As Free as a Bird

Spreading my voice on the injustices of rape culture, misogyny, and human trafficking in an effort to educate others and empower like-minded women.

Archive for the tag “media”

Death is Fashionable?

Trigger warning: Violent and disturbing images

Sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in the air.

I have seen an article before about violence against women in fashion magazines and advertisements, but I looked at it as something that we are moving away from at this point. Obviously I was wrong. Here is a new Marc Jacobs ad featuring a girl who appears to be dead:


I fail to understand why violence against women is viewed as art. I’m not sure what message they are even trying to send here. They are normalizing and glorifying violence against women, and they are using a young woman who has admitted that she is unstable to carry out that message.

I could argue that these images are actually symbolic of society and the fashion industry, and the real damage that they can cause towards women and young girls. Women are often placed on a figurative scale. As a woman, you cannot be too skinny, because then you don’t have “enough curves”, and you cannot be overweight because that makes you “disgusting”. Why do we care so much about what other people look like or what they choose to do with their bodies? It would be different if comments revolving around weight were actually born out of true concern for the person’s health, but they rarely, if ever, are. I think many people mask their ignorant comments with “concern”.

These photos are why I am honestly feeling deterred from having children. Why would I want them to grow up in world like this? Violence against women is seen as art.

Again, these are really disturbing.



I don’t see anything artistic about this. This has very little to do with fashion, and a lot to do with violent/gore media. They look like still shots from a horror film. I guess I will never understand the fashion industry, especially when they try to make strangulation look sexy.


I realize that there are fetishes out there, but I honestly do not think it is healthy to put on display for young girls to see. I do think we should be more open about sexual education, but I doubt Rihanna songs or fashion ads are created for education. It honestly just looks like another image of a man dominating a woman- “putting her in the place”. People seem to think all these images and jokes are harmless, but I don’t see the humor or beauty in violence. The hyper-sexualization and glorification of violence against women is a problem displayed in advertisements and the media on a constant basis. Sometimes it feels as if there is no escape from their onslaught of images. Images like these images contribute to rape culture in America. We are so desensitized to violence against women; it is almost seen as normal, and sometimes goes as far as claiming to be sexy or artistic when women are abused.

That is a serious problem. Yet, how can we change it? It is so engrained in our culture. Are we too far gone?



If you would like to see more images or read more on the topic, here are some sources that I used:

Real Women

Real Women

This is a great reminder, even for me. We are all “real women”. Not one body type, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sexual identity, or religion defines that.

Beauty Redefined

How To Look Beautiful

Be yourself.

The Sexy Lie

What do you think about the way that the media portrays women in advertisements?

Fighting Gender Roles

Fighting Gender Roles

What do you think the most prominent and/or offensive gender role stereotypes in our culture are?

Gender Roles in the Media

What if the roles were reversed?

Victim Blaming and Victim Shaming

Victim Blaming: The act of insinuating that the victim of a crime is at fault for the crime. This is seen extremely often in rape cases. The victim is blamed for their own rape. In other words, society may accuse them of wearing “suggestive clothes”, drinking “excessively or irresponsibly”, giving “suggestive eye contact”, or acting “suggestively”, claiming that the victim caused the rape to happen because of “poor decisions” or “irresponsible/slutty behavior”.

Victim Shaming: When victim blaming goes a step further. Outside of blaming a victim for the crime committed against them, people may begin to bully the victim for the crime. They may call the victim derogatory names, threaten them for coming forward, gang up on them on the internet, slander them, attack them verbally and physically, and taunt them endlessly.


Both victim blaming and victim shaming seem to be a current trend in our society. I’m not sure if these situations are just now coming to light in the masses, or if it was always going on. Something tells me it’s been happening for a very long time.

When I was sitting in the police cruiser on the night of my attack the police were grilling me to tell them about what happened and draw up a formal charge. I told them that I did not want to press any charges, and that I just wanted to go home. They acted like they had no idea why I would not want to press charges, but I quickly enlightened them (keep in mind this was much before the Jane Doe, Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd, and other related cases came into the light). I told them that I knew what people would say of me, that they would call me a slut, say I was asking for it, and I would just be the slut in the green dress. They tried to assure me that no one would think that about me, and though I knew that what they were saying was not true, I reluctantly gave my statement and spent the longest 2 hours of my life waiting in the police cruiser.

The police pretty much shamed me for not wanting to come forward, but I think people can see why at this point in time. Jane Doe and Rehtaeh Parsons endured endless bullying from their peers and society. The process of reporting is traumatic enough without rape culture being at a height and extremely public. The police tried to convince me by saying, “Don’t you want to stop him from doing this to anyone else?” If you say anything other than yes you look like a monster, and if you say yes you are damned for life for reporting. No wonder barely any women want to report. People always like to look down on women for not reporting, but I fully understand why they do not want to.

