Monday, May 27, 2013

Lad Mags

Shouts to UK Feminista for their campaign to ban Lad Mags from display. I have been shocked at one of the Universities that I work for (they all have Equality clauses in their constitutions) by what seems to be acceptable to them.
A rack of t-shirts featuring naked women printed on them for sale in the student market (Student Union reaction to my complaint 'We can't control what people sell').
Student Union shop- not on the top shelf but mingled in with the fashion and music titles (I was tempted to make a pile of spoof naked men mags and add them to the shelf as a protest installation).
Finally, there is a set of shelves in the main part of the University where piles of free magazines turn up from time to time- normally boring stuff but with the occasional pile of 'Wallpaper', and so on.
One day a pile of mags with a truly disgusting cover appeared. They made me feel like crying and after a five minute mope in the office I went down and kidnapped the whole pile and stuck them under a chair in my office. A month later I shoved the whole lot into the recycling bin.
The point is, part of my music teaching is about people respecting each other. That's what people have to do at University; the students come from diverse backgrounds and beliefs and we have to create an environment where they can re-think their approach to life and what is 'normal', or believing that What Sells Must Be Good (which is an ever-increasing concern).
Iceland is moving from a discussion about pornography into a possible ban. Some young people there are concerned about censorship and freedom of speech issues; it is worth remembering that the Paedophile Information Exchange between 1974 and 1984 cited these issues as some sort of justification for their profile and their activities.
There are many voices that clamour against the perceived censorship of images of naked women, whether in print media, film, or on the internet, regardless of what these women are doing.
In my working and teaching environment, I want all of the students to be able to concentrate on studying, to rise above the flood of derogatory images of women and the attitudes that travel alongside them, and to learn to respect each other free from the secret (or not so secret) 'other' that reaches into the gutter of sniggering exploitation that lad mags suck upon.
It's as simple as that.

No comments: