Archive for the 'Sex Object Culture' Category

“My butt is big and if you don’t like it you are invited to kiss it…”

Since the phenomenon of the Hunky Dory ads the question of women in sport has been in the forefront of my mind. A number of commenters on this site have made the statement that women’s sport is not watchable, and that it should never be afforded the same kind of respect and support that male sport does. Fabulous. I always try to pretend that most people are generally in favour of equality but some may just be not bothered enough to go after it. There’s nothing like the kick in the guts that is the reminder that some people will oppose it at all costs.

As a sportswoman myself (albeit a little rusty these days) I find these subjective statements about sport really fucking ridiculous. It amazes me that some people interpret the world around them on such a shallow level as to not bother considering it in any way beyond that which reaches their senses and resonates with their own experience. If we can step back from our own subjectivity for a minute we will quickly see why we aren’t particularly primed to find women’s sport as engaging as male. Little girls are delicate, they play with dolls, little boys are rough and run and love competition. If they’re lucky, the school hockey or camogie team get a round of applause in assembly when they win the school’s final while the rugby or football lads are the pride of the whole community. But here’s the kicker… research shows that boys and girls show equal interest and participation in sport until puberty and then the gap begins to grow. Traditional gender stereotypes that we become conscious of at that age still dominate our understanding of our physicality and our sense of how we should behave in order to be attractive. We shouldn’t be aggressive, we shouldn’t be bruised and scraped from tumbles on astroturf pitches, we should be thin but not muscular. That’s manly, unfeminine. We should be soft and curvy and tiny-waisted and thin-legged and when we think of our own bodies we should mostly be concerned about how much men will like it.

Continue reading ‘“My butt is big and if you don’t like it you are invited to kiss it…”’


Zoo and Danny Dyer cross the line, but join the dots and it’s easy to see how the ‘production error’ happened.

Feminist Friday in Belfast

When the current issue of Zoo, a weekly lads’ mag, featured an advice column in which ‘actor’ Danny Dyer advised a reader whose girlfriend seemed to have moved on after a painful breakup to ‘cut your ex’s face then no one will want her’, the general reaction from all corners was disgust. I just had a gander at the Zoo website to see if I could find any ‘calm down/ it’s only a larf/ PC gone mad’ type defenses and came across only one. While most of the commenters had clearly registered purely for the purposes of stopping by to yell ‘YOU SUCK’ and run away again, a significant proportion were from regular readers and subscribers who wanted to let Zoo know the love affair was over.

So they’re officially in the dog house. The problem is that they didn’t suddenly leap there…if we’re surprised that an incitement to violence against women slipped through the net then we haven’t been joining the dots that reveal a big old picture of a 21st century misogynist. A magazine that stuffs its pages full of as many naked ladies as it possibly can and then slaps the title ‘Zoo’ on the front cover is giving us all a massive clue as to the respect it has for women’s humanity.

Continue reading ‘Zoo and Danny Dyer cross the line, but join the dots and it’s easy to see how the ‘production error’ happened.’

‘This advertising campaign is in very bad taste…its blatant exploitation of women is tasteless and base, and quite simply unacceptable.’ Padraig Power, IRFU

It has been a very busy day at soisaystoher. The spike on my stats graph has peaked so dramatically it makes all the others days look like a very flat little line. That has happened as a result of a couple of interested journalists showing that they are willing to invite a feminist voice into a debate which is usually dominated by the ‘don’t spoil our fun’ brigade. Many thanks to Amanda Poole from the Belfast Telegraph who took the story on and the folks at the BBC who invited me in to chat. Wendy Austin is my new favourite person right now.

I’m a little exhausted, not least at having taken the time to read all the comments both here and on the Bel Tel site, and believe me, I suddenly got a smack of the backlash right in the face. When someone comments on a website that I must basically be the most unattractive person in Northern Ireland because only someone who was a fat ugly beast would find sexual objectification offensive, there’s no way they’re expressing their heartfelt opinion. That is a bullying tactic designed to make me feel like I shouldn’t have spoken up. Luckily I am a bit of an expert in bullying (day job…for anyone who knows me) so I’m not falling for it. Water. Duck. Back. Continue reading ‘‘This advertising campaign is in very bad taste…its blatant exploitation of women is tasteless and base, and quite simply unacceptable.’ Padraig Power, IRFU’

Ever wanted to be sexually harassed at a bus shelter? Hunky Dorys are here to help.

