In 2012 you can go into any newsagents and be faced with copies of ‘lads mags’ (aka pornography) whether you are looking for it or not. Going into WH Smiths in Teignmouth, you are bombarded by so-called ‘top-shelf’ magazines such as Nuts. Which is nuts.
March 2nd 2012. Why is Imogen posing like this? Why does she feel the need to do this? Money? Esteem? Power? With a car on her shoulder and a football survey by her thigh. Not only is this insulting to women, it’s insulting to men. Are men really are only interested in sport, cars and sex…?
We are told it’s empowering for women to get their kit off. It’s equality. It’s all good. But clearly it’s not. If young men and women, boys and girls, go into these shops and tilt their heads ever so slightly, they are faced with images of women that are unrealistic, negative and degrading. It only matters what you look like. Women don’t have brains, or feelings or status. They are objects. This is how boys are programmed to grow up and see women. This is how girls grow up and see themselves. Unless they are challenged by good male and female role models. Unless they are brought up to question the way women are portrayed in the media. Young people are bombarded with images constantly, all the time, and we need to help them make sense of them, to be objective, to question.
Until women are seen by themselves and by men as equals, there will not be equality. There will be abuse, violence and rape. Go behind the scenes of the frothy make-up and nudity of the sex industry and there is a darker side that we know goes on, but that we pretend doesn’t happen in a ‘civilised’ society.
Imogen, I don’t know who you are. I don’t know anything about you but now I have seen you like this I have made judgements about you that are most probably wrong. I wish I could talk to you over a cappuccino and find out who you are because that is what matters, not your body. You might think you are in control, and maybe you are in control of your own destiny. But that doesn’t help the rest of womankind in your country and over the globe. I don’t mean to single you out, it’s just that you are the one that popped up on my Google search (ironic that Google have a feminist doodle today)… I wish you well.
There are countless issues to discuss today, every day, but I have picked on this one because I find it depressing that society hasn’t moved on. I want my own kids, all teenagers now, two boys and a girl, to grow up knowing they have the same life chances and choices, and that this won’t be affected by how they look or by their gender.