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Both burqas and sexualized ads are ugly

Both burqas and sexualized ads or sexual objectification dehumanize women or reduce women to mere sexual objects.
The purpose of the burqa is to erase the individual, women are sexual objects, men get sexually aroused whenever they see women, so for the sake of men women must have their bodies covered. The purpose of the sexualized ads is to erase the individual, women are sexual objects, men get sexually aroused whenever they see women, so for the sake of men women must have their bodies uncovered.

AND

Comments

  1. ... says

    Those are some pretty awful ads, but the two are not comparable. The women in those ads are there by choice and are usually well remunerated for their time. The women in the burqas can face death if they don’t wear them. Slight difference.

    • mynameischeese says

      Women only face death for not wearing the burqa in certain countries. Other women choose to wear them. You can argue that there is social pressure for them to make that choice, but there is also a lot of social pressure for women to sexualise themselves in our culture and to allow their sexuality to be commodified.

      • fanty says

        Exactly. Talking about “choice” is a bit silly when society penalizes women for choosing the wrong thing, to varying degrees of severity.

      • ... says

        Oh, horse-apples. A friend of mine – a woman – works as a photographer, and has worked with glamour models and others. They’re often happy to take the jobs and compete for the positions. Yes, there is some nasty stuff out there, but to equate “social pressure” with the threat of utter ostracism, at best, that faces so many muslimas is nothing more than the standard self-pitying narcissism we see so often amongst the “skeptic” community.

        Just recently we’ve seen a grandmother jailed in the UK for kidnapping and drugging her own daughter for refusing an arranged marriage. I could list endless examples of girls who face violence or death for not wearing Islamic garb, violence from their own families. Then there’s the en masse kidnapping and enslavement of coptic girls in Egypt. Or look at the state of affairs in the French slums and what happens to girls not wearing Islamic dress. Or look at the “rape is okay” fatwa in Australia.

        On and on it goes. To try to equate this with some vague “social pressure” is nothing more than the umpteenth excuse that the privileged give themselves not to care.

        • fanty says

          This isn’t a “vague social pressure”, it’s a powerful force, and it’s present all around the globe, not just in the west.

          Around where I live, you constantly see teenage girls and young women who live in bad conditions with no running water and no sanitation “choosing” to spend their money on skin-tight clothing and make-up rather than trying to improve their living conditions. And the reason why they do it is not because they’re a bunch of vapid idiots, as the society likes to tell them they are, but because the social pressure to sexualize yourself to an extreme is enormous.

          You won’t be killed if you don’t do it, but you won’t have a job, you won’t a boyfriend, and you’re unlikely to have any friends, either. And if you’re married and you don’t spend your time sexualizing the hell out of yourself, then be prepared to be emotionally abused by your husband for not being “a proper woman”.

          • ... says

            You won’t be killed if you don’t do it, but you won’t have a job, you won’t a boyfriend, and you’re unlikely to have any friends, either

            To take this in reverse order, since people tend to have friends of their own sex, that’s something women do to each other; I can scarcely comment on that. I’m perfectly sure girls can be absolutely beastly to one another. As regards the next point, I wasn’t aware that a boyfriend was something you were automatically entitled to, regardless. I wasn’t aware that there was some deal going down that sexual partners are automatically to be provided. People choose whom they want to go out with for a variety of reasons, and among those are physical attraction. Guys are free not to go out with girls they don’t find attractive in the same way that girls are free not to go out with boys they don’t find attractive (adjust as necessary for homosexual relationships, of course). Then the final point, it reeks of b.s. Sure, if you’re applying for modelling work or applying to one of the seedier bars/restaurants, looks are important. On the other hand, I’ve done housekeeping, cleaning work, working behind a bar and none of those employers gave a toss about how people looked beyond a certain degree of professionalism. Now I’ve moved up the scale, I don’t really notice any scientists or engineers or even secretaries being hired over their looks. In any of these areas, competence is just much more important.

            And if you’re married and you don’t spend your time sexualizing the hell out of yourself, then be prepared to be emotionally abused by your husband for not being “a proper woman”.