I hate to say it but it’s time to get in touch with our old friends at the Advertising Standards Authority as another local company decides to completely take the piss with an overtly sexist poster campaign.

Hunky Dorys crisps are a product of Irish company Largo foods and currently have an advertising campaign in bus shelters around Northern Ireland using women as sex objects (and some bizarre rugby references which seem weirdly off target given the football world cup is about to start), and with one being ‘the ass shot’ and another ‘the boob shot’ it’s clear that Largo foods and their ad agency consider women as nothing more than the sum of their body parts. These ads reveal a depressing lack of understanding of the effects of plastering hyper-sexualised images of women on ads for crisps, especially given that they are placed in public spaces where people gather, often for extended periods of time considering Translink’s excellent time-keeping, and such blatant sexism creates an atmosphere where women are dehumanised, demeaned and potentially harassed. Continue reading ‘Ever wanted to be sexually harassed at a bus shelter? Hunky Dorys are here to help.’

Another reason to get lads’ mags off our shelves…

So I was reading FHM the other day. Not a paid for copy I’d like to add, just one that I thumbed through off the shelf at WH Smith before I fulfilled my duty of turning it, and all the other lads’s mags, around. The sole purpose of my excursion to the dark side was to check out an article I had heard advertised on the radio in the gym; a claim that in amongst the pages of photos of Audrina off The Hills was “everything you need to know about…Chalire Sheen!” I wouldn’t normally pay much attention to the promise of a gossipy read about some burnt out actor’s exploits but my blood began to boil pretty quick when the radio ad referred to Mr Sheen as “Hollywood bad boy.”

Continue reading ‘Another reason to get lads’ mags off our shelves…’

Are feminists an out of touch, dying breed?

This was a great week to be a feminist. OK so a home office report on the sexualisation of children due to the constant bombardment of sexualised image in the mainstream media isn’t exactly going to change the whole game. But it does feel a little bit like progress. And it provided opportunities for incredible TV moments like this one where the BBC wheeled out ol’ faithful Peirs Hernu, ex-editor of Front magazine and lads’ mags champion, and pitted him against superstar feminist activist Anna Van Heesvijk, campaign manager with OBJECT. Brace yourself for some first class chauvinism from Mr Hernue as he constantly refers to Anna as “she”, and attempts to patronise and dismss her. In terms of the uncontrollable urge to throw my lap top across the room, my personal breaking point was “Have you? Oh jolly good.”

I think you’ll agree all he needed to be beaten was some cool rational argument, an intellectual analysis of the issue, a reminder of the international obligations our government has under CEDAW to regulate media for greater gender equality, and the opportunity to open his mouth and instantly show what a misogynist, ignorant twerp he is.

Continue reading ‘Are feminists an out of touch, dying breed?’

OBJECT Supporters Northern Ireland Meeting Thursday 25th Feb!

This delightful picture to the left was snapped yesterday in my local Sainsbury’s supermarket at Forestside shopping centre, Belfast. What you may not be aware of is that Sainsbury’s adopted a policy in 2006 of covering lads’ mags up to the title due to pressure from customers who complained about being subjected to such offensive and degrading images of women. Not only are Sainsbury’s Forestside failing to adhere to this policy but they have even drawn extra attention to Loaded magazine by placing it in a ‘Recommended Read’ box. Given the consistently falling sales figures for these publications I can only assume they are desperate to shift copies. Unfortunately the gentleman in charge of magazine displays wasn’t there yesterday when I approached customer services to complain, but I have his name and I will be back to follow up on this.

Continue reading ‘OBJECT Supporters Northern Ireland Meeting Thursday 25th Feb!’

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