Monday, November 22, 2010 |

Letter to the Editor

Here's a letter I recently sent in to the editor of one of our local newspapers (because that's the kind of thing I do).  But first, a little bit of background - the newspaper has been printing ads for the local lounge to advertise strippers, using large photos of... strippers.  In the paper.  Yup.  And then there's La Senza, who puts up a giant-sized poster of a... stripper (essentially) in their exterior window, for all to see.  I'm infuriated about it.  Hence, the letter:

  I would like to express my extreme disappointment at some of the advertisements adorning not only our city buildings, but one of our local newspapers as well.  

  For the past many months, I have opened up your paper only to have my eyes bombarded with images of scantily clad women as an advertisement for dancers at the local lounge.  For the past 4 years, I have trusted and allowed your publication to come into my home, a trust that has now been broken due to the disrespectful and devaluing images you have allowed to print.  As the mother of two young boys, I never thought a day would come when I would have to protect my sons from the inappropriate photos being printed in this newspaper.  I’m shocked that these images have made their way out of the top shelf of the magazine rack, and into your publication, for all to see.    
  Unfortunately, this issue is not one that is kept within the confines of print.  Last week, my husband and I went with our sons to rent a movie - from a video store that happens to be a few doors down from a women’s lingerie shop (which, strangely, also sells young girls’ clothing).  I was shocked by the giant-sized poster of an airbrushed, full-breasted, long-legged woman in only her underwear.  Can I not even go and rent a movie with my family without having to worry about my children being assaulted with suggestive images?  
  Advertising is advertising.  I understand that there is money at stake here.  But we have to ask ourselves, at what cost?  Do we really understand how damaging this is for our children?  These are the images that are shaping the self esteem of our little girls.  We are giving them the message that this is what they should look like, act like, and be like.  And what about our boys?  What is this teaching them about what real femininity looks like, and what it means to respect a woman?
 This is unacceptable, and something needs to change.  These businesses should be held accountable, and they need to know that this isn’t okay.  I want my city to be one that displays respect and tact in all forms of media - because there is something seriously wrong when I can find racier images outside the movie store and in the pages of the newspaper, than in the windows of the local sex shop.

Do you agree or not?  Do you think they will print it?!

It saddens me that this kind of thing has just become acceptable.  We aren't even questioning anymore.  We live in a country where we have a voice - a voice that, if big and loud enough, will be heard.  Why aren't I using this voice, and encouraging other to use theirs, to make a difference?

Let me know, and then read this blog post (in fact, check out a lot of this guy's posts.  You'll be glad you did.).   Interesting, huh?


Avey said...

That's fantastic Sarah. And I do think they'll publish it. Sometimes I feel so helpless and hopeless about the way our society is headed. It's everywhere...

Jes said...

Wow that's awesome Sarah. I think the very same things when I open the newspaper and drive past that store. Thank you for stepping out and writing that!

Anna said...

While working in the environmental consulting world, I saw how important and influential the public voice is. If enough people speak up, action is taken. Good on you, Sarah. I hope they publish it, and more people write in to agree with you.

Hales said...

The world needs more people like you to write letters like this. That is truly all I can say. Thanks for caring enough to do something about it!

Claire said...

Sarah - as soon as I read the first sentence I started laughing, and I turned to matt and said, "I think Sarah Chetney and I are the same person" Great letter! Thanks for standing up for women and for our growing boys. xoxo

Claire said...

p.s. on another topic, I just told Matt if they ever make my little child go through an intimate pat down at the airport I will leave the airport and reschedule flights, it is worth thousands of dollars to me (or missing a holiday) to protect my child from the feeling of shame of violation!! AND I said it's good there is public outcry, because goodness knows if I was facing anything like this I would be outcrying FOR SURE!!

Sarah C said...

Thanks for the encouragement ladies! I really should have read it over a few times first though... it's not my best writing. I wrote it and sent it in a fury! I guess we'll see what happens.

Claire - I think we are too. Kindred spirits?! I'd love to hang out soon. And I completely agree about the airport. Our kids need us to protect them, and to "outcry" on their behalf.

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