Tag Archives: objectification

Another Stupid Way to Objectify Women

lingerie football, sexism, discrimination, chauvinism, objectification, women's sports

Women are still the butt of society’s joke. Creative Commons: John Pozadzides flickr

The news recently reported that Vancouver would be subjected to a new sport. Well, not really a new sport but played a new way. Lingerie Football. I do not kid you. It seems that the only way for women to actually get to play the sport is take off their clothes. The organizer, a man, was most serious about how these women had sports skills (they could run, they could throw) but really, if you have half-disrobed them what exactly are you hoping people will watch?

Is this the only way that people will watch women’s sports, if they’re objectified and showing titillating bits of flesh? One friend said, “Well, they have a choice in joining, don’t they?” He couldn’t see anything wrong in this. Let’s look at a few problems: if you happen to be the best runner or catcher ever but you’re a stocky woman, or not particularly beautiful, or missing the right curves for wearing skimpy underwear on the field, do you think you’ll be picked to play football? Is there even a woman’s team anywhere where they get to wear the protective football uniform? What else is wrong? Oh yeah, let’s go look at the sex kittens. Who cares if they can run or throw a ball; we’re not going to take them seriously anyway.

Sure, a woman can choose to join or not but it’s not putting this on par with men’s football, nor will it be considered a serious game. To think this is the only way women can play football galls me. Sure, women will volunteer for this. Many of us will do a lot for money. Sure, they’re not being forced, but a woman might wear a burka but not be forced to because it’s been drummed into her head that she should cover up (or be uncovered) while men can do as they please. It doesn’t make it right. I do not agree with any group that decides men and women should be allowed different rights. If this is the way football is going to be, then make the men run around in jock straps and runners only.

lingerie football, sexism, discrimination, chauvinism, objectification, women's sports

Men’s football gets shoulder pads, but women’s gets cleavage as well. Housey Lei, Design You Trust

Oh and let’s talk about the ludicrous, sexist costumes. They’re wearing uniform bikinis, I suppose,with runners, shoulder and knee padsand helmets. And then to make the utmost of stupidity and objectification there are adjustable garters (the straps for holding up stockings) and a garter around the leg. The men who organized this should be ashamed but they’re too idiotic to understand that this continues to put women in a category where even the police have said, don’t dress provocatively or you’ll get raped. The last is based on a real example in Canada and was yet another example of how the blame is placed with the woman.

The organizers are businessmen of course, exploiters of people, and they see it as a great money-making venture, as pimps always do. Now do not get me wrong, women and men should be able to dress up or down or sexy as they please. But it shouldn’t be a requirement for a place to work, as it often is. (Do the women at one of your restaurants/bars have to wear tight/short/skimpy/low-cut clothes as part of their “uniform?”)  Are there any men working the same job? This is just yet another case of where society considers women nothing but sexual victims (whether for rape or exploitation or coveted possessions). It’s not right and it certainly isn’t harmless. Any other job and it would be grounds for sexual discrimination or harassment. Consider that.

This makes me very angry and I would hope people would boycott it but I’ve found the masses to be self-centered, unthinking and as stupid as the organizers. Next up, watch for burka baseball or some other version of women sexually exploited for your viewing pleasure.

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Do We Need Another Beauty Queen?

Yesterday it was announced that there would be the first Miss Vancouver, multi-ethnic beauty pageant. Marina Hossain, is the CEO of Jam Expo Inc., which will be organizing the pageant for the Health and Beauty Expo. So first off, Canada hasn’t had a Miss Canada pageant since 1992. High production costs and declining interests were the reasons given. The other part was that people just weren’t interested in seeing women sashay along in a bathing suit and an evening gown, and giving their five minutes on how I hope to improve the world.

Yesterday’s CBC Radio One had a pageant coordinator also mention that Canadians just aren’t interested in being beauty queens, yet the ethnic beauty contests have continued. Obviously these contests do give exposure to the winner, as well as some prizes and cash. But the other reason they’re not popular is become they are still sexist and based on “beauty.”

So here comes Ms. Hossain with a new one that blends all ethnicities. Common ground is good but it’s still a beauty pageant. In fact, Hossain says, “Some can sing, some can dance, some have a nice face. Not everybody has that. But it’s the same as any other talent, like swimming. I see it in the same line. Beauty should be appreciated, too…. Beauty is something you have to work on. You have to furnish it. It’s a talent, knowing how to keep up with your body and health. Plus the natural talent you’re blessed with.”

A talent? Right. Being beautiful is a talent like having a well working heart, or two good eyes. You’re born with it or you’re not. Being born with something is not a talent. Some people have natural abilities in drawing or running but it still takes work to be good at and maintain a consistent level of talent. Beauty I guess can also be maintained: eat healthy, exercise, sleep properly. But then there is always botox, and  silicone and plastic surgery to make one beautiful. That’s a talent for those with money.

Hossain thinks beauty is a legitimate female talent. Wow! Why not have a beauty pageant for flowers then? Beauty, where the winner will be crowned with a tiara. Like a true Disney princess world in which Hossain wants to perpetuate the aspect of women being pretty trophies.

Contestants will be judged on the health of their skin, hair, fitness level, etc. They will get to parade along in white T-shirts and jeans, evening gowns and ethnic wear. Swimsuits may yet happen. So someone like me, born in Canada to Canadian parents, whose ethnic grandparents died early and didn’t pass on their cultural motifs for Italian and Danish ethnic/rural clothing would  wear something decidedly…Canadian. Like jeans, or Birkenstocks, or cowboy boots, or a shirt, or… Hmm, I wonder how the judges will like that ethnic dress. But I’m sure they’ll be fair…in judging who’s most beautiful in their ethnic wear.

It makes me wonder if someone, a woman who is sturdy, perhaps small hipped but barrel chested, thick through the shoulders but with amazing skin, lovely hair and who exercises four times a week could ever win, even if her attributes were better than her slimmer opponents. Especially if she had a bulbous nose and squinty eyes but was the nicest person you ever met, with intelligence and compassion for all. Would she win? I’m guessing, not.

While other pageants in recent years had to disguise the parading of female flesh with humanitarian works and community work, this is hardly mentioned up front. It’s all about the talent of beauty. Here is rule # 7 in the requirements:

7. Candidates will not be permitted to have any body art or body piercing that is visibly offensive.

Hmm, visibly offensive. I’m sorry, ma’am, your botox lips are visibly offensive. Excuse me sir, your balding head is visibly offensive. Why you, your height is visibly offensive. That leaves a lot to interpretation but then Ms Hossain and her judges get to be the judge of that. Just hope you figure it out before you send in your $138 nonrefundable registration fee. Oh and you have to be in good health and not have any medical problems. Is that fair under the human rights code? Well probably since they’re making it for young women 18-28 who can never have been married. I wonder if they want them to be virgins too.

But perhaps I’m being harsh about this vapid throwback to stereotypical pageants that promote the objectifying of women. I’d believe more that this was something new and great if it wasn’t a promotional gimmick for the expo. I’d believe it had altruism at its heart if there had been any mention about what the women are expected to bring to the world and community. Sure, that might help decide but it’s obviously not the thrust. I’d believe this was for a more balanced and less genderist idea if it included men and didn’t have the Disney princess tiara.

Unfortunately I find it hard to believe in or support this trophy girl award. There is a good reason that Canadians don’t want to enter such bigoted pageants.

http://www.jamexpo.ca/RULES-MAY2009.pdf

http://www.jamexpo.ca/vancouver.php?pageid=29

http://www.straight.com/article-212939/beauty-talent-says-organizer-new-miss-vancouver-pageant

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