Up Front by Emma Hart

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

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  • JoJo,

    I hear a catchy infectious tune, I see scantily (but extremely colourfully) clad women on roller skates.

    "Hmmm.... they're going a bit over-the top on the women in underwear thing." I think to myself. "So what are they selling?"

    "Oh- they're selling womens underwear"

    I guess that's OK then?

    Yes. It's fine. They're showing the product - women's knickers. On women. Fine with me.

    Half-naked (half-dressed?) women aren't automatically evil in advertising. But as a marketing tool, it's a bit like the advertisers are on autopilot... "We're selling XYZ, so I propose we get some fit birds to dance around in their undies". It's almost like Hip Hop Music Video 101. Doesn't really work for me.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    I am rather disturbed at the way feminism has been turned into girl powa. Somehow it is supposed to be liberating for girls (according to music videos and advertising) to wear underwear with porn-related images on them, undies made to look like boys undies, bras designed to thrust more than you have up and out, and to dance as if you had an pole (to slide on or up your ...). And that is the pre-teens.

    I'm all for looking gorgeous when I go out and never one to hide behind baggy clothes but wtf with everyone trying to look like one of heffs wannabees?

    Love the Tui ad, but I still wont drink the stuff. yuk!

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Steve Braunias? O yeah, he can write...and besides, he loves birds...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Joanna Black? I truly think she should be preserved somewhere: "See dear? This is the point of shallow meeee-ness print opinion got to - wasnt the nadir of nastiness but a good indicator. Is she alive still? O, I dunno- poke it and see..."

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I am rather disturbed at the way feminism has been turned into girl powa. Somehow it is supposed to be liberating for girls (according to music videos and advertising) to wear underwear with porn-related images on them, undies made to look like boys undies, bras designed to thrust more than you have up and out, and to dance as if you had an pole (to slide on or up your ...). And that is the pre-teens.

    I'm all for looking gorgeous when I go out and never one to hide behind baggy clothes but wtf with everyone trying to look like one of heffs wannabees?

    Wordy mcword word. And thankyou Emma for writing this post - I had the same exact reaction to you.
    I think I have said it before here, but it bears repeating, I think. Sometimes I wonder what century we are living in. What were all our Marches for the Night for? And ads these days - don't get me started. It just makes me bloody weep.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    Yeah, who would have thought that the women who burned their bras did so for women to wear thongs, corselettes and high heels.

    I love watching 70's movies where the leading woman, though attracttive and slim, has flesh that wobbles. You can tell she's never met a gym machine in her life. You don't realise just how pumped and surgically enhanced modern celebs are until you see old movies.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Yeah, who would have thought that the women who burned their bras did so for women to wear thongs, corselettes and high heels.

    Or perhaps for women to have the choice to do so - or not do so - as they please. Preferably without getting shit for it. If a woman chooses to wear a thong or a push-up bra, what the hell business is it of mine?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4634 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Bra burning didn't actually happen. It was a sort of rhetorical piggyback on draft card burning.

    (Also, you can pry my bra from my cold dead... hands.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Or perhaps for women to have the choice to do so - or not do so - as they please. Preferably without getting shit for it.

    Yes, that was sort of Emma's original point, I thought? We don't get to give other women shit for their clothing choices. (We are allowed to be wide-eyed with wonder in private, though, right? Because otherwise half of my TV-watching is ruined.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    (We are allowed to be wide-eyed with wonder in private, though, right? Because otherwise half of my TV-watching is ruined.)

    Best done with one of those companions who's so on the same wavelength as you that a glance will suffice to communicate the 'wtf' in its full glory.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4634 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    It's a tribute to Finlay Macdonald's wonderful quip about the ultimate contemporary Listener cover line being 'Will your mortgage make you fat?'

    Ahem. I think a little linkage is in order ;)

    Anyway, to carry on with the "what's wrong with the Listener" discussion, here's what I feel about the points addressed.

    The thing with Joanne Black is that she's a columnist. And a good columnist invites the reader into his or her headspace for a short period. In the case of Braunias, his headspace is somewhat wry, slightly eccentric, perhaps a little repetitive in its obsessions with birds and teahouses, but ultimately a very inviting, funny and generous place. It'sfun to visit, even if sometimes you don't want to stay too long.

    In contrast, Joanne Black's is maddeningly insular, deadeningly pedestrian, and often quite mean-spirited in an offhand way. It's like being trapped in a dinner party where the only two subjects discussed are houses and the person's daughter.

    As Russel Brown said, they really could've got someone with a livelier style as a columnist- Graham Reid or Roi Colbert would've been perfect for the job.

    I also feel that perhaps they could bring in a lot more new blood, too- one thing that stuck about Finaly Macdonald's period was the number of (relatively) new names he brought into play, such as Felicity Monk, Olivia Kember, Bianca Zander, Mark Revington, Tim Waktin and the like, as well as rising stars such as Braunias, to go with seasoned talents such as Witchell, Easton, Clifton, Campbell, et al.

    I don't think we've seen that same level of "blooding" of diversity of opinion under this editorship. Even Matt Nippert seems to be writing for someone else these days, mostly.

    Don't get wrong, there are still some talented features writers contributing to the Listener, but I don't know whether the magazine is nuturing new talent at the moment- which unfortunately has left the magazine struggling for variety. Maybe I'm wrong.

    Witchel, Easton, Rae and Clifton are still good though.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 445 posts Report Reply

  • kiwi kat,

    A great post Emma and one I might have to share with my senior English class when we do revision for The Handmaid's Tale.

    Can I come out of my 'wide-eyed with wonder in private' closet for just a mo and ask what all the clothing choices were about on the recent TV3 telethon?

