By Marina Trajkovich
This Post originally appeared on Being Human.
No, Ariana Grande’s “revealing stage outfits,” were not the reason for the devastating Manchester terror bombing this month.
… And putting the word BRALESS in caps will not make me more likely to read an article about what Jessica Hart was wearing the other day.
In this instance I scroll back –
And it’s not because of Jess’ coquettishly, slim-line figure and titillatingly plunging neckline, revealing a slither of BREAST and the tie that teasingly caresses her SLENDER WAIST.
In spite of myself I read the article.
As a woman with an (ashamedly and work-in-progress) self-critical view of her body I notice how often Jess’ THINNESS is celebrated. AND OMG BOOBS. *mental eye-roll.
Who was this article even aimed at? Pretty sure no woman is going to give two hoots about her bra and that men clicking for a risqué nip imprint won’t notice her fantastic cork wedges. I’ve now lost minutes of my life on this mediocre and ‘meh’ article.
I keep scrolling- slightly miffed by unnecessary capitalisation but unsurprised by article 1 in a squillion like this.
Using Ariana Grande’s legs as insensitive click bait for an article about a tragedy, on the other hand has rightly ruffled feathers. In fact, its plucked and fileted the whole damned bird.
Media gives us entertainment and information. Its unavoidable and has the capacity to shape our opinions and perpetuate stereotypes and ideas.
I really believe that with this power comes the need to be ethical.
People defending the article argue that it does not blame Grande for the terror attack. Its writer James Harkin may not have even chosen the headline and social media caption- words that are an example of what’s wrong with how women are discussed in the media.
But it inexplicitly slut-shamed a woman who has been recently traumatised and a picture of her with her leg up as a click-baity excuse to use a sexy picture- for a story about a terror crime that has left a collective bruise on the world that is still tender.
If after this people can still believe that the media doesn’t perpetuate victim blaming they are deranged. Looking at both these stories in the Daily Mail it’s clear that there is a constant rhetoric of objectification and a ‘damned if you do’ ‘damned if you don’t attitude,’ around female sexuality.
Studies show that headlines are the thing we remember most when we read news. They are important in the sense that they will drive traffic for the source but also impact its audience-whether we realise it or not.
Using racially charged, vilifying or sexually objectifying language when selling the stories we are surrounded with has an impact on our culture and our thoughts and we need to understand this.
Our media should respect its responsibility to consider the ethics and impact of language and not to exploit it and contribute to damaging messages just for the sake of clicks.
Related content and links:
The ‘Stop Funding Hate,’ crowd funding campaign, looks at how some media outlets financially benefit from anti- immigration rhetoric and how boycotting advertisers who support it could stop this spread of hate.