Category Archives: Playboy

Mind the GAP

Sexualisation is on the political agenda, and has always been on ours. At Pinkstinks we are currently working on our submission to the consultation of the government’s sexualisation taskforce (The Bailey Review), set up in response to the growing discontent amongst parents at the much publicised premature sexualisation of our children.

There have been a number of high profile cases which have been the catalyst for all of this: I’m thinking pole dancing kits in Tesco, playboy pencil cases in WH Smith and of course padded bras for seven year olds in Primark. Pinkstinks however has always taken a broader view as we believe that there are some very blurred lines between what are considered sexualised, and what are overtly ‘gendered’ or pinkified products.

Just today the latest website from the Gap was brought to our attention and deserves some thought.

The girls page features the ‘make a shape’ logo, including a young girl, I’m guessing about 7 or 8, standing on tippy toes – as if in heels although actually in flats – looking behind herself at her own behind. All skinny jeaned and skinny, it’s the ‘shape’ of ‘does my bum look big in this?’, ‘am I pretty enough?,’ ‘am I thin enough?’, ‘how do I look?’.

The 'shape' of things to come

And it’s evidence of the trend to use language (visual language as well as written), to describe young girls in the way that was once the preserve of women’s bodies, and women’s fashion. It creates the whisper of self doubt, the hint of concern, the merest smidging of ‘am I good enough?’, and of course added to all the other messages around her, it quickly becomes part of the cause of the suppression of her self-confidence and the shaping of her as a consumer.

So in some ways, whilst we’re all busy shouting loudly about padded bikinis for seven year olds, this stuff, this steady drip feeding of messages, loaded with double meanings for not only our girls but our boys too, quietly continues to further cement some truly dreadful assumptions about what is important for a girl to think and believe, and likewise, a boy too.

Moving - Not posing.

Incidentally, the ‘shapes’ that the equivalent boy is making on the site, is a sort of dancing, running, active moving kind of pose. It is clearly not, however, ‘posing’.

So this is the sort of messaging that we will be highlighting and challenging in our forthcoming submission.

You too can fill in your own submission at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1749&external=no&menu=1

Please do share with us your own thoughts and ideas.

International Women’s Day and courage

It’s International Women’s Day tomorrow. Ironic therefore that it was today when I was confronted – in the flesh (pun intended) – by those vile snowboards emblazened with naked women while out shopping with my two young daughters. Perhaps it was the fact that it is International Women’s day tomorrow that I mustered up the courage to confront the shop’s staff about why they thought it was acceptable and appropriate to have this soft porn in prime position in their shop … and in fact right opposite the children’s section. I was met with an interesting response. The two women I spoke to clearly understood where I was coming from. Even agreed with me to a large extent. I won’t repeat all the arguments used in our previous blog but it was all the more pertinent while my two daughters innocently played in the shadow of these monstrosities. One of the women offered to have them ‘turned around’ while we were in the shop. I said that that wasn’t good enough and that they should really reconsider stocking them at all. She then told me about how her own daughter – aged 15 – thought that the women on them were ‘just cartoons’ so it was all harmless, and in the next breath went on to say how unhappy her daughter was with her own body and how she suffered from self-esteem issues! 

 

Here they are. Right opposite the kids' section of the shop.

Here they are. Right opposite the kids' section of the shop.

 

 

I can only say, that we all need to have courage to challenge these things whenever we see them. It’s so deeply ingrained in our culture and so normalised that many women can’t see what is staring them in the face or have become so used to seeing that our reaction is dumbed down or completely knocked out of us. I left the shop reminding them that Playboy is porn – that’s how simple this argument is. It’s not an opinion. It’s a fact. And that women snowboarders (and skiers … and men for that matter(!)) should be fighting against this invasion on the sport which we (and our young families) love. Be ashamed Burton. Be ashamed.

Rant over.

 

 

Now, moving swiftly on. It’s International Women’s Day in the morning and we thought, time to reflect on all the great and wonderful women who we have come into contact with over the last nine months. Our PinkStinks journey is only just beginning – we are nearly a year old – but we have been amazed by the incredible network which we have become a part of and the support, encouragement and strength that we find there.

