Sexualise this

5 Aug

leopard print cardigan


I’ve just read a piece in The Conversation titled: Sexualised girls are seen as less intelligent and less worthy of help than their peers.

Who defines what constitutes sexualisation, and using what criteria?

Examples from the article: Highly sexualised clothing (a short dress and a leopard print cardigan) or a girl in a black bikini.

To the authors of this article a short dress combined with a leopard print cardigan is a signifier of a sexually easy female, and thus highly inappropriate when worn by a young girl.

I would not view any young girl wearing these garments (or any other garments for that matter) as a sexualised object. Would you?

If your answer is yes I think there might be something slightly askew in your perceptions, and you might like to ask yourself not why the young girl is wearing those outfits, but why you see her as a sex object because of them.

If as a consequence of perceiving that young girl as “sexualised” you decide she is less morally worthy and of lesser intelligence, you probably should ask yourself why, in your moral universe, a “sexualised” female (young or mature) is less worthy of moral consideration and inevitably of lesser intelligence, than a female you perceive as free from sexualisation.

In other words, why do you hold those views, and where do they come from? Are they any different from the views held by, say, racists? Are they even, perhaps, a tad misogynist?

The sexualisation debate as represented in The Conversation article is warped. Research criteria are based on the assumed authority of a male-centered gaze, introjected by women, that continues to define female sexuality in terms of how much flesh we display and the manner in which we choose to display it or clothe it. This bias remains unacknowledged and unquestioned, and ought itself to be the subject of investigation.

Somewhere in our history there developed the notion that women who are open about our sexual desire and the expression of our sexuality are correspondingly brain-dead, and undeserving of moral consideration. It’s from these notions the concepts of sexualisation and objectification evolve, not from anything women do or wear.

Obviously the signifiers of objectification and sexualisation vary with fashion and culture: a modest 2016 swimsuit would have caused its wearer to be objectified as less than morally human in 1816. The point surely must be that we have not evolved beyond our need to define ourselves as moral beings against women and girls identified as less worthy, because they are pejoratively perceived as overtly sexual, sexualised or objectified.

Concepts of sexualisation and objectification are constructed concepts and as such fluid, always open to interrogation and contestation. They are not a given, and they do not come from any transcendental exteriority. Because Collective Shout or anyone else declares a garment objectifying does not make it so.

Nothing can make a child a sexualised object other than the warped perception of an adult. As we know to our cost, warped adult perceptions of children as sex objects are rampant, and to be found in our most esteemed institutions.  If you choose to view children through that warped perception there is, in my opinion, something unexamined in your thinking.

The fact that some adults care less about the welfare of women and girls they consider sexualised and objectified seems to my mind a much more urgent topic for investigation than chain stores selling pole dancing kits and Playboy stationery. To draw an equivalence between female sexuality and worthiness is warped reasoning, and that so many people in our society do this is cause for serious alarm.

The problem lies not with the sexualisation or objectification of young girls and women. It lies with unexamined attitudes to female sexuality, fear of female sexuality, and the ongoing desire to control female sexuality. If you are seeing children as sexualised and objectified have a good look at your beliefs about female sexuality, because you are likely part of the problem, not of the solution.





65 Responses to “Sexualise this”

  1. doug quixote August 5, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    It may well be nothing to do with women. But men are hard wired to seek out nubile females for the most basic of human urges, and animal urges for that matter – to mate and reproduce.

    The signifiers of female nubility are well rounded, well nourished flesh and the less covered the better, though strategic embellishments are attractive. Indeed strategic embellishments help disguise any self-perceived failings and are often called glamour.

    Women know, or ought to know the likely effect on men, though perhaps they fail to appreciate just how much self control is required at times by men.

    I do not want to say that women aren’t entitled to dress how they will. But they should consider that not all men have the self control required, and they risk subjectification, unwanted attention, stalking and attack.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda August 5, 2016 at 11:27 am #

      Well, given the recent disclosures about abuse of boys by various churchmen and assorted others, what sort of clothing ought boys to eschew in order to protect themselves from assault?

      Liked by 1 person

      • doug quixote August 5, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

        I deliberately didn’t widen the comment to paedophiles. They are a subset of perverted sex drive. See previous threads; there are plenty.


    • Jennifer Wilson August 5, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

      DQ. I can’t even….


    • Jan Dobson August 5, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

      Doug, I must agree with Linda’s point. I don’t view my boys, husband, father, brother, cousins, male friends as barely leashed sex fiends. I think they’d be horrified to be so categorised.

      Additionally, it’s my girls’, my, my mother’s, cousins’ and female friends’ right not to be restricted by anything other than the responsibility to be kind and sensible.