            That may be true in whatever loveless hell you are in, and if so, I’d strongly recommend you start looking for a divorce lawyer, but I know countless marriages that are not like that. I also know many wives/girlfriends/partners who like to “look nice” for their other half, and also really value it when their other half similarly makes an effort with his appearance. It’s, what’s the word, “making an effort”. Take a wander round the better parts of town, round about the times that the theaters are emptying and see all the young ‘uns who’ve scraped together for a second hand suit or dress because they want to make the effort. I’m old and leathery, but I think that’s rather sweet.

            I’m fully aware that there are serious problems in some areas, and I’ve attacked stuff like the lads mags industry in print before, but to try to equate this with the situation of women under Islam is obscene. There’s no other word for it. It is just obscene.

          • jimmy60 says

            Humans are sexually reproducing biological organisms. Attempting to eliminate sexuality, which boys and men also do, may be about as easy as eliminating gravity. You’re right about this being a powerful force. It may be fundamental to our very being.

            I do feel that the Abrahamic faiths have unbalanced this by seeming to put all work onto the females and giving all the power to the males. I don’t think that sexuality is the problem. It’s the artificial imbalance that society and religion have managed to create.

            I live in a moderately Christian culture where arranged marriage is viewed as very strange. This does put some balance back into it and here you will see the young males being just as concerned with their sexuality as the young girls.

            I don’t see the issue as eliminating sexuality. I see it as restoring balance.

        • mynameischeese says

          “Then there’s the en masse kidnapping and enslavement of coptic girls in Egypt.”

          [citation needed]

          “To try to equate this with some vague “social pressure” is nothing more than the umpteenth excuse that the privileged give themselves not to care.”

          Seems like that’s what you’re doing: giving yourself an excuse not to care about the ways in which men in the west deny my humanity.

          By the way, “comparing” two things is not the same thing as “equating” two things. Yes, I’d rather live in a well-off, developed nation that commodifies my sexuality than in a poor, stratified, post-colonial place where I’d be oppressed by religious hypocrisy. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to quit working for liberation. I’m certainly not going to blindly turn the other cheek to the problems caused by hyper-commodified female sexuality.

  2. fanty says

    On the other hand, I’ve done housekeeping, cleaning work, working behind a bar and none of those employers gave a toss about how people looked beyond a certain degree of professionalism.

    …you haven’t lived in my part of the world.

    People choose whom they want to go out with for a variety of reasons, and among those are physical attraction.

    Also among those there is this neat thing called social pressure. If someone is not wearing a miniskirt and make-up, and thus, is “not even a woman”, then there’s no way in hell you’re going to date her, even if you don’t think she looks all that bad.

    (…) that’s something women do to each other; I can scarcely comment on that.

    Yes, what they do is enforce what is prescribed by the society by ostracising those who do not follow the prescribed guidelines. It’s not women being mean to each-other, it’s the patriarchy enforcing itself.

    I also know many wives/girlfriends/partners who like to “look nice” for their other half

    I’m not entirely sure about whether I should laugh at this or what. I think you need to go back to Feminism 101.

    • says

      Also among those there is this neat thing called social pressure. If someone is not wearing a miniskirt and make-up, and thus, is “not even a woman”, then there’s no way in hell you’re going to date her, even if you don’t think she looks all that bad.

      It’s sad, because while I can say that I really don’t think I think this way (I try hard not to, but I may have unconscious social biases that perhaps push me in that direction) I most definitely can’t say it about other guys I meet. There’s more guys who I’m pretty sure do actually have this kind of thought process than ones who don’t, at least in my experience.

      However, I did meet my significant other in an indoor soccer match, with both of us being sweaty as hell, red in the faces and she was definitely not wearing make up, and I thought she was the most stunning person I’ve ever seen.

      I think that a lot of sexism has to do with lack of introspection and empathy. The guys who I meet who are the least sexist tend to be the ones who have a strong sense of empathy, self and spend time thinking about their decisions and daily interactions.

  3. ... says

    …you haven’t lived in my part of the world.

    Lovely neat little get out. Doesn’t need any logic reason or fact that one. Except it may surprise you to know that I grew up in the poorest parts of the world, so the droning self-pity of the first world privileged doesn’t really count for much with me.

    But what does it matter where I was born – or you? Look up ad hominem.

    Also among those there is this neat thing called social pressure. If someone is not wearing a miniskirt and make-up, and thus, is “not even a woman”, then there’s no way in hell you’re going to date her, even if you don’t think she looks all that bad.

    Again, a sexual partner is something you’re entitled to? Really? You really want to go down this road?

    Yes, what they do is enforce what is prescribed by the society by ostracising those who do not follow the prescribed guidelines. It’s not women being mean to each-other, it’s the patriarchy enforcing itself.

    Right. When men are beastly to women, it’s the men’s fault, and when women are beastly to women, it’s the men’s fault, and, presumably, when women are beastly to men, it’s also the women’s fault.

    Learn the meaning of the word “responsibility”.

    I’m not entirely sure about whether I should laugh at this or what. I think you need to go back to Feminism 101.

    Actually, I studied a real degree, which is why I don’t waste my time with tedious self pity. As I read this, you think there’s no reason you should make any effort for another person in whom you may be a relationship with, and it’s “oppression” if you can’t find a boyfriend. Well, it takes a lot to make me cry…

    • fanty says

      Location does matter quite a bit because the way women’s oppression looks is quite different from place to place. The severity is also quite different from place to place. Even if not doing what the patriarchy wants won’t result in death, it absolutely does not mean that things are all fine and dandy. The levels of severity of the consequences might be different, but both extreme sexualization and burquas dehumanise women.

      I seriously can’t understand what the heck you mean by “droning first world self pity”, especially since, from my perspective, western women often delude themselves to the point of not noticing how BAD their situation is, not the other way around (your assertions on how there’s nothing objectionable about “prettying yourself up for your boyfriend” are a good example of this). My part of the world has never had any kind of feminist movement at all, so I find it appalling that the west seems to be only just barely ahead (and, in some ways, way behind), despite a 100 of years of feminism.

      As for the “it’s men’s fault” part: I think it would be more accurately to put that as “It’s the patriarchy’s fault”, which IS controlled by men, but enforced by women too.

    • says

      Lovely neat little get out. Doesn’t need any logic reason or fact that one. Except it may surprise you to know that I grew up in the poorest parts of the world, so the droning self-pity of the first world privileged doesn’t really count for much with me.

      But what does it matter where I was born – or you? Look up ad hominem.

      Uhh, maybe you should look it up because that’s not an ad hominem. Fanty’s simply saying that perhaps you haven’t had the same experiences as hir.

  4. ... says

    Blast, should read “it’s also the men’s fault”.

    If you can’t make any friends or the women around you don’t want to spend time with you because of how you look or dress, take it up with them.

  5. ... says

    To just quickly expand on the subject of “serious problems”, one thing that does need addressing is the spread of eating disorders and similar, which really can be traced to the vulgarity of lads mags culture, and it needs to be addressed. However, it is utterly vile to try and equate that with the real oppression inextricably linked with the culture of the burqa.

  6. ... says

    your assertions on how there’s nothing objectionable about “prettying yourself up for your boyfriend” are a good example of this).

    You know the meaning of the term “non-sequitor”? So let’s see now – assume you have a boyfriend, I take it you wouldn’t object if he constantly wore the same stuff, never bothered to shave or keep general cleanliness, wore the same things to a nice restaurant on your birthday and/or the theater that he did to anything else?

    It’s called “making an effort for the other person”. Now you may think you’re entitled to a considerate sexual partner without any effort on your part; I’m sorry, but the world does not work that way.

    It’s a good rule of thumb that when someone’s talking about “the patriarchy” they’re being full of it. IT’s not “the patriarchy” that causes girls to be murdered by their own parents for not wearing a headscarf, it’s Islam and its psychotic relationship towards honour and women. It’s not “the patriarchy” that’s responsible for, say, the self-mutilating eating disorders, and increase in violence towards women seen in the British underclass, it’s the result of a very specific culture.

    • fanty says

      It’s a good rule of thumb that anyone who questions the existence of the patriarchy is in dire need of some Feminism 101. Google it up one of these days.

    • fanty says

      In other news, I don’t have the time to battle the strawman you built up there. If all was required of women was the following of the standards of hygiene, then there’s be no-one complaining. That’s not what I’m talking about, and you know it.

  7. ... says

    I’m glad to see you concede that you won’t answer any of my points because you can’.

