Ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion vs Empowerment

CLEO (Singapore) - - IN THIS ISSUE - S e So­phie As­so­ciate Hong Ed­i­tor

You may re­call the back­lash against the SGIn­staBabes Pa­treon cam­paign and its founder Lai Wee Kiat. As the events un­folded, we learned that the ac­count had an iffy past re­gard­ing post­ing pho­tos of mi­nors. And some of the girls re­port­ed­edly did not con­sent to hav­ing their pho­tos used on Pa­treon. But the cherry on top was Wee Kiat's re­sponse to the crit­i­cism.

He claimed his in­ten­tions were in­no­cent, and had the au­dac­ity to flip the script by say­ing that ev­ery woman has "the right to por­tray her­self as sexy". He also had the nerve to urge us to "stop de­grad­ing girls who post sexy pho­tos of them­selves".

Just how de­luded is this guy? That aside, the whole de­ba­cle got me think­ing about what fe­male sex­u­al­ity and empowerment is – and it cer­tainly has noth­ing to do with a guy who thinks it's his life mis­sion to val­i­date girls by post­ing their scant­ily-clad pho­tos on­line. It is when I get to post my bikini pho­tos on my own

In­sta­gram feed. It is when I get to de­cide whether I want to go home with a guy af­ter a date or not. It is when I get to dis­play my sex­u­al­ity on my own terms.

And while we're on this topic, here's a re­minder on how a guy be­haves when he’s re­spect­ful of a girl’s bound­aries: - He nods and says "OK" when you tell him "no". - He doesn't try to guilt you af­ter you've said "no". - He asks be­fore at­tempt­ing any­thing sex­ual.

In an ideal world, peo­ple would be re­spect­ful of each other and gen­der re­la­tions wouldn’t be dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate. But the re­al­ity is we live in a world where there are preda­tors and misog­y­nists, which com­pli­cates things.

Take the in­cel move­ment (p66). Incels are a group of men who are very vo­cal on the In­ter­net about their in­abil­ity to find a ro­man­tic part­ner. And they are di­rect­ing their anger and frus­tra­tion at women – some­times rather vi­o­lently.

I look for­ward to a day when we don’t have to write about incels, or men like Har­vey We­in­stein, Eden Ang, and Lai Wee Kiat any­more. But un­til then, let’s all look out for one an­other.

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