Rachael Wong: Misogyny – it’s not just boys and men to blame

NZ Herald 8 November 2013
This week the Roast Busters sparked outrage across the globe. When I heard about the group of young Auckland boys who sought gratification and entertainment by luring drunk girls – some of them underage – into group sex and then bragged about their conquests on Facebook, I was saddened and disgusted. I was unfortunately not surprised.

A misogynistic culture in our society has spawned the perfect breeding ground for this type of behaviour, but the blame does not lie solely with boys and men. There is a constant stream of explicit sexual images, not to say filth, which bombards them from every angle, for which we as a society must take responsibility.

It starts with daily media exposure to the sexualised female images used to sell anything from fast food to fast cars, normalising the objectification of women. When All Black Dan Carter appears stripped down to his underwear on giant billboards, at least the fact that he is wearing only underwear is relevant to the product being sold.

Some misogyny is custom-made for young men. The enormously popular Grand Theft Auto 5 video game portrays women pornographically and makes ridiculing and sexually harassing them part of the fun.

The latest Bond movie, Skyfall, where Bond sleeps with one of the female protagonists directly after finding out she is a victim of sex trafficking is a poignant example of contempt for women. This was one of the most misogynistic movies I have ever seen, and yet where was the outrage?