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Barbara Holm

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Condemning Violence against Women in the Media

Posted: 06/15/2012 2:47 pm

Don't google "Victim of Beauty," trust me. I saw someone posted it on twitter and looked it up. Google regaled me with images that made me dry heave. Maybe that was the point, to make us vomit enough to feel sick and weak and ergo utterly glamorous!

As if advertising wasn't sexually objectifying enough, on June 6th, a Bulgarian fashion magazine called 12 published a photo layout of models looking realistically beat up, injured and implicitly abused.

Obviously, no one wants to see images of battered women, unless they're an unhealthy cannibal. Subsequently, this fashion spread came under criticism by the media. The magazine, which is unrestricted, presents these disgusting pictures as high art, and defends their actions saying that they never said that the violence was domestically inflicted.

"Quite frankly, we do not think that there is a person, who will see the photographs and automatically assume that violence is okay," 12 Magazine editors Hubenov and Anastasov wrote. "... it does not talk exclusively about domestic violence, or pain inflicted by men on women."

That's complete nonsensical bullshit.

Just because the magazine doesn't spell it out, it is a literal glamorization of violence against women. They even used the word "victim" in the title. Also, regardless of which gender it is inflicted upon, the media's illustration of violence in an alluring bewitching manner has an influence on the viewer's tolerance to violence. I fear that the media is so saturated with images of pain inflicted upon fellow human beings that viewers may build up an immunity to our natural revulsion to torture and abuse. (If you don't have a natural revulsion to torture, please check your soul's connection to the router and restart if needed.)

According to Psychological Science in the Public Interest there is "unequivocal evidence that media violence increases the likelihood of aggressive and violent behavior in both immediate and long-term contexts."

12 Magazine's defense of their piece sorta reminds me of the way some comedians defend sexist material: poorly. I hear this a lot from comics, "It's just a joke; it's not like I actually support rape or beating women." Well, duh, I sure hope you don't. It is weird that you felt the need to tell me you're not evil. Just sit down and watch the play, Hamlet's mom. In both instances, art is being used to present sexism as inoffensive. And while no one is going to see these images and be like, "I think I'll go beat up a woman," this may have a more subtle impact on how both men and women may view women as objects to be acted upon.

Images of glamorized violence are abhorrent and have a negative influence on the viewer. I really worry about the impact of images like these on young women, and I wholly condem this objectifying style of advertising. The continued portrayal of women as things in the media is in no way edgy art.

 

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