Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Media, market foster harmful images of women

To the editor:

I was standing in line at the grocery store where, standing right in front of me, was a girl of about 12. She was inching her cart along behind her mother. Meanwhile she’s looking hard to the right, which directs my gaze to a magazine rack thick with high-gloss photos of women in various degrees of bodily exposure. The soft porn.

Standing there close to this unknown and delicate child I wondered what might be going through her mind about the way women are portrayed in the media — essentially as bait to draw the attention of the consumer in hopes of getting a sale.

And, since we live in a society in which the levels of sexual violence is way beyond even the most brutish standards of human decency, it must be concluded that we, as representative of American society, find this kind of stimulus to a girl’s soul as not at all harmful to her emerging self-image and, therefore, separate from sexual violence.

The images of women on the magazine racks are not separate from sexual violence. These images prepare a young person’s heart to find acceptable the idea of a woman being used as bait for the fishing fleets (for indeed this is what these magazines do, go fishing).

We haven’t come very far in liberating women from the chains of sexual exploitation if we still secretly encourage our daughters, or somebody else’s daughters, to disrobe and suggest that disrobing is perfectly acceptable if there’s a market for.

Money beat all, huh?

I must say: Issues of sexuality are right up there with war as a means of creating mountains of human misery. And the problem will never even begin to go away until we, as part of American society, relearn that modesty is more precious than gold.

Ralph J. Dolan


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