When my feminist friends and I began our communal Facebook message thread, we envisioned a no-holds-barred place to discuss careers, gender politics, and the gospel of Beyoncé. But ever since soccer season took the Internet by storm, our only mentions of “Flawless” have concerned abs. In the past week alone, my “progressive” peers and I shared 10 “World Cup Hottie” listicles, 18 winky faces, and too many Netherlands-based puns to count.
As over-the-top as our behavior was, we were never ashamed. There was an implicit empowerment to our objectification, like a hard-earned reward for eons of inequality. Even when I read our conversation (and watched a video of Ronaldo slow-motion jogging) in a very public, very crowded coffee shop, I didn’t bother to turn down my laptop brightness. If anyone saw my screen, I trusted they would be impressed: I wasn’t some creepy guy browsing Google images of Megan Fox — I was a proud woman, flaunting the sex drive to which I was entitled! Keep reading »
This week, Lily Allen debuted the video for her new song “Hard Out Here,” to extremely mixed reactions. Some, like our own Rachel, saw her song about pop music’s policing of women’s bodies and double standards about sexuality as a “feminist anthem.” Others are deeply offended by her use of mostly women of color backup dancers, arguing that satire is not an excuse for using their bodies in disrespectful ways. Keep reading »
I wasn’t interested in making a movie about pornography. I was interested in making a movie about how people treat each other like things, and all kinds of media can contribute to that. I’ve been working as an actor since I was a little kid, and I’ve always been fascinated, and a little horrified, by the way people relate to images they see on screen. Sometimes I feel I am seen as a thing more than a person, and I don’t think that’s unique to actors. I think everyone is subject to that kind of pigeonholing.
In his new film “Don Jon” (which looks so good), Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays someone a lot of us probably know in real life: a guy who has unrealistic expectations about sex and intimacy from watching a lot of porn. Even though I would argue there’s a significant difference in the way objectification works in the largely female industry versus in Hollywood, I can appreciate what JGL has to say to OUT magazine about objectification here. And the fact that his co-star is Scarlette Johansson, fixture of many a spank bank, will hopefully provoke some thought. Unrelated, but I think his response to tabloid gossip about his sexuality really classy: “That would be really tacky – they would win if I had to clarify.” Truth. [OUT]
The British really aren’t into sex, huh? After their Prime Minister David Cameron went after internet porn last week, now The Co-operative Group, one of the largest magazine retailers in the UK, is demanding that “lads’ magazines” showing skimpily-clad cover models provide a modesty bag by September 9 to be sold in their stores. Keep reading »
“I think every woman does want to be objectified. There’s a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified, and I think it’s healthy … [Photo shoots are] empowering. I’m not some young girl with the photographer going, ‘Will you take your clothes off?’ I’m like [mimes stripping], ‘How does this look?’ They’re like, ‘Today we’re not going to put anything other than bras and heels on you,’ and I’m like, ‘These heels are not high enough.’ I’m a woman, I know how to handle myself. I know what I feel comfortable doing and I know my sexuality.”
– Here’s Cameron Diaz in the UK’s Sunday Times making some … interesting … statements. I don’t disagree that some women do want to be objectified, some of the time, in certain settings. I’m okay being objectified by my lover in the bedroom, for example, when everyone knows what’s what. But I certainly don’t want to be objectified by catcallers on the street, or rapists, or sexist bosses, or other people in the position to harm me. And there’s probably a lot of women who don’t have “ideal” bodies — they’re obese, they’re disabled, whatever — who would just prefer to be treated respectfully by everyone for the first time instead of being “objectified.”
Maybe Diaz has been cosseted in the bubble of Hollywood for so long that she’s unaware that for the “regular” woman, sexuality is more than something a woman wields in a photoshoot and it’s not always empowering our lives for the better. It’s a little ignorant for Diaz to speak on behalf on all women … although I’m certainly happy for her that she feels this way. [Sunday Times UK via Dlisted]
Designer Norma Kamali created the sleeping bag coat, but she didn’t stop there. After garnering success as a fashion designer, Kamali made a short film about the objectification of women, titled “Hey Baby.” From that project, sprung a new collaborative website, called Stop Objectification, which aims to empower women to take ownership of their bodies and the messages encoded on it. Users are able to upload photos of their favorite body parts and then write “a caption that let’s the world know what makes you more.” The project gives the power back to women who’ve typically had negative and sexual messages put upon their bodies without regard.
We’re stoked that Kamali came up with this empowerment tool, and hope you give it a try. [Stop Objectification]