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Gendercide and Missing Women
A Matrix of Fences.
The Perception of Domestication
According to the United Nations, over 200 million women are missing or murdered in our world. It happens in developed and undeveloped countries. The conditions surrounding our perceptions of women strongly influence the reasons why so many women of all ages result in being abused, missing or murdered in our society.It starts with our perceptions and notions of women.
All women have at one time or another felt devalued in society as a girl or a woman. We perceive our inequality from a young age. It starts with the simplest things like the scantily clad women pictured in television and the sexualized voices on radio market advertising to the focus on women as domestic 'and' sexual people. The definition of 'domestication' is to convert, tame, adapt or make ordinary as well as accustom to household affairs or life. People perceive animals, like cows or sheep, to be domesticated and it isn't a far stretch to say the ideas are correlated and transferred upon humans.
Cows and sheep are grown, herded, bred, branded, milked, left out to pasture and butchered. Do we really desire domestication and sexuality to continue to be promoted in our societies?
The perception of domestication and sexuality seem to go hand in hand and this type of mass marketing is directed toward men. Material marketing teamed with stereotyping women as either domestic and/or sexual people reaches us all at a young age and affects both boys' perceptions of women and girls' perceptions of themselves. How many women remember getting an Easy Bake Oven paired with a Barbie for Christmas? Put your hand up! Make sense? There is an expectation for women to be domesticated 'and' sexy as well as sexual.
I am saying it is an industry that is 'branding' us like a cow is branded. Industry as a conglomerate and corporations are branding people as they indeed are admittedly and proudly branding themselves. What's your brand?
A Numerical Representation of the Truth
- Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police
- 1 - 2% of "date rape" sexual assaults are reported to the police
- 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime
- 11% of women have physical injury resulting for sexual assault
- Only 2 - 4% of all sexual assaults reported are false reports
- 60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17
- over 80% of sex crime victims are women
- 80% of sexual assault incidents occur in the home
- 17% of girls under 16 have experienced some form of incest
- 83% of disabled women will be sexual assaulted during their lifetime
- 15% of sexual assault victims are boys under 16
- half of all sexual offenders are married or in long term relationships
- 57% of aboriginal women have been sexually abused
- 1/5th of all sexual assaults involve a weapon of some sort
- 80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim
Sexual Assault Statistics in Canada at Sexassault.ca
The Corporation: Branding Us Like They Brand Themselves
THE CORPORATION is a Canadian documentary film written by Joel Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary examines the modern-day corporation, considering its legal status as a class of person and evaluating its behavior towards society and the world at large as a psychiatrist might evaluate an ordinary person. This is explored through specific examples. Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, during the filming of the documentary.
Freedom from Branding
Is freedom from stereotypes and branding that have become socially accepted norms indeed what lies on the other side of the fences? The 'fence' metaphorically being...stereotypes and branding we have all bought into and accept. We realize certain types of media and corporate branding. But what other types of common branding reinforce the domestication and sexualization of mostly...women? The common prostitution of women was not any girls dream neither is to accept the common promotion of aggression and disassociation toward women...that is indeed commonly promoted through...pornography.
Ted X Talk: Why I Stopped Watching Porn
What Messages Are We Sending?
These images and messages from corporate and private branding of women and men leads to the promotion of aggression and disassociation with intimacy. Corporate branding of men and women, porn with clothes on. Pornography, porn with clothes off. Either way, it is the degradation of people to mere snapshots of the exploitation of domesticated sexuality. It leads to demeaning stereotypes that lead to discrimination and poor perceptions of ourselves and each other. Strong perceptions of such images, stereotypes and discrimination does indeed lead to poor treatment of the discriminated group. Poor treatment, we know is a form of abuse and abuse, whether it be mental, physical or sexual often leads down a dangerous road.
The hard facts are many women are missing, exploited and murdered in our world. The fact is over 200 million of them are and this cold reality is a wake up call for our society. We must separate ourselves from of the notoriously demeaning and superficial branding that comes from radio, television, music and pornography funded by corporations that reduce us all to a sexy snap shot and dollar figure. Domestication is to make common and there should be nothing common about demeaning and targeting men nor women in the most superficial stereotypical ways. It is not right to do to sensitive and developing boys and girls, it shouldn't be right or accepted to repeatedly bombard those unhealthy images and concepts upon any adult either.
It becomes 'programming' that embeds within our psyches and often becomes part of our beliefs over a lifetime of exposure. Many people are receptive and sensitive to negative images, aggressive images and sexual images. We must break those perceptions and beliefs, bust out of those dangerous norms where women are often perceived in the media as nothing more than sexy submissive breeders and housekeepers or men as dominant sexual predators and bread winners. Perfume commercials do it, car commercials do it, the fashion industry does it and definitely...so does pornography. Think about it.
It may be cliche to say one things leads to another to another...but it really does. Bad perceptions, stereotypes and notions paired with sex and aggression can lead to abuse. A physician said once, "There is a thin line between abuse and homicide." Domestic abuse, molestation, rape and missing persons statistics tell it all. We can choose to change those perceptions with self respect, respect of others and acknowledging that we don' t have to accept the norm because the norm is not healthy, progressive or tolerant. You can shut off the commercials, the porn, not buy the fashion or car mags and choose...to program your children and yourself differently. If everyone did it, we would have a safer community with no tolerance for demeaning images or abuses of women or men. Choose wisely.
Claudine L. Fleury
Claudine Fleury studied Arts and Cultural Management and Communications at MacEwan University in Alberta, Canada. She is a former political intern/aide, contract public servant and is now a market researcher, lobbyist and writer residing in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.