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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

“Stab” writer Mike Jennings:

“You can leer at the 16-year-old as you would an adult woman, so long as you’re ignorant,” Stab writer Mike Jennings said. “Once you become aware of their age you must look away.”

Uh…yeah. How exactly does that *work* fuckwit? And particularly, how does it work in relation to putting a naked 16 year old (covered in graffiti) on the front cover of your magazine? Are you putting a warning on the magazine that adult men should ‘look away’? Aren’t you sending a stronger message to ‘keep on looking’ by putting the naked 16 year old on the front cover? [E.T.A – with a scrawled ‘sign’ of ‘She’s only 16!’ pointing to her].

Correct me if I’m totally out of line here, but to me a naked teenager on the front cover of a surf magazine says it’s fine to leer at sixteen year olds, in fact, I’d say that right around the time of ‘schoolies’ on the Gold Coast and other beach areas, a teenager naked posed with the ‘come hither’ look, with the word “THINGS” scrawled in texta on her arm and a sign pointing at her reading ‘She’s only 16!’strongly suggests that teenage girls are things, hot sexay things, good for some solid ‘Toolie’ fun and games, a conquest, something to score (perhaps using the pointers in ‘How to get a woman to yes’ as advertised on Ella’s left on the front page).

And his response? What a pathetic excuse for an attempt at insight and justification. “A 16 year old girl can choose for herself” would have been far less objectionable. But this faux-coy ‘You should look away when you know’ crapola when you’ve just PUT a naked 16 year old ON your front cover NEXT to a sign that says (dangling the premise tauntingly, salaciously) ‘She’s only 16!’? Please. If it’s wrong once you know then you can’t defend your cover, if you think it’s fine then at least have the gumption to own your decision, don’t play it both ways.

(See story of the front page here)

To be clear, the girl in question is attempting starting a modelling career (indeed the prize was a modelling work with a Sydney agency), so front cover of a mag is a good opportunity for her (though the naked shot may impact on *her* career negatively from comments by her agency). This is NOT in any way ‘slut shaming’ or any suggestion that girls who play the game by the preset rules are anti-feminist/doing anything wrong…the world is totally fucked and opportunities for power/advancement/money/prestige for women are sorely limited.

Girls aren’t morons, they know that teenagers are lusted after, that they can turn heads, that they can make money and a career, albeit brief as a shooting star when they’re considered in their ‘prime’ – that is 15 to 22-ish.

After that they’re has-beens and it’s back to mediochre employment/advancement/pay options or marriage + babies = good woman equation (with the hidden subclause of ‘Haha, you didn’t really expect us to RESPECT you as a wife and a mother or support you did you? FOOL!’)

Yes, as Mike is so keen to point out 16 year old girls ‘do know’ that they’re moving into womanhood. You know HOW they know? They’ve been leered at since 13 and they’ve absorbed the message that young girls are HOT STUFF for adult men from well BEFORE adolescence by the constant stream of comments by adults on teenage girls, by the popularity of ‘teen’ and ‘preteen’ porn, by the obsession with sexualising girls like Miley Cyrus (and Anna Kournikova back in the day).

So young girls using the sense of ‘power’ on offer, of turning it around to work in some way for them when it happens regardless of posing on covers  (it happens when you’re simply walking down the street in a sweater at 13, and by FAR older men), of making money from the system that leers at you, tells you you’re hot, eggs you on to get your tits out (then calls you a slut if you do), the same industry that serves the perve-interests of adult men in fetishising youth and the whole ‘pre teen’ ideas/industry? This sort of manouvre does not make the girls themselves responsible for the behaviour of adult men, or responsible for the system, or mean they are ‘causing’ it, or necessarily ‘accepting’ it in the larger sense…they’re taking an opportunity for a moment of feeling powerful/powerfully desired. In no way do I think less of them.

But for the guys like Jennings? If it’s wrong (for adult men to leer at 16 year old girls) once you know, and you know that largely you cannot ‘know’ how old the girls you’re leering at are, then how’s about we put adult men in the position of responsibility by asking them to have a little self control and NOT leer at anyone that could possibly be in their teenage years? (Ideally we would require them not to ‘leer’ at all, it is *entirely* possible to notice people you find attractive without being a total sexually harrassing buffoon).

Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot, your individul man-right to collectively leer trumps girls’ rights to walk down the street unharrassed, girls’/womens’ rights to lack of invasive ‘leering’, girls’/womens’ sense of safety and*actual safety* – pretty much anything. The right to leer. Australia doesn’t want a charter of human rights, but that one seems to go without saying. Man-rights go unspoken and yet totally supported, it’s just common sense…anything else would be ‘un-Australian’.

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