Objectification vs Empowerment
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.