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We Will Not Be Silent! Media Violence Against Women Must End!

This text was written collectively by Actiongirls, a student and community group based out of the University of Windsor in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. This action has consumed us for the past month and we need your help. Please read through to the end and help us in our campaign however you can. There are some ideas to get you started at the end of the post.

Thank you from Candace & Actiongirls

Background:

In recent weeks, posters could be seen all over Windsor, Ontario, claiming that three women were Missing. The posters included photographs of three local women, along with their names, ages and identifying features, but were not in fact a Missing persons report or alert and instead were an advertisement calling for a mock ‘Search Party’ at a downtown nightclub to ‘celebrate’ a local band’s single and video release there.

missing women poster

The three women featured on the Missing poster are actually actors in the band’s video. Both the poster campaign and video were created by a media consultancy company in Windsor, Mimetic
Productions.

video poster for Held Back

The video featured at the release party, is made in the genre of a snuff film – the women featured in the Missing posters are each violently kidnapped, and held captive, bound and gagged in a basement. Each woman represents a former girlfriend of the lead vocalist, and he blames each for his present mental state. He attempts to possess them, stroking and fondling them while they are terrified and physically captive and restrained, unable to defend themselves or escape. Following this torture, he leaves and a heavy steel door slams. He leaves the women to their fates – death from starvation and dehydration. As he leaves, we see the man carrying a rose for his next victim.

An awareness campaign was launched in Windsor soon after discovering this Missing poster marketing gimmick and its association with a violent misogynist video. This campaign – launched by a local feminist collective Actiongirls – aims to highlight the reality of missing women and the role of media violence in perpetuating the victimization of women. This reality is callously disregarded in this advertising campaign and video.

end media violence against women signs

Actions so far have included a march at night through Windsor’s nightclub district, with a small group of women activists carrying noisemakers and signs protesting profit from tragedy, media violence against women and calling for ethics in advertising. This march was met by a small counter-protest. Two women from Actiongirls were also interviewed on local CBC television news (Friday, 10 February, 2006).

The backlash:

Activists from Actiongirls have been continually harassed since their campaign against these fake Missing posters and the video began. Continual attempts are being made to intimidate us and silence our protest – whether in the form of letters to the University of Windsor hierarchy (the group is based on campus) alleging that protest activity is slanderous and calling for Actiongirls to be reprimanded; or in the form of derogatory online anti-feminist backlash; or ingenuous and insulting plays at placation – for example, coffee and cake with the director of the video! We do NOT take candy from strangers,

and

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT!

The kidnapping, beating, rape, torture, and killing of women is a real horror – one that should not be exploited for profit by anyone. With more than 500 Aboriginal women missing in Canada alone, and thousands of women kidnapped for use in the sex trade or worse, the use of an advertising campaign depicting women as falsely Missing is a dismissal of real pain and terror. Depicting this pain and terror in a music video goes further to justify the continuance of violence against women and especially to justify this kind of treatment of women by men.

image of fighting woman

THIS ISSUE IS BIGGER THAN
ONE SMALL CITY,
ONE VIDEO
PRODUCED BY
ONE COMPANY.

What can you do to support this activism against media violence and the use of missing women as a marketing tool?

  • Contact the company and tell them what you think of their Actions:
    Mimetic Productions:1677 Albert Road, Windsor,
    Ontario, N8Y 3R4; Fax: 519-254-3904;
    email gavin@mimeticonline.com
  • Contact MuchMusic and voice your concerns about the gratuitous depiction of violence against women in this video before the video is added to their rotation:

    Craig Halket, Senior Music Programmer,
    Much Music, 299 Queen Street West,
    Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2Z5; Fax: 416-
    591-6824; email:
    craigh@muchmusic.com

  • Contact your local media outlets to alert them to our awareness campaign and the subsequent attempts to silence it, or contact The Windsor Star, who continues to support this company and refuses to publish community complaints:
    The Windsor Star Group Inc., 167 Ferry
    Street, Windsor, Ontario, N9A 4M5; Fax:
    519-255-5515; email:
    letters@thestar.canwest.com
  • Come out and join us for a march to express community solidarity in opposition to media violence, violence against women and profiting off REAL missing women!

