Monday, March 28, 2011

Why do they always get it wrong?

A relative of mine linked to this article on Facebook. Now, while I'm always glad when people are as upset with the sexual objectification of other people as I am, there are several problems with the views expressed in this article.

First off, I really, really dislike putting it in terms of "send[ing] out really bad signals to adult men about young girls being appropriate sexual objects, objects of sexual desire for young men". It nurses the myth that men can't control themselves and sexual assault happens because women dress like sluts*. The truth, of course, is that men know full fucking well that they should stay away from children (and women who haven't consented) regardless of "signals".

What "push-up" (what the fuck does a seven-year-old even have on her chest to push up?) bikini tops will do, however, is normalize the sexual objectification of children (like lolicon), so that when predatory men do take advantage of them (as they do, regardless of what their victims may be wearing), the public outrage is significantly lessened. It gets marketed as "cool", catches on so that "cool" parents buy them for their children, and then other companies hop on the bandwagon, and suddenly it's acceptable to depict young girls sexually and low and behold, some pedophile, who would have been reviled in the past, now does what pedophiles do and the little girl is held to the same standards (ie. slut-shaming, etc.) as adult women. Professor Gail Dines is correct that this type of marketing is dangerous, but she's seriously off on the reasons why.

And that's not the only way she's off. Earlier, she says, “It gets young girls to think about themselves in sexual ways before that’s developmentally appropriate”. Except that young girls already do. Naturally (most children masturbate until their parents tell them not to). And that's okay. Because that isn't an excuse for an adult to take advantage of them. What this shows is that people are upset with this mainly because sex is evil and children have to be innocent and all that other bullshit that only perpetuates rape culture, rather than the reasons they should be upset: that anyone would even think to worsen rape culture with the sexual objectification of children. Let alone for the callous reason of making money from it.

So again, I'm happy that people are upset over this, I really am. But it would be nice if, just once, people could actually be upset for the right reasons. And then, who knows? Maybe they'll actually start realizing that the objectification of women is wrong too. What a thought!

*any woman really who happens on any occasion to dress or act in any way that any person feels does not fit into hir personal idea of a perfect virginal or faithfully married woman.

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