      This is regardless of age but particularly when discussing kids. I have a photo of myself at 7 or 8 running under the sprinkler in my backyard…. wait for it…. Wearing No Clothes. Taken By My Father!! And I can guarantee he was more interested in the joy on my face than my unclad state. I doubt he gave it more than a passing thought. I’m also certain my kids were never viewed as sexual objects by their father.

      As Jennifer so eloquently stated, sexualisation is in the mindset of the viewer. I think you’re hanging with the wrong people.

      Liked by 1 person

    • townsvilleblog August 5, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

      While that is true, I would have thought that by the 21st century we had gotten past that point and become civilized. I though these days men did not so easily respond to such things as short skirts etc, I had believed that we could control ourselves, that we had enough dignity not to be so easily led.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson August 5, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

        I believe many men do have that dignity, Shaun. I’ve known two who haven’t but always thought them the exception rather than the rule

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark Summerfield (@patentology) August 5, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    “In one study, we presented participants with images of women and prepubescent girls, either dressed in regular clothing or a bikini. We found that young girls were objectified – viewed as having less mental capacity and as less worthy of moral consideration – when wearing bikinis. They were objectified to a similar extent as adult women.”

    I’m sorry… you what?!

    Two questions. First, who designed this so-called study? Second, do you need ethics approval for this kind of research? If yes, there’s a committee somewhere that needs to be reviewed. If no, then the rules need to be changed!

    Here’s the logic, as I understand it from the Conversation article: ‘We showed some people in a room some photographs of children and adults in what we regarded as ‘sexualised’ and ‘unsexualised’ clothing and surveyed them. From this we concluded that people encountering young girls in swimwear in everyday life will generally believe that they are less intelligent and worthy than they actually are. We reached this conclusion because, despite being PhD-qualified psychologists, we do not understand the significance of context or, at the very least, are not going to let it get in the way of expanding our publications lists. Our confirmation of our hypothesis is supported by some really impressive statistical analysis that we know you don’t understand, because we don’t really understand it either, but we’ve got some software to take care of all of that and p<0.05.'

    Or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson August 5, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

      Yep, you pretty much got the gist, Mark.

      Liked by 2 people

    • townsvilleblog August 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

      Yet I find peadophilia abhorrent.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson August 5, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

        A healthy reaction.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hypo August 5, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

          I think (hope) most of us agree it is abhorrent.
          But I am surprised that those closest to their god are so mute,so often, and some others , even closer to god are complicit in the activity or in protecting it.
          The 1st group must be in permanent shock.Given it;s them or their children affected the most.No mass walk out so far.

          Liked by 1 person

          • townsvilleblog August 6, 2016 at 10:41 am #

            That always amazes me, the local assembly of god cult school hired a former prisoner as a swimming coach, when the coach began feeling up the little girls it was hushed up, if I had been a father to the affected girls, I’d be suing the school for all I could get out of them because, money is the only language they understand.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. helvityni August 5, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    Once on our way from Sydney to Canberra to see some must see art exhibition, we stopped in the windy wintery Coulburn for a coffee.

    I had left my jacket at home, so to warm up I rushed to a shop of pre-loved clothing; the first best thing was leopard print cardigan for three dollars.

    It warmed me, but left hubby cold; Please H, take it off, you look SURBURBAN.

    Not SEXY? A girl can’t win…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson August 5, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

      LOL I never owned such a garment. I think I do have a leopard print skirt tho…


    • Hypo August 5, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

      Geez Helvi,
      Imagine if the warmest thing in the shop that day was a leopard pattern ‘onesie’.OMG .Gerard would ?????

      (Cue Brian Ferry & Roxy Music )


      • helvityni August 6, 2016 at 9:59 am #

        Hypo, the bodysuits (onesies ?) were all the rage in the eighties, they usually came with huge shoulder pads with velcro fasteners.

        Mine wasn’t even leopard print, but he was in shock: Jeez, you look like Elvis Presley in that, or was it Sumo wrestler or a well-built lines-man…

        Not complimentary…

        Liked by 2 people

        • Hypo August 6, 2016 at 10:04 am #

          When GO said you looked like Elvis, did you quip>
          “Waar, thang yoo vairy mudge..”



          • helvityni August 6, 2016 at 10:12 am #

            No, I bought six more…..

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hypo August 6, 2016 at 11:21 am #

              A leopardess never changes her spots.

