Used Body Parts (Female)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

A few days ago over at we were “treated” to a couple of really disturbing videos.  The subject of both was how women are presented in advertising. One video was a compilation of images by the GABRIELA NetworkUSA which is described as  “A Philippine-US Women’s Solidarity Mass Organization, est. 1989.”  It’s aim is to empower Filipinas living in the U.S., but the video is a must-see  for every woman. The other video which features images interspersed with a discussion of their impact by Jean Kilbourne is called “Killing Us Softly 3.” (The information on how much advertising we see seems to date from 1999, but the age of the video doesn’t diminish its impact.)

The post which features these videos is called BURN  IT DOWN WOMEN .

I’m old enough to remember when the objectification of women in advertising and other media was a real cause for women’s groups. Sadly, they don’t seem to really care about it now.  Instead, they seem more interested in endorsing misogynistic Presidential candidates and then whining about it.


For some reason I occasionally get email from the much detested Newsmax, although these days they seem almost sane when compared to the “mainstream media.”  Yesterday, the message was about a calendar, with a sample of what was included inside.

You can see what I saw in my email if you click on this link.  Frankly, it’s a really nice departure from what’s being dished out in advertising and cable stations like VH1, etc. Or a Ludacris video.  Or, worse, what passes as “reporting” on topics of a sexual or “cultural” nature which go for the most exploitative images of women producers can possibly find whenever possible.  Even watching one blonde after another on FOX gets to me, since they are all the same color blonde, it seems, and are made up like Kewpie dolls or older versions of Barbie. They are not individuals, just interchangeable talking mouths.

Now, if you don’t feel like going to the Newsmax store to see what’s there, I’ll give you a small sample.  These calendar pictures seem like a breath of fresh air, not necessarily because they are about Sarah Palin.  Just the range of pictures is a pleasant change, from home to campaign trail to her role as governor, all taken by a Wasilla, Alaska photographer named Judy Patrick who served as Vice Mayor of Wasilla when Palin was Mayor. A real woman doing things she normally does.

One could ask whether this sort of calendar “objectifies” Sarah Palin — does this go beyond admiration into the realm of objectification?  It seems more like a family photo album, but somebody is making money off it; I’m sure the photographer isn’t getting the lion’s share of the profit.  In the mall today, I saw one remaining calendar featuring Obama and his “words of hope.”  Where does that fit in?  Are these calendars just plain vanilla exploitation?  I don’t know…

Ironically, only a few days ago, BBC America repeated the movie “Calendar Girls” (2003) which starred Julie Walters, Helen Mirren, and nearly every older woman I’ve ever seen on Masterpiece Theater.

As you recall, the movie is based on a true story about how a fundraiser dedicated to raising money to purchase something as gift in memory of a late husband mushrooms into an international event.  There are nude older women, posed discreetly behind plants and buns and it’s good fun, but with the additional message of how the increasing hype jeopardizes a friendship.  (The story is highly fictionalized; see the facts, here.)   BUT, when you think about it, a nude woman, young or old, being used to sell more calendars and make more money is still what’s going on.  And the mature women are “girls,” of course.  Acceptable “objectification” for a good cause?? Mmmm…

Then there’s the promotion for the film–now THIS really IS “objectification.”

As Jean Kilbourne mentions in “Killing Us Softly 3,” the absence of the woman’s face is typical of how ads focus on one  body part, rather than the whole person.

Sigh. I feel like I’m in the process of dredging up all the stuff that’s hidden in the gravel on the bottom of the fish tank.  We really need to attend to this, don’t you think???  Hey, NOW…how about returning to reality and helping us out?? Consciousness raising, anyone?


Last night as I was writing this post, I had “Mr. Roberts” on in the background and noticed the pinup posters on the lockers of all the crew. I remembered how Betty Grable was THE pinup girl during WW II (I also recalled that she died on July 4th…I heard the news on the way to the 4th of July Party thrown by the U.S. Embassy in Rome back in 1973) …Today, this, a “re-make ” of a pin-up calendar in the style of WWII pin-ups.  At least they’ve got clothes on!!!

