We all do it, don’t we? We rate our friends on their appearance. Obviously that’s the most important thing about them surely. Their ability to look good! After we’ve rated them, we do a video reading out their names and telling them whether we think they’re “hot” or “not”.
No. No, we don’t. Well, I don’t. However, you’ll be moritified to hear that THIS my friends, is pretty normal practice when you’re 13 years old. Oh yes.
This morning I had the misfortune to read some random 13 year olds Facebook status in my timeline because she is friends with my 13 year old niece and she had been tagged in the video. In it the 2 girls on camera say “This is our ‘hot or not’ video”. then they launch into all of their friends names, both boys and girls. I should point out that nobody is marked badly, they are either “quite pretty”, “So pretty”, “pretty”, “fit”, “quite fit” or “hot”. The girls have taken some care in compiling their list and I appreciate it could be a WHOLE lot worse. We are probably only about 20 videos away from someone somewhere just getting to the nitty gritty and being deadly honest!
It’s the fact these girls have jumped on the bandwagon (or so I’ve been told….this is not an uncommon practice. Along with my nephew who often does a “like for a rating” on his Facebook page – I should really like it, shouldn’t I? See what he does with “them apples”). At what point did this all become so bloody normal. That our view of ourselves and that of others is based on how good looking we are. I’m not stupid, I appreciate that some people are visually more appealling than others, I can see that, but to outwardly project that in such a blatant way makes me incredibly sad.
It’s the whole practice of it that I have the biggest problem with. The fact it’s ok to do this. The fact that there is a focus on your outward appearance, especially for women. We are only as good as our parts. Boobs, legs, hair, face. We are not whole. We all dealt with our fair share of bullying (well I did) and a nasty comment here, and a rude comment there, in the playground, in the classroom, it’s sad, it’s upsetting but the moment goes very quickly. A permanent record on the internet on how people viewed you though, tagging a whole class, maybe more, that’s not right. Let’s all focus on what we look like. That’s a bit scary.
Where does it go from here then? These girls are playing “their part” in a ghastly viscous circle that seems endemic in this day and age. I was reading this article on the weekend and it sent shivers down my spine. A 17 year old girl started a feminist society at her at her “all girls” school and things went from name calling by the boys in her peer circle and generally putting down the society, to some quite serious verbal attacks. The words are truly horrendous and I don’t want to write them here, but if you have the stomach, read the article.
It always reminds me of someone on twitter who said “the comments on articles about feminism is the reason we need Feminsm” and the same can be said for those girls in the article. The teacher wanted them to back down, yet the very reason for starting it all was to try and change the way boys and mens perceived them and how they viewed themselves. The very fact the boys were so intimidated by them trying to unshackle themselves from the leering posts they had been put on, tells you an awful lot about how far we have yet to go.
In Australia there has been some publicity about the female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, being subjected to some pretty awful Misogyny. It seems for previous Prime Ministers, they can be kicked about for their policies or their lack of guts but if you’re a woman, the focus is on what you look like. A party conference held by the opposition party a few weeks ago had on their menu “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Huge Thighs & A Big Red Box”. She’s a red head by the way. They saw this as perfectly acceptable code of conduct.
We owe it to our daughters and our daughter’s daughters to turn this on it’s head. THIS is our suffragette movement. Anybody that suggests FOR A MINUTE that we live in an equal society clearly has their head buried in the sand. Until we drive forward, raise awereness, create the discourse for questioning this behaviour, women will forever be locked into a pathway where it is acceptable to apply merit to the way we look and behave. Be a good girl and look good and you’ll go far. That’s bullshit. If you don’t fight back you’ll go as far as the mysogny tether around your neck will let you.