Say it with a Picture: Notice to men – don’t read the walls

We needed to find a woman who wasn’t so pretty that she conformed to a patriarchal norm of beauty, but not so plain that no-one would want to look at her.

In this latest instalment of Say it with a Picture, we examine the subconscious messages delivered to men, by advertisements in public places which are purported to empower women.  Many a verbose, psuedo-psychoanalyical article has been written on, and various SJW campaigns launched regarding, the presentation of women in advertising, and the messages conveyed to women via the depiction of women.

You do not watch enough netball. Because you are sexist. And worthless.

If a smile can make all the difference between a group of naked women appearing empowered, or not smiling and appearing comely, and thus, apparently, unempowered, then surely there are few limits we should place on analysing the effect of advertising messages designed to empower women, on men.

If you are white and male, please proceed to the back of the bus, I mean, the yoga circle, line, thingy. And can the man in the back row middle please put his head back down like the good man next to him.

Obviously, the messages I have put below the pictures are not the direct, conscious messages the pictures intend to deliver.  But that is not the point.  The whole point of attacks on advertising or music videos for their depiction of women, has to do with the unconscious messages they present to women of all ages.  An advertisement to sell soft drink apparently tells a woman that she is fat.  Who are we, then, to pooh-pah the idea that an advertisement designed to promote feminism isn’t also designed to make men want to kill themselves?

Diversity is perky and fun, and it keeps you fit. You are a man. You are not diversity.

Perhaps I am reading too much into these pictures.  Perhaps the social media campaigns, the boycotts, the letters to the editor, are reading too much into the advertising, as well.  Or perhaps, if a picture is worth a thousand words, I am being remarkably succint.

Women are stronger than you. It is your job to empower women. Do not lower your eyes anywhere below her upper back. And for goodness sake, get your hands off her. You should kill yourself.

As you can probably tell, this piece isn’t meant to be persuasive.  But a lot of men, and a lot of good people who are determined to raise the boys under their care into strong, independent men who value their own masculinity, and the contribution their masculinity can make to society, will know what I’m talking about here.

Men are taught, through our education system, through advertising, through film and tv, that their role in society is to put their own happiness second.

If you are male, and you want to value yourself for who you are, don’t read the walls.

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David has studied history and political science at Melbourne University. His thesis was written on how the utilisation of Missile Defence can help to achieve nuclear disarmament. His interest in history was piqued by playing a flight simulator computer game about the Battle of Britain, and he hopes to one day siphon the earnings from his political writings into funding the greatest prog-rock concept album the world has ever seen.