    “The patriarchy” as far as I can fathom, is a concept dreamed up so that those people whining about ugly ads can delude themselves that they are the moral equals of those fighting stoning and female genital mutilation.

    • fanty says

      My god, you seriously don’t know a thing about feminist theory, do you? Simone de Beauvoir and Germaine Greer were just whining? Now that’s misogyny of epic proportions right there.

      • ... says

        Greer? The one who’s okay with FGM as a cultural practice? Who thinks there’s nothing to choose between Melbourne and Darfur in terms of women’s rights? Who championed the most vulgar sexualization that you can see in the ads above? Whose stated, on record, position is that logic and clear thinking and reasoning are inherently male qualities and it’s unfair to expect women to perform to the same standard?

        Well, yes, yes I do think she’s a useless whiner. And you seem to be cut from the same cloth.

        • fanty says

          What the heck? Where did you get that stuff from?

          But anyway, I’m sure you don’t realize it, but if you think that the idea of the patriarchy is bogus, then you’re not a feminist. If you’re not a feminist, then you’re a misogynist, because anyone who does not want women to be liberated is a misogynist.

          It’s really no wonder you were so adamant in defending the idea that there’s nothing wrong in demanding women to go to ridiculous proportions to look “pretty”. I’m not into guys myself, so your “what if your boyfriend didn’t do X” didn’t speak to me at all, but if I had a girlfriend who spent an hour daily applying make-up because showing her real skin is “not even making the effort”, if she wasted money buying trendy skimpy clothing, if she wasted time dieting because she felt her body was inadequate, and wore crippling shoe-wear, all for my sake, just for me, then I would feel like the scum of the Earth, and I’d be desperate, to do anything, absolutely anything, in order to change the society that forced her to behave like that.

        • mynameischeese says

          I think you might have scanned Greer’s wikipedia page a little too quickly, because it contradicts what you’ve put into this comment.

          Just an example, you say Greer supported FGM. Wikipedia says:

          “In fact, Greer was opposed to the practice and said that feminists fighting to eliminate female genital mutilation in their own countries “must be supported”,[3] but had explored some of the complexities of the issue, and the double standards of the West, and warned against using the issue to “reinforce our notions of cultural superiority”.[3]”

        • Sarah says

          “But anyway, I’m sure you don’t realize it, but if you think that the idea of the patriarchy is bogus, then you’re not a feminist. If you’re not a feminist, then you’re a misogynist, because anyone who does not want women to be liberated is a misogynist.”

          Hahahaha! If you think that Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, you’re not an American. If you’re not an American, then you’re a terrorist, because anyone who does not want America to be free is a terrorist.

          I don’t think you’re a feminist, I think you’re a slimepitter in here attempting to “subtly” undermine real feminism with this sort of over-the-top bullshit.

          A famous feminist once said: Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. – Doesn’t say anything about the absolute acceptance of the concept of patriarchy in there, is Rebecca West not a real feminist, and therefore a misogynist in your eyes?

          Go back to the slimepit, you’ve been rumbled. Liar.

  8. ... says

    What the heck? Where did you get that stuff from?

    If you don’t know that about Greer’s stated, affirmed views, then how can you seriously argue on the subject?

    But anyway, I’m sure you don’t realize it, but if you think that the idea of the patriarchy is bogus, then you’re not a feminist

    Well, it’s a very interesting question. I’m not sure how to answer that. I mean, I support women’s emancipation and consider it essential to our survival as a species, have taken part in numerous activities in support of that, from anti-Shariah marches to anti-lads mag events, to writing constantly and consistently on the subject.

    It’s just I don’t see what on earth any of that has to do with feminism. Best as I can work out, at least in the first world, “feminism” means “club for the privileged to complain about ephemera while either ignoring or supporting the oppression of women who are either poor or foreign or both”.

    Look at Greer: whining that they don’t have her favourite tomatoes in the supermarket, perfectly okay with FGM.

    So I certainly have no time for any of that.

    • says

      Look at Greer: whining that they don’t have her favourite tomatoes in the supermarket, perfectly okay with FGM.

      So I certainly have no time for any of that.

      No one would ever equate being perfectly okay with FGM with feminism so you seem to be completely reversing your opinion and supporting feminism (if you have no time for a person who thinks FGM is okay, then you’re agreeing with feministic theory).

