Saturday, June 1, 2013

Staring = Caring -- Yeah, Right...

Many organizations and corporations would like you to believe that objectifying women is an effective, perfectly justifiable method to support women's causes. Before I rip apart the irony of this...

The latest disgusting campaign is "Staring = Caring" and its purpose is to support AIDS -- supposedly. The website invites us to scroll up a woman's provocatively posed legs while cheesy porn-like music plays in the background.

This is a project of Stop AIDS Now, what appears to be a legitimate, important organization. "Staring = Caring" links to the organization's website.

When I first learned about "Staring = Caring" and checked out the website, I was really ready to compare it to Boobstagram. Boobstagram invited women to share pictures of their breasts in lingerie to support breast cancer awareness.

But here's where it gets complicated: Stop AIDS Now appears to be doing very good work and provides lots of great awareness and calls to action on its website. So is it really fair to compare it to Boobstagram?

I just don't understand why a good organization that truly cares about women's issues would do something this insensitive. It's NEVER okay to objectify women, even if this campaign produces results. The sexual context of this campaign is especially insensitive given that one type of AIDS transmission is sex. But I can't help but feel that the sexual component of the disease actually prompted the creation of a sex-based campaign.

In our society, we don't seem to know how to talk about diseases that affect reproduction, specifically women's, without sexualizing them. Think about breast cancer. It has #boobstagram, all the pinktober "Save the tatas" and other bullshit, plus the "Where do you like it?" (Your purse) Facebook Status campaigns, just to name a few.

I feel like supporters of this type of trash feel justified in viewing this: "Well, hey, if I can masturbate for a good cause, why not." I will never be able to wrap my head around why soooooo many people don't see a problem with this.


  1. The problem is that everything is so sexualized in our society right now that charities feel that they need a sexy ad to grab people's attention. People are selling yogurt in lingerie for god's sake. It's sad but if it gets people's attention and raises money for a great cause it seems like a necessary evil.

  2. Denise - Hmm. I can think of many very successful awareness/fundraising campaigns that were not sexual at all. The evidence is obvious that success can happen without sex. Look at Helene Campbell's lung transplant campaign, for example.

  3. Yeah, it seems as though a clever person out there might be able to come up with a better means of getting the public's attention for a good cause.

    The quality of internet campaigns has really been going downhill in recent years. Speaking of which, I guess Kony survived last year's hype?