “labour to be beautiful,” even if that means sacrificing our health to fad diets and our money to the producers of paints and powders. Although women today are as media savvy as we’ve ever been, we are exposed to something like three thousand ads each day, she estimates. And so, despite our intelligence and despite our growing cynicism, the message—that we are not good enough as we are and need certain products&3151;seeps through.

Read more at http://www.msmagazine.com/jan01/hooked_jan01.html

Many Australians have a negative body image

NEGATIVE body image? You’re not alone. Many of us are unhappy with what we see in the mirror.

Women have an average of 13 negative things to say about themselves each day, according to a recent US survey. The quest for the “perfect” body has become normal for many women. The cost of this social issue is it continues to churn out generations of women who believe they are not good enough.

>> What women are thinking

Recent research reveals just how ingrained negative body image is in women: Ninety-seven per cent of women will say something negative about their body every day, such as: “I hate my thighs”, “I hate my stomach” or “I’m ugly”, a US survey reports. The first thing women notice about other women is how fat they are, a UK study of 2000 women found. Ninety per cent of women aged 15 to 64 want to change at least one aspect of their appearance, most of all their body weight, according to an international survey.

>> Bad body image begins early

Dietitian and co-author of The Good Enough Diet (Wiley), Tara Diversi, says body image issues exist across all age groups. “Girls as young as five have strong ideas about weight, such as fat is bad and skinny is good,” she says.

These values often develop into unhealthy eating behaviours in adolescence and beyond. An international survey found 68 per cent of 15-year-old girls are on a diet, while an Australian report found 30 per cent of women aged 18 to 23 have experimented with purging, laxatives or fasting to lose weight.

There are four main factors contributing to women’s negative body image, according to Diversi One of which is Models in media

Research shows the more women see pictures of perfect women in the media, the more they believe they should look like that. “This happens even though women know pictures have clearly been airbrushed,” Diversi says. “The rational brain knows it’s not real, but the emotional brain doesn’t.”
Read more http://www.news.com.au/national/the-bad-body-image-epidemic/story-e6frfkvr-1226082231311

This is an epidemic negatively impacting on us as individuals, the women and girls in our lives and our society. We aren’t making this up or ‘banging on about feminist crap’, the evidence is in and it’s clear. It is time for change. And though our impact on mass media may be a slow journey, we can realise change in our own lives and in our relationships; romantic and family.

This is not just a mission or journey for women alone. The men in our lives have power also. The power of choice, the power of support, the power of standing beside us and turning away from these images also, the power of speaking up.

We won’t be silenced