Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Does My Mortgage Look Like a Slag in This?

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  • Stewart,

    Re the scantily clad women in ads, I suspect this is largely predicated on the attempt to capture the 'youth demographic' and the money that teh yoof have to dispose of. They then think that they need to have young go-getters running accounts at the agencies and the base level immaturity (gross generalization alert for those sleeping at the back) is reflected in the afore-mentioned scanties.

    Or is it just that I'ze old?

    As an aside, I fully endorse Emma's standpoint (not a reference to the braille t-shirt) and the remark someone made about the onus being on the person viewing the outfit not to make an arse of themselves by reading into a costume something from within their own fevered imagination (like she is gagging for it - she isn't!)

    And, just because I so loved it, I pass on a piece of web-wisdom I picked up today: It seems that some people believe the universe was made by a being who is also 3 beings, one of whom regularly appears as a biscuit.

    Fucking gold.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 552 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    The Deafener has infected by a socio-cultural epidemic - an epidemic that Germaine Greer took to pieces, and landed her in a shitstorm with her native Australia.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3893 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    As an aside, I fully endorse Emma's standpoint (not a reference to the braille t-shirt) and the remark someone made about the onus being on the person viewing the outfit not to make an arse of themselves by reading into a costume something from within their own fevered imagination (like she is gagging for it - she isn't!)

    Couldn't agree more but unfortunately somewhere during the night a line gets crossed and it all gets messy whether it's a dickhead misreading something into a woman's attire, the drunk guy falling over every second punter in the bar, wearing the wrong colours in certain parts of town or just looking at someone the wrong way and no matter how much No means No a person's safety cannot always be maintained. I'm not sure what this adds to the discussion but if we all want the freedom of a good night we need to take care.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    no matter how much No means No a person's safety cannot always be maintained

    That's certainly true. I don't know why the discussion often (not here so far, but) ends up being about what the victim of the harassment or assault could have done differently, though. It should really be about the harasser's actions.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3582 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    That's certainly true. I don't know why the discussion often (not here so far, but) ends up being about what the victim of the harassment or assault could have done differently, though. It should really be about the harasser's actions.

    There are areas in which that is less clear-cut, though. I know a lot of people who loathe on precisely those grounds the ad with the drunk woman about to be dragged into an alley, and those about women sticking together on nights out. and I'm not saying that I love them either, but it ought to be permissible to promote ways for women of making themselves less unsafe without exculpating the men who are doing the harassing.

    Hastening to add that the column quoted by Emma fails to qualify for that by about, oh, this much (places hands roughly one parsec apart).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    might she be the author of her own difficulties?

    by this logic, anyone harassed at the beach or pool were wearing togs that were "asking for it".

    in tokyo, sometimes i think, "the world is just these pricks' giant ashtray". maybe the nz equivalent is "the world is just these APBs' giant building site"???

    tokyo • Since Nov 2006 • 628 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    It's like being trapped in a dinner party where the only two subjects discussed are houses and the person's daughter.

    It's the fact that whilst these are her only two subjects she displays very little love for either that gets me.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 690 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    the world is just these APBs' giant building site

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15706 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    it ought to be permissible to promote ways for women of making themselves less unsafe without exculpating the men who are doing the harassing

    I'm waiting anxiously for the 'hey, could you not harass people, APB dudes?' PSAs, because they don't seem to make very many. There are quite a lot of the 'chicks, look out!' ones, though. (Or perhaps I'm just particularly well-attuned to hearing 'vagina-bearers, you're not allowed to get drunk in public in case you get raped' messages. Um, yay?)

    Anyway, I'm sort of dubious about how much women need these sorts of 'lessons', because we're already told quite a lot how to guard our own safety. It's drummed into us practically from birth. Don't make eye contact, cross the road to avoid that person, be polite but don't be too polite, don't walk alone, don't go here, don't wear this, don't do that, get your keys out before you get to the door, look for the best place to run, etc etc etc. I'm actually kind of over learning about it, to be honest, and I'm certainly over being constantly nervous. I'd like some other people to do some learning for a change.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3582 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm waiting anxiously for the 'hey, could you not harass people, APB dudes?' PSAs, because they don't seem to make very many.