California Woman Raises Troop Morale, Funds With ‘Pin-Ups for Vets’ Calendar

15 Responses

  1. IA. I also remember Betty Grable. Not only was she a hit as a pin-up girl, but her husband Harry James was a hit as a musician.

    It’s strange, looking back on it now, but I don’t think her pin-up pictures were considered too much exposure at that time because all of this violence towards women wasn’t prevelant at that time? Am I right, or did I just not see it. Not quite old enough, maybe. With age comes wisdom (sometimes) and maybe it was there but I just didn’t see it. What do you think?

    With scum like Jon what’s his name writing speeches for the president-elect, and the “One” himself giving Hillary the finger, it emboldens other scum to act likewise. The information you provided should give women a lot to think about. I had seen one of the videos (courtesy of Leslie), but the shock was still there.

    If the women who pose for these distasteful pctures would only realize that they are demeaning the whole of female society by displaying their a@@es for money, they would maybe think twice about doing it.

    To me they are just as much a prostitute as the one who stands scantily clad on a street corner vying for customers.

    Sometimes women are their own worst enemies.

  2. P,S.

    Palin is great, whether on a calander or on the campaign trail. I admire her greatly.

  3. Sorry, I spelled calendar wrong.

  4. Lee,

    We’ll forgive you for the typo. Regarding pin-ups like Betty Grable, you’re right, there was less severe violence, but it was just as widely accepted. I think it was the precursor to what we see today – a woman as bright and talented as Betty Grable had to demean herself to be a sex object for millions of men just to advance her career – something hubby Harry never had to do.

    But honestly, I have just as much problem with the teens that wander around in tight lycra pants that say “Bitch” on the butt, or mini-skirts with half a skimpy T-shirt cut to their navels as someone that poses for soft porn. As distasteful as the ads are, at least these women are getting paid for it (and for all I know are using the money to save their dying mother’s life or pay for their child’s surgery. Not ideal, but at least there’s some possible justification). These young girls (I can’t call them women) are demeaning themselves and making themselves objects for no reason whatsoever other than to get pregnant (like it really takes that much to attract a sperm donor) by a “baby daddy”.

    But Sarah made my day again by blasting the women that used her to advance their own careers!

  5. Lee said:

    If the women who pose for these distasteful pctures would only realize that they are demeaning the whole of female society by displaying their a@@es for money, they would maybe think twice about doing it.

    To me they are just as much a prostitute as the one who stands scantily clad on a street corner vying for customers.

    Sometimes women are their own worst enemies.

    I agree about the prostitute part 100%. I’m sure the high priced model who’s face and form is plastered on all the ads thinks herself far above some lowly streetwalker. If said model is allowing herself to be objectified for money she’s doning basically the same thing. No better and maybe worse because she’s lying to herself.

  6. Marge, I saw some of the interview on O’Reilly last night…
    I still like Palin! She questioned the right things…
    Of course, O’Reilly followed with a discussion with Rick Santorum and an idiot female “conservative” critic who opined that at least Obama LOOKED like had expereince, which apparently surpasses actual experience! And Santorum was lame, too, giving away Palin’s “faux pas” as a given.

    Obama’s “appearance” counts more, his ability to fake it …withe the aid of the media–is far superior than Palin.

    Of course, nobody ever mentioned the highly edited nature of the interviews…

    GIVE ME A BREAK! Frankly, I hope Palin continues to be Palin, even if she doesn’t run for anything national again.

  7. (OT-sorry)

    Weblog Awards 2008:

    It’s the PUMA Blogs vs. the OBOT blogs. And PUMAs need your help!!

    It takes only a minute. It’s easy!

    Vote Here:

    Thank you so much!
    Have a wonderful day!

  8. Hi Everyone!
    I have had no time in the past many days to comment or write so this is going to sound a bit disjointed and OT. But I don’t care.
    It’s my birthday and I’ll write what I want to,
    write what I want to, write what I want to….
    you can write too, when it happens to you 🙂

    Has anyone noticed that we have a “President-Elect”?
    Jeebus Crispies on toast points!

