Tuesday, 30 June 2015

'Look pretty darling, the camera's on you.'

I recently had to write an article for another publication looking at a new movement, centred in Argentina and labelled on social media 'NiUnaMenos' ('NotOneLess'), calling for an end to violence against women.

Football babes.
More than just objects ... (Photo from Facebook.)

Many of the protesters involved in this have spoken about how they believe that many men see women as mere objects, nothing more, with this being one of the root causes of male violence towards them. And considering the statistics that are available on this crime, it would seem that it is a particular problem in Latin America.

There are many facets to it of course, education and culture being perhaps two of the main areas where changes are needed in order to turn the tide.

Having been a keen observer of the latest Copa América, the build up to each match, on Colombian TV anyway, has mostly consisted of shots of the prettiest women in the stands, at times in slow motion, while the presenters/commentators chat, unseen, about the upcoming game.

Now in theory there's nothing inherently wrong with this; and it's not like the women pictured are up in arms (well in a negative, metaphorical sense that is) about it.

The question it poses, however, is does such behaviour reinforce the idea of 'women as objects'? It shouldn't really, but maybe it does.

Now it can also be said that there is nothing wrong with admiring the beauty of women, it's natural. What's more, it doesn't take a man behind a TV camera to give us suggestive views of women. A quick glance through Facebook pictures of those of the opposite sex and you'll see a good number do it themselves; the provocative selfie in the bathroom or bedroom mirror is a favourite for many Colombianas in any case. As a man it can be difficult not to have a second look.

Ni Una Menos: Latin America's women protest against violence towards women.
Not one less: South American women take to the streets (Photo from Facebook.)
There's, though, and you'd like to think this is obvious to most, a difference between admiring the beauty of a person and treating them as an object or sub-human. For some men, however, crossing that divide may not be such an obstacle.

Looking at a lot of men's treatment of women in these parts from a northern European perspective, you certainly notice more, outwardly anyway, male chauvinism at play. But you have to balance that out with, as mentioned above, how some women 'market' themselves here.

The bottom line is, the much sought after gender equality may be impossible from a natural, genetic standpoint, but that, needless to say, doesn't open the door for macho violence.

For sure, the causes of domestic disputes, one of the main areas where violence against women arises, are rarely black-and-white. But violent aggression seldom solves anything.
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