On Melinda Tankard Reist’s website is this post by Nicole Jameson titled ‘The up-skirting of Anne Hathaway.” Jameson is an activist in Tankard Reist’s Collective Shout, the organisation that churns out on-line petitions against retailers, the music industry and various other companies and individuals who they feel are sexifying, pornifying and exploiting girls and women with their merchandise.
Jameson’s piece morally critiques paparazzi who apparently got a shot of Hathaway’s genitalia as she exited her limousine wearing no knickers. The shot went viral. Of course it did. This is, I gather, an abuse of Hathaway’s human right to go about her business sans her undies if she feels like it.
Personally, I could care less, however what is interesting in this piece is the following statement by Jameson:‘The violation of Anne Hathaway’s privacy was repeated by every media outlet and media consumer who circulated or viewed her picture and by every writer or commenter who gave the peeping Tom cameraman a free pass by turning the focus away from his harassment”
I’m astonished to find such a statement on Tankard Reist’s website. After all, this is the woman who, in an explosion of incandescent outrage against French Vogue not only republished photos of children she alleged were pornographic and sexualised, but linked to the source so we could see more of them.
In a post here titled ”Feminist Christian reproduces sexualised images of children on website” I wrote:
The point of the post is to cause outrage in readers at these sexualised images of little girls. In order to do that, I suppose their argument goes, readers have to be able to see them.
But there’s something awry about this reasoning. You don’t want these images viewed, you think it’s wrong that they are readily available in the media, and yet you reproduce them on the Internet to make a point?
You disseminate these images yourself, while at the same time railing against their publication in other arenas?
What is going on here?
On the face of it, it would seem Tankard Reist has double standards. It is fine for her to reproduce images of little girls she considers pornographic and sexualised. It is not fine, however, for other outlets to reproduce them. If the images are of an adult celebrity’s genitalia, reproduction of the photos is a violation of her privacy and every instance perpetuates that violation. Yet Tankard Reist apparently did not violate the privacy of those little girls? Or maybe she just did it in a good cause?
Also on Tankard Reist’s front page these holidays you’ll find a post titled “Newsflash: 75% of Girlfriend readers not sexually active.”
Girlfriend is a magazine for 12 to 17 year olds that as well as offering beauty and fashion advice, takes on issues such as bullying, and self-respect. They have also launched a green campaign aimed at informing girls and young women about global warming.
The results of the Girlfriend survey would seem to undermine Tankard Reist’s moral panic about our “pornified” culture forcing our girls into acting as “sexual service stations” for the gratification of boys and men.
The reasons given by the young respondents for refraining from sexual activity are as follows:
- Waiting to be in love (56%)
- Not wanting to have sex (37%)
- Feeling too young (31%)
- No particular reason (26%)
- Waiting to be married (17%)
- Waiting to be the legal age of consent (14%)
- Waiting for their boyfriend/girlfriend to be ready (8%)
- Not being interest in ever having sex (1%)
These reasons don’t seem wildly different from reasons my generation might have given had we lived in an era when it was acceptable for magazines to conduct such surveys, or indeed, in an era when reading material such as Girlfriend was available in the first place.
Tankard Reist says she finds these results “revealing,” but revealing of what? After years of claiming that society has gone to the pornification dogs, breeding boys who become (according to her colleague Gail Dines) “amoral life support systems for an erect penis” and girls who are inevitably forced into exploitative sex long before they are ready, the Girlfriend survey would seem to indicate that things are pretty much as they have long been, and 75% of girls have the strength and self-respect to resist the demands of (100%?) brutalized males for self-gratifying sex.
Of course it would be better if 100% of girls were comfortable enough with themselves to tell the amoral life support systems to take their erect penises and sod off. But I am willing to bet the reasons they are unable to do this are to do with many complexities, not simply Diva selling Playboy bracelets or Spotlight flogging Playboy pillowcases, or even Kanye West making videos of women done up as corpses.
That so many of them are hanging out to be “in love” might be an issue, depending on just what girls and young women understand by that term.