Last week we had an excellent discussion, chaired by Mair, on objectification. The discussion, which was informed by some materials provided by Mair, covered some of the following topics:
-whether all objectification is sexual objectification (e.g. objectification of women as mothers);
-different experiences of objectification (e.g. for disabled women);
-the fairly homogenous presentation of women in some of the men’s magazines, in terms of body size, and in particular, race (almost all of the images in these magazines were of white women);
-the objectification in women’s magazines, particularly in the advertising sections, but also in the advice pertaining to image and to relationships with men;
-the similarities and differences between objectification of men and women;
-the problems of the prevalence of images of women as sexualised beings (or as idealised mothers!), and the absence of representations of women in other roles;
-the possibility of non-objectifying images of women (comparing those images that presented women’s pleasure as for men’s entertainment, versus for themselves);
-the difference that context and choice might make as to whether objectification is problematic;
-the horribly sexist jokes that some of the men’s magazines contained, reinforcing the reduction of women to sex objects;
-the possibility of positive objectification;
We also discussed some strategies for dealing with objectification;
-challenging objectifying materials (flyering/covers for men’s magazines, see some of the activities of the Bristol Feminist Network);
-reinforcing the presentation of women in the media – in particular, via the Institute for Welsh Affairs, who, we learnt, are seeking to compile a database of women experts. Yay! I presume the ‘contact’ part of their website is the way to get in touch about this;
-thinking about how one might feel comfortable personally responding to objectification;
-feeling reassured that we are not alone in our concerns. Solidarity!
It was quite an inspiring meeting in all!
In other news:
-draft ground rules for discussion were agreed;
-possibility of CFN participation in race for life?
Next Wed: trip to Bristol for the UK Feminista meeting. A minibus will be departing from outside the National Museum, Park Place, at 5.30ish. Get in touch here if you want a seat!
Wed 5th: social meeting, at The Albany pub (alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available, seating outside. If you would prefer to meet in a venue that is not a pub, let us know in the comments and we can easily relocate!)