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November, 06, 2013

A Bit of Harmless Fun?

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Name: Andrea Idisi
Member of: Student Panellist
Joined: Jan 2012
Andrea's Full Profile

Makers of promotional videos for clubs quickly realised that putting a camera in someone’s face makes them a lot more likely do something they’re likely to regret in the morning; add alcohol to that equation and things escalate quickly. Strong positive reinforcement on the part of managers of clubs like this shows girls that the more provocative the outfit, and more importantly, the more willing you are to parade your body, the better the reception you can expect; drinks on the house gleefully ensue and if the barman is lucky, enough attention can propel you into an intoxicating nest of whipped cream and a pool of tequila shallow as the owners.

tequila

Photo by Sam Howzit

But at what point do we draw the line between unfettered hedonism and something more sinister? …Like the insidious and systematic undoing of decades of work and sacrifice by women who wanted femininity to encompass something more than a subservience to whatever dress code and behaviour is deemed most alluring by contemporary male attitudes. When does it get more worrying than just the interaction of girls wanting to have fun and ‘boys being boys’? Well hopefully an indisputable indicator of things having gone too far is when young women plied with alcohol in a club become victims of sexual violence and part of a disturbingly overlooked statistic.

tequila

Photo by Martin.

The act of rape gets easily shrouded and dismissed by both men and women insisting that the victims of rape in clubs were ‘asking for it’. Having spoken to a woman who was the victim of violent rape that left her in mental and physical anguish, the amount the act can be flippantly dismissed is all the more shocking. She was told that she could not have been raped because she had had consensual sex with her attacker a year previously and was known to have had multiple sexual partners besides that. Reporting it to the police was a fruitless effort, and she is not the only unsupported individual to be treated this way. It makes me sick to think that in the 21st century people still hold the belief that if a woman has said ‘yes’ before then any subsequent ‘no’ is are rendered irrelevant.

tequila

Photo by Brian Christensen

Alongside this lies the ever powerful force wielded by mass media. Rihanna’s recently published music video for her single ‘Pour it Up’ features her wearing a thong stuffed with dollars and a bra that scantily covers the bare minimum, while she (and some pole dancers) twerk and dry hump to their hearts’ and bank accounts’ content. There is a shortage of role models for young women to base appropriate levels of self respect on… and that might just be something to do with the fact that the producers and managers behind these scenes are predominantly men, who fail to see the benefit of promoting images of women that don’t invite objectification. Endorsement of fully dressed female successes won’t bring rape to a screeching halt or stop men wanting sex, but it just might create enough of a pause that people begin to challenge the prevalence of this injustice.

This issue has to be tackled as more than a tagline that gets drowned out when interest in the pop song that triggered it dwindles, because for the victims, the repercussions endure. Earlier today I saw a bag with a slogan that read ‘feminism is an unfinished revolution’ and when you know the attitudes that have slipped through the net of human decency, it’s not hard to agree.

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  1. Dhruv Jani

    I feel the main issue is not lack of role models….it is the lack of awareness and the willingness to find the right ones. Agree the media focuses on the few as this their business n they sell only what is bought. we require to educate and guide the younger ones which is possible only at home through parents and elders.

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  2. Scott Haldane

    I do feel that the media today provides very bad role models for both boys and girls. Boys need to have large amounts of muscle and girls need to be skinny yet curvy in the right places. I could go on further with this but what I want to say is that people have the right to wear what they want and usually this is determined by their social groups or trends in fashion. And yes, sex sells to the vast majority of the population. However this sort of content could alter a child’s view and twist their perception of reality.

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  3. Lauren Petty

    The media is always displaying the view that women need to wear skimpy clothes to get the boys and have all of the fun. What is wrong with being yourself? Many celebrities have been shown wearing skimpy clothing which they clearly will not be wearing out and about, so why are children copying their idols in their clothing and thinking about their bodies at such a young age? If they don’t want children or young women to be dressed like this, don’t show videos whilst being dressed like this.