              Liked by 1 person

        • paul walter August 6, 2016 at 10:11 am #

          Hot tongue and cold shoulder for such an unappreciative male.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Hypo August 5, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    This sure looks,sounds and walks like the rubber duck that it is. More of the waving of the Red Herring Flag by an outrage industry built on creating or inflating issues that either do not exist or are managed at an appropriate level for a mature secular society.
    The feeding trough must be running low again.
    Thus come more enabling of Cory Bernardi’s not so underground independent racist chastity campaign.He will be kissing One Nations arse for the next…..?? months to get his red faced way.
    [and Why does a newby One Nation NJ have an opinion on climate change and yet none about Christian religions milking our taxes? Does he believe in sky fairies but not the sky??}
    So I look fwd to the Cory Bernardi Bromide Wowsers WAP Party launch ‘just’ prior to next election. And Prince Tony for Pope!!!
    Between now and that time perhaps ‘Gorey Baloney’ can draft an opinion on church paedophilia.As could the ‘snouts in troughs ,make it up as we go along, and use selective data outrage industry’
    Because from all accounts (RC) ‘most’ victims of priests were rarely dressed in lingerie or animal prints or any other way ‘adultified’ by clothing.

    Someone in this “anti clothing,rumour-movement” needs to explain why they are so silent on religious sexual crimes, but so loud when it comes to popular trends at Target or K Mart..
    They need to explain their science and data, the independent peers who reviewed it,their affiliations and their motives, when doing the review.
    They need to expalin where all these fashion ignorant parents are.(Obviously not at mass where fashion is taught)

    While at it how about ‘getting all tetchy’ about the militarising of our youth.Kids lives in Australia today ‘totally’ revolve around uniforms wars and flags.
    All other parts of history are suffocated under exaggerated tales of blood and guts,to stir the fires of conflict and plasticised patriotic duty.
    (On a daily basis.) We are supposedly devoid of any psyche outside the battleground.Our happy lives began at Galipoli, m’parrently.
    Abbott was (is??) a far greater danger to the minds and lives of our kids, with his psychotic and dangerous fascination with flags/war/guns/uniforms and his ‘captains pick’ promotions and creations of more uniformed depts and roles.His, and his weak kneed cohorts, actions and attitude are far more damaging than any passing interest in a leopard print.While there may be an issue with sexualising of children, it is hard not to feel a ‘skin deep scrape’ will show that all the usual religiously bent, soap-boxing ,physically inhibited morons own the data and own the shaping of the risk, to suit their narrative..
    What a HUGE! dilemma.
    Pauline,Sonia and Cory want the Burqa banned, and their fellow bibliogonks want it as standard uniform till kids reach adulthood.

    And a small /ahem/ to’ the outraged’.Are spit hoods OK attire? Shackles? Only I can’t recall any protests last week from you guys, about darker skinned kids.?
    The top end could do with some outraged ‘child advocates’ from the paler ,godlier side of town.Here’s their chance to step up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • doug quixote August 5, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

      “Pauline,Sonia and Cory want the Burqa banned, and their fellow bibliogonks want it as standard uniform till kids reach adulthood.”


      Liked by 2 people

  5. paul walter August 5, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

    Well, I’ve scanned the Conversation article and JW’s set of comments, then the comments section here and am going to have let it sit for a bit…am just going to have to admit it seems incredibly complex, involving how humans communicate including at a sort of subceptional level.

    Liked by 2 people

    • townsvilleblog August 6, 2016 at 11:40 am #

      Now that’s what I call religious bullshit Hypo.


      • Hypo August 6, 2016 at 11:50 am #

        They really said this>
        “Authorities though are finding it difficult to track down the noodle porn perpetrators.”

        “It’s clear that with such porn nuances there is no way we would let them go into the market.”


  6. paul walter August 5, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

    Back for a second look and am more comfortable with it this time.

    As Wilson says, the central problem initially seems to be the employ of the loaded and over-determined term “sexualised”, a definition for which was studiously avoided by the writers of the report.

    Would it mean “sexualised” in the sense that girls are subject to commodification and the consequences for it in the way some women lead their lives, throughout their lives (Sonia Kruger, Housewives of Beverly Hills)?

    Or does it mean children are at risk as sexual targets…once again a capitalist and patriarchalist system won’t be too worried about collateral damage?

    I wonder if it doesn’t come back to skills sets plus a cultural legacy going back to the time when women had no control over their fertility and needed to cosy up to males for support through long and sometimes fatal child bearing and raising years. This would be the case over hundreds of thousands of years with evolution rewarding those who operated within this system most effectively with we of the post modern age the current product.

    But within a few hundred years, technology has changed the underlying basis that requires behaviour between the sexes to function in the way it has in the the west at least contraception has ended the old status quo of huge families and early mortality, but people remain people. Women and men are still driven by deep and intense drives involving desire, some women have the chance to exploit their physical attractiveness and are inculcated early with the cosmetics and fashion industries encouragement to a lifestyle to do with the easy way of “catching” a man who will indulge them.

    With this comes a certain amount of taunting, as indeed occurs with men trying to lure women into situations with future consequences and those who carelessly project a wrong image or lack the ability to do so end up in deep strife; both sexes.

