One for the girls

I recently joined a gym, after deciding my time was up in over-priced team sport. Being a gym member has introduced me to a few painful things, not all of which are related to exercise, unfortunately.

Perhaps the most excruciating thing is having music videos in your peripheral vision at all times, for while some are great to exercise along with, some are painful to watch, to be in the same space as, and to consider what their implications are.

In a higher percentage than I care to calculate, many of these video clips protray women as little more than sexual objects. Most disturbingly, many of these are fronted by women.

This week I was stunned to see Mariah Carey in her video for “Touch My Body”. The visuals that accompanied this song didn’t really strengthen any notion that women are to be respected, that there’s more to us than what we look like, or that we can make a meaningful contribution to the world.

Why Mariah wants to present herself as little more than a plaything could keep psychologists busy for months. One may argue that she is free to do so, as an ‘independant’ woman. Perhaps.

But when Mariah’s deliberately sexual portrayal is broadcast into the space in which I inhabit, it’s no longer an independent act, but one that impacts on others. I don’t want the gym in which I exercise to have a sensual atmosphere. I just want to exercise. I also don’t want reinforced the notion that I am simply an object, particularly when reinforced by females. So much for sisterly solidarity.

The very worst thing about the music video was the schoolgirl-inspired outfit worn at times. A ultra-short tartan skirt, a skimpy white blouse and pigtails, all in the context of sexual titillation, pursuit and  fantasy.

Mariah, you’re selling us out. Many female pop singers are.

Please, make great music and make great videos – but use your influence on behalf of women, rather than perpetuating a culture which diminishes or exploits us.

~ Ruth Limkin

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