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  4. William Hotham

    i feel that many women use thier bodies to seek attention however when they get the wrong attention they say that it is mens fault. for example Rihanna and Miley Cyrus show off extreme amounts of flesh in thier music videos to try and boost thier sales numbers. do you think they would wear that little clothing in a club or around town? I think not.
    To begin with women should encourage thier stars to wear more appropriate clothing.
    also women dress in such ways that are very suggestive to men.

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  5. Haleemah Hussain

    It’s disgusting to think that in the 21st century artist such as Rihanna think it’s acceptable to create music videos which show young women it’s right to show your body off for the other sex to gain their attention. It shows how easily young women can change there mind in becoming objects for men, from watching videos such as those shown today. The question then is that can the views of young women we altered again, would providing adequate education be enough? I personally don’t think education would help with the views of young women and who they aspire to, it’s the foundation the get from home and their social circle which would influence them on how to act and express their body.

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  6. Sarah Wilmot

    Definitely agree with the majority of this article, it’s disgusting that so many famous women feel the need to expose to ensure a response. It is not something which young girls should be able to view, nor aspire to.

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  7. jamilla stapleton

    their is nothing wrong with having fun i love going out and enjoying my self even though i am a student i still need to find time to lift my self up and have a good time i would rather enjoy my self and be happy rather than be bored at home thinking about the if’s… and buts…

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  8. Kieran Mccrory

    Agree with most of this article. But stopping women from having the right of self expression in dressing the way they like is certainly not the way to go, and I don’t know what is. I believe some better education of definitions of what is and isn’t rape is essential for the younger generation- for both males and females. I’ve heard plenty of guys get steaming drunk and having sex with a girl who was relatively sober and often the one initiating sex. I’ve seen these guys wishing it hadn’t happened the next morning and have never heard them claim that they have been raped. This for me is the line I’m unsure of, I’m not going to get someone drunk and have sex with them, but is it rape? If you intentionally get them drunk to do so then undoubtedly yes. If you are both having drink and get together when you’re out of your minds is it rape? This is the line many say yes on but it is the one I am unsure of. Having seen this happen to guys on many occasions and not many girls. (must just be my group of friends because there’s only a few people I’ve heard talking about it outside my group). I am unsure if this is rape on the person who regrets it when sober? I’m only asking whether this is rape because as regretful as I have seen guys about this, I have never seen them claim rape, but have heard stories where rape has been claimed in this case. This is the only ‘blurred line’ I can possibly think of, and this is because it appears to be post-sex and if both are drunk and later regret then who’s the victim and who’s the rapist?

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  9. Katie Prior

    You can’t blame the producers and managers for the way that female singers dress and act in their videos, if the singer had an issue with it then she is more than able to express her opinions and thoughts. You cannot be forced into doing such things, its a choice. Perhaps everyone should stop looking at celebrities as role models because at the end of the day they are only human, exactly like the rest of us and we all make some mistakes. No one is perfect so make of life what you will but ensure that you make it your own and not a replicate of someone else’s.

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  10. Alex Tucker

    I am a guy and I personally think this is the least appealing thing of going out and drinking. I feel like I’m not enjoying myself unless I’m pouring enough alcohol down my throat to act as stupid as everyone else. But then I realise when too much is too much but you see people who get worse and worse, especially women who then have no control over themself, have no idea where they’re going once they leave, too many guys seem to accept this as them still being able to consent to sex and it seems to lead to more often than not regrets and accusations of rape. Sometimes enough is enough.

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  11. jade watson

    Young women are definitely used to give the wrong impression off, by music, adverts, magazines and things. Although I am not affected by it I think it isn’t right for young children to grow up seeing it in everyday life. men aren’t always the bad guys some women like to parade themselves about for attention!

