Are you kidding me!?
By Peale Iglehart
I open the link and immediately think it’s porn. A young woman cries, gasps, moans, grimaces—in pleasure or in pain, it’s not immediately evident. Then the camera pans out and we see a guy raping her. Menacing music plays as the camera pans out farther and we now see two hulking male figures in a dark alley.
We watch the action in rewind and surmise the following: the girl is dragged from a party by two guys. Oh, the girl was chugging from a bottle. Dancing with her friends, putting on makeup. This looks like a regular slumber party. Daddy beams at his little girl as she innocently gets into the car. He’s handing over a case of alcohol. A voice tells us: “Don’t kid yourself. Buy your children alcohol, and they could pay the price.”
Wow. Right off the bat, this ad (supposedly a “public service announcement” courtesy of the Queensland government—you know, for our own good) totally eroticizes the pain, humiliation, and helplessness of a woman being assaulted. It exploits her. Second, through the rewinding of events, it essentially blames the girl herself for getting drunk in the first place—you know, “asking for it.” We see her chug from a bottle, dance sloppily with her friends, put on a cute dress in her bedroom. We watch as she accepts the case of alcohol from her father, looking like a kid on Christmas morning. Basically, the message is, “she should have known better.”
“Don’t kid yourself. Buy your children alcohol, and they could pay the price.”
So the girl is “paying” for her actions (underage drinking—tsk-tsk). There is no mention of what motivated the guys in this scenario to rape her—were they also under the influence? Finally the blame rests with the girl’s father (there’s no mother in sight). Dad, you should have known better than to hand over the booze to your silly daughter. You should have known she’d only chug it and put herself in harm’s way. It’s your duty to protect her. It’s her duty to be “good.”
What about the other people involved in this scenario—for example, oh, I don’t know—the guys who raped her?! Who’s holding them accountable? This ridiculous ad skirts that issue. Let’s not question the culture that objectifies and puts the girl at risk. Easier to shake our heads at her for “asking for it”—and tell her dad to keep her on a tighter leash.