I’m not long back from New Zealand plus a long weekend in Sydney. Lucky me!Click through for the whole thing.
But lucky New Zealanders as well. Because one of the most striking differences I noticed between the UK and NZ was that there seemed no pressure on women to be sexual objects at all times – although there did seem to be a lot of excessive baking going on.
Perhaps, they’ve yet to catch up with us, but I don’t think that’s it. New Zealand is way ahead of us in many things and especially in terms of diversity, particularly in its parliament. It’s already had two female Prime Ministers and 33.6% of it’s current MPs are female.
In fact when I spoke about how worried I was about the sexualisation of young women in the UK, they were kind of mystified - it was clearly not as much a problem there.
It is hard to say which came first.
Does New Zealand have more female MPs and therefore any over sexualisation of women and girls in public spaces has been nipped in the bud; or do more women feel able to go forward into parliament and are taken more seriously when they get there because they don’t feel any pressure to come over like a sex object?
One New Zealander that I know well, is not sure how New Zealand women became free from the need to be a sex object at all times, but thinks that it may be because women get organised in NZ. Perhaps female MPs and groups would lobby companies that wanted to produce overtly sexist and sexualised adverts and products and therefore preserve their public space for everybody, not just those who want to use sex to make money from it.
In any case, the sexualisation of young women and the pornographication of our public spaces is not inevitable; we can stop it and we can say no to handing over our public spaces to those who would be happy with the lowest common denominator.
What say you, given that most of you are here in eNZed? Are we lucky?