Monthly Archives: September 2009

Il corpo delle donne

Thank you, Giovanni, for the pointer to this nuanced documentary about representations of women on television.

Il corpo delle donneWomen bodies

Some quotes:

Since the only sign of desirability we are able to recognize is an explicit reference to sex, we have changed our entire imagery into that of a strip club. To film these images you have to position the camera before the shot the same way you do in pornography starting with the breast, the pubic area, thighs, exactly like a porn movie. But we are actually watching public broadcasting. (8.58 ff minutes)

The damage caused by the lack of visibility of older faces is not a small one: the faces showed to the public are only shaved faces, wearing make-up, ready for the screen to sell products, goods, or politics. (15.22 ff minutes)

We see only a few images of adult and non artificial women, and those images are fierce ones: these women are harpies that attack younger ones, with whom there is can be [sic] no aesthetic comparison. This is unfair because of the age difference, and the young girls are humiliated. what happens when faces can’t show their vulnerability any more. Where can we find pietas, sincerity, where can we look for those answers that stand the grounds for cohesion in a society? (17.27 ff minutes)

Watch with care. Some of the images are disturbing (eg. 22.56 ff). Even more disturbing is that I found so many of the images… ordinary.

New Zealand Book Month challenge

NZBMsmlOctober is New Zealand Book Month, and Ele of Homepaddock has issued a challenge: blog a New Zealand book every day of the month. Rob Hosking is taking up the challenge, promising some real delights:

Bollard and Buckle’s “Economic Liberalisation in New Zealand’ is a real page turner. And Malcolm McKinnon History of the NZ Treasury will have you on the edge of your seat. [link]

That’s clearly Rob’s area of expertise. I don’t have an area of literary expertise, but we do have a lot of New Zealand children’s books. So each day in October, I will write about one (or more) of these books:


Because it’s never wrong to use women’s bodies to sell things

The Otago Daily Times (ODT) is one of New Zealand’s more conservative papers. So it’s not at all surprising that it has turned down this advertisement for a restaurant in Queenstown:


The National Business Review (NBR) reports that the advertisement was turned down because it was “too suggestive.” Apparently, the restaurant and its advertising agents were trying to create an advertisement that would go viral, with “a good level of interaction that would capture people with humour.” The NBR describes the ad as “cheeky” and “naughty” – words that indicate a trivial level of wrong doing, mischief rather than anything wrong at all. Clearly, anyone who doesn’t like the ad just doesn’t have a sense of humour.

Well, that would be me then. Because I see nothing amusing at all in exploiting women’s bodies.

And of course, the ODT is now being derided for being “wowsers.” Great. NB: DON’T read the comments thread in that link.


Chally has the fifth edition of the revived Carnival of Feminists up at her place, Zero at the Bone, illustrated with a beautiful wordle of the words used in the posts in the carnival. The carnival has posts from feminists all over the world; make yourself a large cup of coffee, and go read.

dufclogoAnd the monthly Down Under Feminists Carnival is coming up soon. It’s being hosted by the fabulous Queen of Thorns, at Ideologically Impure. You can send submissions to QoT via the DUFC submission page, or if the page won’t work for you, send them to her e-mail address: qotblog at gmail dot com. Any feminist post, broadly interpreted, published in September by any down under blogger (broadly interpreted) is eligible for the October edition of the carnival. Just for once, this reminder is not going to be accompanied by a plea for people to volunteer to host the carnival: Lauredhel now has a schedule of hosts for DUFC that extends out to this time next year. Fantastic.

Tiger Airlines breastfeeding fail and win

A mother from Melbourne was asked to cover her baby up while she was feeding him on a Tiger Airlines Flight.

Airline Breastfeeding Bungle

The fail bit – a flight attendant covered the baby up with a blanket without even asking the mother, saying, “I know it’s natural, but some people may not like to see it.” When the mother checked with the passenger near her, he assured her that he wasn’t offended at all – “No, not at all.” So the flight attendant retreated to suggesting that people walking up and down the aisle might be offended.

I’m guessing that it was the flight attendant who was twitchy about a mother feeding her baby, and she just used “other passengers” as a handy excuse. It’s a big fail on the part of the flight attendant.

But the Tiger Airlines win? They reviewed the incident, disciplined the staff member, set up a new policy and are training staff in it to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Excellent!