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  12. Alex Edwards

    Men need to be educated to not take advantage of women when they’re drunk and to understand that they are not always in control! And that drunk flirting is not consent! This applies for women as well

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  13. Akshay Chugh

    Makes me feel like I’m the last decent man on earth.

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  14. Ericka Yabut

    I completely agree with the bad role models young girls are given throug the media; Music videos are made to sell with women being sexually esposed & portrayed as sexual desires and objects… I believe that this has to stop, but let’s be honest – will it? The amount of people consuming these ‘products’ that portray women sexually (ie. Holister, Rhianna’s music videos etc…) is very high. Sex sells.

    But it should be up to those around these young women to limit these. Sure, censoring media is very hard; considering its now very easily accessable… But if parents teach children the values of having self respect and being a woman, then there should be no worries.

    Of course, other factors come into this.. But how young girls are brought up socially & culturally will affect HOW they take in the messages created by the media. Some can argue that yes, this is the cause of rape; because “little girls dress like sl*ts so they must be asking for it/they deserve it.” Though I do agree at some level (that women should honestly just dress up respectfully), rape is rape. If a woman does not want sex, regardless of how she dress, should not be forced into something she doesn’t want to do. Women should not be a victim of being blamed for an action they did not do themselves. Of course, some women that are dressed more explicitly may be seen as temptations, but it is up to men/rapists to decide on what to do about this. The clear and obvious choice is to disguard the temptation, but when they act upon it (rape), that is where the problem lies – lack of self control, self dicipline… Therefore I see the blame most suitable placed upon the rapist themselves.

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  15. Henry Norris

    frankly this sort of behaviour makes me ashamed of being a guy at uni as i see it all too much, but the points that she makes are all valid and i fully support this sort of argument

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  16. Rik Bush

    I hate to say this, but, as a old git, I do get very worried at the way young girls (from 10 up!) dress, Playboy bikinis for three year olds is downright stupid!, but I defo think it is their right to do so and would defend their choice. The problem lies in that a fruit loop rapist is probably going to find a release for their ‘need’ as and when the urge arises, and young girls with no visible skirt just make the pickings wider and are less likely to fight back. It is practically impossible to counter the threat of rape, so I believe that the responsibility must lay with educating the female of our species, however unfair it may seem. Simples….don’t walk alone, don’t take short cuts across the park\ cemetery, bend at the knees not hips when picking things off the floor, make sure someone knows who you are with etc etc……All simple rules that leave ones mind when having fun…or too drunk to know better.
    It is never the victim of rape who should bear the responsibility for an attack, but it is the victims duty to lessen the risk at every opportunity.

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  17. Humayra Amin

    A woman doesn’t need to wear more clothes to prevent a man from raping her.Her dress style is of her personal choice and to wear such clothes,I’m sure she knows what impressions she’ll be giving out anyways.If not,however,then obviously there’s a need for raising more awareness of dressing styles.Would there be a point though?

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  18. Andrew Wicks

    I agree with a lot of the ideas and sentiments in this article, I don’t think rape is taken seriously enough, with too many cases of people feeling failed by the justice system. However there are things that I think the article falls well wide of the mark on.
    Firstly, who decides what clothes I (or anybody else for that matter) will wear? Me. If a girl dresses in revealing outfits that’s her choice. A persons choice of clothing is not a measure of self respect. A piece of clothing is nothing more than bits of fabric stitched together. You can’t buy self esteem at your local high street and you cant lose it by wearing one bit of kit instead of the next.
    Secondly, revealing clothes wouldn’t be enough to cause a normal person to rape another. I think that it requires a rather large problem in the mindset of a rapist.
    On to role models. You state that there are no female role models without any “self respect”. There are PLENTY of notable women that choose not to conform to this idea. Adele for example, she’s pretty public in voicing how she will remain how she is and not changer her weight/clothes etc. just to fit the demands of the industry. Yet look at her success! She is one of the most successful artists (male or female) of the last couple of years. Hayley Williams (lead singer of Paramore) has always remained true to herself, refused offers early in her career from people in the pop music industry that wanted to set up a solo career and sell her as a sex symbol. Surely sending a message to be true to yourself and not another copy of some “objectified” pop star.
    Finally, this piece is written as though rape only occurs as a man raping a woman, as though women are incapable of doing so and men are satanic monsters just waiting to pounce. “…young women plied with alcohol in a club become victims of sexual violence and part of a disturbingly overlooked statistic” as are men. It is greatly overlooked that men get raped by women, and also that men and women can be raped by those of the same sex.

