Upon finding out that a prominent local club is hosting a lingerie model competition, I wrote a letter to the establishment expressing my concerns.
Woman as object. Image by wallyir, morgueFile.com
To the team at Penrith Panthers,
My name is Vee*, and I am a member of Collective Shout - a grassroots movement that works against the objectification of women and the sexualisation of girls in media, advertising, and popular culture.
We live in a hypersexualised culture, a pornified culture, in which women and girls are sexually objectified by the media and many of our male counterparts on a daily basis. Now, it appears, we are being sexually objectified by you too.
This dehumanisation strips women of their clothes and of their inherent dignity as human beings. It reduces women to the sum of their parts, and parades them in a dangerous spectacle that seeks to promote the apparent wants and needs of men, while denying women the respect and equality they deserve. According to you, however, this is something to be celebrated – 'With an exciting new format including the BRAND NEW segment “Best Body Bits”.
Image by milza, morgueFile.com
Empathy and compassion allow us to relate to each other as human beings worthy of respect. Once you reduce a woman to the sum of her parts, once you reduce her to her “best body bits”, you also take away the opportunity for compassion and empathetic relationship.
This reductionist process does not take place solely between the ‘objectifiers’ and the ‘objectifyees’; this process is often internalized and, as a result, those who are objectified often come to believe that their worth stems from how ‘sexy’ they appear to others.
I am not suggesting that the people who flock to events such as the one you will be hosting suddenly ‘wake up’ and decide to perpetrate violence against women. That would be illogical. What I am suggesting is this: by hosting an event which teaches men to “want” and women to “want-to-be-wanted”, your club would be promoting a culture that denies women the same dignity and freedoms it affords men. Your club would be promoting the same pornified culture that promotes and perpetrates sexual violence against women and girls, (and robs boys and men of authentic sexual intimacy).
Image by caprisco, morgueFile.com
The event is scheduled to take place in September. There is still time to cancel it. I urge you to consider the values and attitudes for which your club stands. I urge you to say no to the objectification of women and the sexualisation of girls, and cancel the Bombshells Lingerie Model of the Year Competition and the Official 2016 Calendar Launch Party.
Please remember that each and every girl participating in this competition is somebody’s daughter, and that each and every man watching these women, and objectifying them, is somebody’s son.
Collective Shout logo, sourced from http://www.collectiveshout.org/
In another one of my articles, I suggested that “we can make a change, not just a resistant reading”. While Penrith Panthers may choose to castoff of my concerns, at least I would be able to accept their decision knowing I made a change in my self. I did not just stand idly by. I spoke out.
I invite you to speak out where and when you can, because, together, we can be heard.
If you want more information about how to get involved, Collective Shout is a great place to start.
Do you seriously think those rugby league morons will know what half the words in your letter even mean? You should be directing your efforts to ensure that no women think any rugby league or AFL players are worth any attention at all; that not one of them is a "hero" or a "legend". They are the lowest level of the chronically insecure Australian male society, along with all their fans. Mind you, if you have never felt the urge to sexually objectify a man in a lustful moment, I feel sorry for you and your partner.