    We just don't seem to know how to handle that. Which baffles me, since we don't seem to have a problem formulating messages against family voilence. A campaign around what constitutes consent for instance would be great - I understand that perhaps you had them in the past? Wouldn't mind a refresher anyhow.

    There are quite a lot of the 'chicks, look out!' ones, though. (Or perhaps I'm just particularly well-attuned to hearing 'vagina-bearers, you're not allowed to get drunk in public in case you get raped' messages. Um, yay?)

    I think it's get drunk *and* isolated from your friends, which possibly rescues it a bit. But of course I take your point.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    I. Have. No. Words.

    It's like "OMG, some black people in the US are crims, why did they free the slaves?" Because some random people of subgroup X always represent all other members of that subgroup.

    And I agree with Craig - feminism is all about the right to be as big fuckups (or successes) as men. It's about choices, after all.

    Anyways, nice sporking here, and I'm glad I read this rant before the article in question (assuming it ever makes it online). What has been happening to The Listener in the years I've been away from NZ?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Oh, and regarding the victim-blaming that goes on with people wearing "slutty" outfits, I like the "yes means yes" philosophy that's been bandied around lately. If someone isn't actively consenting, hello, it's not consent.

    It doesn't matter if someone's wearing thongs and high heels (call me crass, but I thoroughly support a woman's right to do so, although not so much in ads or at work), or is as drunk as a skunk, but unless she (or he) says it's cool to proceed, it isn't.

    I think that's the message that the young (and not so young) idiots of any gender need to assimilate. It won't stop pathological rape, but it might help stop "confusion".

    It's not as if asking for consent is hard - touching someone and saying, "this ok?" or simply "how about it?" isn't exactly rocket science.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 414 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    You know, for us Pol-Pot-Had-A-Point-Ists, it's becoming ever easier to work who will go into the Automatic Categories for liquidation after the glorious revolution:

    - Referendum voters
    - Those who opt out of student unions
    - Listener subscribers (Emma, you may make a special "professional exemption" list, but I really wouldn't rely on it)
    - Dom Post and NZ Herald correspondents
    - Garth George

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4209 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    I'm waiting anxiously for the 'hey, could you not harass people, APB dudes?' PSAs, because they don't seem to make very many. There are quite a lot of the 'chicks, look out!' ones, though.

    Reminds me of the anecdote (Inga Muscio's?) about the city (Seattle? Portland?) in which the police put up posters saying "Attention women! There is a rapist at large in the area. Please be cautious and travel in groups, or else..." etc

    So the local women put up posters saying "Attention rapist! There are ANGRY WOMEN at large in the area. Please be cautious, because if we find you, we will..." etc.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    WRT the Listener, I do love the book reviews ... while wishing there was another weekly for which to write them.

    I must say, too, that the Listener is particularly egregious in its gratutious use of slim, young, white female bodies to publicise its me-me-me story of the week (nice one, Andy). In fact, there does not seem to be a story they cannot creatively publicise with a T-shirt stretched winningly across a pert pair of tits.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    And because I think JasonP has a point, if not one that's popular here, I'm kind of intrigued by how fricking uncomfortable is the attire that many young women (myself once included) wear to "feel comfortable about themselves" while out and about.

    Freezing cold night in any city with cobbled streets, and there they all are: pelmet miniskirts, bare legs, boob tubes, tottery high heels. Er, why??!

    I mean, I'm more than happy to bare as much cleavage as is legal - it's my best feature, dammit - but prefer also not to get hypothermia and to be able to run for a bus (or from a baddie) if I have to.

    Not judging, just... well, OK, probably judging; or at least questioning someone else's judgement. Boggling, I suppose, while not excusing any behaviour (other than boggling) directed at the young women in question.

