Melinda Tankard Reist: Demand an end to sexual objectification

My hope is that that young women might declare that they will no longer be the targets of sexualisation and objectification. I hope that they will boycott companies, advertisers and marketers who trade in their bodies to sell products and services. I hope they will demand an end to the proliferation and globalisation of sexual imagery which contributes to them being seen as valid participants in a public culture of sex where they learn to present hypersexualised prostitute-like versions of themselves to the world.

I hope that girls will demand to be treated better, resisting predatory sexual attitudes and say no to the pressure to adopt pornified role and behaviours. That they will say no to being reduced to service stations for boys. I hope they will throw off the shackles of self-hatred caused by a society which makes them feel bad about themselves with its emphasis on being thin, hot and sexy. I hope they will join the new global grassroots uprising against this dehumanising treatment and make a mark in the world that goes beyond the air-headed cult of celebrity, fashion and a sexualised persona. I hope they seize life with both hands and be all that they can be.

Melinda Tankard Reist is an author, speaker, commentator and advocate for women and girls. She is editor of Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press, September 2009). Melinda is also spokesperson for Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation.

Rebekah Hebbert: We need a new age of chivalry

“That is true culture which helps us to work for the social betterment of all.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

How is our culture treating women? Some like to go on about “equality” and “the wage gap”, but are we forgetting one of the simplest, and yet most effective ways to improve the everyday lives of women?

Good manners.

Really? Manners? Isn’t that a little, I don’t know, simplistic? Trivial? Juvenile? Old-fashioned?

Maybe. But let’s think about it.

Women are suffering because they decided that chivalry was oppressive and degrading, that they could be, wanted to be, “one of the guys”. They made it clear that they want to pay their own way, carve their own path.

And men took them at their word.

So we have dirty language in public, pornography at the supermarket, a growing coarseness in entertainment and public discourse… and nobody holds doors open anymore…

Manners were put in place to protect women, to help them, to make them feel comfortable, to provide a road map for relationships, and to encourage men to treat women properly.

Remind me what was wrong with that again?

Rebekah Hebbert is a homeschool graduate, 20 years old, blogger at, and does event blogs for conservative events. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Francis Phillips: Women should reclaim their feminine genius

“Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” asked Professor Henry Higgins in the musical My Fair Lady. Too many women have been told that this is a legitimate aspiration rather than humorous rhetoric. We have been subjected for decades to the militant feminist propaganda that there is no difference between the sexes. I would like young women of 2020 to proudly reclaim their own identity; not to identify with men or compete against them– the “anything you can do, I can do, better than you” syndrome – but to explore their own intrinsic gifts of empathy, compassion and nurturing, as they are played out at home or in the work place.

This thesis has received support from an unlikely person: Canadian psychologist Susan Pinker. By her own admission a convert from militant feminism, her research into women and careers in her groundbreaking study, The Sexual Paradox, has led her to recognise that the goals and aspirations of women are different from men. She uses the word ‘biological’ where I use ‘intrinsic’ but our conclusions are similar. Young women will be more at peace with themselves – and therefore increase the peace of the world – when they acknowledge their “feminine genius”.

Francis Phillips graduated from Cambridge University, where she read English, now works as a freelance journalist and is married with eight children.

Caterina F. Lorenzo-Molo: Hold onto the best in your cultural heritage

Someone once told me that if you want to destroy a society, destroy its women. Philippine culture has traditionally given women a unique place. Mothers are viewed as the light of the family since they are the nurturers both of children and the man of the house. Our national hero Jose Rizal wrote that his mother was his first mentor, providing great wisdom and insight into everyday life.

But this has changed. Woman’s wisdom has turned into fits of “girl power” and fashion fever. Shyness, once a desirable trait, is now often referred to as a social anxiety disorder; “release that diva in you” is the new call to womanhood — not only in the Philippines but in much of the traditional “woman should be seen, not heard” East. It is a fact that women have often been abused and not accorded the respect they deserve; but current feminism does no better, denying women their femininity.

As the saying goes, behind every good man is a good woman; and behind her, another good woman — because she too was probably nurtured by this warm and mysterious guide. To accept and embrace this is true feminism.

By 2020, we should wish for women, particularly in developing nations, to not lose sight of their cultural heritage, but to trust the more traditional view of woman as a light for the mind and heart. This is part of her mysterious attraction.

Caterina F. Lorenzo-Molo is a Professor at the University of Asia & the Pacific in Manila, wife of a lawyer and mother of three young girls who all want to: 1) write fiction, play the piano and the violin, and dance as lifetime hobbies; and 2) pursue careers in medicine, science, and fashion.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet