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The Weight of an Image

The picture of the girl on Page 3 only serves to belittle us. Its another stitch in the fabric my daughter and her friends call rape culture. The young woman on the telly said she was a glamour model and argued the case for posing bare breasted for the Sun…it was the same old argument we have been hearing for thirty years or more…nude women are beautiful..all the Sun is doing is showing young beautiful nude women…it should be celebrated…anyone that objects is a prude or irrationally censorial and clearly doesn’t like sex. Blah blah bloody blah. She went on to argue that these nudes were modern art. The old men who were in the discussion with her gafawed and leared and egged her on. Three old fat white men leching and learing like a trio of drunk sex pests who didn’t know when to go home.

Caroline Lucas from the green party tried to explain it was not the nudity she objected to but the context of the image. Yes context is all.

Some male comedian..I forget his name ..began a twitter campaign to show male nipples. It was supposed to somehow balance the scales. The argument once again that there are as many images out there of naked men as there are as women. Does it really matter.. come on ladies…lighten up…its just an amusing old fashioned thing. They mean no harm. Just thicko Sun readers getting their rocks off.

But its not that is it? Because women are only just emerging from a very very long history of oppression..of slavery. We were bought and sold..we were abused and traded…we were the property of men and the spoils of war. In many parts of the world it is still this way. And our value was in our physicality whether that was a notion of sexual beauty or as a workhorse or breeder of heirs. In one way or another we were all once that half naked glamour girl fighting for our own survival.

For most women in the western world it is only in the last twenty years that university education has become equal to that of men. It is only as recent as that. Gender equality is still a mewling newborn struggling to breathe and find a place where women stand alongside men as partners and not as their helpers. Struggling and cheering each other on as we become autonomous. For every man who makes it to the top of the tree there are thirty women still climbing. We are discovering and documenting our unwritten history. Piecing together the puzzle of our own oppression. We are teaching our daughters if they want they can be the arrow and not just the place from which it comes.

We are building bridges and towers, making scientific discoveries, writing novels and legislation, inventing, running countries and ruling law courts, being great athletes and economists, industrialists and politicians. And none of these things are bestowed by rule of birth.. women do not share the same sense of entitlement as men. For most these accolades are a hardwon combination of education, graft and determination. It is a triumph newly emerging that is only just beginning to shift global power from the hands of those old white men to a new breed of intelligent creative women. Braves on a new frontier – to be applauded and encouraged and nurtured.

A new exciting socially just world could be ours for the making.

But then there is Page 3 and its there day in and day out. A shoddy little newspaper you might say.. a new young woman on display every day… tits out for the lads… not modern art.. just a pair of airbrushed tits mostly surgically ‘enhanced’ because real ones are never good enough these days…for men to wank over at morning teatime. A nice little reassurance to the men of England that no matter how clever and powerful those damn women get they can always be reduced to a pair of tits and ass.. yeah underneath those smart clever exteriors they are just there to be fucked and wanked on. Yes…thats really all they are good for.

The images of posturing naked women..an object…the other…a visual titilation …are kept in daily print at the news agents like a nasty reminder of where we all came from and implicit in that is the message that ‘we can always send you back there darling’ Its a nasty power game and it feeds into the fabric of rape culture. Every image of a bare breasted posturing young woman reminds us that if we go too far we will be slapped back down. Men still rule the world and they own the guns and the cocks to beat and humiliate you with. You should know and never forget that you are only there because they allowed you to be there. Perhaps mes dames…the time has come for a real revolution.

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