Archive for februar 2008

Will we see more censorship of fashion images in the near future due to the puritanical gender feminist ideology?

februar 15, 2008

In Denmark the Head of the Federal Consumer Rights Authorities (Ombudsmanden) recently banned the advertising campaign by JBS Underwear for being sexist: ‘it reduces women to sex objects’ and this is considered a discriminatory act.  The campaign plays with reversed gender stereotypes where beautiful female models appear to have a fetishistic behaviour; they are turned on by male underwear. Here is four of the images of the campaign as reference.

The critique is based on the idea that it is insulting for women to be depicted as sexual beings – sex objects. In this case people with a feminist or religious moral orientation felt it demeaning that the models were dressed up as female work stereotypes such as nurses, waitresses, secretaries and nuns. This was recognised as an insult to these work groups. Beautiful women are an insult? I consider this case an obvious example of censorship based on gender feminist ideology. In the name of gender equality it should be illegal to depict females as sex objects, whatever that term means. I guess that women may not be associated with their sexuality because this is a simplification of what it means to be female. In this case any symbolic use of images, meanings or humour can potentially become illegal because it simplifies people or ideas. But how can any image message then be acceptable? How can we be sure that an image reflects the diversity of an individual or a category? And who has the right to make these judgments? Is it enough that some people feel that they are offended by an image or message, or feel that an image or message offends their idea of a class category?

Is it because the models are young and attractive as they pose as classical female work stereotypes that the images are a disgrace? What if the models had been just plain normal or ugly and posed as female work stereotypes, would that equally had been an insult? Or is it because we see the female models expose some flesh in a sexual manner combined with the fact that they are young and attractive? Or is it because these stereotypical work types remind of us work areas where we might see a relatively high proportion of young women some of whom might be beautiful?

How can it be that many men associate nurses with sexual attractive women? Is it because all nurses are sexual due to their profession or is it that some nurses are sexual due to their age, body and facial features? If we no longer would be exposed to images of beautiful women would young attractive females then cease to be attractive for most males? Do we produce images of young attractive women because men like to look at young attractive women or are young attractive women only attractive because men see images of them? Were young attractive women attractive before the photographic technology was invented? Have young attractive women been attractive in many human cultures and historic epochs? Do young attractive women cease to be sexual attractive in Muslim countries where they are hidden away behind veils and where sexual stimulating or female beautifying images are banned?   

Will it be possible to show fashion images that beautifies women in the future? Many fashion images can be said to stereotype women according to certain ideals and they certainly reduce the complexity of a person. Should this equally be illegal because some feminist actors assert that it is a heterosexual beauty stereotype? Or because certain gender feminist see heterosexuality as a patriarchal construction?

I suspect that the moral outcry in the JBS Underwear case was caused because of the desirable nature of the models in the images, they are a threat because readers of magazines will see young and sexually attractive women. Many gender feminists don’t like female beauty ideals; they hate to see female models that are attractive as this reminds them of differences between men and women and further, differences between women – it points towards differences and differences as we know could lead to inequalities. This is a hatred of female beauty because there shouldn’t be any beauty ideals in the gender feminist utopia; all women should be equally beautiful. It is also a hatred of heterosexuality as heterosexual relationships usually involve gender differences: beautiful females are in ‘desirable positions’ (in the feminist world view ‘object positions’, they are ‘sex objects’) for many men who would like to engage sexually with these women unless the men already are in a monogamous relationship (or maybe even if they are in a monogamous relationship!) should they get the chance. This is considered a threat to gender feminist ideology, many of these feminist want to abolish the gender differences that they consider to be patriarchal social constructions/conspiracy against womanhood.

Further I suspect the moral outcry also is due to the stupidity of many, luckily not all, left wing actors who uncritically subscribe to the gender feminist ideology. Therefore they believe that good socialists must seek to abandon gender differences as they are capitalistic social constructions. So the dogmatic Religious Right meets with the dogmatic Feminist Left, pragmatically they do agree, the law/state must censor sexual images.

Say no to censorship of images especially censorship that is promoted by political or ideological stupidity.


(here is a link to a later text I published where there is more information on the official ruling in the JBS case)

what should I say?

februar 13, 2008

I might write something here if I find I have something to say…