    I just couldn't see the connection between the 'thank-you-very much-for-the-kind-donation-scantily-clad-dancers" and raincoats, shoes and muesli bars.


    I was just wondering if anyone else was bemused as I was.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • JasonP,

    For a contrarian view....

    How we dress makes a statement. We dress in formal business attire when we go to make a sale or job interview, gym clothes to go to the gym and a swimsuit to go swimming. You wouldn't wear your clubbing clothes to work - it makes the wrong statement.

    Therefore, it should be perfectly acceptable to assume that the clothes you wear clubbing also make a statement about your intentions.

    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.

    If the number is the same, then it's the men being douchebags. If it changes based on outfit, then it's the clothes, with a baseline level of douchebaggery.

    There appears to be considerable research indicating that attractiveness is linked to attire. Acting as though that doesn't exist and that you have no control over it? Um... Yeah...

    Wellington • Since Aug 2009 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • bronwyn,

    There is no amount of flesh I can expose on a night out which makes me fair game – sorry, the author of my own difficulties.

    It's remarkable that a presumably experienced journalist who has also presumably done research and thought deeply about what they are writing about can't come to the same conclusion.

    Perhaps she could come and sit in one of the classes I teach where we discuss the old "she was asking for it because of what she was wearing" problem. I'm sure you won't be surprised that about 60% of the 14 year olds we talk to don't believe that, another 25% come around pretty quickly once we pull the issue apart (basically: what you said Emma, plus a bit more e.g: do people who live in countries where they are covered from head to foot still get sexually harassed/abused? yes? people in trackies and their oldest t-shirts the same? yes? hmmm...). The other 15% hopefully will come round in time. Or maybe they'll grow up to the write for The Listener.

    tamaki makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    the clothes you wear clubbing also make a statement about your intentions

    OMG! You're telepathic!

    Acting as though that doesn't exist and that you have no control over it?

    We're not in charge of how you act around a corselette: *you are*.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • bronwyn,

    Therefore, it should be perfectly acceptable to assume that the clothes you wear clubbing also make a statement about your intentions.

    Jason, the issue is that one person doesn't know another person's intentions. I might have had a rubbish day, so might decide to go out and have fun, get dressed in a way that makes me feel attractive or even (shock horror!) in a way that I hope will get me noticed,because that might make me feel better. That doesn't mean my intention is to go out and hook up with someone. It also doesn't mean that I want to be harassed, which is very different. And when does it become a harassment? Pretty much as soon as the polite "no thank you" is ignored.

    I'm sure I'm not the only person here who's had to hide in a nightclub toilet to avoid someone who is being overly persistent.

    tamaki makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Therefore, it should be perfectly acceptable to assume that the clothes you wear clubbing also make a statement about your intentions.

    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.

    If the number is the same, then it's the men being douchebags. If it changes based on outfit, then it's the clothes, with a baseline level of douchebaggery.

    There appears to be considerable research indicating that attractiveness is linked to attire. Acting as though that doesn't exist and that you have no control over it? Um... Yeah...

    @JasonP:
    you win the prize for...ah, fugeddaboudit.

    (p.s. maybe the clothes a person wears out clubbing indicates what they like to wear while clubbing? their intention to have a good time? their desire to express themselves without fear of "workplace norms and rules", blah, blah, blah?)

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I managed to count to a whole 10 after reading that,and began to wonder where Danielle was ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • andrew gunn,

    What gets me cranky about the Listener is how it's all about me. Middle-class, mortgaged, married with children me. My house and how it's losing value, my frightening retirement prospects, my kids who are either doing the wrong NCEA subjects or doing P, my elderly relatives languishing in shoddy retirement homes, my cholesterol, my mid-life crisis, me me me me me me.

    Thankfully there are more things to heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the Listener's editorial department, but if they don't fit the "what's in it for me?" test they won't be making it to the front page any time soon.

    And re the portrayal of women in TV ads: if you're cynical you'll say it's just a branding exercise, but can I recommend the Dove "Onslaught" clip. I can't do the linky thing, but google it. I'm a father of daughters and I think it rocks.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2009 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Graham,

    If it changes based on outfit, then it's the clothes

    So if they go out in a burqa and get beaten up by skinheads it's the clothes?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Thankfully there are more things to heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the Listener's editorial department, but if they don't fit the "what's in it for me?" test they won't be making it to the front page any time soon.

    Sometimes the lack of introspection reaches heroic proportions, like in that cover a few months ago that asked "Will the recession cure us of our body obsession?"

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    We're not in charge of how you act around a corselette: *you are*.

    Boom!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Thankfully there are more things to heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the Listener's editorial department, but if they don't fit the "what's in it for me?" test they won't be making it to the front page any time soon.

    You're very perceptive.

    The editor's exhortation has long been to "Hit them where they live!"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And re the portrayal of women in TV ads: if you're cynical you'll say it's just a branding exercise, but can I recommend the Dove "Onslaught" clip. I can't do the linky thing, but google it. I'm a father of daughters and I think it rocks.

    For YouTube clips, just paste in the URL.

    Yeah, it's part of their marketing strategy but it's still pretty cool.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    OMG! You're telepathic!

    Thank you, Danielle. Sometimes I run out of snark.

    Also, what club are you getting into in trackies? (youth of today, standards, etc) And you know what? Even if I am looking to 'hook up', that doesn't mean I'm looking to hook up with YOU. I might be looking to hook up with her...

    PS the last time I was hit on more than once in an evening I was wearing an ankle-length skirt and a t-shirt. Can we be done now?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4634 posts Report Reply

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