Female objectification is an issue that never really gets the media focus it should, while we all know it takes place, how many of us really care to consider what it must feel like? To live in oppression and in many cases feel like a second class citizen.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women took place on November 25th. The day also marks the start of 16 days of Activism that will lead up to The International Human Rights day on December 10th.
These dates may seem insignificant in your life but what about if you were not allowed to read and write or to live freely, how would you feel then?
Just imagine not being allowed to live your life, the harsh realities of the world where females are subjected to widespread violations of their human rights.
This is the life so many women are forced to live. Such women are forced to live in purgatory by being subjected to violence by those who deny these women the most basic of human rights.
The campaign to end violence against women is another reminder that violence against women is one of the most widespread human rights violated on a world wide scale. The reality is there are women and young girls suffering from widespread and horrific forms of violence.
This violence occurs on a local, national and international basis. It could occur to your mother, sister or girlfriend or it could happen to you. The manifestation of this violence is that it is most prevalent in domestic and sexual violence.
The NUI Galway Feminist Society marked The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by hosting an event entitled "A Night Full of Pictures". The aim of the event was for to highlight the issue of misrepresentations of women in the mass media.
Speaking at the event Mags Morley an independent curator said: “I selected a series of short film and video works that female artists have made that deal with political issues from all around the world” Adding to this she hoped “The night would help people get a lot of different approaches from the same medium”.
The Feminist Society in Nui Galway saw the event as a chance to mark the day with a subtle but powerful presentation on everyday forms of gender violence. The films featured included the works of Elaine Byrne, Nina McGowan and Carol McCarthy.
“Discussion is perhaps the first step towards change in attitudes” says Patricia Prieto Blanco. Patricia a PhD Candidate at the Huston School of Film and Digital Media and one of the organisers of the NUI Galway event.
Adding to the discussion she said “There is still a long way towards equality, and right now we are in a very good moment, we all have access to means of production and this allows us to raise our voices that will potentially be heard”.
The Feminist Society feels that the 16 days of activism highlights not just physical violence but other kinds of violence that happen every day. The event shows that “we belong to the wide network of events being organised around the world.
The organisers of the activism days encourage groups to go local, and to speak to local audience and this is why the NUI Galway society wanted to bring this event about “Our Women”.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is not the only form of female objectification to come under the spotlight in recent times. Objectification of women in the mass media is something that has been scrutinised in the media this year.
Lucy Anne Holmes began a campaign to end the objectification of women in the print media industry. She believes that the female objectification of page 3 girls is there for no other reason except to sexually gratify men.
The page 3 campaign has gained a steady pace in recent months and is not something that is going to go away. Patricia added to this by saying “The discussion is encouraging many other women to take action by themselves”.
In the 21st century when young minds are so easily influenced it is questionable as to what editors in Newspapers see a topless woman brings to the news content of the publication. The objectification of women in the media through tactless publications of such images leads young men seeing women as sexualised objects and many young girls think they have to aspire to be like these women.
Talking about ending objectification to women and acting on it are two sides to the coin. Newspaper Editors glorify headlines in the print industry highlighting the issues but fail to realise that they are part of the problem, by allowing images of females in their paper that expose their bodies.
We have to end the generalisation and taboo surrounding female objectification and the easiest way to do this is by having a voice and supports events on a local grounding such as “A night in Pictures” in Galway. On a national level we must rally behind the page 3 campaigns that objectify women in the mass media.