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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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