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  19. Georgia Varjas

    A woman is still judged on her sexual history, her dress style and whether she works in the sex industry or not. Stigma and double standards prevail. I have published a collection of short stories based on role reversal. In one story a woman tries to rape a man…well she can’t…unless he is willing! What if a woman kidnaps a man and ties him up in a chair for 6 weeks. What do we think about her? I think it is important to provoke answers, stimulate conversation on this theme. Rape is rape, no means no, a woman’s history is her history.

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  20. Laura Murray

    I am frustrated that men and woman arent treated equally. Sometimes i feel people make woman out to be objects and that their body must not be shown etc. but when a man does so its toally normal and sometimes, “laddish”

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  21. leanne harrison

    sex without consent is rape, its as simple as that!

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  22. Alec Burrett

    Excellent article,

    I agree with your points, but there are some things that I feel need adding. The objectification of the female body and sexuality in the media and the notion that the male body and sexuality is ‘bad’ in some way is breaking our society. If the man bannana and women’s breasts were treated equally, then I feel that sexual frustration; which is the root cause of rape; would be reduced. This sexual frustation is also driven by the porn industry, which causes people’s brains to become “wired” incorrectly, and the lack of knowleage of how women have orgasims; it’s all to do with rhythm. When sexual frustation becomes a thing of the past; which unfortunatly I never see happening; then we should see a significant decrease in sexual violence.

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  23. Lucie

    Intercourse without a clear yes is rape. End of story.

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  24. Claire

    ‘There is a shortage of role models for young women to base appropriate levels of self respect on’ So if a woman decides to dress skimpily then she has little to no self respect? Maybe she just enjoys dressing like that and there’s no reason she should be judged for it. It is not an indicator of her self respect, and certainly not an invitation of any kind.

    So you want women to put more clothes on in order to ‘create enough of a pause’? You’re just as bad as the people you previously derided for saying women are ”asking for it’. This whole article smacks of victim blaming. Rape is never the fault of the victim, no matter what she was wearing. It’s the fault of the rapist and the rapist only.

    We live in a society that continues to tell women not to get raped (which is basically what you’ve done here). Why aren’t we telling people not to rape?

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  25. suemick

    If girls are bombarded by videos of scantily dressed pop idols & fashion that deems “less is more”, society cannot blame them. We need more women in higher positions in show business, then maybe there would be some hope in changing women’s image.

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  26. Kate Philo

    i think clubs and pubs should be forced to act in a responsible manner when serving drinks to young women they should know what can happen when girls have to much to drink but all they are interested in is profits no matter what

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  27. samina choudhary

    The way girls these days dress obviously gives guys the wrong impression of them and they cant be blamed.

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    • claire

      What impression is that? The impression that they want to be raped? You must have a very low opinion of men if you think they can’t blamed. They do have autonomy, you know.

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  28. Raiman Jawaid

    Definitely, don’t think it’s fair for that to happen, people need to stop taking advantage of people in situations like that.

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  29. Adam Holding

    Firstly, dressing like that is intended to gain attention; I’m not saying it invites rape, but it is just as much to gain attention from either sex as a guy walking around shirtless in a club is. I’m not against such dress styles, since everyone should be able to dress how they want. The media knows what people want and simply supplies to the demand. I do not think feminism is something that is necessary to fight for like it was in the past; the vast majority of women are treated equally to men, especially in the new generation. At university, one of the worst things a guy can do is talk down a girl without reason.