      Best as I can work out, at least in the first world, “feminism” means “club for the privileged to complain about ephemera while either ignoring or supporting the oppression of women who are either poor or foreign or both”.

      That’s missing the boat so completely that it’s almost hilarious (if it weren’t so sad). If that’s what you think feminism is then -google- it. When the hell has feminism ever meant supporting the oppression of poor, foreign women (and apparently FGM)?

    • mynameischeese says

      “If you don’t know that about Greer’s stated, affirmed views, then how can you seriously argue on the subject?”

      Well, you don’t know about Greer’s views, so I guess if I were to accept your argument, then I can’t take you seriously on this subject.

      Only messing. I’d get over you attributing Paglia’s views to Greer if your underlying argument wasn’t so messy and weak.

  9. says

    Definitely. But models are paid for. They get recognition for their work. But those poor woman wearing niqab or hijab are either brainwashed or they are afraid of cruel patriarchy. Around the world, some PHD scholars also choose to wear Islamic veil. People like Zakir Naik controls their brain. Those poor woman are almost equivalent to suicide bombers, at least psychologically.

    • Albert Bakker says

      Yes women who wear veils, niqabs and hijab are psychological suicide bombers like photomodels are psychological prostitutes. Or whatever.

  10. Nepenthe says

    Making women naked and faceless and interchangeable is totally different than making them clothed and faceless and interchangeable. Being made into a sexual object is much better than being made into a sexless object, because sex is awesome all the time! You must hate sex!

    And if women aren’t reduced to their breasts and buttocks and completely faceless and interchangeable, like in all but one of these ads, men will never have want to have sex with them again and the species will die out!

    Plus, maybe these particular women get off on being turned into things and therefore their sexual predilections should be broadcast as a model to emulate to the rest of the world!

    QED.

    /sarcasm

    Apologies, sarcasm is really the only way I can deal with my burning rage on this topic.

  11. says

    One of the differences with the west is we are also moving in the direction of objectification of men. A recent example is the movie Magic Mike, which most women I know attended for the mostly naked men. There are also a great number of ads that objectify men. I’m not sure whether the movement towards this type of equality is in a positive or negative direction.

    Before someone jumps on me as being MRA, I definitely see that the objectification of women is, and will most likely continue to be, much greater than that of men.

  12. Jake Lara says

    I think the people in those shots look great!! I’d like to hear from them how they honestly feel about being in them and I’d like to see ads like this with guys in them. I’d also like to see a greater variety of hotnes of shapes and sizes rather than just one look, no matter how undeniably beautiful it is. I think it’s the attitude and presumptions of the target audience that are objectionable, that the people in the pictures are objects and victims without choice or consent. The acceptance of images of women who appear to have no choice or consent makes many other women uncomforble. But if we see the people in the pictures as people with choice and consent who are beautiful, the way we see the ads changes, because it’s the way we see the adds that ‘s the problem. If the ideas for the adds were the idea of the people in them it would change the ads to super hot and I’d love to know how the people in them honestly feel about them. Yeah I think they look beautiful.

    • mynameischeese says

      “I think it’s the attitude and presumptions of the target audience that are objectionable, that the people in the pictures are objects and victims without choice or consent.”

      Right. Blame the audience for reaching the very conclusion that the ad-designers led them to. Hilarious.

  13. callistacat says

    @peicurmudgeon

    Objectification doesn’t mean dressing sexy or finding someone physically attractive. It is reducing a person to a thing, an object, like a book or a pair of shoes. It’s believing that the object’s only purpose for existence is to be used for sex.

    I can see a man as attractive and still manage to see him as an individual with a personality and life of his own, and not as a thing that only exists to satisfy my sexual needs. If he dresses sexy or puts effort into his appearance it doesn’t cancel out his humanity or make him an object to me.

    I think Talisma is trying to show the different ways seemingly radically different cultures express the same basic idea that women exist for the sole purpose of sex, from an openly violent and oppressive Islamic culture to first world, democratic countries.

    @…
    “Best as I can work out, at least in the first world, “feminism” means “club for the privileged to complain about ephemera while either ignoring or supporting the oppression of women who are either poor or foreign or both”.

