Turn on the television, open a magazine, or just walk down the street and you will be bombarded with sexualised images of women, for the most part very young women (or teenagers).
We live in city with five lap-dancing clubs, but not one of those sex clubs is packed with male pole-dancers. Instead the clubs are full of men who are prepared to pay through the nose to gaze upon naked women. This is a hobby that only serves to weaken women’s ongoing battle for sexual equality.
But despite living in culture that is fixated upon youth and airbrushed good looks, it seems that while men are the primary beneficiaries of sexual injustice, many of us are still incapable of rationally engaging with the problems caused by their sexuality.
Leicester Mercury reporter Peter Warzynski is a prime example. Reflecting upon his qualms about reviewing the book Hallelujah for 50ft Women: Poems about Women’s Relationship to their Bodies, he admits “I’m slightly out of my comfort zone writing about it.”
He continues: “In a desensitised world where nothing appears to be off-limits, most men will still revert back to being timid eight-year-old when the subject of the female form is brought up in a conversation – a conversation with a women, anyway” (October 17, Mercury).
This is a major problem, for women, anyway. A problem that is borne out by women’s everyday experiences of sexism, and the sexual violence that is inflicted upon their bodies.
“Overall recorded crime has fallen in Leicestershire,” but there have been “sharp rises” in sex offences along with vehicle thefts revealed the Mercury (October 16). “Sexual offences rose by 20 per cent on the previous year to 1,351”.
The police kindly put a positive spin on sexualised attacks, whose victims are mostly women. Their spokesperson pointed out in the Mercury that such crimes “are under-reported so an increase in the number of reports show victims have the confidence to come forward and contact the police.”
This can only be a good thing, but cuts to frontline police services (that are driven by the lies of austerity) will mean that soon women won’t even have police officers to talk to. By 2017 Leicestershire Police will be employing just 1,726 officers, 570 less than were on hand in 2009 (October 16, Mercury).
Tragically, reported sex offences have been steadily increasing from 2012, when 862 such crimes were reported. (Prior to 2012 reports of sex crimes had been decreasing year on year from a high of 1,371 in 2005.)
Let’s just hope that the announcement that another strip club will be opening in Leicester, combined with Government cuts for services helping women escape from domestic violence, won’t work to contribute to further crimes against women in the future.
This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury on 19th October.