Personally I feel that suffragettes who chained themselves to railings to secure a vote for women would be appalled if they found out that you can buy a newspaper today and find images of topless girls plastered all over them. I just can’t reconcile equality with girls willingly putting themselves forward to do topless modelling.
The article I mentioned picks up on that. The basic idea is that a group of women got naked for a “Calendar Girls” style calendar, in order to benefit charity. They tried to donate some money to Scottish Women’s Aid, but were refused because they didn’t condone women taking their clothes off to raise money.
Although I can’t comment about the calendar itself (I haven’t seen it), I do somewhat agree with this quote from a spokeswoman for the charity Zero Tolerance:
“…We should be showcasing women for their talents and aspirations. Anything that focuses on women’s bodies is not helpful.
“We live in a culture where female nudity is everywhere and there is too much female nudity… and not enough celebration of women’s brains. It undermines our work to achieve gender equality.”
And this is what bemuses me. I completely agree with equality: women and men should have the same opportunities, and generally be treated equally. I cannot square this with posing topless in newspapers and magazines – surely an enemy of equality is objectifying women, i.e. men viewing women as sexual ‘objects’?
The attitude that “it’s our right to do as we want and pose in these magazines” seems to be highly detrimental to the right of equality. As long as a few women are willingly exposing their bodies to be, for want of a better word, ogled, then some men are going to continue viewing women as objects. I understand that I sound like I’m coming straight out of the 1950s here but … am I just going mad? Or is this actually an issue other people feel strongly about?