Saturday, June 1, 2013

Local bikini competition makes me facepalm

Yes, the Sports Bar in Cannock held a bikini competition over the Bank Holiday weekend as part of a Caribbean party event. And yes, my spider senses are telling me this was seven shades of wrong, but why? 

How can I be sure that it's not my inner puritan talking? How can I avoid the trap of telling women what they should or shouldn't wear?

Let's boil down the ethics of the situation to one question: who has the power in this game of display?

Answer: this whole bikini competition / beauty pageant set-up is as male-gazy as all heck.. This is women presenting themselves for men, at the behest of men. 

Events like this reinforce the Big Lie that men 'do' and women 'adorn', that their worth is measured by how good they look in as little as possible, not by how high-achieving, intelligent or generally awesome they are.

I concede it might not be disempowering for the individuals taking part, but if culturally the event is sending the wrong message, then this is beside the point. On a continuum of discrimination, you could argue it's more dumb than damaging, but it's still a slippery slope to be making your stand on.

And it's particularly interesting that it took place in a sports bar, given that sports is in no way a field where women struggle to be taken as seriously as men, no sirree.

In short: men, don't be complicit in reinforcing images of women which are partial, limiting and injuring to both genders. End of.

Some broader context from UK Feminista

...and from No More Page Three

Lest we overlook the beam in the eye of geek culture - the Hawkeye Initiative 
(How to fix every Strong Female Character pose in superhero comics: replace the character with Hawkeye doing the same thing.)

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