    The funny thing is, if the lads were also out in hotpants, heels, and pasties, I'd consider it a matter of youf culture and leave it at that.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Timely newsflash: ill-advised outfits just another business opportunity. Whatever it is, capitalism knows you want it.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    I recommend a scientific study. Go out three times. Once in the sluttiest outfit you can find, once in a set of track pants and a third time in formal business. Count the number of times you are hit on in each outfit.

    Yeah, because when I go out to have fun with my friends, maybe dance a little, have a couple (!) of glasses of wine, and generally be silly, what I really want to be wearing is trackies and/or a suit. Cos that's really going to make me feel like partying.

    Though, as Danielle said, clearly I only have a couple of glasses of wine, because any more, and something bad might happen to me and it would be my own fault.

    A couple of years ago, I was in the ferry terminal in Wellington, at 6am, wearing jeans, a hoodie and sneakers, and 4 disgusting old men had a very loud (audible to me and several other passengers) conversation regarding my 'assets'. What annoyed me more than anything else, was that I was too intimidated to walk over and tell them to ^%$# off.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1268 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    At the other end of the scale I'm just wondering what people think about young (and some not so young) women who wear their pyjamas to the supermarket, often in the middle of the day. Or is this just a Hawkes Bay thing?

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I'll cop to having gone to the petrol station across the road in pjs. :) The supermarket is a bridge too far for me, though. All those fluorescent lights...

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3582 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    Freezing cold night in any city with cobbled streets, and there they all are: pelmet miniskirts, bare legs, boob tubes, tottery high heels. Er, why??!

    Because that's what is regarded as "hot" or "sexy" and we want to be attractive. I don't know why women dress in such uncomfortable gear, maybe to be attractive to men, or other women, perhaps because of standards applied via the media. But I think it's the rare woman who will dress this way purely for herself.And that bothers me.

    By all means, for whatever reason women dress themselves, there's no reason to excuse harrasment, but I do really question why women are dressing in ways that are ideally suited to appeal to the male sexual gaze.

    Greymouth • Since May 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    but I do really question why women are dressing in ways that are ideally suited to appeal to the male sexual gaze.

    Because that's what is currently "fashionable"? And hence what is being sold in shops - especially cheaper shops like Glassons, or Supre, or as I like to call the latter "hooker wear for 12 year olds.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1268 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    (Or perhaps I'm just particularly well-attuned to hearing 'vagina-bearers, you're not allowed to get drunk in public in case you get raped' messages. Um, yay?)

    IMO, that ad was worse than that. As I said at the time, they should have changed the tag-line to "It's not the drinking, it's how you're acting like a dirty whore".

    Even more than that, I was pissed (pun intended) at how ALAC just hand-waved away the critics. You see, those ads were meant to be "provocative" and "hard-hitting" ways to bring about "culture change" . Oh yay! What a shame someone didn't raise a red flag about changing rape culture -- that women are responsible for policing male sexuality and, when you get right down to it, some bitches are just asking for it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    There is a perception, given the stone-age attitudes of some of the APBs, that the standard of dress and the drunken behaviours enhance the likelihood of being a victim . (This is not something that I am arguing in favour of, I'm just devil's advocating)

    Somewhat akin to a wildebeest with a limp, out at the edge of the herd.

    As a male I have been out drinking in areas where it was important to maintain some semblance of fitness and alertness because if you looked like a weak student (for example) you were more likely to become a victim. (Not so much the dress sense in these cases although nowadays I understand that wearing red or blue in the "wrong areas" can render one liable to a beating.) There is some responsibility on us all to minimise our likelihoods of becoming a victim.

    Just to reiterate, I am entirely onside with Emma's argument, I am just trying to 'flesh out' the argument.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 552 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    You see, those ads were meant to be "provocative" and "hard-hitting" ways to bring about "culture change"

    In my house, the only culture they changed was to one of changing the channel any time anything to do with ALAC comes on, and pretty much ignoring everything it has to say.

    I'm pretty sure my friends are sick of hearing me say "yeah, according to ALAC I'm probably a problem drinker, but according to ALAC I'm also a dirty slapper who deserves to get dragged down a dark alley and raped, so what can you do?"

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1268 posts Report Reply

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