Monday, April 01, 2013

Why do men think it is OK to wear images of naked women on their t shirts?

Why do men think it is OK to wear images of naked women on their t shirts?

I had a discussion with my nephew about this on Easter Sunday. He said the photograph on his t shirt was art. (It was an image of the naked Marilyn, with the red cross over it; from the photo proofs - she didn’t want that photo printed. She certainly never authorised the photo to be printed on a t shirt.) I said it breached community standards. The image wouldn’t be acceptable on a billboard, or during family tv viewing times. He said I could choose to not look. I said I’d have to look to know I didn’t want to look, but then I’ve already seen. I said it isn’t treating women as whole people. It’s objectifying. It isn’t respectful. He said I see everything in terms of feminism. We agreed to disagree.

What I didn’t say was that, in context of the more violent images I’ve seen on men’s t shirts, the red cross could be blood. The image could be seen as more mean and violent than he thought.  

Images such as those on men’s t shirts would not be acceptable in the workplace, and I’ve worked in places where men thought they were. Were they trying to intimidate the women who visited their workspace? I don’t know, but as a young woman, I know I was very uncomfortable, vulnerable, and aware that I wasn’t being taken seriously in my work when I entered their workspace. I can’t remember what I did, but I hope I complained. I know I have spoken out against sexism in other workplaces (one place the manager told a joke about rape to lift our spirits).

Here are some articles that have crossed my path since the Easter conversation. They support my argument.

UK teachers say raunch culture has set feminism back 40 years, and they want to teach students to address inequality and sexism.

Melinda Tankard Reist with statistics on the effects pornification of our society has on on girls. I’m interested in how pornification also affects boys and boy’s behaviour.

Tara Moss on political representation and women in the news (saying nothing about the lack of women on boards, and my own friends talking about women being sacked in engineering and the lack of career path in science).

I wanted to say the objectification of women in our culture encourages young men to treat women as the footballers at Steubenville treated the young woman they were found guilty of raping, recording the rape and their callous disregard of her, and uploading images of her as if it was not just OK, but fun. Objectifying women contributes to a rape culture. I didn't say that, because I didn't want to raise the details of the Steubenville case around my children.

I didn’t say that if you want to wear an image of Marilyn, how about the photo of her reading Ulysses.


Star said...

Normalising nudity of woman on t shirts is disgusting and humiliating and degrading. Young girls are subjected to too much crap suggesting they should be slutty and wear next to nothing to get attention and it is normal for them to be treated like objects. Young males are encouraged to think it is funny or normal. How about naked men on t shirts or males sucking each others dicks on t shirts would those t shirts make other males who see it publicly being displayed on t shirts like it is normal feel uncomfortable in any way? I think the majority of males would! What about young children or families and respectable or older people? Where is the respect in it? It is not normal just a fad to suggest it is cool in some warped way! What is so cool about it?

Star said...

Oh I was working in a family retail shop the only female, i was shown images of the tits brand of girls holding their tits and with their legs apart and with a girl licking a tit. I know people want money not morals these days and have no respect or feel no responsibilities to how these t shirts affect other people. They thought it was funny to tell me i had to say i liked the t shirts because i was going to sell it. Go figure! I have a kid and I am a mother and i have self respect. I quit my job and took them to mediation and won. That was for my kid to stand up and say you do npt treat females like that.

Star said...

Is that not literally indecent exposure and r18 yet it is exposed to kids mothers and fathers, decent families let alone the public! Notice teenage pregnancy is too common and drug spiking and sexual offences are at a high! No wonder there is broken familes more so than ever and fatherless children! Influences that encourage lack of respect, maturity and morals to this degree do hurt many individuals and families.