    Bottom line is, everyone needs to lighten up. Rape is a serious issue, but changing how girls think is not the way to stop it. Rape is caused by men (or women) having serious psychological issues, and changing the media (which won’t happen) or enforcing dress codes on people will not stop rape.

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    • Claire

      When women are told to put more clothes on to prevent rape then yes, feminism is very much needed. I know plenty of women who will not be left alone, even for a second on a night out, out of fear of being assaulted. I do not a have a female friend that hasn’t been assaulted in some form on a night out (and no, we weren’t all dressed skimpily, not that that would matter). 20% of women have experience sexual violence. These are just few of many wider reasons we are not yet equal. Feminism is needed. It’s easy to think the other half are being treated equally when you’re not experiencing it.

      Also, 5% of convicted rapist are diagnosed mentally ill.

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  30. Tamsin Evans

    I completely agree, there are too many young girls who dress in ways that leave nothing to the imagination which just gives lads the wrong impression and then they wonder why they attract the ‘wrong’ type of men and make a name for themselves in which they do not like.

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    • claire

      What is this ‘wrong impression’? That they enjoy sex? That it’s easy to have sex with them? That they want to be raped? Sex and rape are two very different things.

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  31. Samuel Coxson

    You should read this your voice isn’t alone many want things changed: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/nov/05/sexual-harassment-clubs-students?CMP=twt_gu

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  32. Joel Tennant

    Brilliant piece – I especially enjoy your writing style, you don’t mess about.

    And, of course, you treat the subject with the bluntness that it absolutely requires. Since starting university – where I ignorantly thought the over-sexualisation of women would be far less the norm – I have seen the female form exploited beyond what I thought possible by the on campus club.

    Refraining from a Chomskian/Orwellian rant, I think the public are becoming so apathetic to issues that seem to require action, and there is enough entertainment media masquerading as information to continue the tactic of distraction.

    People can dress and behave however they like as long as it doesn’t cause harm or distress to someone else, that seems a decent moral code (within reason, acknowledging ongoing Freedom debates on niqabs and Nazi uniforms etc) – but promo videos and photos from clubs and bars overtly selling the chance to see ‘naughty schoolgirls’ and all that IS causing harm.

    I hear all varying degrees of institutionalised sexism, something that is moralised as male culture, coming from the mouths of people I actually like, people I deem intelligent people and I always try to reason why what they say isn’t actually ok – and they themselves are generally shocked when they reflect on it. It shows that these damaging and normalised values have been, to a large extent, ingrained in the society around us.

    There is a feminist revolution happening, in my opinion, and it has been having victories over the past centuries, and further, in the Western world, and across the globe in varying degrees – but wearing masks of Fawkes and marching on Westminster isn’t the form it’s taking. It’s in the blogs and the media sites that will publish it, the university societies and the local campaigns, the treatment of equality among both genders and sexes by people in the street and at the workplace.

    But it’s going against a foe so powerful and widespread – that of distraction media, of profits and comfort, of patriarchial misogyny that most thinking males could never support if they noticed it – that it’s just not easy. When some men counter with “oh so you think men aren’t sexualised and objectified too?!” they totally miss the point that neither gender should be treated that way, that equality should mean mutual respect of someone regardless of how they identify and are identified.

    Anyway, rant over.
    Keep it up :)

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    • richard

      Its great to see intelligent people realise that its not just an issue for women, its an issue for both men and women.

      for example (ages 14 for reference): a male student has sex with a fellow student if the parents cry foul the male student is accused of rape even tho both parties are consensual. the male is victimised as its deemed he has to “get it up”.

      And as for anyone who thinks rape is deserved think about your home getting burgled (even if you only left a slip window open) then imaging your body getting burgled, not a pretty though is it?

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  33. Rishi Haraniya

    great

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