Monday, October 16, 2017

Sex Press?

I've remembered what it was that I was originally intending to post about on Friday.  But I'm not in the mood to try posting it today.  Later, perhaps.  Having survived the beginning of the end of the world today, (a red Sun, yellow sky and Crystal Palace winning over the weekend surely can't portend anything else), my thoughts have turned back to Harvey Weinstein and his alleged sexual misconduct.  Or rather, the way it is being presented in some quarters of the press.  I'm befuddled over the way that he is being presented as a unique case, a one man sex crime wave, let alone the way in which much of the media professes mystification as to what fuels such attitudes to women.  Really?  Have you seen your own content of late?  One of the main uses my tablet has is using the news aggregator app to 'read' the papers before I get up.  A wide variety of news outlets are represented on the app and the 'Entertainment' section is a real eye opener as the UK sources (mainly tabloid newspapers) present a never ending stream of 'stories' focusing upon the amount of cleavage being shown by various female celebrities, or whether they've suffered a 'nip slip'  (of late the Mail has been seeming obsessed with Victoria Beckham's nipples).  Best of all, as far as they are concerned, are those features consisting of voyeuristic photographs of bikini clad female celebrities and reality TV 'stars' cavorting on the beach.

If this objectification of women on an industrial scale doesn't play some part in the normalisation of the sort of misogynistic attitudes lie behind the sexual misconduct that the likes of Harvey Weinstein find themselves accused, I'd be very surprised.  After all, it is a short step from the sort of breast groping these papers 'tsk tsk' about on one page to clandestinely taken photos of women in their underwear that they have on a subsequent page.  These newspapers' obsession with certain female celebrities is truly creepy - Rachel Riley, for instance, is a favourite for the attentions of the Mail, which gives virtually daily updates on what she was wearing on Countdown and how much leg or cleavage was on display.  If I was doing this with regard to a female neighbour -giving online updates of their attire and so on - it would undoubtedly be classified as stalking.  Again, I can't help but feel that this another case of the media effectively 'normalising' an aberrant behaviour.  Overall, their message seems clear: these women are public property, to be ogled over by men at will. Is it any wonder that some men consequently think that it is OK to routinely sexually abuse women for real.

But, I hear some of you say, how can you condemn the tabloids for the objectification of women when you spend so much time here discussing exploitation films which frequently do the same thing?  Well, the answer there is, I feel, quite straightforward.  Such movies make no bones about what they are doing: they don;t pretend to be art (some do pretend to be documentaries, granted) or 'news'.  The people involved in making them fully understood what was going on and willingly participated in their production.  My problem with the media is their hypocrisy on the issue.  They want to have their cake and eat it too - condemning the antics of sex offenders on the one hand while effectively encouraging their attitudes and behaviour on the other.  

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