I want to change this society, but I can’t do it alone. We all have to work together to beat it.


Defining Ourselves

Don’t let the media and society tell you who you are- YOU show them who you are.

Killing Us Softly

I watched this series a few times throughout college. Kilbourne has 4 videos from throughout the years that discuss women, self-image, self-esteem, and violence against women in relation to how women are portrayed in the media. This is her most recent video. I believe spreading videos like this is vital to women’s physical and mental health. As she states in the video, degradation and dehumanization of women is just the beginning of violence against women.


They Were Wrong

Being a Sociology Major in college most of my courses revolved around society and its impact on our lives. In particular, my Pop Culture class stood out in my mind the most about the truly damaging effects of society. The media has always told us what is “cool” or pushed the idea of what is attractive. If you did not abide by the rules of cool or you stood out in any way, you were shunned, shamed, and bullied. This is not only true for teenagers, but it is just true for children and adults, as well. I am a nanny, and the little girl that I watch is bullied by one of her friends at school. This girl will send notes to all of their friends saying how the girl I watch is ugly, and the way that she dresses is ugly. The girl I watch is only nine years old. It seems ridiculous that even at such a young age she is being judged by the way that she looks. What is more appalling is that it starts even younger than many people realize. Think about the store that you shop at the most for your basic needs (i.e. Target, Wal-Mart, HEB Plus, etc). What does the boy’s isle for toys and clothes look like? It sports monster trucks, cars, tough looking characters, super heroes, blue, green, red, black. What does the girl’s isle look like? It shows you fashion, pink, purple, Barbie, princesses, dolls, and more offensively many of the toys revolve around being a mom or doing household chores. So basically all women are good for is working in the home and caring for the family, why would she want a career? If Barbie is even allowed to have a career it is fashion related, nurse, or veterinarian, since all women care about is clothes and animals. Gender roles are the first guidelines of discrimination and judgement in our lives.


As we begin to age the onslaught of images and ideas bombard us almost non-stop. You must be stick thin, but you can’t be too thin because then you don’t have big breasts or a big butt. You must dress a certain way to attract men, but if you dress that way you are a slut. You must not be a woman of color, make yourself as light-skinned as possible, but if you are white, you must tan your skin. You must not have any dimples, moles, pimples, freckles, or imperfections.


Instructions on how to fix your “wobbly bits” because god forbid your body moves as you walk. How shoes can make you look thinner, because that is what shoes are made for rather than to be comfortable and show your personality. The only good thing about this cover is that it has a teeny tiny print of an article title on challenging and researching your salary.


The sex is all about him, and what he wants. What pleasures HIM, not you, not mutual pleasure. Focus on him. Oh, and how to be girlie and make guys melt. Sorry, tom boys. Apparently men aren’t allowed to be attracted to a bad ass chick that kicks butt. Ironically, under “His Pleasure Zone” is an article on date rape. That isn’t sending mixed messages or anything. I thought women are supposed to bend to the whim of every man and pleasure them. This magazine even objectified men with its bare-chested man-show.

Cosmopolitan is not all bad. It does try to appeal to all crowds with stories on strong females and how-to’s for women to protect themselves, but the problem is rather than empowering articles for women being the main focus of the magazine, they are hidden within and often times featured at the end of the magazine.

Below is an example of what the cover should portray. Strong females of any age kicking ass and taking names. How-to’s describing how to love yourself rather than trying to change yourself to fit a mold.


Hell, I think freckles are gorgeous.


I say, rock it full-figured beauties.



Love yourselves super-awesome women of color.



Own your beauty mixed women.



Be proud of yourselves mature women.



I say F*CK you, media. We are all hot, sexy, perfect, and beautiful. Media, you are the one that is wrong, abnormal, or needs to be altered.

Because this is not who we are.


You cannot define us. We are strong. We are women. They. Were. Wrong.

ruby Petition for Sexual Violence on Television Petition for Sexual Violence on Television

I can relate to this petition. I know whenever I see a show on TV depicting sexual violence it feels like someone is punching me in the throat. I become emotional, overly attached to the story, sympathetic, and sometimes angry. Television and the media make light of many things, but I think it is well over time to start demanding some sort of caution tape for the overly offensive. No one is able to truly understand how personal it can feel to someone when they are knee deep in an episode and it ends up portraying a rape case. I was recently watching a Bones episode that I missed, and in the middle of the episode it came about that a young girl was drugged and raped. I almost panicked. I never realized how much it could truly affect me to see that. I found myself sympathizing with the actress. It obvious enough to avoid Law & Order: SVU, but I probably would have avoided that episode of Bones if I had known how upsetting it would be for me. I am in the midst of a healing process, the last thing I need is to feel I am reliving my own incident through the eyes of an actress on TV. You can sign this petition to stand up and say that we want a “Sexual Violence Warning” on any show that may portray it. 

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