    If I hear the phrase “President Elect Barack Obama” ever again, I’ll pound something! He can’t speak about Hamas because we have only “one president at a time”, but he can’t STFU when it comes to the economy “This is the worst economy in the history (of the world, I suppose)”. He’s going to “fix” Social Security and Medicare, but not end the wars. b@#t@%d

    Shoot. I’ve been tightening my belt for the past 3 years (the last time I received a raise) and there isn’t much more I can eliminate. I’m making juuust enough to disqualify my getting a discount at the YMCA so I can at least exercise, but not enough to afford the monthly fees (even though they didn’t increase for the first time in years). So now, I can’t exercise save walking to/from the train every work day, and my Medicare benefits may not exist in the future because the Librul Messiah wants to “fix” the “entitliments.

    I sent the videos mentioned above to many – my son and daughters included. I found it interesting that only my son responded. It may be the “girls” didn’t even watch the vids. My son was offended and even said he wants to show “Killing Us Softly 3” to his classes. (What a guy!)

    I read the CNN article ” Palin takes digs at Fey, Couric” (thanks GG) and then scrolled down to the comments…Geesh! I can’t believe how really ugly people are. And I also can’t believe how the lies of just what Governor Palin supposedly said, are still being perpetuated. Just because I didn’t agree with some of her beliefs, doesn’t mean I did respect her and her accomplishments. (I quit reading/buying the NewYorker – despite Sy Hersh, NewsWeek, Vanity Fair, The Nation, The Progressive, and others I can’t even remember because of the misogyny and the cult-like worship of the Librul Messiah )

    Also, I am not one bit surprised that “the site not to be named” at the Confluence is cheating at the Weblogs 2008 awards voting. I read wonkette years ago when ann maria cox was still writing. It has become a cess pool since she left and was taken over by m#n. It is now promoting a new way to “vote” on the awards poll so that Confluence, which had been leading, as well as other PUMA leaning sites, are being soundly defeated.

    Guess who “the site not to be named” supported in the primaries… yup, TehOne. I guess if cheating in the primaries and caucuses is okay, then by g*d it is perfect for the Weblogs 2008 Awards.

    Okay, I’m done for now. I’m going out to shovel snow so that I can walk to the train and back. it’s my birthday and I took this day off from work for the first time evah. I hope i’m around long enough (and employed long enough) to do this again and again and again.


  9. I, leslie, said above: ” Just because I didn’t agree with some of her beliefs, doesn’t mean I did respect her and her accomplishments”

    did in the above comment ought to read didn’t


  10. Delurking to wish Leslie a wonderfully, wonderful, supercalifragalistic birthday! Back when I used to have birthdays (I’m 39…really I am! I have been for 20 years so I should know) I used to put on Glen Yarborough’s album (honey and wine) and play “Happy Birthday to Me” Unfortunately, it’s not on youtube, or I’d link it, however, maybe this one will suffice:

  11. Leslie,

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Glad you took the day off!

    As far as the awards go, Uppity Woman was kicking ass under Best New Blog until the evil children at wankette specifically targeted her because she’s a PUMA site. I strongly encourage everyone to vote, if for no other reason then to p!$$ them off!

    Sarah Palin will be back to fight another day!


    And may you have many, many more.

  13. Leslie, HAPPY BIRTHDAY…

    You don’t look your age!! LOL!!!


    Do you remember when Ralph Kramden always threatened to slug Alice all the time???? Whew…

  14. Thanks everyone.
    I loved the “Happy Birthday” video. I’m going to send it out for every birthday from now on.

    HT ~ I used to listen to Glen Yarborough, too. I don’t have any of his music, though. I guess I lost those albums in the “divorce lottery” (as we call it here). 😉

  15. i remember sitting thru USO shows on the ship just to get a burger & chips on a long cruise. they flew girlie road shows out to sea. everything is geared to the males. it was embarrassing. absolutely no entertainment for women.
    then on movie night porno movies in the workshop. disgusting. the military is still a throw back to old times.
    Obama is lord of his stinking ship called Amerikkka now.

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