    Complete bullshit. This is a favorite strawman used by misogynistic atheists to justify their anti-feminism while pretending they are Oh So Concerned about the oppression of women who are nice and far away from you. Domestic violence isn’t ephemera, neither is rape. These things happen to “privileged” women in the first world to an alarming degree. Also “privileged” women in the first world are subjected to the same victim-blaming for “provoking” rape or beatings, even murder.

    I learned about the Taliban through Western feminists. I learned about FGM through Western feminism. I’ve seen it condemned first by Western feminists. Germaine Greer doesn’t speak for me, she speaks for Germain Greer. Neither does Christina Hoff Sommers. You might find this hard to believe but women aren’t interchangeable, we’re actually different people with different opinions.

  14. ... says

    Strawman eh? Heal thyself!

    I learned about FGM through Western feminism

    Who happen to be perfectly okay about it. Vide Greer.

    . You might find this hard to believe but women aren’t interchangeable

    Well, when I contrast the worthless privileged riff-raff in the first world to those extraordinary women – Ayaan Hirsi Ali for instance – who actually risk their necks day in, day out to fight this stuff – well, I don’t think that that is a declaration of interchangeability, now is it? Oh, if you haven’t read Nomad I’d suggest looking up her chapter on the feminists and how much use they’ve been.

    Drewzilla,

    No one would ever equate being perfectly okay with FGM with feminism

    Greer seems to manage fine. Take it up with her.

    Look, as I said, I believe in women’s emancipation. I have yet to see anyone explain to me what on earth that has to do with first world feminism.

    When the hell has feminism ever meant supporting the oppression of poor, foreign women (and apparently FGM)?

    Well, when Naomi Klein finds the Burqa sexy would be one case. When Greer defends FGM as a cultural practice would be another. When my local feminist chapter did nothing – they never do anything – when someone scheduled to speak on these matters was prevented from doing so through death threats. When Laura Briggs says that oppression of women under Islam is just a myth, when she’s spent two years in Egypt, a country where 90% of women have been gentially mutilated. If you want to learn more, read Phyllis Chesler’s excellent writings on the subject.

    And so on and so on.

    There are some people who accuse first world feminists of being loud, angry, arrogant bigmouths. I wish. I’m in favour of loud, angry, arrogant bigmouths. My beef is that they are brittle and vacillating and only ever take up a cause when it’s already won and when it has no risk or controversy attached to it.

  15. callistacat says

    “Who happen to be perfectly okay about it. Vide Greer.”

    So all feminists are OK with FGM because of Greer.

    The feminist I know are not OK with it. And you *might* want to check out the blogs on this network. Ophelia Benson speaks out against FGM, she doesn’t count as a feminist? I don’t count as a feminist either? You want to focus Greer and cherry-pick two or three examples as if that proves something about *all* feminists.

    I could point out a bunch of atheists who think sexual harrasment and raping women is funny and might be deserved. And others that say rape is the most natural thing in the world. Would it be fair for me to conclude that the first world Atheist Movement is pro-rape and sexual harrassment then?

    “Look, as I said, I believe in women’s emancipation. I have yet to see anyone explain to me what on earth that has to do with first world feminism.”

    If you really believed in women’s emancipation, you wouldn’t try to use women’s oppresion in Muslim countries as an excuse to vilify all feminists, including first world feminists. If you really believed in women’s emancipation you would be aware of domestic violence and rape statistics in first world countries. Violence against women is still a serious problem in first world countries, and women are routinely blamed for provoking or “asking for it”. By their family, by judges and cops and the media. Just because we got the vote it doesn’t mean misogyny and domestic violence and rape magically disappeared.

    “I’m in favour of loud, angry, arrogant bigmouths.”
    Hmm, when I was physically assaulted and had my head bashed in by a male family member, the cop who came to the scene told me if I wasn’t so loud and angry he wouldn’t have hit me. My attacker was 10x louder than me and threatened to slit my throat, but only I was told to keep quiet. My own mother said also blamed me. In a first world country. All of my female friends are rape and child sexual abuse survivors, some with multiple abusers. I’m lucky, I’ve only been sexually harrassed on the job a few times.

    If you want to talk about “worthless privileged riff-raff”, try looking in the mirror.

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