"I am tired of sexually tinted images" reads an angrily scribbled message on a half-ripped billboard.
Well, so are many of us. Billboards and posters all over the streets are beacons of sexist merchandizing, objectifying women's bodies as things to be had. Often faceless, topless, and pants-less, images of overly-sexualized women litter the streets as a way to sell, well, anything - including liquor, cigarettes, and beer.
This is not a new topic, and there's really nothing new to say because it's all pretty much been said (very well). Unfortunately, it's being said to the same audiences repeatedly, that don't really need to hear it anymore. Feminists know the problems with these images, the differences between female sexual objectification and male over-sexualization, and the violent realities resulting from objectification for women, not to mention the sheer ridiculousness of using boobs & ass to sell everything.
That's why this simple, but poignant activism is an excellent way to intervene and comment on these images, in a more powerful way then venting to our like-minded friends. Using stickers and permanent markers, this intelligent vandalism causes on-lookers to look twice; on-lookers that haven't had the opportunity to sit down in a feminist classroom or over a cup of coffee with an aware friend to discuss these topics, who wouldn't have thought twice about the ad because we are soaked to the bone with the normalization of these images.
To-the-point messages like "SEXIST SEXIST SEXIST," "THIS INSULTS WOMEN," or "FUCK YOUR GENDER BINARIES," powerfully interact with these images through the very physical placement of a sticker holding these counter-messages. This is just awesome on so many levels.
The most important message of this story is that we all have a voice that we can use, in seemingly simple, but impactful ways. There's nothing stopping us from arming ourselves with some anti-sexist stickers and/or permanent markers. Maybe we can't climb all the way up to a highway billboard (kudos to Tricia V. for actually doing it!) but scribbling a little note on a party flyer with sexist cartoon silhouettes when nobody's looking is still effective and totally badass. Never underestimate the power of small acts of rebellion.
Thanks to Sociological Images for the story.
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.