Thursday, 20 June 2013

Guestie: Babe of the Day

Thanks to Maus for writing and submitting this. Readers may also be interested in an alternative set up just last night:"NZ Misogynist of the Day.".

In the past month or so there have been several ‘Babe of the Day’ facebook pages popping up. The worst offenders seem to be the universities, although some of the more questionable pages such as ‘New Zealand Pair of the day’ and ‘WINZ babe of the day’ have their authors and affiliations hidden. I was recently approached by TV3’s nightline for a feminist opinion on these pages, and although I gave a fairly lengthy and detailed report of the problems associated with the pages, it was boiled down to ‘Angry feminists are killjoys’, and I was subsequently told across various social mediums that I didn’t like them because I was ugly. Of course.

The biggest problem is the lack of consent. These pages are created without the subjects consent; in fact on many of them, you are unable to nominate yourself. So we have pictures of girls, taken from their private facebook pages, and posted for all to see, and for all to ‘appreciate’. In fact, on the most recent ‘New Zealand Pair of the day’ page, out of the eight pictures posted, four have the subjects asking the pictures to be taken down, something the moderators ignored. When I posted under these comments telling the girls that although facebook doesn’t care about sexual harassment, you could report the image as your intellectual property and they would remove it fairly promptly, my comments were deleted and I was banned from posting further. There was even a picture of a woman holding her newborn child on one of the groups pages, which violates several peoples consent.

NOTE:: TVNZ, after interviewing me and listening to me talk about lack of consent, used several images from these pages, WITHOUT GAINING THE GIRLS CONSENT.

There are of course other problems with these pages. The university ones are full of comments like ‘who cares what she studies, shes bangin’, and although some of them have men featured, the sexisim is very apparent; for starters, mostly the guys are ‘Blokes of the Day’, not babes, and the accompanying text reads like a dating profile; ‘Bloke is a great guy, loves puppies and kittens and volunteers at homeless shelter’, and other such harmless banalities. Another interesting thing is that there seems to be a semblance of ethnic diversity in the ‘blokes’, you have many from many races, and the photos are typical headshots. In direct contrast, the women are uniform in their race, invariably skinny, and all wearing not much at all in the full body shots (I want to stress there is nothing wrong with being white and skinny, or dressing however you like. I just wanted to point out the standards of beauty are surprising given the diverse populations of universities).

There are enough reasons to have body image problems, and it is difficult to succeed as a woman in a academic world without being judged solely on how you supposedly look in a bathing costume. The response to my ten second sound bite was enough to show the reactions you get for speaking out from a feminist viewpoint. And I’m sick of it. There are hundreds of articles about there about why we don’t need to be judged for our looks, about the issues we face in the workforce and academic worlds.

I really feel like we should have come further than this, that I shouldn’t have to be typing this, I shouldn’t have to say something as simple as gaining a womans consent before encouraging hundreds of people to jack off to her picture is not a hard or wrong thing. And I certainly shouldn’t be abused for it, or told that I am ugly and therefore worthless. Wake the fuck up people. Consent isn’t hard, and I’m sick of having to shout ‘Yes means Yes’.


Sarah Hudson said...

Thanks, such a great read.

Mark E said...

One thing that's not mentioned here is that all Facebook content, including all your photos is legally owned by Facebook, and it is they who allow TVNZ and other media to use the pics, and why you have no legal control over any pics you put on facebook. Of course, FB and TVNZ and other media corporations, and anonymous dickheads on the internet, may also have ethical obligations but don't hold your breath . .

Psycho Milt said...

One thing that's as true of the internet now as it was 15 or 20 years ago is that if you post an image on the web, you just lost control of it forever. You can make whatever claims you like about ownership, copyright or even just your basic right to a bit of human decency and respect, the internet doesn't care.

stargazer said...

"the internet" is not some bizarre inhuman entity that can act in it's own right. this are human beings choosing to do things. let's not try to dehumanise or minimise that. they could make different choices. they don't, and this post does a great job in calling them out on that.

Brett Dale said...

I understand Mark's point about legal ownership of photos on Facebook, but that is beside the point, facebook isn't putting your facebook pictures on other sites, these idiots are.

I could be wrong, but if your going to put a photo on the internet, you can legally stop these jerks, by putting up that copyright logo on it?

As someone who has had their facebook photo put on other sites as a joke, and who has had their blog posts written elsewhere without consent, it's disgusting that people would do this.

These ladies should sue the universities.

Psycho Milt said...

"the internet" is not some bizarre inhuman entity that can act in it's own right. this are human beings choosing to do things.

Well, yes. And each one of us who uses the internet knows that hell is other internet users. So, consider these two things together:

1. If you put a photo of yourself on the web, you just made that photo available for anyone in the world to do absolutely anything with it that they like.

2. A great many of the anyones in the world are really not very nice and like nothing better than an opportunity to make someone else feel bad.

Is a good outcome to be envisaged from that combination?