By Ruth Limkin
Dear eight year old girl,
I saw you three days ago but never got to meet you. We were both in Typo. I was there to talk to the store manager. I imagine you were there to buy stationery. After all, Typo had been advertising a back to school range.
I ended up pointing you out to the store manager. You see, he was trying to defend the pornographic notebooks that Typo are currently selling. I’m sure you saw them. They were exactly at your eye height, and being A4 size, the photo of the naked woman, emblazoned with “Dirty” really stood out.
I’m really sorry.
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get through to the store manager why it was so inappropriate to label women ‘dirty’.
I’m so sorry that you live in a world where calling women ‘entertainment for men’ is defended by retailers.
I’m really sorry that you probably saw that notebook.
And so, dearest eight year old girl, here are a few things I want you to know.
You don’t ever have to let someone make you feel worthless, or dirty, or trivialised because you are a female.
You should never be defined as ‘entertainment for men’. You are a person of substance, of purpose, and significance.
You don’t have to feel that your body is dirty. Your body is a beautiful, complex creation.
You should never, ever be sexually exploited for profit. I hope that you’ll meet men who will respect you and speak out against oppression.
Lastly, one day you’ll get a job. And if you ever see anything like the front of that notebook cover in your workplace, it’s called sexual harassment. Speak out.
PS – It’s not all bad. There are so many wonderful men and women willing to speak out against the objectification of women. One day, you’ll be really glad to know the world is full of amazing people like them.
Typo’s parent company is Cotton On. Feel free to send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can write on the Typo Facebook Page
Or sign a petition here
Ruth Limkin is currently the CEO of The Banyans, working in mental health and recovery.