    We will not be silent!

    Saturday March 25th, 2006
    6pm
    Dieppe Park
    (corner of Riverside Drive and Ouellette)
    Windsor, Ontario

  • Create anchor text on your own site or blog that links Mimetic Productions to this post. Use this code if you want a quick and easy cut and paste:

    <p>Media Violence Against Women Must End! What you should know about <em><a href="http://www.femilicious.com/blog/2006/03/08/missing/" title="We will not be silenced">Mimetic Productions</a></em>.</p>

For more information contact: Actiongirls@femilicious.com

8 comments:

  1.  

    [...]
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    We Will Not Be Silent! Media Violence Against Women Must End!
    Filed unde [...]

     
  2. Christine, 9. March 2006, 18:35

    If you have a daughter, mother, wife or girlfriend and want them to be treated with respect and honour then you know what you need to do.
    If you have a son, father or brother don’t let these horrible violent acts be seen be bigger you wouldn’t want your son to go to gail because he saw this
    crap and thought it was ok. Save our children from seeing violence PLEASE I beg you for our childrens sake
    Thanks
    Christine

     
  3. Wendy, 8. April 2006, 20:13

    Although I like your blog and agree with your mission to end media from profitting off images of women being abused, I have to point out that you are misinformed about the “thousands of women in Canada being abducted into the sex trade”, although this sometimes happens it is rather small. Most women CHOOSE to enter the sex industry, even migrant women, here’s a few websites for you to browse:

    http://www.empowerfoundation.org/

    http://www.spoc.ca

    http://www.durbar.org/

    http://www.lacoalitionmontreal.com/

    Hope these sites destimatize your views of sex workers.

     
  4. Administrator, 9. April 2006, 8:23

    Hi Wendy, thanks for your comment.

    I went through the links you sent and I see efforts for workers’ rights and other supports for sex workers but I don’t see anything about choice to enter the sex industry. But this isn’t really the point.

    The question about choice comes up often – is the “choice to enter the sex trade” really ever a choice anyway or is it ultimately coercion – a woman’s need to make money to support herself/her family set against available options?

    That some women may “choose” to be sex workers does not mean that many others are not abducted into it. Abduction of women and children into the sex industry is a reality. We could debate numbers and source them ’til the cows come home but it’s not really the issue here, which is: woman should not be forced into sex work. Period.

    and the larger issue remains: when will there be realistic options for women to make a living without having to sell their bodies?

    (And the purpose of this post: when will these artists develop social responsibilty?)

     
  5. Wendy, 20. April 2006, 0:37

    I would ask the same question of people who work minimum wage jobs, is it that people really want to cook fries or is it that they would live in poverty if they didn’t otherwise.

     
  6. muse and fury » More about Booth Babes (Pingback), 21. April 2006, 11:16
     

    [...] ou think they’d honestly choose to be a booth babe? Like Wendy said in a comment of another post, also about exploiting women’s bodies, “is it that people really wa [...]

     
  7. Friday Femmes Fatales No. 48 - Philobiblon (Pingback), 25. April 2006, 17:44
     

    [...] ndsor in Southwestern Ontario, Canada expresses their anger, and calls for action against, media violence against women. Sthreeling on Speaking Feminism in India is meanwhile reflectin [...]

     
  8. Madison, 9. June 2006, 14:30

    I agree with Wendy making the distinction between women who are kidnapped and forced into the sex trade and those who do so of their own accord. For one thing, it will help your cause to give as accurate information as possible so that no one can accuse you of over-dramatising the facts to sway people (something a lot of people attribute to hard core feminists, and has done a lot of dammage to their reputation – deserved or not). I live in Windsor and was outraged by this tacky, disrespectful and insensitive ploy to draw crowds. I have boycotted The Chubby Pickle and told all of my friends to do the same. I will also be voicing my concerns with the information you provided. Good luck with the campaign!

     

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