Wikileaks and Sexual Assault

I’m honestly sick of hearing about Wikileaks. Especially when it makes people forget that Julian Assange has actually been charged with several claims of sexual assault, including one count of sleeping with a woman while she was sleeping.

I don’t know if he did it or not. But neither do all the thousands of people protesting his arrest.

This morning the ABC reported in this article that Assange’s lawyer

told the court the allegations made against his client by two Swedish women should not be taken seriously.

“It was very clear this is not an extremely serious offence. It is arguably not even a rape offence,” Mr Robertson said.

Unbelievable. Sexual assault allegations should not be taken seriously? And sex with a woman who is asleep is not rape? Well I’m glad this guy is a defence lawyer not a prosecutor.

Attitudes like this make it harder for women to come forward about sexual assault. As Melinda points out

It’s hard enough to report assault at all. The fact is the vast majority of sexual assault crimes are never reported. They never see the light of day for a range of reasons. Many women fear being blamed for what happened.

Read the whole article here.

‘Monster’ is right. And disturbing.

Here’s a sneak peek of Kanye West’s new song Monster.

I find it very disturbing. It gets worse with the Behind the Scenes video I couldn’t finish watching.

Here’s what Melinda Tankard Reist on ABC Drum Unleashed.

Dead women a turn off?  Not at all. Kanye West, on the bed with the two young white dead women, shows no hesitation. He moves the lifeless arm of one onto the leg of the other, before cupping the porcelain like face of the first woman to kiss her.

Hanging from the rafters in stiletto heels, standing rigid in lingerie, expired on a bed. The white women in these scenes are depicted as subordinated to the black man, reminiscent of the pornographic representation of black men who love to ravish white women, to tarnish and spoil their ‘pure’ bodies.

Limp, floppy, rendered powerless these doll-like bodies retain their seductive, sexual allure. Sure, they might be dead. Sure they can’t consent. Sure they wanted it.

I wonder who thought of this scene?

I wonder too. Read the whole article here.


As bad as the videos are, it gets worse when you read the comments on the drum unleashed article. The number of people who think this is ok scares me. One even says ‘they don’t look dead to me, just stoned’. Frankly I can’t see why that makes a difference – the girl on the bed is being moved, literally controlled by a man, and whether she is stoned or dead she is helpless to stop him grabbing her face to kiss her, or moving her hand onto the leg of the stoned/dead girl beside her. Honestly its the stuff of horror stories. Of course the person who left this comment also said ‘I’m into the bed scene”. Sex with stoned girls. Hot. Apparently.

But what takes the cake is the person who says ‘Kanye West & Jay-Z are both intellectually refined & culturally astute musicians’. Wow. ‘Intellectually refined’ is definitely not the description I’d use of a man engaging in sexual acts with girls who (dead or stoned) are unable to consent to whats being done to them. The only word that springs to mind is rapist.

These attitudes are just plain scary.

Facebook and Breast Cancer

I’m sure you remember the fuss last year over the fb campaign to raise breast cancer awareness by putting the colour of your bra in your status. If you have no idea what I’m talking about your probably a guy, because it was a secret girls only campaign.

Well I’m about to spill the beans on this year’s scheme. This is the message I received in my fb inbox just a few days ago.

Remember the game last year about what color bra you were wearing at the moment? The purpose was to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was a tremendous success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the news. This year’s game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example “I like it on the couch”, “I like it on the kitchen counter”, “I like it on the dresser” well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let’s see how powerful we women really are!!!

There’s so many things wrong with this I barely know where to start.

Call me stupid but I’m not sure what this actually achieves. Awareness means nothing if no-one does anything and this campaign doesn’t encourage anything other than the ridiculous sexualisation of a very serious issue. I want women to be encouraged to self examine their breasts, I want people to give money to research, I want women who have/have had breast cancer to have a voice and speak out about this issue but this silly campaign does none of this.

That’s my major issue but another question I have is why does this show ‘how powerful we women really are’? Because sex is power? Because having a secret over men is power? If that’s the case I suggest someone has a warped sense of power. If it’s not the case I’d love someone to explain it to me.

And speaking of having a secret over men, why on earth do we want to exclude men from breast cancer awareness? I know they don’t (as often) get breast cancer, but I’ll tell you who does: their mothers, and sisters, wives and daughters. This issue affects men too and its abhorrent that we would have an awareness campaign that leaves men out.

I myself have not had breast cancer but some people very near to me have. I want everyone to have an active awareness of it, but lets raise the issue in a way that it inclusive, sensitive and loving rather than sexualising it and objectifying women.

For more on the sexualisation of breast cancer campaigns read what Melinda has to say here.

My letter to Lovable

Melinda Tankard Reist has written an article this week about Lovable’s new ad campaign. Please read these and consider spending a few minutes writing to Lovable about them. CollectiveShout has some tips on what you might like to include in your message.

You can read Melinda’s letter here. And here is mine.

I writing to you to express my concern with your new ‘Lovable love colour’ ad featuring Jennifer Hawkins.
According to your website you are  “dedicated to changing the culture surrounding eating disorders and body image through our support of Butterfly, by using happy, healthy models in our campaigns and promotional activities and by continuing to design intimates that are not created to objectify women’s bodies but to make women look, and most importantly feel, great when they wear them.”
It seems that this is actually not the case.
1. While it may be that you design intimates that are not created to objectify women, you clearly have no desire to design advertise them in a way that does not objectify women. Putting a women in underwear and having ice cream dripping down her, having her sucking on straws, and on her finger in several shots, is so suggestive that it is little more than soft porn. I certainly would turn this ad off if there were children in the room.
2. It is not clear to me how this kind of ad campaign ‘changes the culture’ surrounding eating disorders and body image. It seems to me that it actually REFLECTS the current culture. If you could explain this to me that would be helpful.
Having a statement like this on your website and then producing ads like this one is nothing short of outright hypocrisy. It is offensive to anyone who has or is suffering from poor body image issues and/or eating disorders. Far from changing culture this campaign (and others like it) add to the current culture and the enormous amount of damage it does to women.
I hope that you will take the time to read and respond to my concerns.

David has also written a letter well worth reading. You can contact Lovable here.

What’s wrong with the fashion industry??

Here’s at least some of the answers to that question.

An excellent article by Melinda Tankard Reist. But what is particularly ridiculous is what’s happening in the comments. Pay attention to ‘Good Charlotte’ (AKA Charlotte Dawson from Australia’s Next Top Model. Her main point seems to be that the industry is what it is and she is unwilling to take any personal responsibility or efforts to change. Problem is, if everyone in the industry thinks that who will change it?