    No I think, even in the asphalt jungle we are still constrained by what makes us human and there is likely to be no easy resolution, if ever, for human society.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hypo August 5, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

      When you combine ‘monkey see monkey do’, with capitalism and advertising it never ends well.This panic is not new.But it is getting more selective, and it has an underlying co dependent industry.And a fiscal political power agenda
      In fact it is a scare campaign.
      The evidence is incontrovertible.

      If the world is so dangerous for children why do the conservative pay ppl to pop at least 3 out?
      Why do they shove them into care while mum and dad struggle to won a house twice as big as they need one?
      Oh yeah,right, the morons think ‘living within our means’ is a greens conspiracy or a witches spell of some sort.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hypo August 5, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

        ^ won a house =OWN a house


      • paul walter August 5, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

        Thanks…you begin to “get” what it is that I am wondering about. Without a real jungle, humanity has taken to producing a cognitive jungle in which we can feel safe again, if it is not too ironic…pecking order comes first!.

        Liked by 1 person

      • townsvilleblog August 6, 2016 at 11:46 am #

        On popping 3 out, I believe in a continent devoid of water such as Australia, there is not a lot of environment (water storage) available for human beings. So I believe federal govt should legislate 3 children per family, no more but certainly less. The largest city in Northern Australia, Townsville, will be on Level 3 water restrictions within days. Nobody will talk about the Bradfield scheme to push water over the Great Dividing Range to irrigate Northern Australia, though something will need to be done quickly if Australians are to survive. (I don’t want to sound dramatic.)


        • Hypo August 6, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

          “She’ll be right mate.We’ll just dam up a river.”
          Joyce would pipe water in from finite aquifers if he had to.

          Call me a bigot, but it comes as no surprise to me that QLD has environmental issues.
          Not to mention the political ones over many decades.

          Water management is Australia is a joke.It is our birthright to have as an expansive lawn as we choose.Golf course on every corner.And ovals of green in deserts getting used 2 days a week in summer if that.
          Mines use water millions of years old to wash rocks, and wet down haul roads and they do it at a rate which is totally unsustainable.
          Now we are using oiur giant brains to drain more aquifers to grow hay wjile millions of people die across the globe.
          Greed monkeys?
          Nah.When it comes to water,forests or ecology generally, we are just simpleton eco-f*cktards in Australia.
          We would rather wipe out a pristine environment than mine a farm ‘cos paperwork,cos money,cos votes.


    • Sam Jandwich August 6, 2016 at 1:56 am #

      Well it seems pretty simple to me: even if you’re sexually attracted to children’s bodies – as it seems undeniable a large proportion of people are – actually being sexually attracted to children is to deny their subjectivity… since no matter how sincerely you adore them you’ll still be raping and abusing them, and as soon as they’re able to comprehend what’s happened they’ll never forgive or forget being used… even if it’s all in your mind.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. paul walter August 5, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

    Given Mark Summerfield’s comments, I’d love to know what Stewart Hase’s take would be.


  8. davechaffeyhippie August 6, 2016 at 10:03 am #

    Not again! My attempt at commenting has turned into another rough draft for a blog post. Will I abandon it or actually finish and publish for a change even if it’s long-after everyone else has moved on? I never thought I’d be able to write about 1500 words just on animal print clothing. Our genetic and cultural programming goes so deep, I have even scratched the surface with my dainty little kitty claws…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. davechaffeyhippie August 6, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

    Hopefully with these words, I’ve managed to cure my prejudice against animal-print clothing. Thanks for the inspiration! What little piece of genetic/cultural programming that is not useful for an egalitarian global society should I work on tomorrow?


    • Hypo August 6, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

      and one she ‘prepared’ earlier.


  10. doug quixote August 6, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

    How to look good in leopardskin:

    Liked by 1 person

  11. masterhead69 January 6, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    You speak directly to me darlin. Thank you


  12. mick25117 February 18, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    A girl wearing short dress is fine. But a mini skirt etc and make up etc is sexualisation which we must sadly admit exists


    • Jennifer Wilson February 19, 2017 at 7:33 am #

      Mick, I think “sexualisation” is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve seen young girls dressed as adult women and I don’t find them sexually appealing. They look like little girls dressed as adults, and that adults find them sexual is abhorrent, imo.


      • mick25117 February 19, 2017 at 7:38 am #

        Theyre not appealing but adulthood has been forced on them beyond their years

        Liked by 1 person


  1. Should we wish for a world free of all animal-print clothing? – The Emergence Starts Now - August 6, 2016

    […] article was inspired by No Place for Sheep’s article which in turn was a reaction towards an article from The Conversation which summarised the findings […]


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