Friday, January 22, 2010

Wrong to promote women as sex objects

Jan 21, 2010

I REFER to Monday's report ('Drinks based on bra size', Breaking News, ST Online) of a promotion organised by a bar, OverEasy, at One Fullerton. OverEasy is run by Lo & Behold, which also runs Loof and White Rabbit.

The bar invited women to enjoy free alcohol based on the size of their breasts. The event was reportedly well attended and women who had bigger breasts received more 'free' drinks.

There is nothing free about letting a room of people gawk at your breasts. Even if a woman is willing to pay the personal price of loss of dignity, there is still a cost suffered by other women.

The women who participated have contributed to the objectification of women, to reducing a woman's value to her breast size, and have helped reinforce the belief among men that this is not only acceptable, but welcome. Staging this event in itself is extremely distasteful.

Just because sexism is profitable does not make it right. For the organisers to say the event was merely for 'good fun and not sexist or sleazy' is insincere. The indignity is suffered only by one gender.

It is unfortunate there are women willing to make this choice so light-heartedly. The individual woman may view her participation as an act of empowerment. Perhaps she feels she should use whatever assets she has to secure favours for herself. In our sex- and youth-obsessed culture, it is not surprising some women would grow to be so cynical.

Yes, women have the right to choose, but individual choices are made in a social context. And in our current social context, women have a much harder time to be esteemed as individuals above and beyond their value as sex objects.

This event perpetuates the notion of women as sex objects and makes it that much more difficult for each woman who wants to be valued for her character and contribution, rather than how she stacks up to a distorted image of the ideal body.

The personal choice (of the participants) and the private choice (of the corporation) has had a detrimental social impact.

Choice works both ways. The organisers may have packed their venue that evening, but they may well have lost future business at OverEasy and their sister establishments.

Dana Lam (Ms)
Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware)

[No arguments about the sleaze factor. And the fact that some women chose to participate undermines their own dignity, respect and standing. But I disagree that only the women are victims. The men are also diminished. But ultimately, render unto caesar what belongs to caesar and to god what belongs to god. The people at such establishment are in a different social context, one where overt sexuality is welcomed, encouraged, and in this case rewarded. Sex and alcohol has a long-standing relationship. There is no point in making moral judgments. It just makes you seem like a prude and a killjoy. ]

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