Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mental kiwi feminists show how out of touch they really are

Why we should leave the Tui adverts alone
Before tumbling any further with this vitriol, let’s clarify a few things about feminism.

Feminism, in the most traditional sense of the term, is a movement that found its roots in the idea of suffrage, or the right for women to vote freely and participate in debates around civil matters.
Critical caving-points of the establishment and the subsequent improvement (or lack thereof) of feminist theory announced different ‘waves’ in a push for equality.

The first wave dealt with the right for women to vote in democratic society, of which New Zealand is a proud example, being the first to establish a precedent under Kate Sheppard. The second - and arguably most important – wave was established during the latter half of the previous century, fighting tooth-and-nail for women’s reproductive, sexual, workplace, marriage, and familial rights.

True egalitarian feminism is one of the greatest movements in the history of the human race, utilising the great notions of solidarity, protest, and the petitioning of grievances to advance significant social change, devoid of internal rifts attributed to religious or ethical misgivings.

Leonie Morris (spokeswoman for Feminist Action NZ), on the other hand, is setting us back thirty years.

A recent drive has been launched by Feminist Action, by way of petition and online campaign (nothing of which appears in any Google search, so go figure), to have Saatchi & Saatchi’s ad for Tui beer removed from television screens.

You know the ones, where the dipstick, pea-brained men driven by their love of Tui infiltrate the landmark brewery in the Wairarapa to steal beer protected by a small army of beautiful, skin-baring, female security guards and brewers.

Aside from the blatant stupidity of such a campaign that has so far failed to mention any engagement in the Advertising Standards Authority’s complaints process, Morris and her fellow militant ‘feminists’ are harking back to the radicalized, man-hating, bra-burners of the 80s.

Part 5 of the ASA’s ‘Code For People In Advertising’ reads as follows: “Advertisements should not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative and degrading of any individual or group of people in society to promote the sale of products or services. In particular people should not be portrayed in a manner which uses sexual appeal simply to draw attention to an unrelated product. Children must not be portrayed in a manner which treats them as objects of sexual appeal.”

Ms Morris says despite the ads being around for years, she now wants communities to start talking again about how harmful these kinds of images and messages are.

Harmful to who?

Portraying women in skimpy outfits with sweat dripping from their brow is largely inappropriate for children and young adults to be viewing – this cannot be disputed – but since when did the characterization of empowered women working in a traditionally male-dominated workplace become sexist, regardless of what they’re wearing?

The sexualisation of society, with special attention being drawn to vanity and superficiality is a deeply worrying topic, especially where children and young people are concerned, be it a billboard for Victoria’s Secret or Jockey, and so on.
An open and public discourse should be engaged so we can tackle ideas around sexuality and identity in a thoroughly democratic way.

But playing the big F card is simply an attention-grabber for Leonie Morris and her fellow radicals.
It is exactly this electioneering attitude, and insistence that the majority adopt a minority view, that earned the esteemed name of egalitarian feminism such a hated reputation in the 1980s, and which is shamefully present in our dialogue today.

Feminist Action are not worthy of their name, and their aims – reasonable enough under a different light – are deceitful and damaging to the fight for more equality for all in modern society.

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