Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Object on Fashion Models - 'Many Die Starving Themselves, Abusing Their Bodies'.

In a previous posting, I touched upon what I think motivates Object and that I believe it is a deeply held dislike of anyone that uses their looks to earn a living. I said that I would show you a frame grab that support this view, well the first one is below for you to examine.

Almost deliberately controversial fashion designer Julien MacDonald earned the wrath of Object when he made the comment that plus sized models have no place in the fashion industry. I do not know enough about the scene to comment, but I do know that he is an enthusiastic user of fur, so that alone makes him somewhat suspect in my book.

The Object Yahoo Board was all over MacDonalds comment and to some extent quite rightly so. What struck me though were the comments written by the person using an unusual font. The frame grab below is a compilation of 5 of the comments and you will see that three of them are rather disturbing.

Does this sense of 'oppression' come from a feeling of worthlessness?
'........Why of why do these people not want real women instead of freaks......'

Its a disturbing thing to say and we can see why comments of this nature would never normally be expressed outside the confines of Object private Yahoo group. We can see that another activist cautions the writer asks that the phrase 'freaks' be avoided when discussing models. This however only inspires the commentor to further depths....

'......Many die starving themselves, abusing their bodies......'


Really? How many die 'starving themselves', what do they do to 'abuse their bodies'?

I find the views expressed in those comments to be profoundly disturbing because its objectification. It objectifies a named group of people as being 'freaks' who die as a result of self abuse. My greatest sadness however is reserved for the final comment, written by someone who clearly has sympathy with our friend.

Whoever wrote the final comment, they have deeply held misconceptions about women and the way that they are viewed....

'......Beautiful women must fit certain criteria that are so rare in nature they are freakish.......'

I'm sorry? I see women everyday that are beautiful, so I guess its an issue of how you define beauty or what your standards are, but I note that the writer seems convinced that 'starvation and surgery' are the only route to achieving this undefined standard.

'......Those women who are considered beautiful are less than 0.01 percent of all women......'

Can we do some maths please. The writer is saying that the 'beauty standard' occurs on 1 in a 10000 basis, so I ask where did this statistic come (not from the Lilith Report I admit). But then it gets worse......

'...........Therefore 99.99 percent of women are worthless and therefore deserve disdain, belittling, insults, mistreatment, violence etc..........'.

Is that how she really believe that society works? That everything and I mean everything is based upon the currency of looks, of visually based value judgements?

I have to ask how prevalent this view is within Object and if this is the attitude that underpins their campaigns. If it is, it is terrifying because it is based upon a fractured, damaged viewpoint that is deeply unhealthy and totally untrue.

It is indicative though of the binary approach of those who see the whole objectification scenario in conspiracy terms. Beautiful women are freaks and those that are not are abused and assaulted. Furthermore, it seems that all of these issues will be solved when women that 'beautiful' are removed from public view.

Remember, Object not only campaign against lap dancing clubs and lads magazines, they also focus on advertising and beauty competitions as well and have done so within the last year or so. Object would easily believe that all of the aforementioned campaigns would involve visual based value judgements and therefore be vectors of objectification.

Its interesting to note that their Violence Against Women campaign page really amounts to nothing and their 'Demand Change' website campaign that highlights the issue of prostitution hasn't been updated in almost two years. For Object, the entire scene seems to about denigrating women that earn a living or status by their looks.

But surely I am mistaken.

Aren't I?

Your comments please.....




7 comments:

  1. No. You are not mistaken. Object's problem - and dare I say it - the problem of most feminists these days, is jealousy. There are no specific male groups for their vitriol, the whole issue of inequality has been well and truly dealt with, so all they have left to do is punish the women who men find more attractive than them in any way possible. Welcome to the modern feminist. Err, Charlie, by the way, we need to hook up and go to Elegance for a night out...

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  2. I find that I can't see Object as a Feminist Group. They have not been bothered to research their targets and make assumptions. The use of testimonials from two women who boyfriends went on stag do's that went to strip joints is not showing anything other than the two women concerned had trust issues. More importantly do those two cases really define what happens when groups of men get together and watch dancers? Not in my mind.

    Object have been defined before as a hate group before, the fact that they hate other women is something that I find hard to see any justification for. Objectification, interestingly they only discuss negative objectification yet great feminist thinkers such as Martha Nussbaum view objectification in a different way to Kant/MacKinnon/Dworkin.

    As yet I have seen no causal figures linking objectification with violence or more especially the link of striptease to violence. Every bit of research I look at or do myself shows that violence does not naturally occur because of striptease, but object need a scapegoat, a justification, a raison d'etre and picking on women because of their looks is easy. Maddie's comment about women picking on other women because of how they dress on a night out is exactly the same, you are different, you are to be feared, you are to be driven away.

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  3. I found that even writing the posting was depressing. The thread comments were like open wounds and it seems to say deeply profound things about the third wave feminist movement. In clubs, they don't target the customers, it seems to be the girls. With lads mags, they want them top shelfed, with Page 3 they want it banned. I sense that they have run out of male targets.....I think that if they were serious about changing male attitudes, their campaign would have an entirely different flavour and be more challenging for them as well.

    Influencing male viewpoints involves education, not prohibition but I think they realised this and instead took the high profile route of fighting clubs and media they disapproved of and in the process learned to hate the girls involved in the business...

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    1. I suspect too that the core members of Object hold such derogatory views on the male sex, that they've convinced themselves that men are beyond education - not that their propagandist idea of what constitutes 'education' is anything worth taking seriously in any case.

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    2. Brute this is a good point...

      This is the missing part of the puzzle.

      Object convinced themselves that the education and changing attitudes path was too long term, too difficult and lets face it, not exactly worth too much publicity. That left them believing that prohibition (publicity and funding worthy)was the only way forward, hence where they are today...

      Actually, funding agencies dislike duplication of activity, so Object had to find a unique selling point and they did. Societies problems, such a domestic violence, violence against women in general and wage disparity were in reality a function of the presence of lap dancing clubs, lads magazines, beauty pageants and photos of models in their underwear in advertising...

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  4. Reading those highlighted comments again, I'm reminded of something Prof. Richard Dawkins said in a interview (regarding The Selfish Gene), which featured in a recent documentary:

    "It is a lesson that sometimes, people will read a book by the title only, and omit to read the rather large footnote which is the book itself."

    It occurs to me that some 'feminists' have managed to do precisely that re The Beauty Myth!

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