She Objects explores global issues like the Thinness Ideal and its impact on girls’ self-esteem, the link between pornography and sexually coercive attitudes towards women, and the paucity of non-stereotyped roles for women on screen, in the Hong Kong context through three themes:
The media bombards us with airbrushed images of physical perfection which pressure women to pursue and conform to unrealistic beauty standards to an extent that often has a negative impact on women’s health and self-esteem.
Hypersexualisation of Women
The portrayal of women as sex objects encourages sexually permissive and coercive attitudes towards women.
The lack of positive female role models on screen encourages women and girls to lower their ambitions for themselves.
A recent TWF study of research published in Hong Kong on media and gender found that women who are saturated by media messages are more likely to be unhappy with their bodies, leading to eating disorders and low self-esteem.
- 57% of Hong Kong women believe that the media portrays women negatively.
- 30% of pages in Hong Kong entertainment magazines are slimming advertisements directed at women.
- Girls and women are twice as likely as boys and men to be shown in sexually revealing clothing, naked and thin.
- 9/10 women think about their weight all or some of the time.
- Up to 50% of individuals living with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.
We also know that boys who are exposed to sexually explicit materials and pornography have a greater proclivity towards sexual harassment, while girls who are exposed to these materials believe sexual coercion is more permissible in relationships.
- Sex offenders in Hong Kong are getting younger: 50% of secondary students experience sexual harassment.
- Only 8% victims of sexual violence reported to the police and only 5.5% victims of sexual harassment seek help.
The way that the Hong Kong media stereotypes women as home-makers and in more passive roles is also concerning and, combined with institutional glass ceilings and persisting old boys’ networks, potentially explains the erosion of ambition and under-representation of women leaders across industry and professional sectors.
- 6/10 girls choose not to do something because they don’t want to draw attention to their looks.
- A study released in the UK last month found that girls between 11 and 13 are more anxious and unhappy and lacking in confidence than just five years ago.
- 11% of all respondents have skipped school or not participated in class because of their appearance