More on objectification

Yesterday I wrote about Ed Yong’s blog on how objectification silences women, and today I’m going to point you in the direction of Beth Doherty: The Summernats sideshow:

In this year’s “family friendly” Summernats, Canberra car festival patrons have been given as part of their promotional showbag copies of Ralph, FHM and Zoo magazines. Why don’t they just hand out Playboy as well and be done with it – after all, this quality literature has so much to do with cars, right?

One of the saddest aspects of this culture is the forced complicity of women in their own objectification. Somewhere in our upbringing, and I would venture to say as a result of media such as the abovementioned magazines and the bizarre appeal of Playboy merchandise, women are being taught that their worth is in how many lewd comments they get when they flash their bikini clad nipples to drunken sunburnt louts.

4 responses to “More on objectification

  1. Kristin Westlake

    I think that’s a bit rich, really. Obviously Beth didn’t go to Summernats or she’d know that both the Street Machine of the Year (the most coveted show car prize) and Apprentice of the Year were won by women this year – Angela Dow and NAdja Lenehan – and the most anticipated burnout demonstration of the weekend was by a woman as well – Debbie Gray. Women ruled ‘Nats 2010 and both the boys and girls recognised and applauded that.

    Not many women at the ‘Nats behave as you suggest at all, and many entrants and regular patrons are women who enjoy hanging out with likeminded auto lovers. I am a longtime patron of Summernats and this year luckily was able to work there as well. I am Sick. And. Tired. of reading self-righteous ‘Nats-bashing by women who have obviously never been to the show and have no idea about the culture or the very fine people that are part of it.

    Put 85,000 people in a crowd and you are bound to get some bad behaviour but don’t tar us all with the same brush, and remember some of your sisters enjoy the ‘Nats as much – or more – than the males you seem to so despise. The ‘no reprimand’ comment is just crap – security crews did a fine job this year of evicting those who didn’t behave.

    The Summernats is a wild, loud, fun event for people who enjoy hot cars. It is not a “porn fest” unless your idea of porn is a supercharged Monaro (mine is). I was at the show from the day before to the day after, slept on site and attended the late shows, and wore a singlet and short-shorts the whole time and never felt threatened once.

    If the Summernats is not your thing, that’s fine. But you are objectifying the patrons of the show as much as, or more, you PERCEIVE that women are objectified. And you’re letting the whole female car-loving side down as a result.

    • I’ve never been to Summernats – cars aren’t my thing – but I think what Beth Doherty was getting at was what happened once the sun went down. (I work in a newsroom and all the photos we get from Summernats once the families leave are of the ‘show us yer tits’ variety, but that might be because that’s what the photographers take photos of.)

      I linked to her opinion piece because it followed on from yesterday’s discussion about objectification. And yes, objectification is real – but I’m not sure if the end of your comment is directed at me or at Beth Doherty.

    • I don’t disagree with you, you make some fair points. However I don’t think the Beth Doherty article suggests in any place that women do not participate in the nats and do not enjoy cars.

      I think it is concerned about the abuse and objectification of women that occurs. Are you really saying that you have never seen women draped over cars to ‘sex them up’ or men shouting show is yer tits down there because that is NOT what I hear from first hand accounts.

  2. I worked with a girl who loved the nats and went religiously every year. I think she was so-so about cars but she admitted freely that what she loved about it was ‘hot boys’, getting wasted and showing her tits. I thought it was an odd way to spend a weekend personally and I had a V8 SS Torana that was my pride and joy.

    Now I am sure she is just one of a cohort, other cohorts include car lovers, families, tourists and boofheads. If I understand NWN and the other article correctly – this is not a critique of who goes to the nats but the way women are objectified and portrayed, particularly in reporting. It is living embodiment of the phrase ‘fast cars and loose women’. Formula 1, NAS cars and rallying (to a lesser extent from my experience, but then it was in North Wales in the winter and no one is stupid enough to take their top off in that weather) are all guilty of objectifying women.

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