Traffic on the blog has slowed down somewhat, so I feel it’s safe to post again. The response to The “Sex Sells” Myth was totally unexpected and I am both surprised and proud that my work could have such an effect. However, how does one continue on from something like that? umyeahok was never an extremely serious blog. I write the odd feminist rant every so often, but I mostly stick to what I know – distinctly lowbrow stuff like reality TV and Internet memes.
I suppose I want to start with what has happened since The “Sex Sells” Myth was posted. A Facebook group called “End Mondays At Alchemy’s sexist and dangerous advertising” was set up, which provided a forum for debate and complaint. And by god, did we debate and complain. It was overrun by Midnight and Alchemy employees, who voraciously defended the poster – comments to the tune of “If a girl is wearing slutty clothes, she deserves any unwanted attention” were made. I puked a little in my mouth. The University Times picked up the story, the amount of traffic to which crashed their website. My piece was published in the print version of the University Times yesterday. The story eventually made it to Jezebel, a US feminist website (Can I just stop for a second and AKJSIDJWSUEWUEU!!! I mean, seriously.) The last post made in the Facebook group was from Jamie White, the manager of Midnight, who had this to say:
For the TL;DR crowd, he’s very sorry and Midnight won’t do that again. I’m very proud that the message has gotten through, and I want to wholeheartedly thank Jamie for his apology. However, this experience has confirmed a lot of things for me.
It has confirmed that we do indeed live in a culture that feels comfortable blaming the victims of sexual assault for the horrible things that happened to them. We live in a culture that says if you want to avoid being sexually harassed or assaulted, don’t go to certain places or wear certain types of clothing. This is not OK. We have to create an environment where victims of sexual assault or rape do not feel ashamed to come forward and report the crime for fear of being blamed, or for feeling that it was their fault to begin with.
It confirmed that we are completely and totally accepting of the objectification of women in the media. So many people were telling others to “calm down”, that it was “only a poster”. That’s exactly it. It is the norm to see half naked women used to advertise almost everything there is to offer. So when you speak out about it, you’re made to feel like you’re behaving irrationally. Half the time, I don’t want to talk about things that are important to me because I fear being ridiculed in such a way. The reaction to The “Sex Sells” Myth has given me the confidence to stick up for myself, at least for the time being.
I am glad that my post provoked debate about what we find acceptable in advertising. It was something that needed to be talked about. What road I’m going to take with this blog, I’m not altogether sure. Let’s just see, shall we?