We totally love The Illusionists – brilliant blog and project creating a film about beauty myths

Girls Inc – brilliant organisation and website for girls – based in the US with some amazing films

Women’s Resource Centre – innovative and brilliant UK-based organisation run by great women

Women in Science and Engineering – tackling girls’ lack of interest in science with some great new ideas and approaches

GirlGuidingUK – reinventing themselves and focusing on girls’ self esteem and achievement

Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation – finding ways of making active attractive! (Love their slogan)

Polly Toynbee – whose article on ‘girlification’ almost a year ago inspired Abi and I and her resounding support spurred us on

Barbara Follett – whose remarks about girls’ poverty of ambition caused a stir and ignited the debate

Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty – which has funded some amazing films most notably Onslaught – which we think is amazing and incredibly powerful

And that’s just off the top of my head. It’s through taking the time to celebrate an event such as International Women’s Day, that women all over the World gain courage to challenge, to oppose and to win their rights. There’s strength in numbers. And there’s also the need to recognise that small and seemingly insignificant actions add up. And mean something.

Finally, we’ve been compiling our list of real role models over the last few weeks and Miriam Makeba was one of the first whom we ‘wrote up’ ready for our website – huge thanks to Lucy Lawrence for this one. We aim to present our real role models to girls. But while putting this together I found that I was deeply touched by her story and indeed her journey – must have been as I downloaded a load of her amazing music straight after reading it! At the age of seven she was part of her church choir, and had practiced for weeks in preparation for a visit from King George VI. When he finally arrived the Royal’s car just sped past. Leaving the children standing there. Unheard. From this devastating incident she started questioning what was going on around her and found her passion, strength and her belief. It’s these smaller but powerful details of women’s stories which we think will ignite something within girls to inspire them to follow their instincts, be ambitious, be brave, and above all, to be courageous.

Even snowboarders get ‘bunny’d’

So – I’m sorry to be so repetitive about this, but Burton have teamed up with Playboy and made a range of snowboards … Yes … you heard me correctly. We missed this when they were launched, but I stumbled across  it today, and just find the whole thing so insulting, ‘the slopes have never looked so good’ apparently … so even snowboarders have been ‘bunny’d’!
The TES did an article on Playboy merchandising and imagery and its impact. An interesting read.
I contacted my good friend Joanne, a very accomplished snowboarder, for some feedback and thoughts on this Burton special edition …
The half naked woman board? I saw one of these in action a couple of weeks ago and thought “what an awful board”. It was sadly being ridden by a man in his late 40s/early 50s – a middle aged man having a mid-life crisis riding a hot woman? Ha, in your dreams mate! I thought.
Terrible aren’t they? Burton have done playboy boards before (I think they even did a girls one once, but I could be wrong about that) but just black with the bunny design. This time it’s really a bit much!
There’s been a lot of hype about these boards in the States. I think that Burton are genius at marketing and it’s not the first time they’ve put controversial board designs out there. They know that people will protest and shout loudly about it, giving it heaps of publicity. Many people will think it’s a disgrace! And, unfortunately, all this publicity means that their target buyers of these boards, teenage and early 20s boys (and the occasional sad middle-aged man) will not only hear all about them, but think they are cool and want one! As they are limited edition everyone will want to get hold of one and sales, as always with Burton, will be huge.
I’m not particularly offended by the images of the women personally, if they are in a Playboy magazine where, if I want to look at them, I can buy one. However, I really don’t want them paraded in my face while I’m on a beautiful mountain giving me no choice but to see them and I certainly don’t want Saul (my son) exposed to this sort of thing at a very young age while he’s hanging around in a snowboard park watching older boys. Burton, who ironically run camps especially for women to get them into the sport (they really do want everyone), are sending out totally the wrong message to their mainly young customers – male and female. It would be nice to think this board will fail, but I’m sure it won’t sadly.
One good thing about them though, you see a guy on one of these and you can make a pretty accurate judgement about what a complete tw@t he is, and avoid him!
And the dudes who are REALLY cool will avoid them (along with the boards out with people chopping off their fingers with scissors, etc. which are also offensive! But that’s a whole nother argument).
Joanne
Below is how Burton describe their ‘LOVE’ boarding range … 

burton_logo

Hi. My name is Love™ and I’m on the market for someone who’s looking to score serious action, no matter where they like to stick it. I enjoy laps through the park; long, hard grinds on my meaty Park Edges followed by a good, hot waxing. Whether you’re hitting it from the front or the back, my mid wide shape, supple flex, and twin tips like it kinky. Keegan and Mikkel love riding me, I hope you will too. 

Sound a bit more like some card you could pick up out of a telephone box in SOHO!