Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Real Football! Not that World Cup Rubbish...

I went to a local women's football training session on Monday. I took my small friend hoping that she would join in and expend some energy; she has aggression issues and needs to convert all her rage into something positive. She loved the games and the training and to my surprise, so did I. I play badminton once a week but I really need to do more exercise and I think this may be my answer!

The training ran for two hours and it was such an uplifting delightful sight to behold. There were approximately 20 young women aged 12 and up, legging it about on a field getting sweaty and muddy, falling over and leaping back up, booting the ball and playing really great football. I was electrified. The power on that pitch was tangible. There were all sorts of body shapes and sizes, tall women and short women, fat women and tiny women. I was wearing my work clothes and couldn't really get involved in the games but I can't wait to join in. I can't adequately express my joy at having stumbled into this energising, woman - centred space. I am going to buy new sports kit!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Nip? Tuck? Anyone?

Some time ago I complained to the Advertising Standards Agency about an advert for the Sky one series "Nip/Tuck". The advert appear in one of the Sunday magazines and went like this:

The two main male characters were sitting in an empty operating theatre. They were wearing their finest suits and looking mean and brooding. Draped across one of the men's laps was a slender and white naked woman with scalpels inserted into her body at various points. There was a similar naked woman standing elsewhere in the picture.

I got annoyed and dashed off a complaint. To me it seemed obvious; the advert was offensive on many many levels, not even considering the programme it advertised. It was not obvious, however, to the folk at the ASA. Here's the important part of their reply:

"the advertisement reflected the content of the programme, which was an adult drama about the private and professional lives of two male cosmetic surgeons" Yeeeeees? "the pose of the woman lying on her back was stylised; there was no blood emanating from around the scalpel" aaaaah, I get it.."The advertisement was unlikely to encourage violence against women or to cause serious or widespread offence to readers of national press titles." Ok then.

So, it's not offensive because there's no blood, the pose of the women was stylised and the fictitious men were plastic surgeons. The problem is that it SHOULD be offensive. The general public ought to be recognising that these are violent images of powerless women. Instead, these images just wash over people and their influences seep into the collective consciousness. We become more tolerant with every picture. I intend to complain more often, and with a louder voice.