Bronny from Fat Aus wrote a post over at xojane.com a while ago that got me thinking. She spoke about feeling objectified by men with Tumblr accounts overflowing with photos of fat women in short dresses and sexy poses. When her cute outfit blog posts popped up on more than one, then the creepers started appearing on her blog, she decided that enough was enough and stopped posting photos of herself in shorts and from behind because these were the most commonly appropriated for such uses.

Then I thought about the objectification of women online and in blogging in general. Mother’s who blog rally constantly for acceptance beyond the term Mummy blogger, women of all shapes and sizes who chose to share their personal style online often find themselves facing unwelcome advances. I know it has certainly been the case for me. But is the objectification of women happening online because it’s a reflection of society at the moment or is the interwebs a place for the worst of us to hide behind perceived anonymity  and do the things we would never do were we being witnessed?

The conversation on The Project about the access to porn by under age folks and the screwed view it was giving them about sexual relationships. An idea that assault in some form is what it takes to satisfy a woman is a scary point of view. It got me thinking about girls who send naked photos and teenagers who bully and berate via photos taken without another’s consent.  People who use sex as a currency and the things that happen online, in classrooms and in homes because of the access All of it! I couldn’t find the words to express what I wanted to say.

Then Miley at the VMA’s happened.

And instead of saying what a freaking ridiculous performance, totally over the top and awkward she was called a slut and every other name under the sun. We want her to be who we always knew her to be. We don’t want her to change, to be who she is and express that through performance and pushing boundaries. To clarify, it wasn’t my thing I felt awkward the whole time. I think should I have been sitting next to the Pinkett- Smith family my face would have looked similar to Jada’s. But is what we want for her to be 10 forever? Pure, innocent and exactly the same.

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There’s something about that too that sits with me strangely. There’s an expectation on women to be a certain way, behave a certain way and we as a community don’t like it when someone steps outside of that. And sure there’s an argument for Miley being lost, for her not respecting herself and her body. Say whatever you like but I wonder why you sit in judgement when Miley certainly isn’t the first woman in her early twenties who has been those things. She won’t be the last and it’s a shame but growing up is an awkward, wonky, embarrassing and sometime stupid experience. The response to the performance left me feeling pretty gross to be human.

For my two cents I continue to share outfit photos, commentary about my body and ideas of beauty. I have a few guidelines, rules for myself that I use to protest my life and privacy online. I adhere to these and question them all the time. this happens because I am old and wise and conservative basically. I’m much to white bread and I protect myself as much as possible from objectification online but should it be my job?

Should I be personally responsible, as Bronny has become, for ensuring that you {probably not you specifically} don’t see me as a sexual object, someone to be lusted over, objectified and reduced to the equation that is my body only? But isn’t telling me that it’s my job to ensure this doesn’t happen to me sort of saying that if I don’t, that if I chose to behave in a way that draws sexual attention that I deserved it?

Let’s ponder all that for a while shall we? Because what do we tell the girl’s watching Miley and the women who stand in judgement. What do we do in this online community to protect our members. The objectification of women online happens because we stand for it there and in ‘real life’. A bit like the issue with the poor quality conditions of manufacturers I feel small and powerless to effect change. Frustrated with no plan to move forward.

So now what? Where do we go from here?